From a critical standpoint, WrestleMania 37 was a smashing success for WWE. Both show's main events were Match of the Year contenders, Bad Bunny had a shockingly great performance and it elevated stars like Cesaro and Rhea Ripley while overcoming some of the biggest blunders of the weekend. But with all of that good will and momentum, what did WWE do with this week's Monday Night Raw? Very little.
There still were a couple of surprises — The Vikings Raiders came back from injury and Charlotte Flair finally addressed where she's been while simultaneously turning heel. And it's actually pretty hard to blame the company for not having a massive surprise return like Becky Lynch or a big NXT call-up since they're back in the ThunderDome and will be for at least a few more months.
But it wasn't just the lack of surprise or absence of live fans that brought the show down. It was that the program went right back into the same feuds and matches fans have seen over and over for the last six months. McIntyre vs. Lashley, Lashley vs. Riddle, Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler vs. Mandy Rose, Asuka vs. Ripley, Randy Orton competing for a title match, Miz & Morrison vs. Damian Priest — nearly every single matchup or storyline was something fans had seen multiple times before and in some cases from 24 hours prior. Raw's roster is woefully stale and the episode made one thing abundantly clear — WWE needs to return the WWE Draft to April.
Once upon a time WWE had this figured out. The first two Drafts in 2002 and 2004 were right after their respective WrestleManias. 2005's edition was spread out across the entire month of June. The next three were held roughly halfway into the year. But from 2009-11 and 2017-18 (after the brand split was reintroduced) the Draft was slotted perfectly in April, meaning that WWE could come out of WrestleMania and immediately give both shows a refresh by shuffling around wrestlers to set up new feuds. It built off the momentum from WrestleMania season and would help carry weekly television through the summer up until SummerSlam.
Then came the FOX deal in October 2019. WWE ditched the Shake-up concept for an official Draft and strengthened up the Blue Brand now that it was on network television. From a business standpoint the timing made sense, but then WWE decided to do the exact same thing a year later... right as they were about to head into a show in Survivor Series that centers around "brand supremacy." It was clunky, to say the least.
There are a few issues with WWE's creative process, especially on Raw. And while an April Draft rather than an October Draft wouldn't solve everything, it could at least open the door to some new ideas and fresh matchups.
What do you guys think? Let us know in the comments below!