The WWE Draft is finalised and takes effect this weekend. Which brand has the stronger roster, and who should have been the number one pick?
American Top Team continues to torment AEW. Is this MMA crossover appealing to pro-wrestling fans?
And, with Impact Wrestling’s Bound For Glory less than 24 hours away, we reflect on our favourite memories of the event over the past 16 years!
1. The WWE Draft takes effect this weekend. Does the new-look Raw or SmackDown have the stronger roster?
David Dunn (@david_dunn):
At the height of the WWE ThunderDome era, there were two Superstars who stood head-and-shoulders above the rest: Drew McIntyre and Roman Reigns. Now they’re both on SmackDown – a big win for the blue brand.
Grady Hooker (@GradyHooker):
I’ve gone back and forth on this one. I think it is probably the most even the rosters have ever been, but I will give the very slight edge to Raw, because they have Edge…
Sammy G (@RealSammyG):
There’s a lot to unpack in a draft: duration of show; experience of talent; breakout stars etc. Taking into account TV time as well as the potential of the rosters, they’re both equally strong and have a lot to offer, but I lean towards Raw purely based on the extra hour. The teams are only as strong as the leadership backstage, so there’s a high chance the potential will be undone by creative, but I live in hope.
AJ Murtagh (@AJMurtagh):
I think SmackDown has the more compelling roster for me. Perhaps because I’m really enjoying Roman Reigns’ work and the unfolding story with The Bloodline. I tend to enjoy SmackDown more already as a show and have always appreciated the underdog vibe the show has. I’m excited to see what they pull out with the new roster.
2. Who’d have been your number one pick if you were making the call in this year’s WWE Draft?
In terms of value, The New Day nets you three WWE Superstars in the one pick, one of whom is the WWE Champion. You’d be a fool (as apparently Raw and SmackDown were) to pass up that trio!
It has been a great run for him and there is no man more dominant right now than Roman Reigns. You would silly to not grab him early for your brand.
Out of total Kiwi bias, while also serving to shake-up the women’s division: Dakota Kai.
Again, Roman Reigns. I think he is the VIP of WWE right now. If I were to be a bit more bold, Tommaso Ciampa – super versatile talent.
3. The bracket is out for AEW’s World Title Eliminator Tournament. Who do you want to see go all the way?
Jon Moxley was screwed out of the AEW World Championship by Kenny Omega in December 2020 and it’s taken him almost a year to get back in title contention. This tournament could be Moxley’s ticket straight to the top, where he undoubtedly deserves to be.
There is some good picks here and a few wildcards like 10. In terms of pure star power, you would have to be silly not to bet on “American Dragon” Bryan Danielson.
Want being the operative word, it would come down to Lance Archer or Dustin Rhodes. Realistically, I can see it ending with Jon Moxley vs. Bryan Danielson.
I’m looking forward to this tournament unfolding in the lead up to Full Gear. My hope and expectation is that Moxley or Danielson will come out on top and I’d be happy with either. I think we will get a great title match between whoever wins the tournament and whoever wins between Omega and Hangman.
4. Former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos made his pro-wrestling debut on Dynamite as the latest name representing American Top Team in an AEW ring. Are you enjoying this MMA crossover?
I am! But I’m also an avid UFC fan so knew who Do Santos is and what he’s done long before he appeared on Dynamite. I’m keen to see what Paige VanZant can eventually do in the ring – she seems to be growing in confidence every week.
Anything that gets more eyes on pro-wrestling is a good idea, and Men of the Year have been doing great things in AEW.
Some MMA stars have a natural aptitude for pro-wrestling. Just look at another of AEW’s recent debutants, CM Punk. He wasn’t too successful in the Octagon, but seems to be doing well as a pro-wrestler… I wish them both good luck!
I’m really enjoying it. I think Dan Lambert is a fantastic mouthpiece. The fact American Top Team got booed in their hometown shows how much the audience wants to see The Inner Circle take them down. I’m hoping we see a multi-man tag match at Full Gear!
5. Impact Wrestling’s biggest show of the year, Bound For Glory, takes place this Sunday. What’s your favourite memory of the event’s past 16 years?
I always go back to the first Bound For Glory in 2005, a great card on paper that was almost ruined at the last minute when headliner Kevin Nash had to drop out. Instead, TNA called on Rhino—who had just smashed his way through Monster’s Ball earlier on the card—to take Nash’s place in the main event and overcome Jeff Jarrett to become the new NWA Heavyweight Champion.
In 2006, Samoa Joe attacked a debuting Kurt Angle on Impact and kickstarted what was a pretty good feud between the two, which continued at Bound For Glory. I remember this moment the best because of what it kicked off.
Sting main-evented four Bound For Glory events back-to-back. His match against Jeff Jarrett, career vs. title at Bound For Glory 2006 with Kurt Angle as special enforcer, was an awesome moment. It picked up where they left off in WCW while also continuing Sting’s legacy, and foreshadowed Sting vs. Kurt Angle at Bound For Glory 2007 for the TNA Championship which was also pretty special!
I’m really looking forward to this year’s Bound For Glory; Christian Cage vs. Josh Alexander should be a banger! As for memories, I really liked Jeff Hardy turning in 2010 to form Immortal, and AJ Styles vs. Bully Ray in 2013. The women’s gauntlet to crown the first Knockouts Champion was great because I think it kicked off a renaissance in women’s wrestling in the US. Excited for what’s going to happen at Bound For Glory 2021!
Got a question suggestion? Comment below and we just might feature it (and you!) in a future edition of Gimme Five!