The 2021 WWE Draft does not go into effect until the night after Crown Jewel, allowing Raw and SmackDown to wrap up some loose ends in the coming weeks.
Ideally, all these threads wouldn’t be left hanging to begin with. In a perfect world, this week’s SmackDown would start things fresh and we’d be off to the races, with Crown Jewel booked around that idea in advance.
At the very least, this plan gave WWE the opportunity to not scramble at the last minute or flat out ignore the draft like in previous years. We may still have some obvious spoilers for Crown Jewel based on how the rosters shaped up, but it’s better than nothing.
Still, I count a handful of things WWE has to do prior to and during Crown Jewel to make sure there are no leftover problems for Raw and SmackDown once the draft does go into effect.
Let’s take a look!
The Raw and SmackDown Women’s Championship Swap
As it stands, Charlotte Flair is on SmackDown with the Raw Women’s Championship and Becky Lynch is on Raw with the SmackDown Women’s Championship. Obviously, this cannot stay the case after Crown Jewel. Something has to be done to put those two belts on the proper brands, as they aren’t like the Intercontinental and United States or WWE and Universal Championships in that they aren’t brand-specific.
More than likely, what we’re getting is a simple trade. That happened last year with The New Day and The Street Profits handing each other the tag team titles for an even exchange. It’s lame and it shows that WWE either doesn’t care about things like that, considers it super fun and interesting, or didn’t plan ahead with the draft moves to have the right champions on the right brands.
The only other way around this is for Flair to lose the title to someone on Raw (but who?) and for Sasha Banks to win the Triple Threat at Crown Jewel to take that title back to the blue brand.
Neither is going to happen. Flair isn’t set up to fight anyone on Raw who could theoretically beat her. Banks is the least likely to win the Triple Threat, too.
Dropping the NXT North American Championship
Hit Row’s draft to SmackDown included not just Isaiah “Swerve” Scott, but also his North American Championship, which can’t come with him in the long run. That’s a belt that has to stick around in NXT not just because that’s the midcard title for that show, but also because it’s got the damn logo on the belt itself!
Thankfully, WWE already has the solution to this in the works. Next week on NXT, Santos Escobar will get his opportunity for this title and will assuredly dethrone Scott.
Legado del Fantasma will have pretty much outright won this feud with Hit Row, but that’s okay. Nobody is better suited to take the title off Scott than Escobar, who had a good run as cruiserweight champion and is just taking another step up.
There’s always a chance there’s a swerve (no pun intended) and Scott retains, only to defend the title the next week and drop it to someone else at random like LA Knight or Pete Dunne, but I doubt that’s going to be the case.
Doudrop vs. Shayna Baszler
This week on Raw, The Queen of Spades was about to put Dana Brooke on the shelf just as she’s done with Nia Jax and Eva Marie, but Doudrop stepped in to put a stop to that.
It’s not the biggest story in the world or anything that couldn’t disappear without a trace, but WWE should try to follow up on this by at least having a match next week on Raw between Doudrop and Baszler. Even if it doesn’t have the time nor the legs to develop into a serious feud beyond one or two matches, it would be nice to see some consequences from the way things went down with Brooke.
Ideally, Doudrop vs. Baszler ends with Shayna on top and Brooke returns the favor to help stop Doudrop from a post-match attack. Then, a follow-up interview can be done on Twitter or YouTube, if not the show itself, where Baszler can say people need to learn from these two that you need to have someone watching your back around her, because if they don’t, the entire women’s division is going to be taken out just like Jax and Marie.
Sami Zayn and The Mysterios
Another story with a likely weak ending to come, if any, is Sami Zayn’s manipulation of Dominik Mysterio.
Over the past month or so, Dominik’s been losing all his matches and blaming a lot of it on pressure from Rey. Some of that has been because Zayn has been in his ear, steering him in that direction. There doesn’t seem to be any particular goal in mind for Zayn to do this, other than that he’s just the heel progressing the story of this split between The Mysterios.
In all likelihood, this either won’t continue at all or it will transition someone else into Zayn’s role on Monday Night Raw. The overall story is the tension between Rey and Dominik, not Zayn’s role in it. That can be filled by someone else.
If you’d ask me, my way around this would be Dominik beats Zayn in a match, but only because Rey helps out. Zayn can be through with it, but Dominik can find out about the assistance afterward and then be mad at Rey, saying he didn’t need his help, but Rey can insist that can’t be true as he’d have won before, then, too.
Tegan Nox and Shotzi’s Title Opportunity
Nox and Shotzi won what, three different No. 1 contenders’ matches for the Women’s Tag Team Championships and never got their rightful title shot? What gives?!
It’s baffling how WWE can bring them up to the main roster, do this enough times to show that they do have this in mind, and then throw it away with a “welp, plans change, let’s move on” mentality. You’re the ones making the plans! Just do the match on a random episode of SmackDown and you’re good, because you’ve fulfilled your obligation!
With Nox being drafted to Raw, this team is being split up. If they don’t get a tag team title shot before Crown Jewel, it’s not going to happen at all.
That’s not the end of the world, but considering how easy it is to have Rhea Ripley and Nikki A.S.H. pop up on SmackDown, do the match and have the champions retain just to settle this, WWE should do that bare minimum.
Kevin Owens vs. Baron Corbin
This storyline has dragged on long enough—or, rather, limped on—that I have zero faith it’s going to reach any sort of actual conclusion. My guess is it’s already dead and there won’t be any resolution one way or another. They’ll just not wrestle each other anymore.