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WWE Draft 2020 Night 1 First Impressions & More Quick Takes

Welcome back to another round of Quick Takes—a post that indulges in the topics that aren’t worth dedicating a full article to, but are still on my mind.

Each week, I try to cram in as many smaller talking points as I can via a speedier process, and I invite you to chime in with your own thoughts about these topics and anything else by keeping the discussion going in the comments below! Drop some more talking points in there for everyone to chat it up about, too!

Without further ado, let’s get into this week’s topics.

Mustafa Ali is RETRIBUTION’s Leader / Mercedes Martinez Out?

I love the idea that Mustafa Ali is heading up RETRIBUTION. The faction has made almost entirely bad moves and this is the first true positive.

They can incorporate the hacker gimmick into this and say that Ali’s been recruiting and watching people for months. That would be the best storytelling WWE could do, even though we know they just fell ass-backwards into this and it wasn’t planned from the start. But hey, roll with it.

Ali as a heel will be interesting. I think he might be able to pull that off even better than his babyface run. I guess we’ll see in due time. But I think there’s a lot of potential behind him being the figurehead and the guy calling the shots, as opposed to just hoping the people in the masks can pull this off on their own.

Speaking of those masked people, what’s up with Mercedes Martinez? All signs on Twitter and her lack of appearance on Raw seem to indicate she’s not part of the group anymore. However, Retaliation (such a dumb name) was listed for the draft pool for Monday.

We know by now that WWE.com isn’t the most trustworthy source. Look at how they haven’t updated the United States Championship yet after all these months, for instance. So there’s a strong chance they weren’t supposed to have her name in that list and put it there because it made sense to them and they didn’t get the memo to not include her.

If that’s the case and she’s back down in NXT, I hope it’s for a positive reason, rather than a negative. I’m a big fan of Martinez and I want her to be an anchor for WWE’s women’s division, rather than someone who gets pushed aside and never given opportunities.

Maybe she’s dodging a bullet by not being Retaliation, though.

Ridge Holland Was Paid Off / Gets Injured

Just as they start this angle that seems to imply Ridge Holland might have been paid off to attack Adam Cole and go after Finn Balor, the guy basically destroys everything in his leg.

This is awful. What’s up with this curse of the NXT Championship going on right now? Cole drops the belt to Keith Lee, who drops it in his first defense (not much of a problem there, as he got called up to Raw) and Karrion Kross gets injured that night. Finn Balor wins it and gets injured, as does his opponent (Kyle O’Reilly) and now the guy who was also being set up to challenge him. Yikes.

Between all that and the other injuries like Tegan Nox, NXT is going through a real rough patch. And this really sucks for Holland, too. I like the guy and I think he has some real potential, but he’s not going to amount to anything if he can’t get his career started.

Here’s hoping he has a speedy recovery and WWE sits down, hashes out the roster and figures out some new plans that can actually be followed through with, rather than succumbing to more problems.

First Impressions of the 2020 WWE Draft (Night 1)

Like every year, we have to look at the draft after everything is complete in order to get the full picture. However, that doesn’t stop us from having our first impressions. These are the things that I was thinking throughout the night:

  • Drew McIntyre, Roman Reigns and Asuka staying put makes perfect sense. They’re those brands’ champions.
  • Seth Rollins going to SmackDown was a much better pick before they moved Dominik and Rey Mysterio over, too. I really don’t want these guys feuding anymore, as I’ve been sick of this feud for months.
  • With The Hurt Business staying on Raw, I’m assuming RETRIBUTION stays there, too.
  • AJ Styles to Raw is good. He can feud with Drew McIntyre.
  • Sasha Banks staying on SmackDown is good. Hopefully, she wins the title from Bayley at HIAC and we completely move on to a new feud.
  • So they’ve split up Naomi with Jey Uso. That means when Jimmy returns, he’s either not going to be on the same brand as his wife or his brother. We can’t afford to split another tag team, so I hope he stays on SmackDown.
  • Bianca Belair, same thing. I guess The Street Profits drop the Raw tag team titles on Monday night and then get shipped to SmackDown, or Belair goes away from Montez Ford.
  • With The New Day splitting up, and Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods going to Raw with the SmackDown tag titles, that’s a mess. How does WWE plan on having the blue brand belts on Raw? That is ridiculous. Sending The Street Profits over to SmackDown doesn’t make it any better, as there’s no logic to how these belts should be on the opposite brands. It’s not interesting, nor does it make sense. It’s just dumb. Maybe a title unification and we get a new set of tag belts that doesn’t look awful so we can get rid of the colored straps and those terrible sentinel heads? Maybe they do something lame like trade belts and they just say Street Profits are the SmackDown champs and The New Day are the Raw champs going forward? How does that work in the record books?
  • Oh. Look at that. Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke are on Raw. Didn’t see that one coming after they already did those drafts a few weeks ago.
  • Otis and Tucker are split, at least for now. That means if Tucker doesn’t stay on SmackDown, we’ll have lost The New Day, potentially The Usos, Andrade/Garza, Heavy Machinery and who knows about The Street Profits. WWE really hates tag teams.
  • And in typical fashion, WWE is saving some of the picks for Talking Smack. Another thing to have to watch. There are far, far too many hours of WWE programming and it makes it impossible not to get annoyed if you’re trying to track it all.

What are your takes on these topics? Keep the discussion going in the comments below!

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Anthony Mango

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