Today, is a turning point for WWE. A new chapter will be written, and the old one will be closed. The roster that used to share 5 hours of WWE programming will now be split into 2 shows, with the Smackdown fighters staying on the Smackdown brand, and the same applying to the RAW wrestlers. WWE is taking a big risk with this move, and they need to tread lightly, it paid off big last time they did a brand split, but it could also lose a majority of the fanbase.
So, tonight we find out who goes on who’s brand, and how the next few years will look for the two brands. Out of all of my time that I have reviewed Smackdown for this site, I have never had the duty to report and assess such a big show. The future for WWE gets paved tonight. That could be a good thing, that could be a bad thing. Let’s judge that.
Draft Picks Round 1
QUICK HEADS UP: There will be a more in-depth article about EVERY pick tonight, tomorrow on the website. This review will cover all of the picks that happen on Smackdown, and the rest will covered tomorrow.
The show starts off with the Commissioners and General Managers at their podiums, and RAW gets the first pick. RAW wastes no time and picks Seth Rollins to join team RAW. Right after that, Smackdown gets their first pick, being Dean Ambrose. Charlotte gets the next pick by RAW, and Smackdown gets AJ Styles. Our first NXT pick comes in after Smackdown’s pick of AJ Styles. Who is it? It’s Finn Balor! This was a great pick, especially since Finn Balor has been the king of teasing his main roster call-up. The first few picks seemed a little boring and predictable, so it was great to have a shocker from the very start.
Match 1: John Cena (w/ Enzo and Cass) vs Luke Gallows (w/ The Club)
The first match starts up before our first commercial break, with John Cena fighting his scheduled match against Luke Gallows. The Club is ringside, with AJ Styles wearing a Smackdown shirt, to celebrate his recent drafting. Near the end of the match, The Club and Enzo & Cass come in the ring and have a confrontation. After that, Cena hits the Attitude Adjustment to get the win. This match was extremely fast, with 2/3 of the match being during the commercial break. It is good to have a name like Cena win to start the show, it hypes up the crowd and keeps everyone interested because we went a while without wrestling. But in-ring wise, I can’t judge if it was good or not. All we saw was Cena’s usual song and dance.
Draft Picks Round 2
We are back to the draft picks, and RAW gets the first draft pick again. Who is the draft pick? The currently suspended Roman Reigns. Smackdown responds to that with John Cena. RAW gets Brock Lesnar after that. The upcoming opponent for Lesnar, Randy Orton gets picked for Smackdown right after that. And the final pick for round 2, RAW picks all of New Day, and they stay together. John Cena is a good pick for Smackdown, he can completely dominate the midcard, and he can make Smackdown a better draw for house shows and TV. Lesnar and Orton being on different brands shows that they will not have a rematch after Summerslam, not much to say about Roman and I’m just happy that the New Day are staying together.
Match 2: Zack Ryder and Darren Young vs Miz and Rusev
After the second round of picks, we cut to the ring where the next match is already setup, and starts. It is a “Champions vs Challengers” match, where the challengers for the Intercontinental Championship and the US Championship face the champs in a tag match. This match was very short but sweet, with Darren Young making The Miz tap via his new submission move, the Cross-Face Chickenwing. This match came in at around 5 minutes, but that’s what you should expect on this episode due to the sheer amount of content expected. But that’s barely a complaint, I have enjoyed tons of this show so far, and this match had no slow spots to it, and is doing a good job at hyping Darren Young vs The Miz. At this point, Darren Young’s vingette’s saved him from having a boring PPV match. He has a backstory now, because without those vingettes, this match at Battleground would give no reason to cheer for the babyface. People complained about how long the vingette’s were going on for, but it has certainly paid off.
Match 3: Bray Wyatt (/w The Wyatt Family) vs Xavier Woods (/w The New Day)
The New Day got drafted 15 minutes before, but they still have to worry about The Wyatts tonight, and in a 6-man tag match on Sunday. Xavier, the member of the New Day that has been shook the most out of this feud, faces Bray Wyatt. Xavier Woods is still running the gimmick that he is getting possessed when they talk about the Wyatts, and this match really amplified that. But the excitement of this match, was sure not amplified. This match went around 5-7 minutes, but most of it was complete silence from the crowd. Bray Wyatt did good with being scary in this match but sure did not fit enough moves in. Xavier Woods gets put away in this match by Wyatt’s finishing move “Sister Abgail”.
Match 4?: Kane vs Kevin Owens
Kane is scheduled against Kevin Owens next, but this match takes a turn for the worse. Kevin Owens walks his way out to the ring, but gets interrupted by Sami Zayn who runs out and attacks Owens. They brawl out to the ring, and Kane joins the fight. The fight ends with Kane double chokeslamming Owens and Zayn, and the match between Kane and Owens gets called off. After that segment we move onto the third round of draft picks. I don’t necessarily know why this happened other than to tip the hat to another Battleground match, but something seemed fishy when I was Kane in the ring.
