WWE Draft 2016: Smackdown Results [UPDATED]

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Here are the first 30 draft choices in the order they were announced by brand on the first live edition of Smackdown. In parantheses are is the overall draft order. These rosters should be assumed set in stone after Battleground though as of right now, there is one cross-brand match on the card for Summer Slam next month (Lesnar vs. Orton).

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The Raw Commissioner is Stephanie McMahon. The GM is Mick Foley.

Superstars:

  • Seth Rollins (1st)
  • Women’s Champion Charlotte (3rd)
  • Finn Balor* (5th)
  • Roman Reigns (6th)
  • Brock Lesnar (8th)
  • Tag Team Champions The New Day# (10th)
  • Sami Zayn (11th)
  • Sasha Banks (13th)
  • Chris Jericho (15th)
  • US Champion Rusev w/ Lana (16th)
  • Kevin Owens (18th)
  • Enzo and Cass# (20th)
  • Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson (21st)
  • The Big Show (23rd)
  • Nia Jax* (25th)
  • Neville (26th)
  • Cesaro (28th)
  • Sheamus (30th)
  • The Golden Truth# (31st)
  • Titus O’Neil (33rd)
  • Paige (35th)
  • Darren Young (36th)
  • Sin Carra (38th)
  • Jack Swagger (40th)
  • The Dudley Boyz# (42nd)
  • Summer Rae (44th)
  • Mark Henry (46th)
  • Braun Stroman (48th)
  • Bo Dallas (50th)
  • The Shining Stars# (52nd)
  • Alicia Fox (54th)
  • Dana Brooke (56th)
  • Curtis Axel (58th)

 

Announcers

  • Michael Cole
  • Corey Graves
  • Byron Saxton

* Drafted from NXT

# All existing members of the group were drafted together

 

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The Smackdown Commissioner is Shane McMahon. The GM is Daniel Bryan.

 

Superstars:

  • WWE Champion Dean Ambrose (2nd)
  • AJ Styles (4th)
  • John Cena (7th)
  • Randy Orton (9th)
  • Bray Wyatt (12th)
  • Becky Lynch (14th)
  • Intercontinental Champion The Miz w/ Maurice (17th)
  • Baron Corbin (19th)
  • American Alpha* (22nd)
  • Dolph Ziggler (24th)
  • Natalya (27th)
  • Alberto Del Rio (29th)
  • The Usos# (32nd)
  • Kane (34th)
  • Kalisto (37th)
  • Naomi (39th)
  • The Ascension (41st)
  • Zack Ryder (43rd)
  • Apollo Crews (45th)
  • Alexa Blizz* (47th)
  • Breezango (49th)
  • Eva Marie (51st)
  • The Vaudevillains (53rd)
  • Eric Rowan (55th)
  • Mojo Rawley* (57th)
  • Carmella* (59th)

 

Announcers:

  • Mauro Ranollo
  • JBL
  • David Otunga

 

* Drafted from NXT

# All existing members of the group were drafted together

 

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…There you have it. As I expected earlier, only the top talent were drafted first. Mid-Tier and Lower-Tier picks will be made on WWE Network after Smackdown. I don’t plan to say up for those picks so I’ll give you those 30 picks sometime tomorrow. This weekend, I will make a page with the full list of who is on which roster.

…You will notice Jerry Lawler’s name is not on either announcers’ list. According to a few sources, he was quietly released last week due to the legal trouble he got into a few weeks ago. There are two notable omissions to both rosters: Heath Slater, Luke Harper and Tamina Snuka. You can’t help but wonder a few things given Slater’s there to be fed to other superstars and the lawsuit Tamina’s father is a part of that was filed on Monday. Harper–the 4th member of the Wyatt Family is wrapping up production with a WWE Movie.

