If you listened to last week’s Doing the Job podcast, you’ll know that I conducted a fantasy sports style draft between M2J and Denny Lugz, pitting them as general managers and devising up two rosters as if we were putting a brand split back into place. (And if you didn’t, how about putting this article on pause and checking out the pod diddly now.) Aside from the fact that I thought it would be a change of pace segment and intriguing to see how their rosters would be constructed, I also felt it would give us a good gage on how high or low they currently felt about certain members on the WWE roster. Like any fantasy draft, some picks were pretty obvious (Daniel Bryan and CM Punk as the two first rounders), while others were a bit perplexing (Heath Slater in the sixth round?!). With that being said, let’s try to break down and analyze this draft.
M2J: Daniel Bryan; Denny Lugz: CM Punk
M2J sneeeaaaked his way into picking first with the old “heads I win, tails you lose routine” which Denny dismissed thinking this was to determine which show they’d be drafting for and not the actual draft order. In any event, as stated above, pretty obvious drafting here. For the record, I would have taken Punk first, but I’m splitting hairs there. Can’t go wrong with either of these two as the foundations of your roster.
M2J: Dolph Ziggler; Denny Lugz: Seth Rollins
M2J: Antonio Cesaro; Denny Lugz: Dean Ambrose
No complaints at all with Ziggler going third overall, but afterwards is where something “funny the business”, as Denny would say, goes down. I love Rollins, Cesaro, and Ambrose. Hell, they’re three of the main guys I look forward to seeing the most each week, no questions asked. But let’s face it, I think our hosts are marking a bit for the indy guys here. While I’ll admit, I feel Ambrose is a lock to be a future top heel in the company and therefor deserving of a high pick, I can’t quite say the same about the other two in the WWE climate. And that hurts me, but it should be at least a couple rounds before we see Cesaro and Rollins go off the board, because we’re not building an indy brand, we’re drafting for Raw and Smackdown.
(Editor’s note: If you stayed on and listened to the afterburn, you would have heard Denny trying desperately to nab Cesaro in a trade with all sorts of offers. Matt wasn’t biting.)
M2J: John Cena; Denny Lugz: Cody Rhodes
So Cena finally comes off the board in round four. Despite where they’re drafted, M2J’s roster is shaping up with some serious star power early on here. For Denny, you can’t argue taking Cody considering the blueprint to how he is molding his roster, with Punk as anchor to some serious young studs.
M2J: Prime Time Players; Denny Lugz: The Wyatt Family
M2J’s main focus was on Titus O’Neil, who he is very high on and sees as a future main eventer. Lugz answers back with a team of his own, taking the Wyatts. I think it’s too early to be taking any of these guys here, but one of the things about this is perception and if Titus is your guy, then make sure you get him. As for the Wyatts, I’m sorry, I’m just not a believer. Maybe they’ll prove me wrong, and it’s no disrespect to the guys themselves, but these characters are better suited for a B horror flick than WWE programming. I’m not buying in. This is my bust of the draft so far. Until…
M2J: Heath Slater; Denny Lugz: Rob Van Dam
M2J: Roman Reigns; Damien Sandow
Yeah. In all honesty, I’ve always really liked Slater and never felt he’s had a fair shake. And yes, maybe M2J’s vision is to make him a much bigger star and, if you’ve been listening to the podcast, have him square off against Ziggler in a bump-fest. But this is way too early for him to be taken. In football, I really liked T.Y. Hilton this year, but I wasn’t reaching for him in round four when I knew he’d be around much later. Same logic applies here. However, I do have to applaud the Reigns pick. Even as recently as a couple of months ago, I would have felt this was a slight reach or fair value, but I really think he’s destined for big things in his WWE career. He just has the makings.
I really liked what Denny did here, too. Van Dam might be older, but let’s face it, he’s ageless and can have great matches with the current roster that has been drafted to this show. Sandow is another good pick in the roster composition of promising futures.
