Draft Day Part Deux: The Draftening is upon us, and the wrestling gods were cruel to take Jay from us on such a day. Maybe that’s a dramatic way of describing someone working the late shift on Indiginous People’s day, but I already typed it and it can’t be undone. Fortunately when JBL (the one true Wrestling God) closes a door, he opens a window and our man Jason will be joined by AIPT Wrestling contributor and all around swell guy, Darius Melton to fill in for his Team Raw draft partner. What sort of madness can we expect from night two of the 2020 draft?
- Will Team Red keep its claim on both sets of tag champions now that they’ve drafted two thirds of the New Day?
- Is the women’s battle royal to determine Asuka’s #1 contender really just an excuse to bring back #AllRedEverything?
- Is the very concept of Raw Underground up for draft? If not, who gets Spyder?
- Will Jay in fact eat an entire crow when Bayley stays on Friday?
- What exactly is up with the guy from Chicago PD’s gruff-ass voice? Dude sounds like Tom Waits gargling Asphalt.
Jason: Oh man, I forgot that they do a damn thunderstorm at the beginning of every episode of Raw since the ThunderDome era.
Darius: I can’t lie. As someone who hasn’t watched most ThunderDome shows, I actually kind of thought it was cool. I can imagine getting sick of it after like a month, though.
Jason: Well we’ll be saying goodbye to ThunderDome in a few weeks, but we WON’T be saying goodbye to Randy Orton slowly sauntering (slithering?) his ass to the ring to start a show. I imagine Snakeman is going early in the draft, but so long as the raining pyro stays on Monday nights, I’m good with it.
Darius: Despite our mock draft, I kind of hope Randy switches shows just so we can end SOME feud. Orton vs. Drew has been great, but it’s also been a while, and with the Seth/Murphy/Dominik story going on still, I need this shake-up to be a real shake-up.
Jason: It’s like you forgot that the entire Otis vs. Miz feud got moved to Monday nights…except, of course, for Otis. Also I’m laughing my ass off because my wife said Drew McIntyre looks like every actor playing a wolfman in a low budget TV series, and now it’s all I see.
Darius: We wait with bated breath to see who the first pick will be…EXACTLY WHO I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE. Which is, unfortunately, not Bayley, who is our side’s choice in the mock draft. I’ve been let down by WWE booking things correctly.
But, then, I’ve spoken too soon. Street Profits are going to SmackDown and everything is on fire.
Jason: Welp, I think we each got one right that round. Disappointed that we’re ditching the Fiend/Roman storyline. Now who is even in the Big Dog’s league?
Darius: Before I address your question, did they change Aleister Black’s theme??? Am I going to have to nut up? Also, I really don’t know what SmackDown’s future is now that their biggest or second biggest star is officially off the show. The Fiend was ratings for a long time, and now that they had rebuilt two huge stars (a la Raw’s Orton and McIntyre), they immediately lost The Fiend. Excuse the oxymoron, but as a wise flat-earther once said, “SmackDown makes ‘em; Raw takes ‘em.”
Jason: It is baffling that they lost Black’s (awesome) theme song around the same time they changed his gear so he looks like a chump, yet kept Kevin Owens’ (also quite good) theme song. We’ve been attributing these terrible theme changes to the CFO$ issue, but those guys did both of these, so what’s the deal?
Darius: They need to find their next reliable musical artist ASAP. Jim Johnston and CFO$ were not perfect, but they had incredibly memorable songs under their banners — none of which I’ll waste time naming here, since Johnston’s catalog is way too long. But for Black in particular, it reminds me of how when Vince decided Roman was a main event player, he started getting personally involved and Roman stopped being cool instantly. Aleister Black and Keith Lee are there right now.
Jason: At least both guys are still putting on good matches (or portions of them in Lee’s case), this Al Black Vs. KO
street fight extreme rules Falls Count Anywhere No Holds Barred Hold Harmless match No DQ Match is pretty sweet. This Schroedinger’s chair structure is foreboding…
Darius: Owens always setting up horrid chair monstrosities and then immediately being hoisted by his own petard always gets me. It’s both a hilarious running gag and a show of his dedication to getting beat up worse than everyone else every time…I say, moments before he hits a sick powerbomb through a table and beats Black.
Jason: Man, that meteora through the chairs absolutely should have ended the match. Still, great performance from both guys. It’s a shame that Aleister has fallen so far that an amazing move isn’t even enough to give him a win. At least this result suggests this feud is over, and both guys will end up on separate shows.
Darius: Aleister fell victim to the sports entertainment rule that matches can only end after either a finisher or a distraction. Owens took it to the next level with the finisher-into-weapons-move combo, so I guess Black should’ve hit him with Black Mass beforehand? Also, I would hazard a guess that Owens is staying on Raw to duke it out with The Fiend, but it’s always entirely possible that Friday’s match was the end there, too.