There were also a few more matches than I thought. Here are some highlights:

  • Darren Young unveiled the Chicken Wing submisssion maneuver on The Miz. It’s a move he obviously learned from his life coach, WWE Hall of Famer Bob Backlund.
  • Aj Styles showed off a Smackdown T-Shirt as he made his way to the ring with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson in the first match of the night. AJ had been drafted to Smackdown but Gallows and Anderson were undrafted at that point.
  • Kane’s match with Kevin Owens never happened due to Sami Zayn’s interference. After getting double chokeslammed by Kane, Owens and Zayn were both drafted to RAW.
  • Unlike the night before, Dean Ambrose cleanly retained the WWE Championship vs. Seth Rollins heading into Battleground.

I will provide a more in depth analysis of what the new rosters could mean in a separate post.

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WWE Draft 2016: Smackdown Results [UPDATED]

Pre-Draft Updates and News

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…With the way RAW ended, among other things buzz is high going into tonight’s WWE Draft on the first Live edition of Smackdown, which will also be on Tuesdays starting tonight. Stephanie McMahon will be the Commissioner of RAW while Mick Foley will be the GM. Shane McMahon will be the Commissioner of Smackdown while Daniel Bryan will be the GM. Vince McMahon drew the battle lines last week on RAW.

Both shows will compete against each other and already RAW has two big advantages over Smackdown: Raw is one extra hour and it was announced last night RAW will host the Cruiserweight division. Assuming the Cruiserweight Championship is brought back (which I am here), it looks like both shows will have three titles.

Shane announced Smackdown, which has always been “The B-Show” embrace its current position of being The Underdog. RAW, which has always been the flagship show will now have some competition. As a reminder, WWE announced last month each brand will have its own PPV each month so there will be two PPVs a month after Summer Slam. Speaking of, I think we can expect the big four PPVs each year–Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, Survivor Series and Summer Slam–to be cross-brand like they were during the first split.

…One other thing that hasn’t been said that I think might be in the works is a third show. WWE could certainly pull it off.

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A week removed from the shocking revelation Brock Lesnar failed UFC’s PED Drug Test a few weeks before his match a UFC 200, what this could mean for his return to WWE has been all the buzz in regards to the brand split. Bleacher Report announced this morning WWE has apparently decided to cut him from a scheduled appearance tonight on Smackdown for no apparent reason. He will be drafted to a roster either way, though.

Lesnar failing a drug test last month and apparently a second test taken a few weeks later has ramifications that’s become a PR nightmare for UFC. WWE will likely suspend Lesnar for failing the drug test as well. Remember: Roman Reigns is currently serving a 30-day suspension for violating WWE’s Health and Wellness policy.

At the very least, Lesnar is expected to suspended by WWE as well. If they decide to pull a Roman Reigns he would still be able to compete at Summer Slam. Reigns’ suspension is over as of today. As long as Lesnar’s suspension begins by Friday, he can still compete at Summer Slam against Randy Orton, which will be on August 21. Paul Heyman alone can promo the match so…yeah.

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…I think it’s safe to say last night’s match between Ambrose and Rollins ended in a no-contest. We will see an encore tonight on Smackdown. As a reminder, it doesn’t really matter who leaves with the belt tomorrow. It will be defended in a Triple Threat Match involving all three members of The Shield at Battleground on Sunday.

Speaking of the WWE Championship, that has become the belt’s name in recent weeks and WWE Champion for the title holder. That isn’t shorthand, mind you. As a reminder, when the brand split ended the belt was renamed the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. That likjely means the other belt will be the World Heavyweight Championship.

It’s also become a bit obvious the Shield Feud and the brand split are connected: Whoever wins at Battleground wins the existing top title for their show. My prediction is Dean Ambrose retains and goes to Smackdown with Reigns while Rollins goes to RAW. They can immediately build the new top title on RAW the following night.

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…Before I list who I think will be the top Draft Picks, I want to say something I meant to say since I took over this blog last year. For those who missed it,  the PG Era died after the first brand split ended and while Triple H was building the Authority. WWE has been pretty overt about that fact in the last two years in particular–Assylum Match anyone? So for everyone who keeps saying “Get rid of the PG Era!” on Social Media, WWE got rid of it a long time ago.

