According to Meltzer, Rock will be taking some time off (until June) for a couple reasons. Obviously, Vince had to know of this before developing the rosters for the split.
Now, my question is, who is Vince planning on moving into the #2 face spot on Smackdown? Is Edge going to be given that opportunity? It seems that he's beginning a feud with Angle, so hopefully he will. What about D-Von? Or is Vince going to revert to the status quo and have that spot be occupied by Rikishi?
Additionally, this may add fodder to the speculation against HHH turning at the PPV. There simply doesn't seem to be enough top faces for that to be possible at this moment.
I hadn't considered Benoit, but I cannot envision him being an effective face for them at this point. He struggled to find his place as one, due mostly to his limitations on the mic. However, he was fairly effective in terms of getting over as one of those "I'll just kick your ass" heels. I just figured he'd be a heel when he came back.
What they should do is just return the women's title to a floater between the brands. They could do something where, just to piss off Bischoff, Austin agrees to a deal with Stephanie where the Cruiserweight & Women's titles are both made floaters.