TJR: Reacting to Every WWE Draft Pick Following Raw (Part 2 of WWE Draft 2020)

TJR: Reacting to Every WWE Draft Pick Following Raw (Part 2 of WWE Draft 2020)

It’s time to look at the WWE draft picks that took place on Raw and then after Raw was over. I did the same for part one of the draft after Smackdown, so here we go with part two.

What I’ll do is break it down round by round with thoughts on each individual or team/group.  Let’s roll.

ROUND ONE

1) Raw – “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt

I think Raw is a better fit for The Fiend since it’s more of the non-wrestling show with a lot of talking segments and silliness at times. Last year when there were reports about Smackdown being the more “sports” show with more in-ring, I thought it was strange to have Wyatt there. My hope is that he’s out of the WWE Title picture for most of this run because it really hurt the Universal Title when he was involved with it. There’s a spot for The Fiend as a unique character, but he doesn’t need to be around the title. Alexa Bliss joined Raw later, so that interesting alliance will continue.

2) Smackdown – Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley

It has now been over one year for Bayley as the Smackdown Women’s Champion as she heads towards Hell in a Cell on October 25 against former best friend Sasha Banks. There was a possibility that Bayley may get moved to Raw, then you could have Bayley win at HIAC and Banks would have to win the Royal Rumble to get her hands on Bayley at WrestleMania. It would have been a cool, longer story that way. However, WWE went the more obvious route by keeping Bayley on Smackdown with Banks. I think Hell in a Cell will be the first of several PPV matches between Bayley and Banks in the next few months.

3) Raw – Randy Orton

This was an obvious pick since Drew McIntyre remained on Raw. I think when Edge is back in action next year, he’ll probably remain on Raw with Orton as well, so keeping Orton where he is made sense. Whether Orton wins the WWE Title at Hell in a Cell or not (he might, but I’m not sure about that), he’ll be locked in as one of the top heels on Raw. This has been one of the best years of Orton’s career, which says a lot about a guy in year 18 on the main roster and he turned 40 years old earlier this year, so he could have some more great years ahead of him too.

4) Smackdown – Raw Tag Team Champions Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins)

The Smackdown Tag Team Champions The New Day were drafted on Friday, so we all knew this move was coming. Plus, Montez Ford’s wife Bianca Belair got drafted to Smackdown as well. There was a segment on Raw where they handed The New Day the Raw Tag Team Titles while New Day gave them the Smackdown Tag Team Titles, so that made things easy. Could WWE have done something more creative? Sure, but I don’t mind the title swap idea. Anyway, they should continue to have a solid run as a babyface tag team that’s going to continue their long title reign or they can be contenders.

5) Raw – Charlotte Flair

The “Queen” has been out of action after surgery back in June concerning her breast implants, which she talked about in-depth three months ago. What we don’t know right now is when she is coming back, but I assume that because she was a part of the draft, it’ll be sooner rather than later. Flair was on Raw previously, so she’s back where she was. I just hope he gets to be a heel because that’s the more natural role for her. I think she struggles as a face even though the in-ring performance is great in either role. She’s better at being the bad girl. Also, her fiancé Andrade wasn’t drafted, but he’s expected to be on Raw too.

The Fiend comes to Raw as the WWE Draft continues: Raw, Oct. 12, 2020

 

ROUND TWO

6) Raw – Braun Strowman

Strowman was on Raw more often than on Smackdown in the last two months anyway, so they might as well put him there officially. I think it’s good for him to get away from Roman Reigns, who he will put over on Smackdown on Friday before going to Raw. Strowman is like the Kane/Big Show of this era because he’s going to do random turns between heel/face throughout his career. I think he’s a heel now, but he could easily be a face at any time. I actually think he can have some good matches with Keith Lee, so I am looking forward to that rivalry possibly elevating Lee, which is a good thing.

7) Smackdown – Daniel Bryan

The great Daniel Bryan is my favorite wrestler in WWE, so I’m glad he remains on Smackdown and I hope he’s back in action soon. The reason he has been away is because his son was born a few months ago (his second child with Brie Bella) and he may be a part-timer going forward. That’s okay because he’s had a long career with a lot of injuries. I just think there’s a lot of value in Bryan as a natural babyface former World Champion or if he wants to go heel again, he showed in 2019 he can be great in that role as well. Give me face Bryan vs. heel Rollins for a few months. That would be amazing.

