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The WWE draft is designed to freshen up the Raw and SmackDown rosters by creating new possibilities for feuds and giving different people chances to shine.
Unfortunately, WWE only has so much time to spare. Five hours between Raw and SmackDown sounds like plenty, and it feels like a lot most weeks, but it’s not enough to service the entire roster.
Some stars are going to be forgotten about, others will become jobbers and a few will ascend to the main event scene. Based on how WWE books its shows, we already know who won’t be viewed as big stars.
Whenever WWE does a draft, it begins a lot of new pushes and storylines. Sometimes that means someone who was being pushed beforehand ends up sitting on the sidelines.
Let’s look at which Superstars are most likely to end up riding the pine on Raw and SmackDown and why they may end up buried.
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Akira Tozawa is a gifted wrestler who is capable of taking on men who are much bigger than he is, but the past few months have not been good for him.
WWE has been having him dress up as a ninja and command a group of other masked fighters as he attempts to win the 24/7 title as many times as possible.
R-Truth always end up getting the better of Tozawa to win back his baby, so the former cruiserweight champion always ends up being the butt of a bad joke.
Stereotypes aside, this is just too childish for adult fans to deal with. Tozawa is funny and often makes his segments entertaining, but he is still being booked as a joke, so all of his hard work might be for nothing.
A trip back to NXT, where he can pursue the cruiserweight title again, is the best chance he has to avoid being just another comedic jobber on the main roster.
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A few months ago, Drew Gulak was aligned with Daniel Bryan and regularly having great matches on SmackDown. Fast forward to today, and he is in the same spot as Tozawa.
Gulak has been used in comedic spots for several weeks. He may have won the 24/7 title a few times, but that doesn’t mean anything unless your name is R-Truth.
This is someone who can wrestle circles around most of the guys in the locker room. He could be having show-stealing bouts with any number of Superstars. For some reason, the powers that be don’t see him for how good he is.
Bryan’s return might have given him another chance if WWE didn’t move Gulak to Raw. The man who once made a PowerPoint presentation entertaining just needs the right person to believe in him to make him a fixture in the midcard title scene—if WWE doesn’t continue having him dress up in costumes to surprise R-Truth.
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WWE has this weird habit of breaking up tag teams just to push one of them when there is no reason why that Superstar’s partner can’t be supportive and stick by their side.
The New Day broke this pattern when Kofi Kingston won the WWE title and remained with the group, but Big E is now all alone on SmackDown, so there goes that theory.
Tucker and Heavy Machinery are victims of this kind of thinking. Because WWE wants Otis to be a singles star, Tucker was moved to Raw.
The good news is they never had a falling-out. A reunion is always possible, especially if Otis flops without his partner, but it would probably be a little while before that happened.
Tucker is a powerhouse who moves like someone carrying 50 fewer pounds. He has a lot of assets, but it’s hard to believe WWE is going to push him based on the company’s history.
It’s always possible Tucker forms a new alliance to pursue the Raw tag titles. However, an unfortunate and more likely scenario will see him being used sparingly, if at all, which is a shame because he is a likable guy who has more to offer than people realize.
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This entry on the list is a bit of a cheat because Bo Dallas has already been buried by WWE to the point you would be forgiven for forgetting he was still with the company.
His Bo-lieve gimmick fell flat, his tough-guy image faded quickly and his team with Curtis Axel is no more. Dallas hasn’t been seen on television in almost a year, so some newer fans don’t even know he exists.
Some people speculated that the video packages for Ember Moon were about Dallas before she returned at the most recent TakeOver, but that still might be the best place for him.
Dallas was one of the first people to win the NXT title and be called up to the main roster in 2014. The black and gold brand is where he had the most success, and it might be where he needs to go to save his WWE career.
If Dallas remains on SmackDown, he is going to end up being a comedic jobber at best. Maybe his brother, Bray Wyatt, has a spot in the Firefly Fun House for him. Dallas could be his sidekick. Anything to give the guy something to do.
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There was a time when it seemed like WWE was at least trying to give Chad Gable opportunities to succeed. But these days, he is barely used to get other people over, if at all.
Changing his name to Shorty G was the first bad move WWE made. He teased turning heel a couple of months ago when he was helping Baron Corbin during his rivalry with Matt Riddle, but nothing ever came of it. He just sort of faded away.
Enough has been written about Gable’s technical ability to fill a book. He is awesome in the ring and a decent performer on the mic, but since he is kind of short, WWE feels the need to make him the butt of too many jokes.
The worst part is he is not even the shortest guy on the roster. He is the same height as Daniel Bryan and has just as much athletic ability, if not more. He should be the ultimate underdog, not a joke in a basketball jersey.
Unless something drastic happens soon, Gable is going to be added to the long list of Superstars who never realized their potential in WWE before leaving for greener pastures.
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WWE likes breaking up tag teams, doesn’t it? The New Day is on two different shows, Heavy Machinery is no more, The Golden Role Models hate each other again and The IIconics were split up against their will.
Peyton Royce seems like she will do just fine on Raw by herself, but it’s hard to say if Billie Kay will survive as a solo act. She was the funnier partner, but that doesn’t mean she will be more successful.
Being a comedic wrestler is not a bad thing in any way. Many stars have been successful with such a character, but far more have been buried than succeeded.
Kay is tall and athletic, so she poses a physical threat to anyone in the division. If she can adjust her character to be a little more serious, she has a chance to be successful.
The other option would be for her to form a new tag team so she could pursue the women’s tag titles again. Natalya and Lana just parted ways. Maybe The Queen of Harts can take Kay under her wing.