CRYSTAL BALL: THE WWE DRAFT AND BRAND EXTENSION

Posted July 18th, 2016 by jshannon

Crystal Ball: The WWE Draft

Jay Shannon draws upon all his predictive skills to figure out an upcoming major wrestling event.

So, WWE is determined to resurrect the Brand Extension. I’ve been honest that I think it is a major mistake. That being said, it’s going to happen on Tuesday. What I thought might be fun to do is look at some of the possible talent relocations. I’m also going to give my thoughts on who will likely get the General Manager spots. Let’s jump right in…

The General Managers:

So, Vince ordered his kids to choose their GMs or he would. First of all, anyone who has been trotted out, in recent weeks, will NOT be picked to run one of the shows. As much as I and several of my buddies want it, we won’t see Teddy Long or Vickie Guerrero. Dang it. So, I’ll break it down by show:

Raw:

I’ve looked it over and finally narrowed it down to three possible candidates.

The first is William Regal. He has done great work with NXT and probably deserves the “promotion”. Regal is a former GM. My only problem with Regal getting the “call up” is just how successful Regal HAS been in NXT. WWE might not want to upset the apple cart just to move Regal up.

The second choice is John Bradshaw Layfield. JBL has been doing an outstanding job at the announce desk. He is opinionated, strong-willed and much liked. Being too liked could hurt him when being considered.

My final choice for RAW GM would be Paul Heyman. Paul is one of the better talkers in the business. He was a GM, once upon a time, and did a great job. I could see him on either show, honestly. There is a reason that I would see him on Raw and that would be Vince. Stephanie might not pick someone so Vinny Mac puts Paul there. I also have someone very special in mind for Smackdown.

So, who gets the spot?

My Pick: Paul Heyman

Smackdown:

I have no doubt that Shane will choose his 2nd in Command. Heyman was an early contender for the Blue Brand but I feel he is a better fit on the Crimson Flagship. Smile. So, who just might run the GM office over on Smackdown?

First thought is Ted DiBiase Sr. Ted has fantastic energy and the fans adore him. Ted has worked as a manager in the past (Million Dollar Corporation and n.W.o.). There could be a running storyline of how Ted would accept money for title shots, good storylines, etc… I’m not sure if Ted would want to do long-term road work, at this point in his life.

Second: Paul Ellering. This is a huge long shot but Paul did show up on NXT, recently. Paul always spoke with an air of authority when doing Road Warriors/Legion of Doom promos. Paul has always come across as a strong businessman and that could play well for Shane. Like Ted, I’m not sure that Paul would want to deal with the hectic road schedule.

Third: Kurt Angle

Kurt has been off the radar since he “retired” from TNA. Shane and Kurt have had a huge history together. Kurt was also a former GM. Shane could push that he could have chosen one of his buddies (think Mean Street Posse and shiver. LOL) but that wasn’t Best for Business. Shane could talk about bringing in someone that he had wars with, making everyone think Kane. Then, we get Kurt’s music and the crowd just explodes…in theory.

My Pick: Kurt Angle

Shifting Talent Around:

As I understand it, Raw will get 3 picks and Smackdown gets 2. They will then alternate back and forth. The logic is that Raw is a 3 hour show and Smackdown only runs 2. There will almost certainly be some surprising moves.

Announce Teams:

Raw—

Jerry Lawler returns to his old home. Now that Lawler’s legal issues are worked out, The King would be free to head back to Raw. While I’d like to see Michael Cole and Mauro Ranallo switch places, it’s likely not going to happen. JBL will be gone from Raw. He is either heading to the GM spot or Smackdown. The third member of the announce team may well be Corey Graves. Corey is extremely talented and deserves a shot on the big stage. He has done fantastic in the Pre-Shows and on his own WWENetwork programs. So:

Michael Cole
Jerry “The King” Lawler
Corey Graves

Smackdown:

As I mentioned, Mauro will keep his spot as the play by play guy. He is so talented and reminds me of a cross between Gordon Solie and Mike Tenay. He is my front runner for this year’s Announcer of the Year. JBL and Byron Saxton will flank Mauro to take the Blue Brand to the next level.

