The WWE Draft could be so much better with these changes (2024)

The Post’s Joseph Staszewski brings you around the world of professional wrestling in his weekly column, the Post Match Angle.

The WWE Draft could be so much more.

Every year, I watch WWE’s annual roster tweaking, hoping the company will take some risks, attach more stories and add more of a real sports feel.

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I had high hopes this year after the leaps forward in the production of Raw and SmackDown under Lee Fitting, the former ESPN producer who took the role of head of media production to replace longtime executive producer Kevin Dunn in January.

He has brought a ton of refreshing elements to WWE. The continuous shots — often with a wrestler pushing the camera back into the arena or to the back — showed off the energy of the sold-out crowd and moved you more organically to the next story. There are more pre-and-post match interviews with talent that feel more like sports broadcasts.

WWE is no longer a company where the action is almost exclusively in the ring or in a backstage interview area. We saw Jey Uso walk into an arena entrance to talk with Sami Zayn before the camera followed the Intercontinental champion into the arena while entering the crowd. Instead of a formal interview in Gorilla, we see Solo Sikoa and Paul Heyman have a private conversation We get Drew McIntyre searching out CM Punk in a luxury box

WWE, however, seemed happy with small improvements to its draft.

The logo in the bottom left corner told you “Picks are in” and what round it was and they added gold to the logo to include NXT, but the yellow brand still does not get any picks. We eventually did a ticker with the draft picks and who was still available. I don’t think they needed to include the ineligible champion on it and I’d rather have seen “Best Available.” WWE did create their Mel Kiper type to analyze picks in Booker T.

Seeing an NXT star get drafted in front of their peers was the absolute best part, but why was Carmelo Hayes at the arena and the rest not?

How about doing a pool of draftable NXT talent that can get picked over both nights and have them sitting in a green-room setting where someone becomes the person not taken or is the last pick from NXT? It should also get one pick at the end of each night to give unused main roster talent a fresh start.

.@Real_Valkyria has grown, inside and out of the ring, every single day since coming to #WWENXT

She has met the moment every time she's been called on. I can't wait to see what she accomplishes on #WWERaw #WWEDraft pic.twitter.com/1fEaJT2aRX

— Shawn Michaels (@ShawnMichaels) April 30, 2024

Why not have Raw or SmackDown trade picks, so that someone traded up to get a superstar and a story can be built around that?I’d let the GMs be able to protect two superstars and build stories around that, too.

Instead, the stories centered mostly around existing feuds and the majority of the rosters stays the same.

Why not do a 20-30 minute pre-and-post draft show where the picks and analysis continue on YouTube or Peaco*ck?

Take chances, shake things up. You have the guy in charge who should knows how to do it because right now a lot of the draft is wasted TV time.

Draft Analysis

Creatively, WWE did have a solid draft.

Making Hayes a first-round pick to SmackDown and then Cody Rhodes giving him the show of respect after their main event match made it a very good night for the former NXT champion.

Friday was a big night for SmackDown as it added Nia Jax right into a triple-threat match with Bayley and Tiffany Stratton at Backlash. Randy Orton — who is now set up to face Rhodes for the world championship down the line — was immediately set to tag with Kevin Owens versus Sikoa and Tama Tonga. The blue brand kept The Bloodline, Roman Reigns and No. 1 pick Belair, but did lose Bron Breakker to Raw.

Raw rebounded Monday, by picking Damage CTRL to give Becky Lynch new rivals, Ilja Dragonov to put against Gunther and Braun Strowman to be Jey Uso’s muscles. DIY can now go beat A-Town Down for the WWE tag team championships on SmackDown

Working the Gimmick

Love it or hate, the angle to close Dynamite has fans asking the all-important question of “What happens next?” They’re already booking the possible team across from The Elite for a Blood & Guts match.

What does come next won’t be easy because it appears the angle could be fighting an uphill battle with Jack Perry punching AEW president Tony Khan after they shook hands on his reinstatement eight months after his suspension from All In.

The Young Bucks followed by giving Khan the spike piledriver move they recently renamed after him, much to the dismay of dad Shad Khan in a segment that had good attention to detail.

The struggle could come because the audience wants to cheer both Perry and Kazuchika Okada. The Jacksonville crowd chanted “he’s our scapegoat” as Perry put AEW over before attacking Khan.

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The violence itself was met with some clapping and cheers.

AEW may just need to be flexible if the Elite — trying to be heels — become the babyfaces in this story because a portion of the fan base can get behind the idea of returning AEW to its roots.

Khan got a ton of attention on NFL Network for wearing a neck brace in the Jaguars’ war room and even WWE’s Pat McAfee mentioned it on his show.

