Yesterday was a very big day for the WWE. RAW and Smackdown went into a draft, that split lots of people up, and could bring lots of people together.
So let’s talk about this draft, and what that means for YOU, The viewer.
RAW: Pick #1: Seth Rollins
The angle we saw at the start of the show was that RAW and Smackdown will be competing for the WWE Championship to be on their brand, which is one of the main reasons that the RAW team chose Seth first. Seth Rollins seemed like a good first pick, but the crowd seemed to simmer down once they noticed that this draft will be a very predictable one from the very start.
Smackdown: Pick #2: Dean Ambrose (WWE Champion)
To continue the angle mentioned earlier, Smackdown picks the current WWE Champion to be on their brand, that Champion being Dean Ambrose. I think this is a big sign that there will be some interference on Sunday at Battleground because of how much each brand wants that title, and that this will be a big factor on the main event. Dean Ambrose has a pretty big fanbase, so it’s good to have a big name like him on Smackdown, even though it is obvious that Smackdown will be a little less character oriented and more in-ring oriented. That is the only negative about this pick in my opinion.
RAW: Pick #3: Charlotte (Women’s Champion)
The first female wrestler gets picked very quickly into the show, being Charlotte, which is a very good sign. In my opinion this shows that they want to emphasize that the women’s division will be given more attention, and deserves to be up beside big names like the last two picks. I personally thought that they should have kept the female wrestlers out of the draft due to the small amount of them, or limit them to one brand, so it will be interesting to see how they will handle TV with a smaller number of women’s wrestlers per show.
Smackdown: Pick #4: AJ Styles
AJ Styles is the first pick on this draft that isn’t in a title shot on Sunday, as he is set for a 6-man tag match with The Club, against Enzo Amore, Big Cass and John Cena. AJ Styles is a good addition to the Smackdown show, because he can show how great in-ring he is, without having to be very promo oriented. Now people at this point will probably ask me “Why do you think that Smackdown will be more in-ring oriented?” and it’s because, RAW has always had something that Smackdown hasn’t and that’s 20 minute long in-ring promos to start off the show. And as signs show later, Styles is one of the only extremely big names to join Smackdown.
RAW: Pick #5: Finn Balor (NXT)
RAW gets the final pick for the first round, and it makes the biggest splash out of all of the picks so far. It’s The Demon, Finn Balor. Now Finn has been teasing moving up to the main roster for a LONG time, so it is nice to see that Finn has finally been called up. I do think that it was nice to have him in the last pick for this round, because there was certainly some suspense building up as the picks continued.
RAW: Pick #6: Roman Reigns
The Guy, Roman Reigns, who is currently suspended gets picked right out of the gates of the second round. Roman is the third and final competitor of the main event on Sunday for the WWE Championship. It was expected that Roman would be on a roster at this point, and him being on RAW means that there is still room for another Shield rivalry in the future. I am just happy that they have moved Dean from the two, because the Shield rivalries have really been milked dry, and WWE needs to move on with the three and be a little more creative with feud ideas for the trio.
Smackdown: Pick #7: John Cena
Now this is something I did not expect. John Cena, someone who has been on exclusively RAW for the past 5-6 years, is moving to Smackdown. Now this isn’t the same case as a few years ago when he got drafted to Smackdown but then drafted back to RAW, he’s staying on Smackdown this time. I mentioned it in my Smackdown review, and I still think he is a great selection because he is still the biggest draw for TV and House Shows, and being on Smackdown will really help Smackdown survive. After tonight it seems like Smackdown might need some help getting up off the ground, and Cena is the right name to do that.
RAW: Pick #8: Brock Lesnar
The Beast Incarnate, gets picked by RAW right after, which seemed like a throwaway due to the small amount of appearances he makes every year. Since he only does matches on PPV’s, he could totally just face anyone that WWE sets him up with. Can’t he just go to whatever brand he wants? That would be very Brock-like.
Smackdown: Pick #9: Randy Orton
Right after Orton’s Summerslam opponent gets picked, he does! Orton gets picked to Smackdown, which means that we most likely won’t get a rematch against Lesnar after Summerslam. There is not much to say about this pick, due to how Orton has not done much in the past year.
RAW: Pick #10: New Day (Whole Group)
The final pick goes to RAW in round 2, and they pick the best group of 3 in the WWE, The New Day! The New Day are the first tag team to be drafted, and I sense a similar issue that the Women’s Division might get will happen with the Tag Team Division too. If both divisions had been cut from the show, we might have been able to fit all of the picks on the TV show!
RAW: Pick #11: Sami Zayn
Round 3 rolls by and we see the midcarders get brought into the draft, starting with Sami Zayn. Sami goes on RAW, and so does Kevin Owens later, which defeats the whole purpose of the rivalry they are currently having. The whole premise of the rivalry is that “they might never fight eachother again”, so they should settle their scores before the draft effects them. Well, they ARE on the same team, and that ruins the whole upcoming match.
Smackdown: Pick #12: Bray Wyatt
Bray Wyatt, the face of evil becomes the second pick of round 2, and the commentators specify that The Wyatt Family are all going to be selected separately. This was a bad idea, because The Wyatts have been missing since Wrestlemania when they got buried by The Rock, and just now they are getting their act together. As a plus side, they could reinvent some of the group if they split up, and give a spotlight to some of them that did not speak much in the past (Luke Harper, Erick Rowan, Braun Stroman).