8) Raw – Matt Riddle

The “bro” goes from blue to red after having a decent run on Smackdown so far, but it’s not like they pushed him that hard. I think Raw is a good spot for him right now because he’s a natural babyface that has the potential to be a big deal if they book him in a strong way. There are enough strong heels on Raw like Orton, Styles and Strowman (assuming he stays heel) that Riddle can feud with. The problem with Riddle is his out of ring issues due to an extra-marital affair where he is being accused of sexual assault. It seems like WWE is going to keep using him, though.

9) Smackdown – Kevin Owens

I’m a big KO fan and he’s one of my favorite male wrestlers in all of WWE. I think of Owens as a guy that can do it all in the ring no matter the opponent, his promos are among the best in the company and he’s effective as a heel or face. It would be awesome to see Owens back in the main event picture even if that means putting over Roman Reigns in Universal Championship matches because when Owens held that title, Reigns put him over (although it was not clean). There’s also Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn on Smackdown, so Owens gets to be on the same show as his best friend that’s been an on screen ally and foe many times. I always enjoy watching them together.

10) Raw – Jeff Hardy

It’s a move to Raw for the “Charismatic Enigma” who recently re-signed with WWE and hopefully has some healthy years ahead of him. Most of his career he was injury free, but as you get older (Hardy is 43 now), the injuries catch up to you. Hardy is still very capable in the ring, the promos are pretty solid and he’s certainly got the respect of the fans. One feud that I know Jeff has talked about is a rivalry with Bray Wyatt since Jeff likes doing that over the top stuff as well, so that might be something to look forward to. Hardy’s also a guy that could be plugged into the main event scene at any time too.

 

ROUND THREE

11) Raw – Retribution (Mustafa Ali, T-Bar, Mace, Slapjack, Reckoning)

The reason that WWE said that Retribution signed with the company a few weeks back is that WWE knew the draft was coming, so they probably felt like this was a good way of explaining the angle instead of all the random “who are they?” style attacks. I expect the group to be featured prominently as a heel foursome on the men’s side while Reckoning (former Mia Yim) is the only woman right now since Mercedes Martinez is apparently back in NXT. I wonder if Mustafa Ali will get a singles push or maybe T-Bar (Dijakovic) will. Anyway, I figure the group will be featured prominently.

12) Smackdown – Lars Sullivan

The return of Lars Sullivan doesn’t excite me much, but if you’re a WWE fan then you know Vince McMahon loves the “monster” heels. Sullivan will probably win a lot of squash matches and might get a good push just because he looks intimidating. I think he’s limited as a character although being a guy with a body/look that Vince likes is always going to lead to quality screen time.

13) Raw – Keith Lee

A rising star for sure. What I wrote for Riddle would apply to Lee as well and frankly I thought Lee would be picked in the round before this where Riddle was. It really doesn’t matter that much in the grand scheme of things, but Lee has been pushed so hard that I expected him to go higher. This is WWE, though. They aren’t going to try to explain the picks. The short term will see Lee feuding with Braun Strowman in a battle of the big guys. Lee staying on Raw was obvious since he can probably pick up the feud with Randy Orton again while Lee’s girlfriend Reckoning (Mia Yim) is also on Raw with him.

Braun Strowman calls out Keith Lee: WWE Network Exclusive, Oct. 12, 2020

14) Smackdown – King Corbin

I think King Corbin is the definition of a stale character. While Corbin gets pushed at a certain level as a midcard heel, I’m not sure if he’s ever going to get hot enough as a heel to warrant a push that leads to him being a top guy. Corbin is a good talker and he’s certainly passable in the ring, but I think he’s also a guy that performs in a way that fans want to change the channel when he’s on. It’s hard to be that interested in a show when Corbin is out there. It may not be a bad thing to put him in a stable or something else to try to freshen him up a bit.

15) Raw – Alexa Bliss

Alexa is going through changes as she steps away from being the smiling babyface that didn’t turn on her friend Nikki Cross and now she’s possessed by The Fiend. She talks, acts and walks differently. Whether it leads to a push for her in the women’s division, I have no idea and frankly it’s okay if she’s not in the title picture because Raw has a lot of women right now anyway. I’m certainly intrigued to see where things go for her new character. It’s more interesting than her babyface work was.

 

ROUND FOUR

16) Raw – Elias

The guitar playing singer is back in action after missing about four months with a torn pectoral muscle. The cheap attack on Jeff Hardy on Raw sets them up for an immediate rivalry. Elias thought Jeff Hardy hit him with the car, but it was somebody else and that’s something that can play out in the storyline, depending on where WWE wants to go with it. I’m not a big fan of Elias in the ring, but he’s a good heel that knows how to talk, so there’s certainly a spot for him.