Rich Eisen gave an update on Tony Khan's status on the NFL Network!!! This angle is an ALL-TIMER! 🤣🤣🤣#AEW #NFLDraftpic.twitter.com/S58eXztXOp

— Jack Cassidy  (@RealJackCassidy) April 26, 2024

It’s all good for AEW, though Khan calling WWE the “Harvey Weinstein of pro wrestling” — no matter how bad the allegations against Vince McMahon are— during an NFL Network interview just seemed unnecessary.

Why not have Perry attack him again during the interview and go to the traction brace or a sling to keep adding to the story that he is now be running AEW offsite for the next few weeks.

The 10 Count

The way Breakker is being booked, WWE better be building toward him being mentor Goldberg’s retirement match at some point. The similarities are too easy to see.

Nic Nemeth finds himself in a good spot in his post-WWE run, winning the AAA Mega championship by beating Alberto Del Rio at Triplemania XXXII. He’s already the IWGP Global champion and is firmly locked in a TNA world championship feud with Moose that could lead to him being a triple champion.

Nic Nemeth is now the AAA Megachampion, he is somehow simultaneously a champion in AAA and NJPW

pic.twitter.com/jns4ojpbol

— 🅰️🅾️ (@KXNGAO) April 28, 2024

The Patrick Mahomes-Logan Paul-Judgement Day angle WWE put together was fun stuff. But with the seriousness around concussions, I would have preferred not to hear how JD McDonagh after getting punched with Super Bowl rings was having trouble seeing in the lights and then going out and wrestling.

We saw Liv Morgan still treated like a babyface against Nia Jax, though she feels like a heel next to Becky Lynch and was seen in the background leaving the same locker room as Dominik Mysterio. This is going to be an interesting ride and feels like an injured Rhea Ripley might not be out long.

Liv And Dom???? #Raw #WWERaw pic.twitter.com/IYyVPtfaOV

— GOAT MAN⚡️🎙️ (@ChiGoatman) April 30, 2024

We are starting to see the fruits of AEW’s free-agent pickups and injury returns in the women’s division. Toni Storm appears to have figured out how to work as her “Timeless” character in the ring, as her match with Thunder Rosa at Dynasty and her one against Anna Jay on Dynamite were two of the best of her run. Rosa and Deonna Purrazzo had a very good match on Rampage that was just a taste of what we will see from them.

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It really felt like AEW needed to let Swerve Strickland cut a celebratory promo on Dynamite and make a much bigger deal about him becoming champion instead of him wrestling a random match against Fletcher. They waited until Collision to give him a mic so he could react to The Elite’s beatdown of Tony Khan and set up his phenomenal main event again Claudio Castagnoli, but it felt a little too late. Still, Swerve might have some of the best TV championship matches we’ve seen in AEW.

Trent Beretta and Chuck Taylor put on a hell of a parking lot brawl and it’s proof that breaking up a group in the right way at the right time can help all parties involved. Berretta feels rejuvenated and it gives Orange Cassidy a personal issue feud after long runs as International champion.

Chris Jericho’s new “Learning Tree” persona could start to feel a little similar to NXT’s Schism with Jericho as Joe Gacy if he builds yet another faction.

The Rock is going to be such an asset on the business side for WWE as he made good on a promise and gifted Drew McIntyre a Claymore sword after he re-signed with the company. Those kinds of gestures go a long way.

If anyone could get hit by a New York City bus and still make it to a Broadway play, it’s Darby Allin

Wrestler of the Week

Carmelo Hayes, WWE

The former NXT champion got as perfect a call-up as one can have and made the most of his opportunity. Hayes was a first-round pick of SmackDown, cut an immediate promo on new Undisputed WWE Universal champion Cody Rhodes before crushing his main-event match with the American Nightmare. If any of the main-roster audience wasn’t too familiar with him, the vote of approval from Rhodes after the match sealed the day.

Social Media Post of the Week

No head butting lockers and injuring yourself before the walk? Pffff next!

— Nic Nemeth (@NicTNemeth) April 27, 2024

Match to Watch

Damian Priest (c) vs. Jey Uso for the World Heavyweight championship, Backlash (Saturday, 12:30 p.m., Peaco*ck)

How many of these championship matches can Jey Uso lose and does The Bloodline still hold a grudge? This is Priest’s first title defense since cashing in at WrestleMania 40 and just the start of his story with Uso, who has already lost Intercontinental and Undisputed WWE Universal championship matches. Can WWE find a new creative way to have him lose clean, end Priest’s reign quickly or add a new chapter to The Bloodline story?

The WWE Draft could be so much better with these changes (2024)

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