As announced earlier, the next WWE Draft will be taking place on the April 13 edition of WWE Monday Night Raw and will be a three-hour show the week following WrestleMania 25. The feeling at this point is that all final decisions regarding the show will be made the week of WrestleMania since the entire crew will be in Houston all week. Vince McMahon is scheduled to have extended creative meetings for the show and where the show leads.
Key people involved feel it is almost a lock that Triple H will be brought back to Raw since the feud with Randy Orton can’t just be a one time deal at WrestleMania. Triple H was moved to Smackdown last year to strengthen the Smackdown brand with the move to MyNetworkTV. Now almost a year later, Smackdown is averaging in the 2.0-2.2 range every week and may cease to be a network starting in September. There is a feeling that weakening the Smackdown brand too much is a risk with separate brands touring, but putting talent like John Cena or Randy Orton on a show that is drawing substantially fewer viewers is not a good business move either.
Moving Rey Mysterio back to Smackdown seems like a strong possibility as he hasn’t moved the Hispanic demographic on Raw and Smackdown has suffered greatly in that demographic since his departure. Smackdown had often been No. 1 and always in the top ten with Mysterio’s presence on the program, but has only cracked the top ten once once since he left last June. Plus, the general opinion is that Mysterio has been more involved in the middle of the card since his jump to Raw whereas on Smackdown he was more in the main event mix. Names expected to stay on Smackdown are Jeff Hardy and Matt Hardy, although that isn’t a lock. It is possible they could make a change with Edge and Chris Jericho having Edge move to Raw and Jericho move to Smackdown. Batista moving back to Smackdown is also a strong possibility if they want to move Triple H back to Raw. Shawn Michaels has been approached in the past to make the move to Smackdown, but he has turned it down on several occasions as he has Wednesday religious commitments and Tuesday night tapings would mean he wouldn’t get back in time. In regards to the announcers, moving Jim Ross back to Raw only seems like a logical choice as reviews for Michael Cole internally have not been good. However, if they stick with Cole and keep pushing the idea that they want a younger voice for Raw then it is a sign it will not be changed for some time.