RAW: Pick #13: Sasha Banks
10 picks after the first female wrestler is picked, the second one comes in, being Sasha Banks. Sasha Banks is a good selection because most likely her recent rivalry with Charlotte will probably end with a title match, and Sasha has never really gotten too many singles match opportunities since she broke up with Team BAD. The worry does still remain that Smackdown will lack any female talent because of the draft.
Smackdown: Pick #14: Becky Lynch
Smackdown responds to RAW’s pick of Banks by taking Becky Lynch and making her the first female wrestler to be drafted by Smackdown this year. This was a good pick, because they couldn’t have kept big names like Banks and Lynch too far back in the draft.
RAW: Pick #15: Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho gets picked as the final entree for round 3 of the draft, and is a good addition to RAW. There certainly is enough young blood on the RAW roster that has not feuded with Jericho yet that would make a great rivalry, like Finn Balor.
Now that the first 3 rounds are done, a paragraph will be written recapping my thoughts on every round, because not every pick matters past this point.
#16: Rusev (w/ Lana) #17: The Miz (w/ Maryse) #18: Kevin Owens #19: Baron Corbin #20: Enzo & Big Cass
This round pointed out that the US Championship that Rusev holds will be RAW’s belt, and The Miz’s IC Title will be Smackdown’s. This makes lot’s of sense to do, and it will help give more meaning to Smackdown. Not much to say about Corbin, Owens, Enzo and Cass.
#21. Gallows and Anderson #22. American Alpha (NXT) #23. Big Show #24. Dolph Ziggler #25. Nia Jax (NXT)
Gallows & Anderson get separated from AJ Styles, as he was drafted earlier in the show to Smackdown. I think that it seemed too early to separate the group, but AJ did a good enough job at helping boost up the tag team up until now. American Alpha get drafted to Smackdown, being the second group of NXT call-ups from this draft, with Nia Jax being in this round too. I think that American Alpha were very ready to be drafted, and Nia Jax might have needed more NXT time, but they did have to take as many women’s wrestlers for NXT to have a decent number per brand.
#26. Neville #27. Natalya #28. Cesaro #29. Alberto Del Rio #30. Sheamus
This group was not that interesting, with Neville being the only stand-out. He is certainly going to be one of the biggest names to be included in the new Cruiserweight Division that Stephanie McMahon mentioned on Monday. Can’t wait for him to come back.
#31. Golden Truth #32. The Usos #33. Titus O’Neil #34. Demon Kane #35. Paige
Smackdown went off air after the last round of the draft, but continued on WWE Network with this round. The Golden Truth get drafted next, going to RAW, which makes them on the same brand as the New Day. If the Golden Truth pick up their in-ring chemistry, then I can really see a title shot in the future. The Usos get added to Smackdown, which seems to be the home of “decent” tag teams, and Paige gets added to the big list of women’s wrestlers on RAW.
#36. Darren Young (with Bob Backlund) #37. Kalisto #38. Sin Cara #39. Naomi #40. Jack Swagger #41. The Ascension
Nothing too special about this round, except Darren Young gets drafted to RAW. RAW is the US Title brand, and he gets a IC Title shot this Sunday. This may be a sign that The Miz will bury Darren right out of the gates, which seems like a terrible idea. I hope this is not the case.
#42. The Dudley Boyz #43. Zack Ryder #44. Summer Rae #45. Apollo Crews #46. Mark Henry #47. Alexa Bliss (NXT)
Another NXT pick comes in as Alexa Bliss in this round, and this is a good name to add to Smackdown because there is a big lacking of women’s talent there. The picks for Smackdown in the women’s division really pick up around here, with a few more coming in after this round. Zack Ryder gets put on Smackdown, possibly meaning that he will lose to Rusev this weekend, because Rusev is on RAW with the US Title. OR, both Darren and Zack win, and both titles switch sides. I personally think that the second option is the more wise.
#48. Braun Strowman #49. Breezango #50. Bo Dallas #51. Eva Marie #52. Shining Stars #53. The Vaudevillains
We get lots of tag team picks in this round, including Breezango, The Shining Stars and The Vaudevilliains, but the more surprising part to me is that Eva Marie has found a way back up to the main card. We last saw her at Wrestlemania on the Pre-Show, but to most people’s knowledge she was still an NXT wrestler. WWE did not acknowledge her as a NXT wrestler, so maybe the Wrestlemania Pre-Show was her official push.
#54. Alicia Fox #55. Erick Rowan #56. Dana Brooke #57. Mojo Rawley (NXT) #58. Curtis Axel #59. Carmella (NXT)
And now, the final round of the draft picks. In this round, we get two more NXT picks, those being Carmella and Mojo Rawley, and there is something to point out about each one. Firstly, Mojo Rawley is on the same brand as Zack Ryder, which means after Zack’s title feud with Rusev ends, we could possibly see the Hype Bros on the main roster. And, with Enzo and Cass on RAW, we will sadly not see Carmella with them as she has been drafted to Smackdown.
And not drafted, Heath Slater
Well that wraps everything up! We saw lots of picks last night and lots of information to digest. I hope that this article may have worked as an antidote to the very fast show that was put on by WWE last night. Don’t forget to catch all of the reviews and breakdowns for upcoming WWE events coming up on We Write Wrestling!