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Draft John Cena, Not Randy Orton To SmackDown

Will John Cena or Randy Orton be drafted to SmackDown?The 2011 WWE Draft appears to be the most predictable draft in recent memory. Most expect that one of RAW’s big two WWE stars will return to SmackDown but will the WWE make the right choice? The time is now to draft John Cena, not Randy Orton to SmackDown.

Even most casual of WWE fans will tell you that they believe that Randy Orton is going to SmackDown tonight. It makes sense on paper. John Cena and Randy Orton are the two biggest full-time WWE superstars on the roster. RAW has both and one is going, Orton appears to be the guy. But why isn’t anyone talking about John Cena to SmackDown?

I am sure that even the thought of John Cena leaving RAW and going to SmackDown would keep Vince McMahon from getting his comfortable three hours of sleep a night. Vince and the WWE creative team have relied on Cena since he moved over to the brand in 2005 to carry the show and be the poster boy of WWE RAW. Heck, the WWE wouldn’t even let him sit out a week to sell a stipulation of being fired out of fear that the show would tank. I am sure that even bringing this up to Vince in a creative meeting would be grounds for either immediate dismissal or a spot dancing on RAW in Chippendale tuxedo.

But let’s be frank for a second here about John Cena. Is anyone really tuning into RAW specifically to watch John Cena? What if John Cena got hurt and missed a few months of action? Would the RAW ratings tank? Well guess what? Cena did get hurt back in 2007 and believe it or not RAW survived. WWE superstars stepped up and the fans kept coming. Not only would the same happen today, but maybe just maybe the RAW ratings could actually increase over time.

John Cena has probably done more damage to RAW in the last two years than good. That isn’t his fault. I blame the WWE creative team that use Cena as their security blanket and are afraid to create new stars the right way. Nobody and The Rock means nobody pins John Cena on RAW and if they do, they will make sure to return the favor five times over to erase that horrific thought from the memories of RAW fans. Removing Cena from the roster will actually allow babyfaces to move up and allow heel WWE champions to get big wins over top babyface challengers which will only enhance their position and the title’s.

On top of that, the elevation of a babyface on RAW to the main-events is practically a death knell. Take a look back at CM Punk’s first WWE world championship run on RAW. He was the top dog yet he was constantly overshadowed every week by Cena. By the end of his run he was probably more hurt by the push, being seen as a fluke champion next to Cena than he was helped. This has happened to numerous babyfaces over the last few years and as long as the shadow of Cena is cast on RAW, nobody is moving past that proverbial glass ceiling.

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The same goes for heels. Look no further than your current WWE champion. The Miz is struggling and struggling badly right now as WWE champion. A big part of the problem is the fact that he can not only beat the top babyface on RAW, he can’t even hang with him. The great heel wrestling champions like Ric Flair, Superstar Billy Graham, and Hulk Hogan did cheat to beat their opponents, but you never felt as if they weren’t in the same league as their opponents. The fans see this with The Miz, they’ve seen it with Cena’s past foes, and they will see it with his next evil rival.

I have talked so much about RAW, but what about SmackDown? Wouldn’t Cena do the same damage to SmackDown? I don’t think so. Sure, Cena will still be positioned in a better position than every WWE superstar on the roster but they need someone like Cena in that spot. The roster is younger and a little more unknown to general WWE fans. A feud with a guy like Cody Rhodes and even Alberto Del Rio would elevate those guys over time and get them ready for an eventual move to RAW and a shot at bigger things. The difference with RAW and SmackDown is when the stars leave SmackDown for RAW it is seen as something as an opportunity and whether Del Rio loses to Cena or not on SmackDown, he is better for it once he gets to RAW.

The move would also help John Cena. Cena has gotten way too stale on RAW since his draft to the brand in 2005. He will have new writers, new opponents, and a new challenge to enhance SmackDown. John Cena would have to take new risks in order to elevate the brand to the “A” show and he is in a perfect position to do so. If John Cena could move to SmackDown, improve their ratings, make new stars, and turn it into a comparable brand to RAW, his legacy will be greatly enhanced by the time he hangs up the sneakers.

Let’s call a spade a spade here when it comes to the WWE Draft. John Cena can make plenty of visits back to RAW whether he is an official SmackDown or RAW wrestler. Of course that would retard any progress the brand would make without Cena, but so be it. If the WWE really needs to pop a rating, bring him back from time to time. The WWE does it all of the time. The wrestlers of both WWE brands appear randomly on each show during the WrestleMania season anyway, so it isn’t as if you are going to lose steam on the Cena vs. The Rock main-event.

So instead of playing the safe hand and moving Randy Orton back to SmackDown, I think the WWE needs to take a big leap of faith and shake things up like they did back in 2005. Keeping Cena on RAW and moving Orton to SmackDown won’t change a darn thing no matter who else gets moved to either SmackDown or RAW.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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