The wrestling world is one of many surprises. I was truly hoping to get this post up for last week, but instead I focused on the Roman Reigns fiasco. Now that it’s somewhat behind us, I’d like to use this edition of the Wednesday Wrap Around to revert back to the brand split and that comes with it. This week in particular, my focus will be on the draft, which will occur on July 19. This won’t be a mock draft, I’ll save that article for sometime closer to the split. This will instead be a piece on the different aspects of the event.
From the very moment they announced that Smackdown would be going live, I was hoping they’d save the draft aspect for the Smackdown after Battleground. However, they’re choosing to have it on the first live episode. That decision is obviously a ratings grab. Why stack up the first episode and not have anything for the second? The draft itself could easily wait another week. Keep in mind, this is a TV show, and they need a reason to keep fans coming back. The first live show is the last one before Battleground, and there’s a good chance all the top players will be present for that one. I’d say that’s enough to hook fans already. With a PPV five nights after, it gives the writers a chance to tie up any loose ends. I feel they’d be over complicating feuds if they pushed them as “this could be the last time they ever meet”. They also don’t want the draft to be a complete afterthought come July 24. At that point the main concern is to promote the feuds and what they mean to the viewer.
Since the WWE has already selected the date, we’ll have to trust they have a plan ready.
The concept of a draft is something the WWE has taken from professional sports. I don’t see why it shouldn’t be treated in a similar fashion. For any of you that follow a pro sports league (NFL,MLB,NBA,NHL, etc) you’ll know how valuable the first overall pick is. Not only is it an honour, but it’s an indication of great skill. If the WWE wants this draft to be a big deal they need to continuously praise the first overall pick. If that pick is a heel, then that character can simply brag about it. That spot may not be a tangible title, but it still means a lot, and also shows who the company values. Along with this, they’d be wise to make the first overall pick a younger superstar such as Ambrose, or Rollins. If they’re going off pro sports, most teams are built around younger players.
The last time the WWE held a “draft”, they would simply randomize names on the titantron, which is something they should avoid. We all know the selection is fixed, but that method didn’t add any form of reality. In fact, that was a lazy way of trying to make the brand split interesting. If they want an authentic draft, it should be done the way all sports drafts are done.
In 2002 there were 10 rounds, which meant 10 superstars were chosen for each show. With Smackdown only being only two hours, they should definitely follow that format. They could easily continue the show on the network, or post it on the website afterwards. However, it’s fair to say most fans won’t care after the top to upper mid card performers are drafted.
Once again, this applies to the entire sports aspect of the draft. Similar to the NFL, the WWE should look into a draft week type of programming for the Network. With the amount of analysts/announcers they have, this would be the perfect time to break down the status of each superstar. They could go through which wrestlers who could be first overall to wrestlers that may be sleeper picks. I can see them having Rene Young host a SportsCenter type show, with Daniel Bryan, Cory Graves, and Booker T as the analysts. I don’t believe this has to be one show, they could break this down by categories leading into July 19.