Jason: Round 2 of night 2, off without a hitch. Trainman is setting up shop in Raw Underground, SmackDown makes the best actual pick of the night with Daniel Bryan, and Raw gains a sex offender and a recovering addict. But hey, score two for SmackDown with the addition of Kevin Owens. Looking forward to having KO serve as top babyface on Friday nights.
Darius: I am certainly here for more KO vs Roman Reigns violence. Though I’m not so here for Matt Riddle. I actually yelled at the TV, “I don’t want Matt Riddle here!” I’m too deep into the draft; I’m treating Raw like it’s my show now.
Jason: I haven’t been watching a lot of SmackDown, but when did they swap out Miz and Morrison for Statler and Waldorf from the Muppets? They’ve got the timing of a Vaudeville act that is trying to avoid the hook pulling them off the stage. Also Raw is now, evidently, the home of the bland blonde women. Who’s next? Is Alundra Blayze going to run in? Terri Runnels? Kelly Kelly? Major Gunns? BB?
Darius: Eva Marie’s first storyline on Total Divas was that she was supposed to be blonde, so maybe that’ll be her return angle. There can only be one Highlander. Also, speaking of huge TV mistakes, Lars Sullivan is back to disturb a watered-down Dirt Sheet promo. Why God?
Jason: Oh no, Lars is here! And he’s looking for booty pics!
Darius: He’s got that real heat right now where he’s beating down two of SmackDown’s former biggest faces and is getting booed out of the building. I guess you shouldn’t hit on married yoga instructors, or be a racist, or a sexist, or a homophobe, or anti-Semitic, or…Lars Sullivan.
Also, kind of surprised how easy-going the tag title switch was. I guess that’s the benefit of babyface champions.
Jason: I mean this is a show where the anarchist collective that is trying to destroy the company was just drafted ahead of the Intercontinental Champion, so nuance and logic aren’t really a priority. SmackDown also bafflingly snags “The Creep” Lars Sullivan and King Corbin, while Raw gets Keith Lee and Alexa Bliss? Man whoever is drafting for SmackDown is getting fleeced.
Darius: Whoever is the in-universe “SmackDown management” should be fired as soon as the show goes off the air. What are they doing here? I’ll give them the first round, but oh boy. Also, I can’t believe WWE decided to spread out their problematic wrestlers across three brands, so now if you’re trying to avoid Lars, Matt, and Dream, tough luck, bud.
Jason: You know, I don’t know why I’m complaining. I review Raw, and I’m losing this awful Seth Rollins/Rey Mysterio feud and getting two thirds of the New Day in return. Sure, I have to wince at Matt Riddle every week, and yeah I’m pretty ready for Jeff Hardy to become a part timer and only pop up for special events, but I think I’m gaining more than I’m losing.
Darius: Yeah, Raw is definitely becoming a very watchable show right now. RETRIBUTION got better last week with My Boy and Yours Mustafa Ali, and with an influx of the aforementioned Two Day, AJ Styles, Fiend shenanigans. The worst acquisition I’ve actually seen in motion so far is Miz and Morrison, only because they have hit that weird Triple H-with-The-Authority level of talking in the ring for too long. Also, can you explain to me why Jeff Hardy saw himself out there with two other dudes and decided that now it has to be a triple threat TAG match? I don’t even think AJ and Seth have friends right now.
Jason: Rollins vs. Styles vs. Hardy is an interesting triple threat match as it would have probably been amazing to see these three go at it four, seven and twelve years ago respectively.
Darius: Man, I know that AJ and Seth have become far more complete wrestlers in the past few years, but X Division AJ Styles, Jeff Hardy from when he fought Undertaker in the ladder match, and…I guess just Seth Rollins when he was in The Authority? That would be unbelievable. And also something to promote. This is part of the whole “WWE sells itself on the brand” thing, but if they said on Friday that we’d be getting this match, that could be easy views.
Jason: That implies that they had any idea what they were doing on Monday night when they booked Friday’s show. For a scripted show, they seem to constantly be blindsided by change. You’d think a company that employs like 50 writers would be able to plot a story with more than a single night in mind.
Darius: Real fast, this match is also one of those that could have used a picture-in-picture commercial break. And yeah, I don’t see what they’re trying to accomplish by having a show where the performers are expected to memorize a script and recite it to a T but also making that impossible for everyone. It sucks for the performers and for you as the showrunners. Why not try to get the show together beforehand? It seems pretty easy when AEW, NJPW, and Impact all usually announce their full cards at least a week ahead.
Jason: It would be harder for them to do the traditional “guy 1 interrupt guy 2’s promo to set up main event” segment that they have used for basically every Raw since 1998. This match is also pretty good, even if these guys are all moving at…well hold that thought, because Elias just came back to smack Hardy with a guitar. I’m guessing this means Elias is staying on Monday nights. Wasn’t he a face when last we saw him?
