The long rumored and highly anticipated WWE Draft is here, as the future of the WWE’s two respective brands, RAW and Smackdown, will be decided. This is the first time the brands will have exclusive superstars since the summer R-Truth was in the main event. That’s what’s up.
The Cruiserweight Championship will be brought back exclusively on RAW. Does this mean that the Women’s Championship will be on Smackdown?
In the interest of time I won’t go through every single pick that will take place during the 2 hours of Smackdown live AND the extra hour afterwards on the WWE Network, because if I had to go through all 58 eligible superstars I’d have to cover more than a dilapidated boat.
The #1 pick in the draft is…
Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins!
This one seems like a no-brainer. Seth Rollins was the top star on RAW for most of 2015 before he got injured and seems to be everyone’s pick to go #1. His history with Stephanie McMahon and The Authority also plays a big factor. Also, can’t you just imagine Seth Rollins boasting about being the #1 pick? I sure can.. Heh heh heh.
Next you would assume that Smackdown get their two picks. Stephanie McMahon gets what she wants however, as RAW will get three picks for every two Smackdown picks. Not settling for just #1, Steph manages to get #2 and #3 by the order of Vince McMahon, further emphasizing Smackdown as the underdog and also makes sure that…
…the former members of The Shield stays on the same brand. It wouldn’t make sense to separate the three guys as they are about to enter their long-awaited feud to settle who the better member was. If Smackdown were to get the next picks, it wouldn’t make sense to pass up on Dean Ambrose as he (likely) is the current title holder.
This also gives Stephanie McMahon a chance to declare that the WWE Championship stays on RAW, seeing as she will have all 3 guys battling for the title at Battleground. Fear not however, as Shane McMahon has plans to bring back the World Heavyweight Championship and he has already booked the first title match for it with his 2 picks:
The feud between these two guys is about to heat up and it does in a major way with the World Heavyweight Championship in the mix. Being the 4th pick further cements AJ Styles’ status as a main eventer in the WWE. John Cena is still the face of the WWE and gives Smackdown the star power it needs. Cena vs Styles for the WHC is a main event that can rival the Shield triple threat, whether it is on Battleground or Summerslam. Speaking of Summerslam…
With the next few picks, RAW lands “The Beast”, “The Conquerer” and the formerly reigning defending Undisputed WWE Heavyweight Champion of the World, Brock Lesnar and his opponent Randy Orton. This is a high selection for Orton, who has been injured for a while, but it’s a way to legitimize him straight away as a big time player before his inevitable loss to Lesnar at Summerslam.
RAW also adds The New Day, a big attraction and premiere tag team who bring their W W E World Tag Team Championships *insert gyration*
Smackdown is up next with two championship caliber picks:
Charlotte brings her flair and the newly introduced Women’s Championship to Smackdown as a really high pick. The WWE seek to legitimize their female wrestlers and using a high draft pick on their current champion makes a lot of sense.
The show also needs more male main eventers, so Finn Bálor is added, setting up a possible future feud with AJ Styles at the top of the card. The WWE are said to be really high on “The Demon” and will push him to the top of the card faster than a speeding bullet.
Shinsuke Nakamura has taken NXT by storm and already looks like a superstar. At this point RAW needs some up and coming talent and get that in this part of the draft with 3 potential WWE Champions. Kevin Owens falls down to #12, which will surely make him mad, but as we know, mad Kevin Owens is the best Kevin Owens. He can take some solace in the fact that he got picked before the next pick for Smackdown:
Sami Zayn has kind of become a forgotten man in the WWE at this point. Just like in kayfabe he has been stuck on Kevin Owens so long that people have forgotten his fantastic run to the top of NXT. The Zayn vs Owens feud is set to last for many many years as they will probably fight forever, but for now it feels like a good thing to get them on separate brands.
Sasha Banks is another crowd favorite and further strengthens the women’s division. The goal is to in the end set up a showdown between the “Four Horsewomen” and with 2 out of 4 added to Smackdown that vision is not far away.
The Miz who recently said on a podcast that he’d be mad if he was selected after #5, finally gets picked. The IC title stays on RAW (even if Darren Young somehow wins it, hint hint). With the announcement of the Cruiserweight Division coming back, it makes sense to put the best Cruiserweights available on RAW and for now, that would be Kalisto and Neville. They will have to carry the division until the WWE signs some more wrestlers from the CWC tournament that started last Wednesday.
To even out the championships, Rusev (& Lana) go to Smackdown with the US title in hand. Rusev can become a main eventer eventually and has only scratched the surface of his potential in the WWE. Smackdown also gets more star power with Enzo & Big Cass unless the WWE decides to split them up. Even though I’m not their biggest fan, I think splitting them at this point would be a bad idea, so expect the WWE to do just that…
This is the “Ugh, these guys…” section of the draft. The Usos stay on the same brand as their cousin Roman Reigns and hopefully turn heel with him to challenge The New Day. Sheamus is a solid worker, even if he has become sort of stale through the years. Baron Corbin has also become sort of stale, in a matter of a few months… sooo… make of that what you will.
If the last 3 picks made you down, then this will surely fire you right back up. Adding the third of the 4 Horsewomen in the happy, go-lucky underdog Bayley. Smackdown also add Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, the tag team also known as “The
Bullet Club”. They will surely play a part in a feud between Smackdown stars AJ Styles and Finn Bálor.
RAW adds more depth in the roster here with veteran Chris Jericho. Darren Young seems to have found a nice gimmick that can help him become a solid mid-carder. Watch out for a potential “shocking” title win vs The Miz at Battleground. Apollo Crews might need a solid gimmick to make his mark on the full time roster. That or maybe he is better served back at the (now suddenly depleted) NXT roster. Crews has had a rough start, but on RAW he doesn’t have to be compared to other indie darlings who have progressed quicker than him. Speaking of needing quicker progress:
With a much smaller roster at the main event and the upper mid card level on Smackdown, it might finally be time for Cesaro to step into the limelight. Cesaro is my favorite wrestler, and it pains me to put him as low as #28 in the draft. In a way it does make sense though, as Cesaro has somehow become an underdog even though he is the
pound for pound strongest man in the WWE. The strongest woman in the WWE might be Nia Jax, and she has been rumored to get a call up to the main roster. She endured 2 surprising loses in NXT against Bayley and Asuka, but prepare for her to make a big impact once she debuts on Smackdown.
RAW continues to add solid workers at this point, even if the crowd has become tired with all 3 of them. Dolph can work solid matches with basically anyone and steal the show on some nights. Kane will likely be more involved with Stephanie McMahon and Seth Rollins, either as “Demon Kane” or “Corporate Kane”, we are all oh so excited about that… Then there’s Del Rio.
For the final 2 picks in the televised draft, Smackdown gets another high profile young tag team in American Alpha and a potential upper mid-carder in Hideo Itami. 3 world class in-ring competitors to ensure that Smackdown is the wrestling show Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan wants it to be.
Drafting the two WWE rosters is a very tough task and I am highly curious to see how the WWE books it. There are still some 20 picks left to go, maybe even 30 if they bring back some old or new talent. I didn’t split any tag teams, but I fully believe WWE will split at least one. Maybe it’s time to see Bully Ray in the WWE? Tyler Breeze could be a star on Smackdown, but Breezango are off to a great start despite their unoriginal team name (how about Gorgeous Liaisons?).
The brand split has at least made the WWE compete with itself since TNA is nearing it’s final deletion. It’s ovah!