Hello, I want to welcome you to a new series of articles that I will be doing over the next few months entitled “Pencil Pusher”. These will be similar to the ” NXT Step” series of articles regarding creating storylines for NXT talents going to the main roster. Except these will deal with the main roster and how I would book certain scenarios. As I said with the previous NXT Step Series, I don’t expect WWE to ever do what I book here. These are my thoughts. Many have talked about what if scenarios to make the draft work. I imagine some ideas will overlap. Let’s get started.

First things first, you have to establish strong rules when it comes to establishing two separate but equal entities. That is quite a daunting task and one that WWE had trouble with when the original draft began in 2002. The company trying to make the blue crew feel as their Monday night counterparts. And for about a year it worked. They even tried live episodes back then on Thursdays. After a while however Vince saw his flagship program a pale comparison of the network broadcast Smackdown. This would lead to things becoming very lopsided in favor of Monday Night Raw in draft scenarios.

To stop this from happening this time, you really need to indicate that both shows are on the same level now. In order to do that you have to give things time to breathe. So I propose that there will be no interaction between the brands besides for the Royal Rumble and the post Wrestlemania draft. Notice I didn’t say interbrand matches should happen at Survivor Series or Summerslam. They need to establish each entity on their own and doing one brand versus another will show where Vince’s loyalties lie.

The fact that now both brands will be live and on the USA Network helps make the attempt more earnest than It was before. But considering both shows are on back-to-back nights how do you keep the fans interest from one show to another? I have a few ideas.

Titles. How do you break down championships? Honestly, I would make the major division titles flow between both shows with challengers rotating from brand to brand month-to-month. The Women’s Title, The Tag Team Titles, the WWE World Heavyweight Titles would give those talents more give talents more exposure and fame winning the gold and creating prestige for the championships themselves. While these championships would go back and forth, The IC title and the United States title would be brand specific. I would have the Intercontinental which has strong roots in WWE’s flagship program on Raw and the US Title over on Smackdown.

So when the man three champions are on different brands the secondary titles get centerstage similar to how the Television title work in WCW back in the day. Another way to make these titles important is to establish a Top Five rankings system in which you make these titleholders number two in line for a WWE World Heavyweight Championship title match. That would make them a focal point for all involved on the roster if they can’t get the attention of the champion directly.

Not only that it makes wins and losses start to matter. Getting fans more invested in storylines and matches because you establish importance of each. Because the whole point of this is to make new stars and help revitalize the brand that has been struggling for the last decade to do so.

This is all well and good but what about talent. Who would you draft for each brand? And to that I say here are my top 10 picks for each brand that will help them differentiate themselves from the other.

Raw

Roman Reigns
Seth Rollins
Dean Ambrose
AJ Styles
Randy Orton
Bray Wyatt
Chris Jericho
The Miz
Apollo Crews
Finn Balor

Smackdown

John Cena
Cesaro
Kevin Owens
Sami Zayn
Brock Lesnar
Neville
Rusev
Zack Ryder
Alberto del Rio
Kalisto

I think that’s a good distribution of stars on either brand to make a good foundation for all involved. And of course you can add tag teams and the women’s division in for good measure.

What about the announcers for each brand you may ask? I would put Mauro Ranallo and Corey Graves on Smackdown with Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler on Monday Night Raw. Why these pairings? Because I feel each would bring a different variation to each product. Ranallo and Graves would be great together and have hinted so on Twitter the last few days. And given Ranallo’s schedule with outside commitments Tuesdays works better for him. Jerry Lawler has been great in regards to his heel persona on Smackdown and I’ll be interested to see how that translates to Monday Night Raw with Michael Cole.

But that leaves and Byron Saxton out in the cold. I would actually move JBL back to NXT just so we get the JBL that returned in October 2012 without Vince in his ear. I think fans would enjoy him a lot better. As for Byron I would put him on the lead announcer on the brand specific secondary shows i.e. Main Event and Superstars and really play up their importance in the post brand extension. WWE was playing with storylines on those over the last six months and I think honestly Byron is a better fit in that role than on the top two shows. Put him with Tom Phillips and you could make fans interested in even more WWE programming during the week.

Okay, Now that I have established some talent for either brand how do we establish the storylines to use that talent. Well since each brand will have separate writing teams I have an interesting idea on how to make the competition between both shows interesting. Traditionally writers work to what Vince wants as he is the head of the creative team. But I say why not leave it to the fans. Since WWE prides itself on his social media impressions why not do a thing in which the writing team with the best show each week gets a $2500 bonus . How would they decide that? It will be a formula looking at the rating, positive social media interaction and WWE.com poll. This would show a better fan reaction to angles, and take the decision-making out of the hands of Vince McMahon himself.

The pay-per-view schedule for the brand extension would be similar to the one before 2004 . This would see each brand would have four matches each on each show. Although I see the merits in brand specific WWE Network events i.e. King of the Ring, Elimination Chamber and others.

Another factor to think about is how do you introduce talents from NXT? I think you can do that every six months and make it matter. I would say have the authority figures for Raw and Smackdown show up on NXT scouting new talent. You can even have things like the Dusty Classic and the Cruiserweight Classic be those events where new talent is announced for the WWE main roster.

As I said earlier, I don’t believe WWE will do everything I just said. But even if they do a fraction the draft would be in much better shape than when the original one ended in 2011. Only time will tell whether this one will be more successful. But with USA giving WWE more of the schedule is going to be more scrutinized than ever before. And with WWE having contract negotiations within the next year it’s all up to the company to make themselves more desirable as the cable landscape continues to morph and change. It’s an interesting time we now live in. In 2002, they didn’t create their own competition now they do it for their own survival on television. Will it work this time? Well that’s up to them.