We can expect things to get more wild and crazy after tonight ^_^

Now, here are my picks for who the top draft prospects will likely be:

  • John Cena
  • Brock Lesnar*
  • Roman Reigns
  • Seth Rollins
  • Dean Ambrose
  • AJ Styles
  • The New Day (3 People)
  • The Wyatt Family (4 people)
  • Sasha Banks
  • Becky Lynch
  • Charlotte
  • Paige
  • Nikki Bella (assuming she returns)
  • Brie Bella (assuming she returns)
  • Darren Young
  • The Miz
  • Sami Zahn
  • Kevin Owens
  • Cesaro
  • Titus O’Neil
  • Enzo Amore
  • Big Cass
  • Apollo Crews
  • Big Show
  • Kane
  • The Undertaker*

 

* Has a part-time contract and only competes in a few matches a year max

The Draft itself will likely take up most of the airtime. The only match I’m aware of on the card for tonight is the Ambrose/Rollins rematch. In addition, Steph announced RAW will get 3 picks for evey pick Smackdown gets. RAW will have a bigger by default. Some tag teams will be broken up–The Lucha Dragons actually split up ahead of the draft. The New Day and The Wyatt Family will likely stay together though.

Pre-Draft Updates and News

Breaking News: Roman Reigns Suspended 30 Days

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WWE.com broke the news in four hours ago. You read that right: Not a third-party site but WWE.com broke the news the day after Reigns was booked in a Triple Threat match with Seth Rollins and WWE Champion Dean Ambrose for the title at Battleground. Battleground will be the last PPV before the brand split.

The suspension is for his first offense in violating WWE’s Wellness Policy and is effective immediately. In a tweet he sent out moments after the news broke, Reigns took to Twitter. He offered no excuses and owned up to it. Technically his suspension ends before Battleground, which will be July 24 (his suspension will end July 21). Mind you, this is also five days after the draft on Smackdown which Reigns will presumably miss (unless they announce it anyway).

IF the Triple Threat Match is upheld despite the suspension, they could certainly build the match without Reigns. They could use this time to rebuild Ambrose and Rollins’ feud, which hasn’t really been touched on much since the Shield split. The question is weather or not WWE will still keep the Triple Threat Match. We’ll hopefully know for sure on Smackdown, which is being taped today or on RAW next week.

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…Before I forget: During Money in the Bank, all three members of the Shield held the WWE Championship in the same Night. First Reigns, who went in as Champion. Then Rollins won the title in their match. Then Ambrose cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase and left with the belt.

Given all three men called themselves brothers on RAW last night, I’d say this all but confirms a Shield reunion may be in the works.

 

Breaking News: Roman Reigns Suspended 30 Days

For those who missed it: AJ Styles turning Heel was teased in Club/Family Feud

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…He was just being built as credible to feud with John Cena is all. The first clue was the introduction of Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. The second was the formation of the club opposite Roman Reigns and The Usos.

Styles is going to be an amazing babyface heel. It also helps Seth Rollins is transitioning into a Face now that he’s back. He’s gonna get another title shot by the end of the year and thanks to the brand split, it may come soon. Count on it.

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This week’s RAW has seen the return of Teddie Long, who was released during last year’s roster purge. He cut a promo on the brand split and suggested a match for the upcoming Money in the Bank PPV. It’s not hard to figure out if he’s not the Smackdown GM, he will be working with whoever the Smackdown GM is. Personally, I think it’ll be Shane of Steph while the other heads up RAW. His return also brings a bit of hope we may see the return of other superstars who were recently released by the company.

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Getting back to Lesnar’s ESPN appearance earlier today. I’m sure that for those who’ve only seen him in WWE, it was their first time hearing him talk so much. It’s as he said on the Stone Cold Podcast a few months ago: He has his role to play and Heyman has his with their working relationship in WWE. No one in the business can cut a promo better than Paul Heyman so…yeah.

One thing that would be really cool if WWE and UFC made it happen: Paul Heyman promoting Lesnar’s UFC fight. THAT would be epic and it’s no secret UFC’s Dana White has tremendous respect for the former ECW owner. I doubt Vince McMahon would mind if Heyman expressed an interest in taking that on.

