It’s time to shake things up again! Or have the annual WWE draft. Whichever analogy works for you. It was announced last Monday on Raw that the annual WWE draft will start on the October 1st edition of Smackdown and conclude with the October 4th episode of Monday Night Raw.
The draft has taken place in October since Smackdown moved to Fox in October 2019, so you knew a draft was coming. A draft is sorely needed, especially on Raw, because Raw has a bad habit with the constant rematches during a three-hour show. Smackdown does this too, but it is more apparent on Raw.
What I am here for today is to give you five picks from Smackdown to Raw and vice versa, along with some honorable mentions at the end. These are 10 picks that I believe WWE should make to improve each roster for the rest of the year.
MONDAY NIGHT RAW
#1: WWE Champion Big E
This is a no-brainer. It’s pretty much a guarantee that Big E will move to Raw now that he is the WWE Champion. Sure, they could always draft The Bloodline to Raw, but I think they want to keep them on Smackdown. Big E to Raw makes sense. We all wanted Big E to break out as a singles guy but I think reuniting him with The New Day makes a lot of sense. You can have a heel, like Bobby Lashley, attack The New Day as a way to get to Big E. It is also a fresh start for Big E, who I think was just floating around on Smackdown. He deserves the spotlight he’s getting as WWE Champion. I think he would make a great babyface on top of the Raw roster.
#2: Sasha Banks
This is a tough one because I feel like Bianca Belair and Sasha Banks have unfinished business. However, I just can’t see them keeping Sasha, Bianca, and Becky on the same roster. It would be way too overcrowded. Raw needs women’s division help. Sasha Banks is currently on the sidelines with nothing to do. Why not move her to Raw? She hasn’t feuded with Charlotte in four years so it would feel fresh. Sasha is better as a heel but her face run at the end of 2020 into 2021 was much better because she didn’t really change who she was. She just directed her attention to heels instead of faces. When she turned face in 2016, WWE changed so much of who she was in NXT. She was pandering to the crowd, giving hugs to fellow babyfaces, basically every babyface trope you could think of. That’s why it didn’t work. Drafting her to Raw as a babyface while keeping the same attitude she had for the last two years is key to boosting up the Raw women’s division.
#3: Kevin Owens
I know this is a risky one because nobody knows if Kevin is staying with WWE past January due to his contract status as John Canton wrote about here. I still think a move to Raw would do him good. Kevin Owens was at his best as a member of the Raw roster and he would make a good midcard babyface or main event heel if Big E needed more challengers. He hasn’t really done much on Smackdown outside of his feud with Sami Zayn. A move to Raw could line him up with some fresh ideas. Plus, a three-hour show is a better fit for his KO Show as opposed to the two-hour Smackdown.
#4: Sami Zayn
Another guy who I think needs a change of scenery is Sami Zayn. He has had a nice run on Smackdown. His Intercontinental Title reign was pretty good. Moving Sami to Raw could give him a new lease on his run so far. He would make a good foil for United States Champion Damien Priest if he stayed on Raw, he could make a good monthly challenger to Big E, or he could make a good heel in the mid-card to get babyfaces over. Sami excels in any role you put him in and putting him on Raw accomplishes a lot by giving him more time on the show. Like his buddy Owens, we don’t know if he’ll be around WWE long-term, but if he is, then Raw feels like the right place for him.
Cesaro was on fire earlier this year when he turned babyface. He even scored a win over Seth Rollins at Wrestlemania 37 and got a Universal Title shot against Roman Reigns at WrestleMania Backlash in the main event. Since then, he hasn’t done much. I think a move to Raw would do him some good. They need mid-card babyfaces and I think Cesaro fits that build. He has also proven to be great in a tag team if they choose to go that route. A reunion or feud with Sheamus could prove for some great television. Also, I’d love to see a match between Damien Priest and Cesaro. There are a lot of possibilities for him. He would get more of a chance to shine on a three-hour show as opposed to two hours.
FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN
#1: Drew Mcintyre
Like Big E to Raw, I feel like this is a lock for Smackdown. Drew McIntyre hasn’t really had much to do since his feud with Bobby Lashley ended back at Hell in a Cell. He still gets great reactions so it is clear he is still viewed by the fans as a top babyface. Moving him to Smackdown would freshen him up since he has only been a Raw superstar since coming to the main roster back in 2018. He is a former Tag Team Champion, Royal Rumble winner, and two-time WWE Champion on Raw.
The big money feud for Smackdown is Drew Mcintyre versus Universal Champion Roman Reigns. I wouldn’t go into that right away until after Roman’s feud with Brock Lesnar is finished. Maybe they can do it at Survivor Series if they abandon that Champion vs Champion concept. I know The Rock is rumored to come back to face Roman Reigns perhaps at WrestleMania next year. They don’t need the title to make that a big match. Having Drew be the one to dethrone Roman and finally get his moment in front of fans would be a truly special moment for him.
