It’s time to shake things up again!
This Friday night is night one of the 2020 WWE Draft. Night two will be Monday night. For professional wrestling fans, it’s an annual event that is designed to spice up the scene. New feuds, new opponents, new opportunities, new stars, new everything! While still scripted (obviously), WWE has taken a more sports approach in the past year and done stuff like draft rooms and different schemes in determining who is the best pick and why. Kinda cool and when done right, a nice spin on the show. This will be a two part column, focusing on WWE Raw and Smackdown separately. No official word on if NXT is included. Let’s get to my top five guys/gals that may be calling Fridays their new home starting next week…
Top 2020 WWE Smackdown Draft Picks
Before beginning, here is the RAW side of my 2020 WWE Draft preview, posted on Wednesday: https://www.prosportsextra.com/top-2020-wwe-draft-picks-for-raw/
1. Seth Rollins – This one is tough. He has been on Monday nights since the big brand split in 2016. He has been the Monday Night Messiah, as well as Mr. Monday Night Rollins! Make no mistake, he has carried the show for the past four years now. Face, heel, tag champ, IC Champion, main event, popping out eyeballs, etc. The man has been done it all. I wonder if it may be time for a change. My only hesitation is that WWE has been running this feud with Rey Mysterio and Murphy for so long. The company may not be quite done with it yet. We just saw Mysterio’s family get dragged into this mess, as well as Murphy finally turning on Rollins. I know some fans are starting to grow bored, but there is more story to tell. Unless WWE quickly wraps this up in the next week, I don’t know. We may be having more Rollins/Mysterio matches. Like Daniel Bryan, Rollins has been so synonymous with his brand. Difficult to switch now. That’s without even mentioning the Becky Lynch factor…truth be told though, she is likely NOT returning to the ring for a long time, so that doesn’t matter to much here. Rollins is RAW 4 Life, right? We’ll see.
2. Zelina Vega – If the trip of Angel Garza, Andrade, and Zelina is truly finished, then any of them could go to Smackdown Live. Let’s be real. Those three are so good together but never reached their full potential. Why not mix it up then? Maybe only one jumps ship? Perhaps two of them reunite on the blue brand? I don’t know how it shakes out, but Zelina has been getting a lot of shine as of late…but doing so in losing efforts. As covered in my Raw-WWE Draft 2020 column, when somebody has been losing a lot leading up to the annual WWE Draft, it’s usually a sign of them moving on. Zelina has been losing a lot as a single’s wrestler. If she goes though, that likely means her real life husband Aleister Black also goes. Just how WWE works. Same with Andrade – whatever brand he ends up on, that is where Charlotte Flair will land. Watch out for them.
3. Ricochet – Ricochet is rumored to be leaving the company in the beginning of 2021. He has, of course, issued the usual Twitter denial. I have heard similar stories, so I wonder if WWE wants to even bother spotlighting him until then. You can always offer him a big contract to help convince him to re-sign. Or let him walk I suppose. I believe he is a talent worth investing him. Whether he stays or goes, he does NOT need to stay on Raw. He needs to go far, far, far away. Cedric Alexander is in the same boat. Those two can only lose to the Hurt Business so many times. Get the heck out of dodge now! The sky is the limit for the high flyer. His NXT resume and highlight reel speaks for itself. We want THAT Ricochet on TV every week!
4. Keith Lee – Bask in his glory ladies and gentlemen. I told you all he was going to win the NXT Championship from Adam Cole. I told you all he was going to then vacate the North American Championship. I told you all he was then going to lose the NXT Championship to Karrion Kross before moving up to Raw or Smackdown. The red brand ended up winning the jackpot, receiving one of the hottest acts since late 2019, Keith Lee. Think of what he has done since the build to Survivor Series last year. He was clearly being groomed for bigger and better things. If you didn’t see his title wins and main roster jump coming, you just aren’t paying attention. Now that he is on the main roster, it is time to figure out what the heck to do with him. He already has a clean pay-per-view victory over Randy Orton (helps my theory Mr. RKO may be moving) and has been mixing it up with WWE Champion Drew McIntyre. Recently, Lee was brawling with Braun Strowman destroying the Raw set. My only hangup is that his real life girlfriend Mia Yim is now 100% set on Raw with RETRIBUTION. Since there is very little traveling in WWE right now and many live in Florida, I am curious to see if couples are kept on the same brand or not. With no live events and no worldwide shows for awhile, does it matter? Raw or Smackdown, Keith Lee is a star. Him, Orton, or McIntyre…something has to give.
5. Mickie James – Yep. Mickie FREAKIN’ James! I bet none of you would have predicted a Mickie James in this column when you clicked. Here is the deal folks. A lot of the talent on the roster can make a claim to being underutilized. We all understand that. The roster, across all three brands, is loaded. However, a lot of those guys and gals are young and will get their opportunity. Look no further than Kofi Kingston waiting 100 years or The Stud Drew McIntyre being released and coming back years later before finally getting a shot. Patience is a virtue folks. Some have it, some don’t. In the case of Mickie James, I have two reasons for why she should move to the blue brand. First if what I just mentioned – she does not have a ton of time! Not to mention age…but yeah, the time is NOW for her! We just saw her recent mini-feud with Asuka on RAW. The fans still adore her and will back up the in-ring action. She has the crowd. Don’t you worry about fan support. She also has the wrestling side of things covered. Mickie has proven that for over a decade now. My second reason is if the rumor comes true and Melina does return, a RAW return fits her best. That means less screen time for a fellow veteran like Ms. James. Time will tell if that happens though.
– Lana (with Natalya nearby) has been put through a table three weeks in a row. If WWE are trying to tell us something about her, I’m listening!
– Brock Lesnar is still MIA since WrestleMania 36 in April. Wherever he ends up, it will be big. Raw or Smackdown, with or without Paul Heyman?
– Kevin Owens is an interesting name to watch going forward. He has recently been mixing it up with Raw’s Aleister Black and Smackdown’s The Fiend.
– I noted in my previous column Edge/Randy Orton should culminate their feud on Smackdown. Time will tell. I just think it’d fit nicely and add star power.
– Johnny Gargano and Candice LaRae are the NXT names to move, if they’re added. Tommaso Ciampa is another guy ready for the next step. Just saying…
Long story short, we still don’t even know the format or outline of how the 2020 WWE Draft will play out, so your guess is as good as mine to the final results. I know I will be watching, and the cliche is 100% true right now: It’s time to shake things up again!
By Justin Watry (Twitter: @JustinWatry)