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I remember in previous versions of the WWE Draft, we had a few babyface turns and a few heel turns. Are there any rumored for this year’s Draft?
We haven’t heard a lot about the structure of the 2016 WWE Draft, other than Vince McMahon is keeping the rosters close to his vest. In years past, many of the moves were not learned of until they were announced on live television. With that being said, we can get an idea of how the rosters will look based on the way certain talent is viewed within the company. Vince McMahon will always view Raw as the No. 1 brand but I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing John Cena lead the “blue brand,” in a similar role to what The Undertaker played years ago. And how about the No. 1 brand, Raw, featuring a roster of some of the new talent up from NXT such as Finn Balor? Randy Orton and Brock Lesnar will likely go to the same brand as they have a SummerSlam program to build. There will be turns; we just don’t know the specifics at this time. One thing is for sure - WWE needs more star power. They have the talent but it’s up to them to create engaging storylines that develop the talent into Superstars.
Do you think with the brand split we will finally see the likes of Kevin Owens, Cesaro and Sami Zayn to name a few as world champions?
Out of the names you listed, Kevin Owens seems most likely to get the torch at some point. Owens is a guy that continues to show everyone he is more than capable to work with anyone, in any role and is a legitimate top Superstar. The problem is WWE has been cold on him so far this summer. Now whether that’s just because he’s a heel where a loss won’t matter, a commitment will have to be made to build him back up. Cesaro and Sami Zayn have a lot of untapped potential and are names that could be in for more with the impending brand extension.
Given Brock Lesnar's successful return to the octagon, do you think he will return to UFC once his WWE contract is over?
Brock Lesnar is under contract with WWE through April 2018. I’m still unclear as to the structure, as there was talk prior to Brock’s return to UFC about him signing a new deal with WWE (I don’t know the reasoning or if anything was changed as of press time). However, the easiest way for Brock Lesnar to fight in UFC, will be to work with WWE to help negotiate his fights. He can do both if all parties can work together but it’s not going to be easy. The deal for Brock to fight Mark Hunt was negotiated by Dana White, Vince McMahon, Triple H and Brock Lesnar’s camp. As we reported in our Premium area on Sunday, Shane McMahon was also involved in scouting Hunt. Do not make any mistake about it; WWE is only going to allow for Brock Lesnar to fight if they can help control the opponent. Brock’s stock is obviously higher than it has ever been and Brock is happy; both of those things are key to the relationships moving forward.
How do you think WWE is going to build the Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton SummerSlam match given the lack of story behind it?
If WWE writes it smart, they’ll highlight the history behind Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton. Brock and Randy came up at the same time, were trained by the same people and both achieved significant milestones early in their careers. Brock Lesnar is the youngest person to ever win the WWE Championship (at 25 years, 44 days). Randy Orton is the youngest person to ever win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship (at 24 years, 136 days). These two star-studded prospects have established themselves as some of the biggest draws in WWE history and many see Lesnar vs. Orton as a dream match. The problem from those that I have spoken with isn’t on the lack of story - because there is clearly a story to be told. The problem is in Orton’s risk for re-injury and the difficult outcome to book. Brock Lesnar, after his UFC 200 win against Mark Hunt, cannot lose. He just can’t. Randy Orton has been off since October; can he really afford a high profile loss in his first match back?
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