#2: Rhea Ripley
Rhea Ripley was called up to the Raw roster in February of this year and immediately won the Raw Women’s Title from Asuka at Wrestlemania. Since losing that title, she’s been put in a team with Nikkin A.S.H. as they go after the Women’s Tag Titles. I feel like it would be an interesting dynamic to have the Women’s Tag Champions drafted to different shows. That would add another layer to their matches since they know that once they lose their titles, they have to break up. It would add an interesting storytelling aspect to all of their title defenses if they’re the ones to defeat Natalya and Tamina. I wouldn’t mind Nikki to Smackdown as well. I just feel this would tell a better story. Rhea Ripley is better utilized as a singles babyface and she could provide that top babyface on Smackdown alongside Bianca.
#3: Jeff Hardy
This is my Kevin Owens replacement as the solid mid-card babyface. Jeff has stated in interviews that he would love to face Roman Reigns. I think that would be a great match as a one or two-month program. Jeff isn’t really doing anything on Raw but he would have fresh possibilities on Smackdown. Maybe an Intercontinental Title run or a tag team with the likes of Finn Balor or Rey Mysterio could be fun. I think he would have a better chance of being prominently featured on Smackdown, which is where he has had plenty of success in the past.
#4: Karrion Kross
Eventually, Roman Reigns is going to lose that Universal Championship. When he does, he can’t just keep trying and losing for six months. You have to have other top heels on the show that are not associated with The Bloodline. Karrion Kross fits that build. I think he needs Scarlett by his side but you can’t deny that he’s been booked like the monster he is the last month. I think he would make a good heel for Drew to feud with when he’s not facing Roman Reigns. Maybe putting the Intercontinental Title on Kross and letting him destroy the mid card before moving up the ranks. There are plenty of possibilities for Karrion Kross on Smackdown.
#5: Keith Lee
There have been plenty of rumors surrounding Keith Lee the last few weeks. There’s been talk of giving him a manager, turning him heel, among others. I think Keith Lee could fit either role on Smackdown. As a babyface, he would slide in nicely with the mid-card going after the Intercontinental Champion. He would also match up nicely with Roman Reigns if they wanted to revisit that show down. If they turned him heel, that would work too as he would be a fresh challenger for Shinsuke Nakamura. He could also be a nice foil for Drew Mcintyre. Keith Lee is an exceptional talent who should not be on the sidelines. I would prefer him as a babyface. Lee as a heel would work too, but I don’t see him as a consistent main event heel on Smackdown.
There you have it. Five from Raw and five from Smackdown who should be drafted to each brand. There are also some honorable mentions who I feel should be drafted come October.
LA Knight to Smackdown = There will be some NXT talent in this draft. If you look at LA Knight’s logo, it is shaped exactly like how Smackdown Live looks. I think he would be a good heel on Smackdown. He’s done all he can in NXT.
Pete Dunne to Raw = This is another guy I feel should be drafted. He just signed a new deal with WWE so you want to get as much out of him as you can. I know he’s a top heel on NXT but he’s only 27. You don’t want him spending his prime years in developmental. They made that mistake with Adam Cole. It’s time for him to get called up. It’s been four years now. He would make a great babyface or a good heel. Give me Pete Dunne versus AJ Styles yesterday.
Apollo Crews to Raw = Get him away from Shinsuke. He could be a good foil for Damian Priest and a fresh matchup. You could always put him and Azeez in the tag division to feud with RK-Bro as well. Just get him away from Shinsuke Nakamura.
Dakota Kai to Raw= I feel like she’s going to be another NXT call up and feel she would fit in better on Raw. She has done all she can in NXT but matchups with the likes of Charlotte and Sasha and even Asuka could be the boost Raw’s Women’s division needs.
The Viking Raiders to Smackdown = Fresh opponents for The Usos. You can only feed them The Mysterios and The Street Profits for so long. I feel like The Viking Raiders and Usos would put on a hell of a matchup.
Grizzled Young Veterans to Raw = This is a bit of a wildcard but I think they would be a boost to the Raw tag division. Eventually, AJ Styles and Omos are going to break up. Eventually, Randy Orton is going to turn on Riddle. When that happens, you’re going to need tag teams there to pick up the slack. I feel like GYV could have good matches with anyone.
Raw has two weaknesses that are apparent. The women’s division and the tag team division. Smackdown has a better women’s division, but they don’t utilize them as much. I think adding Sasha Banks and Dakota Kai could freshen that up a bit. Grizzled Young Veterans add a much-needed heel team to the tag team division. Their top two tag teams are both made up of singles wrestlers that are waiting to get back to singles. Grizzled Young Veterans just fit in with Raw perfectly.
Smackdown also has two glaring weaknesses: Heels not associated with The Bloodline and the mid-card. Adding Karrion Kross and potentially Keith Lee would cover that heel aspect while adding Knight, Lee, Kross, and Hardy would freshen up the mid-card. Any of those four guys could be potential stop gaps in the main event scene as well if needed. Of course, there could always be more and they could switch up the tag teams from Raw and Smackdown.
I know there are a few big ones I left out, but I feel as if these are the ones who need a change of scenery the most.
Thanks for reading. I’m very active on Twitter @GiftedMoney talking about wrestling among other things, so feel free to message me on there with any thoughts or comments.