17) Smackdown – Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn

I know this tweet is from Sami’s heel persona, but I also strongly agree with it.

Sami is doing a great job as a heel in terms of his matches, his promo work and the entire presentation of his character especially because he has changed his look. Plus, tweets like this show the kind of character he is that wants to complain about things, but when he does complain, he makes good points too! I love those kinds of heels. I mentioned Kevin Owens being back on Smackdown earlier, so it’s certainly possible that the best friends will have yet another feud. If some other face steps up to challenge Zayn then that’s certainly fine too.

18) Raw – Lacey Evans

It’s hard to believe this now, but Lacey Evans headlined a pay-per-view last year. Yeah, it really happened. After that feud with Becky Lynch in 2019, I figured she would win a title for sure this year. Nope. Instead, WWE has opted for a really long Bayley reign on Smackdown while Lynch, Asuka and a brief Sasha Banks reign has dominated Raw. Evans is at her best as a heel. When she was a face, it felt forced. It’s just a matter of getting her a good story to really try to elevate her to that next level.

19) Smackdown – Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura

I really enjoy Cesaro and Nakamura as a duo, but if this partnership ended with one of them becoming a face it certainly wouldn’t be a bad thing. I think both guys would do amazing in singles, especially Cesaro, who has been part of tag teams for the majority of the last few years. Clearly WWE likes Cesaro in the tag team role, but I just think if he was let loose as a babyface singles wrestler he would do very well. If they remain a team, that’s fine with me too because they’re very good. It just feels repetitive at this point.

20) Raw – Sheamus

The name that sticks out to me is Drew McIntyre. They are really close friends and I recall when McIntyre first won the WWE Title in April, Sheamus was a surprise guest on WWE’s The Bump as they talked about their journey in wrestling together. These guys are close like brothers. It would be easy for WWE to play that up in a feud with Sheamus as a heel that Drew has to defeat in order for Drew to prove that he’s the better man. It’s an easy feud to do that would likely mean a lot for both guys. They can do it whether Drew remains WWE Champion or not too.

 

ROUND FIVE 

21) Raw – Nikki Cross

I like the move for Nikki because she lost so many times to Bayley on Smackdown that it’s a good thing she got away from her. Cross is on Raw with “friend” Alexa Bliss, so they might feud once Bliss embraces the heel turn. Cross is married to Killian Dain, who remains in NXT.

22) Smackdown – Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode

The veteran heel duo can have good matches with anybody. The obvious thing for them to do off the bat would be a Tag Team Title feud against The Street Profits, which would be a fresh matchup for both teams. It wouldn’t be a terrible thing to have Ziggler and Roode win the titles at some point either. Both guys could always work in singles as heels or faces as well.

23) Raw – 24/7 Champion R-Truth

R-Truth makes me laugh even when WWE books him in lame 24/7 Title skits. At 48 years old, I believe he’s the oldest active member of the roster. He doesn’t look or act his age, though, so he can keep doing it for many years. I don’t see him getting major push again, but he’s effective when used.

24) Smackdown – Apollo Crews

It’s a move for Apollo, who wrestled the Hurt Business guys every time he had a match going back to April it seems. That rivalry was really long. A fresh start on Smackdown could see the former US Champion going after the Intercontinental Title since it’s being held by a heel like Zayn. Last time Crews was on Smackdown he didn’t do much, so maybe this time he’ll be featured more.

25) Raw – Dabba Kato

The big man Dabba Kato as been featured on Raw Underground exclusively to this point. I assume that’s where he’ll continue, but they’ll probably put him in matches too. I was watching the “Day of 2016 Draft” on WWE Network recently and he was there, so he has been in WWE a long time. It makes sense for WWE to want to try to utilize him more.

 

ROUND SIX

26) Raw – Titus O’Neil

The last singles match O’Neil has had in a ring was in April. He has been featured in Raw Underground segments recently, so keeping him there makes sense. O’Neil does as much charity work as anybody in WWE, so he’s valuable in that regard. I think he would have value in a babyface tag team as the guy that gets the hot tag after his smaller partner takes a beating. I’m not sure who the partner should be, but it could work.