Mauro Ranallo
JBL
Byron Saxton

The Title Picture:

The Intercontinental and United States titles will be sent to different shows, I’m almost certain. My thoughts would be the IC strap stays on Raw and the US title moves to Smackdown. I’m thinking that WWE is about to set up a Cruiserweight title. Since Smackdown is supposed to be all about new ideas and such, I think the Cruiserweights will go there. The Women’s title will stay on Raw.

As far as the World title, I’m cringing as I think that Sunday’s PPV just might set up a split of the World title into the WWE and World title, like it was during the first Brand Extension. If that idiotic idea comes to fruition, I see Dean taking the World title to Smackdown and Seth Rollins being crowned the WWE title holder on Raw. In a perfect world, Dean (or whoever was champ) would work both shows. However, that isn’t likely to happen.

Split Ups:

The first time around, the Brand Extension fouled up the APA and the Dudley Boyz. I know it is going to happen again. The stated rules are that teams count as one pick…unless the person choosing ONLY wants a given person. For example, if the Smackdown rep only wants Bubba Ray Dudley, he could choose him and not the Dudley Boyz. There are a few teams that I’m sure will get split up. Xavier Woods is almost certainly out of New Day. The Ascension will be split into two individuals. I’m expecting the Lucha Dragons to go their own separate ways, as well. I’m pretty sure the Social Outcasts won’t survive as a unit, especially with Heath Slater being injured. I could see Paul Heyman (assuming he ends up being a GM) choosing Axel and not the rest.

That could set up some possible new combinations that haven’t been done before. With the rumor running wild that several NXT stars will be brought up for the Draft, we could see something like Samoa Joe teamed with Jey or Jimmy Uso. I’d almost bet the farm that Primo and Epico either go solo or get new partners. The whole Shining Stars gimmick just fell flat. That could set up an interesting feud if, say, Epico and Kalisto end up on one team and Primo teams with Sin Cara.

Major Moves:

I’m pretty sure Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins will end up on opposite shows. I’m betting Seth stays on Raw and Roman goes to Smackdown. John Cena will almost certainly head to Smackdown to add his star power to a “new” product from WWE. Styles might follow him but Gallows and Anderson probably won’t. Most of the women (thank God I don’t have to type Divas, anymore) will stay on one show. I’m betting Raw, as I mentioned earlier.

The New Feuds:

This just might be a great launch for a few careers. Darren Young is set to battle The Miz for the IC title. Neville, who is about ready to return, could be the next person to feud with Rusev over the US title. John Cena and A.J. Styles will likely feud just a tag longer (it’s still making good money). The Wyatts (or what might be left after the Draft) will probably continue to go against the remnants of New Day.

The Fallout:

One negative thing that I see coming is a blood-letting of talent. It happened the last time that WWE split the roster. Who is likely to go?

Dolph Ziggler
Bo Dallas
Heath Slater
Zack Ryder
Big Show (full retirement)
Mark Henry (also retired)
Kane (semi-retirement)
Fandango and/or Tyler Breeze (neither character is really working)
Goldust (retirement)

I’d hate to see any of them leave but I feel it is coming. With the various exits, there will be room for Austin Aries, Samoa Joe, Shinsuke Nakamura and a few others to get the WWE Big Break. Aries will dominate the C-Division, if it happens.

Final thoughts:

I hate The Draft and the Brand Extension. It seriously waters down the product. I understand the concept that having Brand Specific talents helps build loyalty to a given show. I just feel it so limits the options. I have reset my DVR to record both Raw and Smackdown. The next few months should be quite interesting.

Peace

–Jay Shannon
WordSlignerJay@Gmail.com

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