Darius: Yeah, I believe he was a hippie man who was scrapping with the dastardly King Corbin over on SmackDown. He got killed via Drop From High Height, then came back from the dead I think.
Jason: Only to be murdered again when Sheamus ran him over to frame Jeff Hardy?
Darius: Which happened around the same time King Corbin murdered Aleister Black and Rey Mysterio. A lot of murder took place in WWE earlier this spring/summer. They should really get that looked at.
Jason: They mellowed heading into the fall. Only a few eye gouges at that point. But looks like it’s time for Round 3! I can barely contain myself! Will Steph announce Elias to Raw first? Will someone remember that there’s another title belt that hasn’t been drafted yet? What will become of Peyton and Billie?
Oh damn, it’s like I willed that into happening…except that Raw took Lacey Evans instead of Peyton like I thought. But hey, Shinsaro staying on Fridays? We called one thing right.
Darius: As of right now, you guys are actually up 7.5 to 7 for the night. I’ve got to admit I’m sweating, but only because this past round made me realize how wild Round 4 keeps being. It’s like they’re only drafting people who went overall undrafted in our Mock Draft.
Jason: The next round will be like Edge, Austin Theory, Shark Boy and Kenny Omega. “Predict us now, smarks!”
Darius: First off, “Oh Shell Yeah!” Second, I would love that round so much. Fantasizing about that is more enjoyable than thinking about The WWE Blonde Women Tag Match, though I guess Vince’s fantasies are what’s being catered to here, not mine.
Jason: Well Raw also drafted Charlotte, Alexa Bliss and Lacey Evans, so Monday Night Blonde is in full affect. In brighter news, Ced’s Back! Garza too!
Darius: Garza not being injured is a surprise to be sure, but a welcome one. And every time I see The Hurt Business, it feels like looking at family. Cedric’s my lumbar-hating cousin, and the other three are my dominoes-playing uncles. You love to see it. Hopefully they can get this youngblood Ricochet onto the right track.
Jason: See? That’s how I feel whenever Eddie Kingston or Santana and Ortiz roll out there. Tio Eddy out here talking smack to everyone not from the Bronx while my cousins LAX coming back from a long Thanksgiving walk smelling a little funny.
Darius: I can see that so vividly! I love thinking about wrestlers’ in-character home lives, which was one of the things I enjoyed seeing about Santana & Ortiz (and Eddie “King” Kingston, come to think of it) when they were in Impact. Also, I want Andrade to be back in the main event scene ASAP. He has history with Drew from NXT (straight up injured the man), so if he stays on Raw, I wish they’d throw him like a nice little one-month feud. But, of course, he just lost to Angel Garza, and is about to get killed by The Fiend, so I guess I’ll hold onto my little fantasy for the next few years until he leaves.
Jason: Sadly, no. Andrade’s title belt is Charlotte Flair, and he’s not going to get any more shine than that while VKM is still calling the shots. Though it looks like he may be getting Zelina back in his corner, which would be good for both of them.
Looks like we’re getting into the Doldroms of the draft. Nikki Cross to Raw, Skeevy Stepdads heading to SmackDown, the 24/7 division staying on Monday, and Apollo going back to losing regularly on Friday nights. Friggin Dabba-Kato got picked this round. This was an “and the rest” moment if I ever saw one.
Darius: Listen, we are not putting out Dabba-Kato slander on this website. I’ve said it on Twitter and I’ll say it until he gets into the Hall of Fame, Dabba-Kato is the most important wrestler in WWE history. And he just got Team Raw 2 points in the mock draft, so I guess I’m even higher on him right now than I normally would be.
Also, how little faith does Raw management have in Ziggler and Roode? Let them get a tag title match right after fixing the tag scene debacle, then chose not to draft them and put everything in jeopardy for no reason.
Jason: Listen, they aren’t your tag team champions. They just want to be your friend, and take you to a baseball game or something. Also you think Kofi got the memo about all the blondes going to Monday night? Is that why they split the New Day?
Darius: He had to return to his home planet. If only Big E bleached his hair blonde like they joked about on the podcast a few weeks ago, he would be with his brethren. Also, we’re pretty deep into the show now. Is the main event the battle royale? What’s going on?
Jason: Eva Marie’s return is not enough of a main event for you? Especially when she returns as “ALL BLONDE EVERYTHING!” Note the only blonde not drafted by Raw thus far is Dolph Ziggler.
Side note, I JUST put together that the New Day appear to be wearing Rocko’s Modern Life tights.
Darius: It looks very Nickelodeon; looks like Woods still wants to host Nick Arcade when it comes back. Also, I want them to play Eva’s music before the battle royal starts, announcer and everything, then just don’t have her enter the ring. Just play the hits as if three years haven’t passed.
