The 2020 WWE Draft has thrown up a number of surprises, and not necessarily in a kayfabe ‘wow’ way.
More intriguing is how the organization has moved its superstars between RAW and SmackDown, with the split hinting at a number of shock feuds on the horizon.
Over on the blue brand, it seems unlikely that Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns – a leading contender to win the Royal Rumble despite already being Universal champion – will lock horns, unless the former turns face to combat the latter’s new-found heel leanings.
More probable is that Big E, effectively split from his New Day colleagues, will ascend to bill-topping status, while Kevin Owens and Jey Uso may be used as temporary fill-ins to challenge for the Universal title.
Over on RAW, there is a similar lack of balance at the top of the tree. How long will Drew McIntyre’s reign as WWE champion last? It seems unlikely he will drop the gold before the Royal Rumble, and so his feud with Randy Orton will be used as a schedule-filler.
— Insidious Lee (@RealKeithLee) October 12, 2020
AJ Styles needs something meaningful to sink his teeth into, and it may be that the master technician will be used as a foil to make Keith Lee’s introduction to the red brand go without a hitch.
Yep, one of the worst kept secrets in wrestling has been confirmed – Lee is main roster material after being drafted to RAW. It is essential that he is given the chance to hit the ground running after building a serious fanbase over on NXT, and it’s hard to see how the big man will fit into the roster unless Styles is his first major opponent.
It’s not as if he’s likely to be tiptoed into action either. Take a look at the Royal Rumble odds supplied by Canadian online sports betting firms – Lee is as short as +700 to win the 30-man battle royal and subsequently headline WrestleMania 37.
He needs a major storyline then to justify that position – and he needs it fast.
A Dearth of Opportunities?
Lee will, of course, be used as a face in the early going of his main roster career, and so he needs a suitable heel to bounce off.
What is interesting about Styles and Lee is that neither is particularly strong on the mic, but both are excellent in-ring performers and that should be enough for any rivalry to win over the WWE universe.
If it’s not AJ, then who else?
Buddy Murphy is another option, although he lacks star power and the last thing the writers will want is for Lee’s big arrival to quickly fade into insignificance.
Elias is returning from a major career-threatening injury, and so he might be considered something of a risk when taking on the all-action style of the Texan.
— Insidious Lee (@RealKeithLee) October 16, 2020
Braun Strowman? The Fiend? Both would be a risk as Lee needs to come out of any feud looking strong, and so a series of big losses would not look good on his resumé. However, he and the Monster Among Men will meet, probably in a one-off, in October.
Another option, very much in the short term, would be to install Lee as the leader of a faction to take on RETRIBUTION, who themselves need a supercharged bolt of interest and fast given that they seem to be failing to win the fans over.
Lee, Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods, Jeff Hardy, Matt Riddle and/or Ricochet could be shoehorned into a stable of sorts – and we know Vince McMahon loves cobbling together disparate superstars in a bid for relevance – in time for Survivor Series, but you sense that too would halt any momentum needed to keep Lee in the foreground of fans’ minds.
So come on WWE, give us Keith Lee vs AJ Styles. It will be the boost that both of them need right now.