Welcome to another edition of eWN Round Table, where we gather some of the most active writers here on eWrestlingNews and share the platform to answer some questions surrounding a centralized topic, upcoming event, etc.
This is meant to showcase the potential for both a wide range of perspectives as well as how sometimes, there can be a group consensus no matter what your viewpoint is, so we also invite all of you to join in on the discussion by answering these questions yourself in the comments section below.
For this particular volume, we’ll be focusing on the 2019 WWE Draft.
Participants for this round = Anthony Mango, Richard Staple and Ethan Absler.
1) “What were some of the most surprising picks this year?”
MANGO: The Miz going to SmackDown still baffles me. Why would you want to draft the guy who has a show on another network that he’ll promote? I was surprised about Akira Tozawa and Humberto Carrillo being included. I didn’t expect Braun Strowman to SmackDown, or Rey Mysterio to Raw.
STAPLE: Surprising? I don’t know if there was much there considering most of the rosters are the same as they were before the draft. Seeing a Jinder Mahal name drop and some Cruiserweights being called up was something. I also thought The Fiend moving to SD was a bold move, as I would think his gimmick was going to be on Monday Nights. Looks like we know who’s walking out of Crown Jewel as Universal Champion.
ABSLER: I was really surprised by the pick of Humberto Carillo to RAW and Heath Slater to Smackdown. Although the two stars have a ton to offer, there are many larger superstars that went undrafted, or even unlisted. On that same note, I was also surprised by Tamina to Smackdown.
2) “What did you think of the way they made the picks this time?”
MANGO: I don’t fault them for wanting to bring attention to SmackDown, Raw, the website, The Bump and Backstage, but they didn’t promote that well enough to maximize that potential. Leaving things up in the air about free agents rather than saying “more draft picks will be announced on The Bump, so tune in to find out” would have been much better. I also wasn’t too keen on them having Stephanie McMahon read out 5 picks in a row after random matches, seemingly in no particular order (other than the leaked list), particularly with oddball celebrities chiming in with pointless opinions along the way. This could have been done much, much better.
STAPLE: Again, the rosters are pretty much the same so I can’t honestly say they did a good or a bad job. I must say, though, that they were testing our intelligence at times. I thought that current title holders weren’t eligible to be drafted. For example, the 1st pick in the entire draft was Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch. Um, she’s the women’s champion for RAW. Why did we need to announce that she was drafted to RAW? Where else was she gonna go, SmackDown?
ABSLER: I am not as big of a fan of this draft as I am of previous drafts. First of all, the picks seemed rushed by Stephanie McMahon with not enough time for anybody to really digest the pick. With that being said, I did like the short cutaways into USA and FOX’s studios as it made the superstars seem more legit.
3) “Which roster is in better shape after these picks?”
MANGO: I’d give the edge to Raw. Even though a lot of people have already feuded over the past year and I’m not looking forward to seeing them fight anymore (like Rollins/McIntyre) I feel more confident in Paul Heyman’s crew being people he’s interested in pushing. With SmackDown, I can see them running into problems. Who will Roman Reigns feud with for 6 months and fight at WrestleMania without just going back to the Brock Lesnar well again that I desperately don’t want to see? Who are the top babyfaces worth investing in for the women’s division on SmackDown? Raw’s tag team division is struggling, but the other two divisions are better off.
STAPLE: Traditionally, RAW has been the show for the bigger names and sports entertainers while SmackDown is the home for the blue collar workers and in-ring workhorses. Looking at the rosters now, I guess they are fine. But to be honest, the rosters will only be good as the booking team allows. You can shape the roster in any way, but nothing will change unless the quality of television changes first.
ABSLER: While both rosters boast high level superstars, I’ve gotta say RAW is in better shape after this draft. Styles, Rollins, Owens, Orton, and Ricochet include just a few of the singles superstars on RAW and with a roster that stacked, it’s kinda hard to put anything up against it.
4) “Would you rather WWE do another Superstar Shake-up after WrestleMania or these rosters stay firm until at least SummerSlam?”
MANGO: They absolutely need to do a Superstar Shake-up after WrestleMania. In fact, that should just be a standard given operating procedure, to do one after Mania and one after SummerSlam. WWE doesn’t have a good track record of being able to go a full year without repeating feuds too often and making random trades, so they might as well play into it. Every year, do a shake-up after Mania and a full draft after SummerSlam at some point.
STAPLE: I think doing a Shake-Up after WrestleMania will be too soon to change rosters again. Because let’s face it, once they do another Shake Up, more superstars will just cross over any brand they want and it’ll make us question why there are two separate brands again. IF they decide to do a change, they should let it play out for at least a year. Doing change for the sake of change will just ignore the core issues further.
ABSLER: I think a superstar shakeup after Wrestlemania would be a good time to do it as opposed to Summerslam. If there is one thing I have learned about WWE viewers, it is that they like fresh ideas. Summerslam is almost a year away and having a shakeup in around seven months seems more realistic.
5) “What brands would you place the remaining free agents?”
MANGO: AOP to Raw, Ascension to Raw, Big Show as a free agent like Undertaker, The Colons should just be released, The Hardy Boyz should stay on SmackDown, Lars Sullivan should be released, Sheamus should stay on SmackDown, The Usos should go to Raw, Ember Moon to SmackDown, Mickie James to SmackDown, Naomi to Raw, Nia Jax to SmackDown and Ruby Riott to Raw.