Jason: Oh my god…they’re going to revisit the “Who ran over Elias?” storyline…
Darius: Quick, where was Johnny Gargano that night?
Jason: This Ced and Ricochet match is moving with purpose. I really appreciate Ric being willing to ragdoll himself for his buddy Ced. I fully expect RETRIBUTION to prevent this match from having a clean finish, but I’ll enjoy it while I see it.
Darius: And that way Ricochet won’t have to actually join Hurt Business but will still align with them to get rid of RETRIBUTION. It’s the inevitable ending, because Ricochet just doesn’t have friends otherwise.
Oh, wait. They actually ended it with a totally different schmoz.
Jason: Yep, and without actually having to have Ricochet join RETRIBUTION as Ri-Bar. Instead they just pulled the Guerrero special to celebrate Latino Heat’s recent birthday. I’m guessing that video package is all we’re getting of RETRIBUTION tonight. So much for advertising a segment before the night.
Darius: Yeah, if this wasn’t the draft night, the only thing I’d be tuning into would probably be the RETRIBUTION segment, just to see what Ali does. But I guess that’s exactly why they’re going to do it next week. That being said, this is a THREE HOUR SHOW. You should probably progress the storylines you do have instead of having to make up an hour and a half of rivalries.
Jason: Man, it shows how little they think of you when you’re drafted behind Titus Freakin’ O’Neil. Sorry Aleister Black. At least we got Carmella. Akira Tozawa was drafted but Andrade and Zelina Vega were not. Let that Simmer.
Darius: Maybe they would have gotten them if they hadn’t died tonight via The Fiend. It’d be a wasted pick if you drafted two corpses. Black and Andrade’s disrespect from management aside, I’m in a good mood. Unless Raw Talk really does us dirty, I’m pretty sure we have two official Co-GMs now.
Jason: They’ve got to stop thinking that Tamina and Nia Jax is a combination we want to see.
Darius: I can’t even joke about that one. I’m just not excited by either of them, especially not together. Now, I will say that Nia putting Lana through tables is fun.
Hold on, is WWE overshadowing their own lady-led main event with more Orton vs McIntyre shenanigans? Not a huge fan of that one, I’ve got to say.
Jason: They’re getting cold feet on that Eva Marie main event. Gotta have the men show up to keep people invested. I’m glad Nia got to destroy Lana on a night where her tag partner also called her stupid and left her crying in the ring. It’s good to see WWE isn’t letting a thing like “telling a story” or “unrelated booking” prevent them from being petty AF.
Darius: Somewhere out there, Kip Sabian is asking Miro for marriage advice, and the main thing he’s probably telling him is, “Bro, if you ever want to leave here, take Penelope with you.” Then, of course, they would be on Raw, with the rest of the blonde wrestling population.
Jason: And Kip would be in a cuck angle within a month.
So help me god, if Natalya wins this match. You want to know how to make me not care about your show? Book Natalya and Lacey Evans to main event your show. Where the hell is Mia Yim in all this? Oh s--t…Lana.
Darius: I think I loved that for all of the wrong reasons. I’m laughing so hard right now. I laughed at Natalya winning, then was excited when I thought Peyton Royce was there for some reason, then exploded with glee when I realized that it was just Lana again. I don’t need Drew and Randy to send me home happy. That was the perfect main event.
Jason: I’m less into that. Having the dudes show up because they have no faith in the women main eventing is classic stupid booking. JUST DO THE WOMEN’S SEGMENT EARLIER YA CLODS!
Anyway, we got another draft in the books. What do you think of the moves overall, Darius?
Darius: I think tonight’s show was enjoyable, even if I’m feeling mixed on the draft. I should just get ahead of things and say “Oh, it’s okay, SmackDown’s going to book their weaker roster well like they do every year,” but their roster…does look pretty weak. Even Seth, who is a good get in general, just got drafted over along with the entire Mysterio feud, and they also got Lars Sullivan. I’m not too excited about their immediate prospects, but Raw should be really enjoyable on roster alone, and SmackDown booking will do its thing somehow.
Jason: Yeah, it feels like the powers that be figured that the Fox crowd will stick with Fox no matter what, and want to combat Raw’s sagging ratings by bringing all of the stars not named Roman to Monday nights. As one that reviews Raw, I’m not that mad about having the flat earther, the Two Day and the “Who killed Elias?” angle on Raw. I’m also not mad about losing the Rollins/Mysterio Feud or Lars Sullivan. So it’s kind of a wash.
All that said, thanks for filling in. We’ll tally the points after the supplementary draft is finalized.
Darius: Thanks for having me! And these next few picks on each side are going to be super important, so I’m excited to see how it shakes out.
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