27) Smackdown – Carmella

The woman featured in “Untouchable” vignettes is staying on Smackdown as expected. Carmella took a break from television for several months even though she’s very active on social media and doing a podcast with boyfriend Corey Graves, who is a Smackdown announcer. In other words, it was obvious she was staying on Smackdown, which is where she’s been since the drafting era started four years ago.

28) Raw – Peyton Royce

There are big things in the future for Peyton Royce, or at least that’s what it seems like to me. The IIconics were broken up shortly after there were reports that Vince McMahon sees a lot of potential in Royce, so I think we’ll see her slowly move up the ranks on Raw. Royce is a natural heel that’s improving in the ring every time I see her and I think she’s confident on the microphone. Perhaps WWE will try her out as a face soon.

29) Smackdown – Aleister Black

Aleister Black’s tenure on Raw is over. It didn’t go that well. I think he’s a guy that has main event potential if they booked him right and gave him a storyline that was exciting. Instead, they turned him into a heel that lost a blowoff match to Kevin Owens on Raw although both of them are now on Smackdown. We found out later that Black’s wife Zelina Vega will also be a part of Smackdown.

30) Raw – Akira Tozawa

It’s a shame that Akira Tozawa is only being utilized as a comedy “ninja” character now because he can be so much more than that if they gave him a chance. I doubt that he’ll really get a chance to show what he can do.

That’s all for picks shown live on Raw.

Aleister Black swaps brands as 2020 WWE Draft concludes: Raw, Oct. 12, 2020

 

The next round of picks were shown on Raw Talk on WWE Network.

ROUND SEVEN

31) Raw – Lana

Lana won the battle royal on Raw without doing much in the match, so gets to face (and lose) Asuka on Monday’s Raw. She hasn’t had a lot of success with recent storylines. I don’t have high expectations for her future on Raw. It’s up to her to prove us wrong.

32) Smackdown – Natalya

The women’s division seemed like it had way more women on Raw at this point, so WWE realized they needed some women on Smackdown. Natalya can work as a heel or face and she hasn’t feuded with Bayley before. That would be cool to see.

33) Raw – Riddick Moss

Riddick Moss is a very good athlete with a lot of potential. At this point, all he’s really done is fight on Raw Underground along with goofy 24/7 Title skits. It might be time to see what else he can do although he mentioned he had a knee injury. That means he could be out for a bit.

34) Smackdown – Riott Squad (Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan)

The team of Ruby and Liv came close to winning the Women’s Tag Team Titles recently. I still hope it happens for them because they come across as a likable team that would cherish those titles. Putting them on Smackdown also helps the depth on that show. Ruby and Liv could each have successful singles runs if they get a fair chance.

35) Raw – Arturo Ruas

Ruas is another guy that has been featured only in Raw Underground, so this is an obvious placement for him.

 

After Raw was over, WWE announced the following free agent signings.

Raw signs Erik of the Viking Raiders

Since Ivar is out of action with a serious neck injury, Erik is alone for the next year. Erik is also recovering from arm surgery, so it may be a couple of months until we see him on Raw Underground again.

Smackdown signs Tamina

There was a mini-push for Tamina earlier this year when she put over Bayley. Since then, she hasn’t done much. Tamina is just a support player that has had a very long run in WWE.

Smackdown signs Billie Kay

The other half of the IIconics is Billie Kay, who doesn’t stand out as much as Peyton Royce, but I still think she has some talent. Perhaps she would be better in a tag team with another heel.

Smackdown signs Zelina Vega

The former manager is now focusing on a singles wrestling career. I was impressed by some of her matches of late with Asuka and Mickie James, so as long as she continues to work hard at it, perhaps she’ll win some gold one day. Vega’s a great talker. That’s for sure.

As mentioned earlier, she joins Smackdown with husband Aleister Black although that’s not mentioned on WWE TV.

Two people were unsigned: Mickie James and Andrade. It would make sense for Andrade to stay on Raw with fiancée Charlotte Flair since couples stay together. It was reported by WrestlingInc that Andrade had some minor surgery that will keep him out of action for about one month. Mickie is dealing with a broken nose (watch a video here if you want to see it), but I know she won’t be out that long. I know she was at Smackdown last Friday for part of the draft. Mickie is rumored to be part of Raw when she’s cleared.

That’s where I’ll leave it. I might do an article breaking down the new Raw and Smackdown rosters, but I’m not sure if I will have time before the next Smackdown. If I can then I will, but I’m not sure right now.

Thanks for reading. Go Los Angeles Rams. My contact info is below.

John Canton

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