Draft Picks Round #3
RAW gets the first pick, and chooses Sami Zayn. Smackdown picks next, and they choose Bray Wyatt. RAW picks Sasha Banks next, and Smackdown answers back with Becky Lynch. RAW gets the final pick for this round, and they select Chris Jericho. There is not much to say about the draft picks, but I do think that there might be an issue with the women’s division if they have such a small number of women’s wrestlers per brand. They could have launched the Cruiserweight division on RAW, and put the Women’s division on Smackdown.
Match 5: Dana Brooke and Charlotte vs Sasha Banks
After Sasha and Charlotte have been drafted already, it’s time for the first women’s match on the show so far. Sasha Banks gets to have an attempt at revenge, but this revenge isn’t easy. It’s a 2-on-1 match with Dana Brooke and Charlotte teaming up to face Banks. This match did not go on for too long. It had some really good spots at the start, with Sasha diving to the outside, but the match finish was clean for Charlotte and Dana, which did not make much sense. Why didn’t the heels fight after the match, why didn’t they win cheap? Why have they went over in almost every angle for this rivalry? This seemed like lazy booking to burn time on the show.
Draft Picks Round #4
RAW picks Rusev to start round 4 off, and Smackdown takes the other minor title, they take the IC champion The Miz to Smackdown. RAW answers back with Kevin Owens. Baron Corbin joins Smackdown with the next pick, and the final pick for this round was Enzo and Cass going to to RAW.
Match 6: Chris Jericho vs Cesaro
After a fast commercial break, WWE wastes no time to get into their next match, Chris Jericho versus Cesaro. This match was mainly put together to mention that Jericho is hosting a talk show with Orton at Battleground, hence why he won the match. This match was not bad, but was not good. Cesaro hit all of his main spots, and Jericho got the win via Codebreaker.
Natalya/Becky Lynch Brawl
We come back to commercials to find Becky Lynch brawling with Natalya, with tons of referee’s around them. A match was “scheduled”, but the match was thrown away. Not much to mention about this, but it was nice that they threw a rivalry in without wasting lots of time.
Draft Picks Round #5
The draft starts with RAW drafting Gallows and Anderson, splitting Styles with The Club. Smackdown picks American Alpha from NXT. RAW picks The Big Show (what a buzzkill), but Smackdown picks Dolph Ziggler right after. The final pick for this round was another NXT pick, Nia Jax. This round made quite the splash, with The Club being split up, and NXT being raided a little more. I personally disagree about The Club being split up, because they are still a very new group, but I think AJ was Luke and Karl’s training wheels, and they can make something happen now. As for American Alpha, they are more than ready, willing and Gable to be called up. They have been around for quite a while, and have excelled more than any other wrestlers in the past 6 months. As for Nia Jax, I think she needed a little more time, but I personally think that WWE needs lots more women’s wrestlers because of the brand split, so this is a good idea.
Draft Picks Final Telivised Round
It’s the final round of the draft shown on TV, and RAW starts it off by drafting Neville. Smackdown takes another women’s wrestler after RAW’s pick, they take Natalya. RAW takes Cesaro on their next turn. Smackdown takes Alberto Del Rio as their last TV pick, and RAW gets the last TV pick. Who is their last TV pick? Sheamus. This last round was a sleeper, with nobody big being selected on final part of the TV pick’s except Neville.
The rest of the picks were continued on the WWE Network, and will be fully evaluated in a special post TOMORROW, right here on WeWriteWrestling!
Match 7: Dean Ambrose (c) vs Seth Rollins (WWE Championship Match)
Now that we have finished up the final picks, Seth Rollins gets a rematch from last night, facing Dean Ambrose in another championship match. This match went on over the coarse of 2 commercial breaks, and was an above average match. I certainly enjoyed this finish, with Ambrose reversing a suplex after a superplex into a Dirty Deeds. Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon come out and celebrate with Rollins to end the show. This match was a little slow in the middle, but it only made sense to have that due to the time it was taking up, and that these two will fight a third time (with Roman) on Sunday. You can’t use all your cards on somebody before the biggest match against them.
This show was very packed, with there being almost no slow moments. All matches except for the main event were very short, but that is understandable. The draft, was very underwhelming in general, especially because of the rumors of all of the returning or debuting names. The drafts weren’t terrible, but it could have been much better. There is lots to do after the PPV, and lets hope that it gets better as the draft carries on.
Next week there will be more coverage of Smackdown, as we say hello to some new names, and say goodbye to others.
REMINDER: There will be a more in-depth article about EVERY pick tonight, tomorrow on the website. This review will cover all of the picks that happen on Smackdown, and the rest will covered tomorrow.