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Seth Rollins’ return has renewed speculation The Shield will reunite.  Given Dean Ambrose is involved in the Money in the Bank Ladder match, it’s certainly possible: Whoever wins that match will likely have to cash it in before the brand split. If Ambrose wins the briefcase, he can be expected to cash it in on Roman Reigns on Seth Rollins by or on July 19, which is when the brand split happens.

If The Shield reunites, they will regain their standing as the most dangerous group on the roster: They’ve had every title at some point between the three of them. When they were together, The Shield held the Tag team Titles until just before they disbanded. Same with Dean Ambrose’s US Title run. Seth Rollins never actually lost the WWE Championship and Reigns is a 3-time Champion. Ambrose also held the Intercontinental Champion.

If the Shield was to reunite…well, it’s doubtful anyone could stop them.

For those who missed it: AJ Styles turning Heel was teased in Club/Family Feud

Seth Rollins’ sudden return at Extreme Rules renews The Shield Storyline

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That’s the most obvious. Unlike before, Rollins is coming back as a Face:

…I believe I talked about this before: The crowd booed Reigns starting at Wrestlemania even though everyone knew he was gonna win the WWE Championship. The question to be asked is how Rollins’ return effects The Family vs. The Club Rivalry. While I was finding the above video, some vbloggers speculate The Shield will reunite when Rollins returns. At this point, anything can happen.

There’s also the fact Enzo Amore (Concussion), Randy Orton (broken wrist) and John Cena (took time off but Kayfabe had shoulder Surgery) are scheduled to return between today and May 30 according to Mr. McMahon.

The question to be asked: What does this mean for AJ Styles? Will WWE do the right thing and involve him in the renewed Reigns/Rollins/Ambrose feud? Or will they do what I think they’re gonna do and just feed Styles to Rollins? At the very least, Rollins didn’t get involved until AFTER the match was decided: It’ll take some creativity to make a Styles/Rollins feud work but I think it can be done.

…RAW just started and it sounds like for now, Rollins wants to be back as a Heel. Or rather thats what it sounds like. It sounds like they’re gonna take their time turning Rollins into a proper Face now that he’s back. It’s sure to be fun to watch.

 

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…I also wanted to follow up on what’s been a developing story in recent weeks. WWE announced this morning WWE Superstar Adam Rose has been released following the end of his 60-day suspension. Adam Rose was initially suspended for violating the company’s Wellness Policy. Earlier this month, he was arrested on domestic violence charges involving his girlfriend. The release is likely in response to that.

Adam Rose, who debuted in NXT came to the main roster in 2013. His character was pretty entertaining when he made his WWE debut. Transitioning his character to Heel ended up killing the momentum he had up to that point. He never made it out of mid-tier when he was a face and was low-tier as a heel as well as his time with The Social Outcasts.

He wasn’t a major part of any storylines when he was suspended so his departure won’t really change much. He was teamed with Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas to join Health Slater, whose former group members were released during last year’s mass releases (Joey McIntyre and Jinder Mahal). The Social Outcasts are prettymuch fed to midcards so…yeah.

 

Seth Rollins’ sudden return at Extreme Rules renews The Shield Storyline

WWE Roster Changes and Revisions

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Let’s start with the developing story that broke after RAW: WWE Superstar Ryback was pulled from all on-screen appearances due to his contract dispute with WWE. The move was likely done in response to Ryback referencing contract negotiations during the a live show in Dubai the week before Payback.

Ryback last appeared at Payback where he lost to Kalisto in a match the for US. Title. He was scheduled to participate in the battle royale to determine the new #1 Contender for the US Title but was noticably absent. Ryback was reportedly sent home upon arriving for RAW.

Given the number of releases announced this morning–more on this in a bit–it looks like Ryback will be released as well: Reportedly, there has been alot of struggle with marketing his character in the last few years. He has the versatility needed to perform in the ring but his character isn’t as accomplished as Wade Barrett or D-Bry, both of whom could be counted on to help build younger talent or a storyline.

