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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

CHAIR SHOTS: Analyzing the post-WWE Draft Raw roster

While Monday night's draft on Raw really only saw six people trade spots, another 22 switched in Tuesday's WWE Supplemental Draft. Now that I've had some time to digest the rosters, I'm fairly happy with how things worked out.
On Raw, there really is no clear No. 2 babyface to John Cena with Randy Orton gone to Smackdown and Triple H and Undertaker currently off television as special attraction wrestlers. John Morrison, by virtue of his spot in the WWE Championship match on Sunday, is a likely contender, along with veterans Rey Mysterio and Big Show.
However, Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne, who seem next in the pecking order, have a greater chance than ever of breaking through that glass ceiling. There isn't much behind them on the babyface side. Take Big Show out of their way too, as he's currently in a tag team with Kane, meaning the door is wide open for them as singles competitors.
Santino sticks around in his comedy role, while jobber-to-the-stars types Chris Masters, JTG and Vladamir Kozlov round out the roster. Goldust and DH Smith also remain, though the golden one is injured and Smith hasn't even been making the Superstars cut as of late.
On the heel side, it's clear that WWE wanted a strong roster of heels to work with Cena, who I think will be regaining the WWE Championship, if not this Sunday then May 22 at Over the Limit.
The Miz and CM Punk are joined by up-and-comer Alberto Del Rio, who could bring the World Championship to Raw with him after Sunday, at the top of the card. It's not clear if Ricardo Rodriguez and Brodus Clay will be coming with him. I think Rodriguez will move to Raw, but Clay sticks on Smackdown.
Recent reports hint that Punk is unhappy with his contract and might not be around much longer, meaning there could be some room at the top for someone for a mid-carder.
Supplemental picks Jack Swagger and Drew McIntyre bolster a really strong mid-card that already includes former World Champion Dolph Ziggler and newly christened heel R-Truth. These guys, combined with Morrison, Mysterio, Kingston and Bourne should make the middle of Raw a lot of fun to watch over the next year. Almost any of them can contribute on a main event level as well.
Tyler Reks is an X-Factor. Will he be just another jobber-to-the-stars or could he be a contributing member to the already stacked mid-card?
Raw desperately needs to acquire a mid-card championship, however, with Sheamus taking the United States title to Smackdown when he was the last pick of the supplemental draft. Something tells me he'll drop the title to a recently acquired Raw star at Extreme Rules on Sunday.
As for the rest of the heels, the New Nexus seems to clutter things up a bit, with only Mason Ryan seeming to get TV time as of late. He could be a real difference maker depending on how fast he develops.
Could tag team wrestling get a boost with Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins back on the same roster? The two excelled in the indies as the Major Bros. and are former WWE tag champs as part of La Familia a few years back. Putting them together seems like the only way to get them both on TV. What would become, then, of Ryder's current partner, Primo? Who cares.
Draft picks Kelly Kelly and Beth Phoenix to Raw give the Bellas a couple new challengers for Brie's (or is it Nikki's?) Divas Championship. Current top Diva Eve Torres stuck around too, meaning I'll get to see her and Kelly on TV at the same time. Someone get the difibrulator ready.
Gail Kim rounds out the faces, and Maryse and Melina stuck around for the heels. All three are former Divas or Women's Champions, so they can be plugged in at any time.
Both Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler stuck around on Raw, although I expect one of them to be gone or in a different role before long. My guess is Cole gets moved into a manager role, likely for his trainer Jack Swagger. He could also begin a stable of heels - his Cole Mine - which could also include The Miz, who no longer has a corner man with Alex Riley going to Smackdown.

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