Thursday, July 21, 2016

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 164

What were the parameters set up by the draft?
Photo Credit:
It's Twitter Request Line time, everyone! I take to Twitter to get questions about issues in wrestling, past and present, and answer them on here because 140 characters can't restrain me, fool! If you don't know already, follow me @tholzerman, and wait for the call on Wednesday to ask your questions. Hash-tag your questions #TweetBag, and look for the bag to drop Thursday afternoon (most of the time). Without further ado, here are your questions and my answers:

I'm not sure much is going to change. The ceiling is probably a roster that has more wrestlers who are recognizable. Rather than having guys needing to suck up minutes on both RAW and Smackdown, each show will have its own cast of characters, more minutes per superstar to absorb on non-Network main roster shows. The floor is probably similar to where WWE was in 2008, towards the end of the last round of brand extension. If they split the titles, one will definitely be higher than the other on the pecking order, and RAW will end up being more important while Smackdown will be just kinda there.

So, the Cruiserweight Classic started out with 32 wrestlers in the main bracket. Of them, Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, Rich Swann, Noam Dar, Kota Ibushi (rumored), and Gran Metalik (rumored) are all going to feature heavily on NXT. They're out. Brian Kendrick will probably go back to scavenging the post-apocalyptic landscape when he's done (read, he'll probably go back to being a trainer at the Performance Center). That subtraction leaves 25 left to go to RAW. I don't care how robust WWE wants the RAW roster to be for its extra hour; Vince McMahon is not adding 25 people for a division that probably wasn't his idea to add anyway. So, I'm going to go through each one and try to predict their fates. Warning, this is barely informed, so don't be surprised if all these picks are absolutely wrong:

  • Yoshihiro Tajiri - He apparently signed back with WWE for good, so he's a lock to go to RAW.
  • Drew Gulak - I think his lot in life is to anchor EVOLVE, help out at the Performance Center when he can, and keep his non-WWE related job as Chikara trainer. Nope.
  • TJ Perkins - TJP, conversely, seems like he's going to get a rocket up his ass, perhaps all the way to the finals of the tournament. I can definitely see him on RAW, especially if he's gonna hit that dab all night long.
  • Zack Sabre, Jr. - He feels like he could go either way. I think he's going to sign with Titan in some capacity, but I'm not sure if he's bound for NXT or RAW. I think I'll peg him for NXT for now.
  • Akira Tozawa - I haven't heard any rumors whether or not he's going to sign, so I'll say no.
  • Ho Ho Lun - He feels like a project to feature on EVOLVE after the tourney's over. I could be wrong, but I don't see him on RAW.
  • Cedric Alexander - The reactions he got for his first round and, spoiler, his second round matches were off the charts, and Triple H took a picture with him. Signing with WWE seems like a foregone conclusion, and I think he might be one of the lucky ones to get right to RAW.
  • Tony Nese - According to reports, Triple H and other WWE guys have made no secret of how much they dig Nese. He's gonna go to RAW.
  • Lince Dorado - I get the feeling WWE likes him, but I also get the feeling that if they dig around about some of the stuff he's known for, it'll pass on him.
  • The Bollywood Boyz - If they get brought in, my gut feeling says it'll be as a tag team in NXT.
  • Tyson Dux - He's been around for awhile, so his shelf-life is pretty limited by WWE's standards. He's my bold pick for a RAW hand even if just for a year or two before McMahon forgets about the cruiserweights and scraps or downsizes the division.
  • Jack Gallagher - WWE is big on quotas, and I feel it's at its limit with English/UK guys right now. Gallagher will probably get EVOLVE bookings out of this.
  • Ariya Daivari, Prince Mustafa Ali, Damien Slater, Sean Maluta - I wouldn't be shocked at all if they all got developmental contracts out of this and started immediately in NXT.
  • Da Mack, Raul Mendoza, Alejandro Saez, Jason Lee, Fabian Richner, Clement Petiot, Anthony Bennett - I wouldn't be shocked if they got signed and then got stashed away in the Performance Center for varying lengths of time before being reintroduced into the general population.

Again, these picks aren't insider picks, so I may have the beats wrong here. But if I'm right then that means RAW will get an infusion of five of the above cruiserweights (Tajiri, Perkins, Alexander, Nese, Dux) when the smoke clears.
The knee-jerk reaction be Apollo Crews, because he's got all the tools but may not be able to put it together in the scheme Jones' coaches want to run. That assessment is far from fair, however, because Crews is likable, is not a wellness risk (that anyone knows of), and isn't a felon. So that answer will change from Crews to another guy with unlimited potential but a penchant for drunk driving and an unrepentant history of spousal abuse, Bram.

You're insane. This idea is one that seems cool at first, but like with everything WWE does when the cameras rolling, the brand split is just another story, and to endanger the ratings of TWO shows, especially by putting one on a poisonous network where wrestling has not really worked before, would be business suicide.

Since I named the five I think are going to go up to RAW in the prior CWC question, I'll pick six that I want to come up with this question:

  • Akira Tozawa - Apollo Crews needs a friend. I know he got drafted to Smackdown, but WWE can pull off a trade to get Crews on the flagship and be Tozawa's heavy.
  • Cedric Alexander - In addition to thinking he will get there, I so want Alexander to get the shot on the big stage. Ring of Honor didn't know what it had with him, and I think he can do a lot of work on a big stage, especially one focused on in-ring work like the cruiserweight division.
  • Clement Petiot - Since Ryback's never gonna be back in WWE, might as well sign his Mini-Me version. He really impressed me with his match against Alexander, and he'd be a great bully for the division.
  • Da Mack - Seriously, he would be the most popular person on the roster within minutes. Plus, he could easily be Enzo Amore and Big Cass's foreign exchange partner.
  • Zack Sabre, Jr. - RAW really needs to be introduced to the #grapplefuck.
  • Jack Gallagher - I admit, I'm picking a guy I've never seen wrestle before, but he comes with good grades, and he's got a great vibe about him. He might make the Vaudevillains obsolete (although WWE booking already got a good jump on doing that), but he'd legitimately be interesting to watch.

I touched on this with my Smackdown review, but it's the lack of creating an identity, cohesion. It had the opportunity to make RAW the slick, sports entertainment brand with a boutique cruiserweight division to attempt to lure the nerds to it in a token capacity, and to create the hardcore-friendly show with Smackdown. I look at each roster, and I see something haphazardly thrown together, like a fantasy football team put on auto-draft during the selection process. The whole thing, from the initial announcement to its McMahon-vs.-McMahon oeuvre through the actual drafting process itself just felt lazy and thrown together to appease shareholders.