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Enzo Amore was released from the hospital sometime Monday, apparently during RAW. He will be out of action and has been removed from all appearances until May 20–just in time for Extreme Rules, actually.

Enzo suffered a mild concussion and was knocked unconscious during the tag team match involving the Vanvillains at Payback. His tag team partner Big Cass joined The New Day in an 8-man tag team match against The Vanvillains and The Dudley Boyz on RAW. I would not be surprised if the tag team match is changed into a fatal four-way match for the tag team titles.

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Now let’s get to the major news that came out this morning. The following superstars were released by WWE:

  • Hornswoggle
  • El Torito
  • Alexy Riley
  • Zeb Colter
  • Santino Marella
  • Cameron
  • Damien Sandow
  • Wade Barrett

The one release that truly surprises me is Damien Sandow, who seemed to be making a comeback in recent weeks. I think WWE will resign him if they aren’t moving to do so already–After all, the Dudley Boyz were released but later returned after their run on TNA.

We all knew Wade Barrett (real name Stu Bennet) would be leaving soon. I think he’s done wrestling period. He had a pretty good run as a heel with the company. I had a feeling he’d be released earlier than expected after he was kicked out of the League of Nations a few weeks back.

Zeb getting cut makes sense since he hasn’t been seen since he and Alberto Del Rio parted ways a few months ago. Coulter, who is more known for his run as Jack Swagger’s manager missed over a year due to surgery when he suddenly returned last year with Del Rio. I’m sure WWE tried to repurpose him but couldn’t figure out a way to make his character work with any of the current talent.

Santino hasn’t competed in years. He actually runs a wrestling academy in Europe for another promotion. He was likely cut so he could focus on that. Aley Riley hasn’t been relevant due to injury for years now so…yeah. Hornswoggle had quite the run and will be missed. El Torito not as much.

Cameron getting cut is a bit of a surprise given the Bella Twins are likely gone for good. I think she might try to negotiate a new contract. If that doesn’t work, she’ll work for another promotion and come back in a few years. Cameron made her debut alongside Naomi as the Funkadactyls with Brodus Clay a few years back.

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Now let’s get on to Character Resets. Darren Young announced on Smackdown this week he is launching a solo career with Hall of Famer Bob Backlund in his corner. Up until now he was one half of The Primetime Players alongside Titus O’Neil, who himself has enjoyed some success as a solo competator. I think what’ll happen is Darren will eventually become part of a stable of superstars.

Darren was notabily pulled from active competition to join the PR Team after he came out as the first openly gay WWE Superstar in 2013. He returned to in-ring action in late 2014 when the Primetime Players reformed. They came pretty close to winning the tag team championship a few times as well.

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Zack Ryder’s career got rezzed when he won the IC Title at Wrestlemania 32. We saw agressive side to him on Smackdown this week in his second rematch for the IC title after losing it to The Miz the RAW after Wrestlemania. It’s like I said before. After years of being fed to other superstars, Long Island Ice Tea is finally getting his due.

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Ah, Golden Truth. The ongoing promo involving two of the…most interesting superstars in WWE has been doing a good job of indirectly helping Tyler Breeze and Fandango with their characters’ development. Golden Truth are vets and clearly don’t mind helping newer talent develop.

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We know Cena is returning at the end of the month but there are reports Seth Rollins might return a few weeks sooner than expected. That’s what The Bleacher Report is reporting anyways, Rollins has been out of action after suffering a knee injury at a house show last fall, forcing him to relinquish the WWE Championship.

No question Rollins will be immediately placed in the title hunt upon his return. Given Randy Orton is supposed to return in a few weeks himself, things are about to get real interesting.

WWE Roster Changes and Revisions

The WM32 card’s almost a carbon copy of WM31’s now

…Minus Randy Orton, Seth Rollins and Daniel Bryan.

