WWE is in a state of flux as the roster will be shaken up tonight on SmackDown with the 2016 WWE Draft. Now, more than perhaps ever, the company needs to make sure the right decisions are being made. A proper balance needs to take place and enough planning ahead for the future has to happen to prepare for any and all situations that may arise, lest we not find ourselves in scenarios that have occurred in the past. Superstars are going to be fighting for screen time to showcase their value so they can become a more noteworthy star for Raw or SmackDown, and the writing team will be under a lot of pressure to deliver intriguing storylines for two shows instead of just one with the hopes that people will tune into the B-show for supplemental material.
With all that being said, something happened on Monday that raises a question of whether or not WWE has the ability to truly focus on so many tasks at once: the breakup of The Lucha Dragons.
Before we get into this, I want to state that by no means am I saying the separation of these two in its entirety is a mistake. That is something we can’t know for sure until later, even though it can be argued that the two of them won’t find as much success on their own compared to if they stayed together, as we may have two tag team titles and could use as many teams as possible to keep things interesting, plus Kalisto bombed miserably as United States champion while Sin Cara’s done nothing of relevance for years.
The bigger issues, I feel, are in the execution of this, and how pretty much every aspect of how it was done just defies logic.
1. The Timing
Why were The Lucha Dragons cutting a promo Monday afternoon, talking about how they were going to enter the draft as singles stars? What are the benefits of this, versus the hindrances?
I can’t think of a single positive except maybe that it could create some buzz about the draft, but I didn’t hear anybody really making a fuss about this, did you? The Lucha Dragons aren’t popular enough to set the IWC on fire talking about them. Also, the draft doesn’t need what little boost that might have given it, as by now, if you’re not going to watch it, you’re not going to watch it for any reason save for something huge like the announcement that Steve Austin is coming back to in-ring action.
However, what the timing of this announcement did is actually hurt the draft, because this could have been a split that took place during the show. There’s already a rule established that tag teams will be drafted together unless a brand selects somebody individually. Why create that rule and not use it to your advantage with a surprise by having Kalisto go one way and Sin Cara another way? Now, most of the tag teams left on the roster shouldn’t be split up, and it implies that at least one more will, which cuts two teams off the list of what is already a small enough division that it can’t be properly split in half and succeed well, and the shock of The Lucha Dragons splitting up is no longer going to take place on the draft.
2. The Obvious Setup
Kalisto and Sin Cara agree that they will be no longer a tag team because…well…there isn’t much of a reason other than “we’ll probably go to different shows and don’t want to be a tag team together anymore.” At that point, didn’t everyone say to themselves “okay, I guess these two are going on different shows, then” instead of “I wonder what’s going to happen and if they’ll be split up”?
Even bypassing the idea of splitting up a tag team during a draft where tag teams don’t have to be split up if the COO/GM duo doesn’t want to do that, you’re still depriving the fans of the surprise of seeing these two stars split up on different shows in any capacity. Now, it’s pretty much a forgone conclusion that they’ll be on separate shows, possibly as a means to not have two of the same type of masked character on one and for the other to not have that representation, but couldn’t that have been saved as a shock instead of spelled out ahead of time?
The two options at this point are a) to draft them to separate shows, wherein it makes it all look predetermined, which is something we all are supposed to turn a blind eye to, or b) to draft them to the same show, rendering this entire split utterly pointless.
At best, it’s something we all saw coming, and at worst, it becomes a setup to a dead conclusion.
3. The Backtracking
So once the mistake of cutting out any surprise was already made, that should have been it, but WWE managed to find a way to then add another baffling element to the mix by having Kalisto come out to save Sin Cara from a squash match by Baron Corbin, who then quickly disposed of Kalisto, too.
If you specifically want to eliminate the option of being a tag team anymore, and you’re hinting that you want to be on separate brands, why is your next appearance on any WWE platform being a semblance of unity? It’s a contradictory message to the audience, along with a sign of weakness, as they both got their asses handed to them with ease by a single person in the matter of moments.
Now, The Lucha Dragons look like a tag team that don’t want to be together, but can’t accomplish anything on their own, and quite possibly can’t even get the job done if they were to remain a team anyway. Was that really the story WWE was trying to tell? That’s the complete opposite of attempting to boost the credibility of your stars before the draft.
Decisions like this make no sense, and it brings up the question of who made the call to write this storyline into the presentation. Fundamentally, it did nothing but hurt two wrestlers, prevent a surprise from happening, and defy its own previously established logic, which is astonishing and not a great sign of what’s to come if mistakes like that can be made on both Raw and SmackDown.
Maybe next week, we can have Charlotte vacate the Women’s Championship because she wants to enter a tournament to compete for a shot to win the belt, as that would make about as much sense as what’s going on with The Lucha Dragons here.