10 Superstars WWE Forgot During The Draft
As the dust settles on WWE’s first Smackdown Live, we get to take a gander at the long awaited rosters post split. Although there were some fun moments, such as Finn Balor sneaking in to the Top 5 picks, all in all The Draft itself felt a smidgen lacklustre. Despite fan expectation, WWE chose not to include any former stars not currently on the roster. This may be rectified in the coming months, but former favourites were not the only ones to have been forgotten on the night. Let’s take a look at the overlooked…
So we all know by now that Heath Slater wasn’t drafted. For those of you who haven’t seen it, the very last minute of the Draft on the WWE Network was hilarious. It showed Slater, in a room, on his own, looking sad. Then the lights were turned off and the show ended. That’s pure gold. It seems pretty clear we’ll be subjected to the Red Dragon grovelling for a job on Raw or Smackdown for a few weeks, and we might even get a match against one of the other Social Outcasts to solidify his status. As a side note, Red Dragon is an incredible nickname for the former Tag Team Champion, especially if you’ve ever had any association with Wales.
The bearded behemoth is sidelined with an injury, and it seems WWE understandably ignored most of their wounded roster when drafting. However, Harper could easily have been part of a Wyatt Family shake up, either alongside Brawn Strowman on Raw, or as a reunion of the original three on Smackdown. As it stands, Harper’s return, when it comes, could feed effortlessly in to a storyline with any of the above.
As a part-time talent, I was a little surprised that Brock Lesnar was part of the Draft, especially with his looming doping issue. Granted, the Suplex City mayor is already on the bill for a match at Summerslam so is currently active, whereas The Undertaker hasn’t been seen since his victory at Wrestlemania. However, how awesome would it have been to hear the gong sound just before either Stephanie of Shane got to read out his name on Smackdown Live? The answer is… Super awesome. With rumours that Taker is genuinely contemplating retirement, maybe this is fanciful, but I’m still plumping for The Phenom versus The Demon at Wrestlemania 31.
Even if he’s done inside the ring, which he blatantly isn’t, surely it would’ve made total sense for Stephanie to bring in Triple H? The Authority reunited, with The Game slowly making his way out to join his wife would’ve generated a sizeable reaction on the night. Having the power couple square off against Mick Foley on Raw would lend itself to an abundance of storylines, as The Authority could either be thwarted by The Hardcore Legend’s constant enthusiasm and championing of the faces, or they could gradually wear him down into a shell of his former self, forcing an alter ego or two to appear…
I can’t talk about him. I’ll cry.
News on the grappling grapevine is that Nikki Bella’s injury is subsiding. Maybe they didn’t know this at the time of side choosing, but the elder Bella twin could’ve provided a surprise name on either Raw or Smackdown thanks to her prolonged absence. She has a built in storyline with wanting to claim the Women’s Title, and her improvement in the ring during her record Diva’s Title reign begrudgingly gives her the credibility to go up against the new, younger female roster. Plus, Total Bellas is out soon. So there’s that.
Team Rhodes Scholars
Yeh that’s right. I said it. The timings of both Cody Rhodes’ and Damien Sandow’s releases were strange considering the imminent brand extension. They point to one of two things. Firstly, that WWE aren’t massively bothered by potential and talent, but that’s just ludicrous. So it must be that the whole Draft concept wasn’t set in stone until ridiculously late in the day. Both Superstars would’ve benefited immeasurably from the show split, either as individuals, or as their classic tag team. The Draft on Smackdown Live needed way more surprises to keep it interesting, and as impossible as it may have actually been to tempt them back, adding Rhodes and Sandow into the mix would’ve pleased the masses. And we know Sandow liked to do that.
Of course they forgot Ryback. We’ve all forgotten Ryback. Luckily, the Big Guy is disillusioned with the company, and now we can just pretended his entire run was a mirage.
The King, The Hall Of Famer, the stalwart of commentary on WWE’s flagship programming, has been forgotten. At least, he was initially, and then it was announced, merely as an afterthought, that he’d dispense his veteran knowledge on the pre-shows. Not that you necessarily need knowledge on a pre-show. See David Otunga. Lawler’s colour commentary on Smackdown has been back to his old-school best this year, but his demotion is likely a combination of recent misdemeanours and a chance to freshen things up. With David Otunga. *Shudders.
Not a vast amount of people will immediately recollect Drake Wuertz, so let me enlighten you. He is currently a referee on NXT, but don’t be fooled by the stripes. The guy is a beast. He is rapidly becoming the Pierluigi Collina of professional wrestling, because, quite frankly, if he’s the referee for a match, he is not to be fucked with. A well travelled wrestler in his own right under the name Drake Younger, he won a host of titles and tournaments on the independent circuit before making his way to the Performance Centre. He’s been rated inside the top 150 of the PWI 500 multiple times and his signature match is… Wait for it… The Deathmatch. That’s boss. Wuertz cuts a stern figure inside the squared circle, with a look of inexorable seriousness that hints at his past, and his brand of officiating would sit very well on one of the major shows. Everyone was eligible for the Draft, hell, another NXT referee in Shawn Bennett got called up, and Wuertz deserves his place. He would’ve been in my Top 10 picks, purely for fear he’d batter me with a strip light.
Tags: Brand Extension, Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, Draft, Drake Wuertz, Heath Slater, Jerry Lawler, Luke Harper, Nikki Bella, RAW, ryback, smackdown, Triple H, Tyson Kidd, undertaker, WWE