I’ve been thinking about this for a while now. In previous blogs, I’ve talked about how some wrestlers and tag team’s gimmick weren’t quite winning over the fans. Also, I’ve talked about how sometimes once a wrestler or team gets to main, the gimmick that is given to them isn’t always the best for their personalities, and in some instances, the mistake is glaringly obvious. As a longtime fan of wrestling, and as a fan of the WWE and NXT, since the hierarchy doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon, I think it would make more sense if they change from the NFL style drafts to the EPL (English Premier League) relegation style system.
Ok…before US wrestling fans have a cow, just give me a minute. I love NFL and college football. Like many other fans of the sport, I get withdrawal after every season has ended as well. I have been a fan of the sport, ever since I used to sit with my grandfather, as a young child on Sunday mornings after church, watching his favorite team, the Pittsburgh Steelers play. ‘Til this day, I am a loyal fan of the Raiders and Giants teams. Yeah, I know…but my Raiders are finally seeming to regain their storied lineage. I do wish they would have moved to San Antonio though…it’s closer to me. When it comes to the NFL draft, my husband and I always sit down every year and watch all rounds of the draft. That whole weekend has become a new tradition for us.
I said all that to say this—the draft system format in terms of the WWE is too rigid. Don’t’ get me wrong, I love that they are thinking of going with a draft after every WrestleMania, and maybe a supplemental draft after Summerslam every year. I think it’s a great idea, and it’s a good way of bringing wrestlers and teams up from NXT, but I think if they changed to the EPL relegation format, it would add an ability to create drama, and new storylines—and give wrestlers whose gimmicks aren’t exactly working on the main roster, a chance to go back to NXT and work on their personas. Also, it would allow some of the vets who been on main a chance to guide and mentor the up and coming wrestlers.
For example, after next year’s WrestleMania, Vince announces that they are changing the way the draft works. Next year, all brands under the WWE umbrella (RAW, Smackdown Live, 205 Live, UK show…whatever it’s going to be called, and NXT) get to have picks in this draft. Also, the entire roster is up for grabs…no one is safe, which means there’s a chance that someone who is on the top right now can get relegated to NXT, which is the developmental brand. That way each year, Vince, Stephanie, Shane, and Triple H can meet and decide who they think has worked so far and whose gimmick hasn’t hit the bar so far, and structure each show accordingly behind the scenes, a month to two months ahead of time. For those getting relegated, be sure to give them a heads up an hour before the show what the plans are for them, so it will soften the blow for some. Come draft night (hoping that the plans haven’t already been leaked somewhere), fans will be shocked to know who’s moving where, and whose is moving up or down. This would add a level of unpredictability that fans (especially longtime and more knowledgeable fans) love. Those shows would be some of the highest rated of the year, and the great stories and feuds that could be told from changing to this EPL format are immeasurable if done correctly.
I can see it now. The Draft comes the week after WrestleMania when all the current storylines and feuds have ended. The Thursday or Sunday night before the draft, WWE has a special draft show on the network complete with stats and power rankings for each wrestler on the roster available on their website for fans to look at, so that they can do their own mock drafts, as fans do. For this draft special, there would be a table of legends and prognosticators (there can even be someone from ESPN to bring it more validity) hosted by in my mind by either Renee Young or Corey Graves, unless you got Bummer to come out of retirement to do it. This panel would post their mock drafts. This would be part shoot, part work. For those wrestlers who are consensus top ten picks, video packages could be put together, accentuating or devaluing the power of their move sets and finishers, as examples for the panels to talk about—just like on any pre-draft show. At the end of the pre-draft show, the representatives for each show would be to draw for the drafting order. It would be completely random, and the results of the lottery would be posted that night. The rep for RAW shouldn’t necessarily be first, just because it is the flagship show. It’s what fans expect.
On the night of the draft, each brand’s representative would take their turns announcing their picks, between the matches for that night. The top ten picks would be announced on RAW, eleven through twenty would be announced on Smackdown Live. It would be like the second night of the draft. The next five picks would be announced on 205 Live, the next five on NXT, and the last five televised picks would be announced on the UK show, in order to give each show prominence and bring some viewers who may have not seen the shows before. All the picks, of course, would be posted on the special WWE Draft site, showing an up-to-date list of the superstars that have been chosen for each show. The day after the UK show, the rest of the draft results would be posted on the draft site for all the fans to peruse and mark out about in anticipation for the first RAW after the draft.
On the day of the supplemental draft, on RAW each brand would get to pick two superstars from any of the shows to sign to their brand. This way all the shows could be kept fresh with new and interesting storylines, and if any of the legends or part-time current roster superstars, or those coming back from unfortunate injuries were coming back, this would be one of the times to really shock the audience and really get fans talking.
I think if the powers at be in the WWE change to this format, it could open up a wealth of dream match, great storylines and amazing feud scenarios that could carry them into the future for a good while to come.
For me, if I were to rank my top ten wrestlers on the current rosters, they would be:
- AJ Styles
- Samoa Joe
- Shinsuke Nakamura
- Sasha Banks
- DIY (Before they were broken up)
- Charlotte Flair
- New Day
- Nicki Cross
My rankings are in terms of persona, gimmick, mic work and in ring prowess on the whole.
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