I’m even having second thoughts on weather I should bother watching at all–I already know Roman Reigns is booked to win the WWE Title.It’s just about seeing how the match ends and what happens immediately afterward.

Vince prettymuch turning the Shane vs. ‘Taker Hell in a Cell Match into a Retirement Match was predictable and killed the hype I had for it at the same time. Turning it into a retirement match for ‘Taker was overkill and not necessary.

The boys and girls over at Gamefaqs’ WWE Board called it right: Vince suddenly returning after being offscreen for almost 4 years was for WM32. We just didn’t know what role he would play…until Shane returned. Reigns’ feud with Triple H turned out to be a Red Herring–he was really brought back to make the ‘Taker vs. Shane WM match.

That said, I now agree with those who’ve said from the beginning this was terrible booking. I waited to see how the match would be promo’d before I drew any conclusions, This latest move was an obvious marketing effort to get new WWE Network Subscriptions and on that note, I re-subbed for WM32 last week. I get they needed to find an opponent for both Shane and ‘Taker for WM32 but each other? It’s a one-sided mismatch ‘Taker won’t cleanly lose.

A look at some of his recently workout videos are a good indication of why: The guy’s pushing 60 and he can lift 1000 lbs. The footage of Shane’s insane training is impressive but vs. ‘Taker, it won’t be enough as ‘Taker said to him last week. It’s all about who’s been booked to win. I’ll be fine with the popular wish for Shane to win but the match itself was unnecessary.

Given the more likely opponents for ‘Taker–D-Bry or Sting–were off the table due to career-ending neck injuries, they had to find SOMEONE. Renewing the Brothers of Destruction vs. Wyatt Family feud would have been much better booking in my opinion. As for Shane, having him face Sheamus or The Miz would’ve made Shane look credible even with the same stipulations placed on the ‘Taker/Shane match. While it is true The League of Nations is booked to fight The New Day at WM, taking one away would still make it a 3 on 3 match.

 

Speaking of, here’s where the headline for this article comes into play: As we all know, there was a ladder match for the IC Title at WM31. That match involved King Barrett (title holder), D-Bry (who won the match), Ambrose, R-Truth, Luke Harper, Dolph Zliggler and Stardust.

If those last two names sound familiar, they should: Ziggler and Stardust were both involved in what turned out to be D-Bry’s final Wrestlemania match. If KO doesn’t retain, I’m sure Ziggler or Sami Zahn will win, If not one of them then The Miz. I’ll have to check but I think this might be Zack Ryder and Sin Carra’s first WM appearances. Pretty impressive if it is.

This may be for the Divas Championship–and on that note, I expect the title to change hands–but it certainly won’t be the only Divas match on the card. It’s obvious Lana vs. Brie Bella is being set up. Possibly even a third match involving Paige and Natalya vs. Naomi and Tamina during the pre-show.

Speaking of the Pre Show–

…The USOs vs. The Dudley Boyz.

Making the Dudleys heels for this match was a pretty bold but predictable move. It could be made even more interesting if it becomes a Table Match.

…Let’s be honest, we know it’s gonna happen. It just hasn’t been announced yet.

AJ Styles is so over with the WWE universe. Folks will just need to be patient for a little bit longer but AJ will definitely be put in the hunt for the WWE Championship. Just not anytime soon.

…Besides, Orton and Cena are both expected to return shortly after Wrestlemania.

I predict Cena getting one, maybe two more title runs. Whoever isn’t placed in the title picture shortly after their return will be used to make Reigns’ title run look credible. The other will be used to help other other superstars.

We know Cena’s a company guy and after the last year and a half it’s obvious WWE’doesn’t want him to hold the title for a least a little while longer. That means Orton will be working with Reigns while Cena joins The Big Show by working with the midcards who need a little more help getting over.

…Whew. Somewhere along the way this post lost its way XD

At some point I’ll put a few lists together. After all, WWE’s got all of the right pieces it needs to bring in new fans and more revenue through Merchandise and WWE Network. It’s all about how said pieces are used.

 

The WM32 card’s almost a carbon copy of WM31’s now