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Preview: WWE Draft 2011
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling


"I'm the Number One choice to move," says Drew McInytre. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea


Tonight, as Vince McMahon has grown fond of saying, WWE is "shaking things up" with the annual WWE Draft.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we have the same conversation year-in and year-out – WWE has made the brand split to be fairly meaningless with all the flip-flopping that occurs throughout the year and the constant inter-brand matchups and angles we see.

Despite this though, WWE has often used the Draft to reposition its competitors on the card, giving some lower on the card a new opportunity to shine.

After all, the ones who do the most inter-brand movement on a more regular basis are those that are higher up on the card, not the curtain jerkers, mid-carders or Superstars fighters.

So bearing that in mind, there is indeed a lot to be gained and lost in the Draft. So let’s look at six roster members in all -- three from each brand -- who are likely candidates to move tonight (or in the Supplemental Draft should it occur as it has in the past).

From Raw to Smackdown

Zack Ryder – Yes, it may seem a bit obscure, but Ryder’s recent YouTube run has almost made him go viral. The personality build has been superb for the Long Island native and Ryder has decent in-ring skills to boot. Like The Miz, Ryder has the personality and has paid his dues long enough to get a true opportunity, and Smackdown is a great place for him to launch.

Randy Orton – As odd as it sounds, RKO has become a secondary entity on Raw, falling far behind the likes of Miz and Cena. Moving Orton to Smackdown does two things. First, it gives him room to once again be the top dog on a show, simultaneously filling the void left open by Edge’s retirement, and also opens up a nice-sized space on Raw for one or two superstars to be elevated.

Evan Bourne – Bourne’s been completely lost on Raw since returning, and really since his move from ECW. On Smackdown, Bourne has the opportunity to mix it up with the likes of Justin Gabriel and start to really define his career; unfortunately, for Bourne, he’s the least likely of the three named to actually move.

WHAT YOU THINK
Of the names in our WWE Draft preview, who do you think is most likely to switch brands?
Randy Orton - 40%
Drew McIntyre - 29%
Evan Bourne - 10%
Rey Mysterio - 9%
Zack Ryder - 8%
Kelly Kelly - 4%
From Smackdown to Raw

Rey Mysterio – The concern on Smackdown are the number of top-flight babyfaces that can truly draw a crowd. Rey, however, is becoming more and more of a part-timer and is as much a liability as he is a draw. Putting Rey on Raw, which has historically had a more consistent line-up, will help him, plus he can act as a mentor to Sin Cara in the WWE style.

Drew McIntyre – McIntyre has sunk like a stone on Smackdown of late for a myriad of reasons; but being a heel on Raw could be the right way to reignite his career. McIntyre also, at times, has felt like he’s on the cusp of a face turn, and a change of environment could be the reason for the switch. Plus, a Drew/Triple H feud could be very fun.

Kelly Kelly – Yes it sounds bizarre, but the Smackdown Diva division is pretty much a dead entity. WWE has started to make it clear that Kelly is their new female face of the promotion, and putting her on Raw gives her more exposure. I’d look for her to be switched, possibly for Natalya, so that WWE could truly put a rocket on her back and get her more mainstream exposure.