The John Report: Looking for the New “Face” of Smackdown
By John Canton
Follow me on Twitter @johnreport
Now that Edge is retired, Smackdown is hurting on the babyface side with the retirement of the current World Champion. The Undertaker isn’t going to be working on a weekly basis either. Who can help the babyface side of Smackdown? Frankly it is a problem for WWE, but as we know they consider Raw to be way more important than Smackdown, so I doubt they think of it as a serious issue. The bigger issue is the lack of fresh babyfaces in the company in general.
For this column what I thought I’d do is take a look at some of the names on the babyface side on both shows, mention a few heels that might be turning soon and see how they can possibly fight on the blue brand.
John Cena – They are not moving him off Raw. It’s not happening.
Randy Orton – I think moving him to Smackdown in the like June draft lottery is a possibility. He’s not a huge ratings draw, but he’s not a detriment to ratings either. Putting him as the face of Smackdown could work. I think they will move him to Smackdown.
Triple H – I don’t think he has an interest in being on TV every week anymore. If he does it will be on Raw.
Undertaker – Like I said he’s not going to be on TV much due to all the injuries he’s had through the years. I think he’s earned that right. You have to build for the future anyway.
Christian – Right now he’s scheduled to wrestle Alberto Del Rio in a Ladder Match at Extreme Rules for the vacant World Title. He’s never won the WWE or World Title (ECW belt does not count) and there’s no guarantee that he will win it at Extreme Rules. He’s one of the best workers in the company, he’s popular and he can cut promos well. I’d love to see him with the big belt.
Chris Jericho – He’s due back in WWE after his run on Dancing with the Stars is over within a month or two. I think he’ll be back in a veteran babyface role because nobody is better at putting talent over than Jericho. He has a lot of value as a babyface to make the heels look good. He could definitely fit in on Smackdown. My feeling is if Orton gets moved to Smackdown then Jericho would be on Raw. If Orton stays on Raw then Jericho would be on Smackdown.
The Miz – He could be turned babyface soon although that’s just a rumor at this point. I think if it happens he’d still be on Raw because he’s a Vince favorite right now that he wants on the A show due to all the public appearances he makes for the company.
Rey Mysterio – He’s been in the spot before. His best days are behind him although to me the quality of his work is still there.
Kofi Kingston – In the same spot he’s been in for a few years now. A very good worker although I don’t know how serious WWE is about elevating him. He had a strong mini-feud with Alberto Del Rio on Smackdown prior to WrestleMania. I liked their chemistry a lot.
Daniel Bryan – He’s better suited for Smackdown because it’s the show with the longer wrestling matches. Even when he held the US Title he barely got screen time on Raw. In my opinion he’s the best worker on the roster. Get him on Smackdown and move him up the card.
Big Show – Like with Swagger last year when he was World Champ he could be somebody for heels to defeat. I don’t think he has much value as the top guy on the show.
Kane – Same as Big Show. He’s still valuable to the company, but last year’s main event run was probably the last of his career. He’s more of a supporting character now.
John Morrison – There have been times when I thought WWE would push him to the forefront and there have been times when it feels like WWE has given up on him. I think he should have stayed on Smackdown where he was better off in 2009 (his IC title match with Rey Mysterio in October 2009 was a classic) and now he could be moved there with a chance to reach that main event level.
Jack Swagger – He might be turning babyface off of this Michael Cole storyline. I’m not sure if he’s better off in that role. With that said I think a lot of people could become strong babyfaces off the Cole character, so it could work.
Sin Cara – I think WWE is very high on him. He’s actually main eventing Raw house shows in Europe this weekend. They probably want to put him on the show opposite Mysterio. If Rey continues on Smackdown I assume he’ll be on Raw.
Did I miss people? Perhaps. There are countless others who could benefit from turns or that might get pushed. Maybe it could be Zack Ryder. Or my fellow Canadian Tyson Kidd. I have no idea. Sometimes the answers are obvious. Sometimes, just the like the RKO, they come out of nowhere.
So what would I do? Keep Christian and Kofi Kingston on the show. Move Randy Orton, John Morrison and Daniel Bryan to Smackdown. Then you let the others sort themselves out (move Kane & Show to Raw for example), but those are some of the babyfaces that should be near the top of Smackdown for the next year. If at least two out of the four guys that have never been World/WWE Champion (Christian, Kingston, Morrison & Bryan) get to hold that belt before WrestleMania 28 then that would be a huge positive for WWE.
The other point I could make is that the “brand extension” doesn’t really matter because people move from show to show all the time. That’s something I complain about a lot because it insults the intelligence of the viewer, which is paying good money to watch these shows whether they are at house shows or on PPV.
Those are my ideas off the top of my head on a lazy Sunday afternoon. What do you think?
John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org
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