M2J: Randy Orton; Denny Lugz: Sheamus
I haven’t been an Orton fan in probably like six years but this was way too low for him to fall. The man was WWE champion a few weeks ago! Good job by Matt to add to his roster’s star power after taking some youth the previous few rounds. Regarding Sheamus, I’ve never been on the bandwagon. Nothing against him; he works hard and gives it his all every night, he’s just not for me. And even though he’s injured, the man’s not dead, so despite the fact that I probably wouldn’t have taken him, this was too far for him to fall as well. Good pick.
M2J: Kofi Kingston; Denny Lugz: Fandango
M2J: Zack Ryder; Denny Lugz: Kane
M2J: Ryback; Denny Lugz: Mark Henry
I’m hopeful that Matt finds a way to do something interesting with Kofi and Ryder as they both deserve far better than what they’ve got so far in WWE. And if I’m Denny, I’m making Fandango drop the gimmick and repackaging the talent (again), as the dance routine has reached its peak. Kane just came off some of the finest work of his career, and although this isn’t a bad pick for the tenth round, I just don’t know what you do with him at this point. As for Ryback and Henry…meh.
M2J: The Miz; Denny Lugz: Alberto Del Rio
M2J: Wade Barrett; Denny Lugz: R-Truth
If anything…anything…interesting can be done with these two guys in the twelfth round, all the credit in the world. I think Miz is salvageable. Del Rio, I’m not touching with a ten foot pole no matter what round he falls to; just stay as far away from my roster as possible please.
On the other hand, I definitely think Barrett can be used better and in the thirteenth round, this is a steal. If some life can be injected into R-Truth, this is good value as well.
M2J: Tons of Funk; Denny Lugz: Christian
M2J: Evan Bourn; Denny Lugz: The Usos
M2J: Yoshi Tatsu; Denny Lugz: The Bella Twins
Around round eight or nine I was expecting Christian’s name to be called, which even then I felt was a little late for him to be available. I couldn’t believe it as names came off the board ahead of his until finally he was taken in the 14th. What the hell?! Speaking of dropping way too far; considering how high the Usos’ stock is right now, it was rather stunning to me to see them go almost undrafted. Total complete steal here for Denny. Sure, M2J’s intent was to mainly grab Titus, but would you rather have the PTPs’s in the fifth or the Usos in the 14th? And by the time his last selection before the Divas rounds got started, Denny felt that the pickins were so slim amongst the males that he would start drafting women, so naturally he went with…the Bellas?? Alright, so his reasoning was that women are just for looks and don’t wrestle on his show. Fair enough. But after Denny went on an Undertaker-esque streak of like 20+ shows in a row earlier this year about AJ’s midriff (mmm, midriff), how was she not the first Diva off the board? This one shocked me.
M2J: AJ Lee; Denny Lugz: Jack Swagger
M2J: Funkadactyls; Denny Lugz: Natalya
M2J: Kaitlyn; Denny Lugz: Summer Rae
M2J: Layla; Denny Lugz: Eva Marie
For the record, since the Bellas were technically taken in the male portion of the draft, Swagger gets grouped into this round. Rightfully so, AJ goes first here. I was vocal about the fact that I would have taken Naomi by herself and not had Cameron anywhere near my roster, but that’s just me. I feel like Matt has built a really nice mini womens division here, and regardless of what Denny was going for, slaughtered him in this portion of the draft. His show will be a better one for it.
Let’s start with Denny’s roster. I don’t think too many casual fans are watching this show. Which is fine; the point of this wasn’t to draw the highest ratings. There are certainly some future stars, just not many right now. The wrestling on this show looks good, however, and I’d be super intrigued to see a Punk/Ambrose main event feud and perhaps a series of RVD/Rollins matches. For me personally, though, I find some bathroom breaks between Del Rio, Swagger, Kane, and Mark Henry when their matches come on.
On the other side of the coin, the more I look over M2J’s roster, the more I really like it. There are a lot of great combinations you can get from this group of guys in the main event and in the midcard. M2J has talked about turning Kofi heel, and I’d be all in on a heel Kofi vs. face Ziggler feud. Plus, if Ryback gets made a star like WWE hopes and he gets anything out of The Miz and Barrett, that’s just house money at that point. Really nice job here overall.