Coming off the back of an eventful week in the world of professional wrestling, the stage is now set for both recently drafted rosters. We now not only know the superstars, general managers and announcers who will represent each brand, but also the which colour brand the titles will lie. In case you missed it, the titels are as follows; Raw will be the home of the US, cruiserweight and newly announced Universal Championship whereas Smackdown’s superstars will be competing for the IC and WWE Title thanks to The Miz and Ambrose respectively bringing the gold to the Blue brand following Battleground.
With Raw and Smackdown now set to move down different paths, it looks like Raw is the stage for future stars to make their breakthrough. With big draws like Cena, Orton and WWE champion all moving to Smackdown. The only real proven main event talent left on Raw is Reigns, Rollins and of course Brock Lesnar. But with Brock working a limited schedule it’s more likely we won’t be seeing as much of the Beast Incarnate as we’d probably like. However, competitors like Zayn, Owens, Balor, Cesaro and Ruzev are all capable of reaching that upper band of talent given the right guidance.
Looking at all of these talent, neither would necessarily be Vince McMahon’s first choice as the face of the company. Each one is either too fat, too small or too foreign in his eyes. However, times are changing Vince and unless you’re looking at pushing Braun Strowman as your main man you’re going to have to bite your tongue and accept that the powerhouse with bulging muscles just isn’t what’s ‘cool’ anymore, mate… I really shouldn’t tempt fate really should I?
As of this Monday, we know that one man has already been given a chance to show what he can do in the main event scene. Recent NxT call up Finn Balor walked out of Raw with a golden opportunity to become the first Universal Champion after coming out on top of a fatal four way match, and then later pinning Reigns clean to earn a singles match with number one draft pick Seth Rollins at SummerSlam. Not only was this a huge step forward for Finn, but also a massive statement from WWE itself showing they’re willing to push these new stars.
With the draft streamlining each roster to a limited number of stars able to appear, I suspect we will be seeing this a lot more than we have in the past. Recently we have seen the same 10-12 stars taking a big portion of both Smackdown and Raw leaving little room for upcoming talent to make themselves known. But with a big 3 hour time slot to fill and a lot less superstars and women available, WWE are going to have to put their faith in the future and give them more screen time to cover the 3 hours. Which is a win for the fans as well as it means we get fresh feuds and longer segments to build for PPV clashes. It really does make you wonder why this hasn’t been done sooner. With Wade Barrett, Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes leaving recently we can only wonder if they would have been able to really showcase what they can offer.
Not only do they have to be willing to push these stars, but there isn’t much choice really. Rollins, Reigns and Balor aren’t able to keep the Raw brand going by themselves, and they’ll need constant challengers for the top spot to keep viewers intrigued and interesting. The Draft has left both rosters with considerably less superstars on either side, and eventually new challengers will have the opportunity to show why they should be one of the WWE’s top stars. Whether they crash and burn or thrive at the top of the food chain, it certainly seems that Raw is the bigger land of opportunity and an easier place for these stars to make a name for themselves.
However, that doesn’t mean Smackdown isn’t as good a stage for talent to make a name for themselves. Cena himself draws a big crowd of casual fans himself, but he isn’t able to carry a brand on his own; believe me… they already tried. Cena is still the biggest name the company has to offer and any up and coming star that’s able to score a feud victory over the 15 time world champ is clearly highly valued by the company. Smackdown has a bright future in the likes of Ambrose and Wyatt who are ready to take that next step and continue as top stars in the industry.
Even superstars such as Corbin, Crews, Woods, Big E and veterans deserving a small push like Ziggler will be presented with new opportunities following the draft and hopefully this will one giant step in the right direction and the brand split is just the beginning…