WWE Draft 2016 Review

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I made an earlier post predicting the RAW and SmackDown rosters for the brand split. Let’s take a look at where I (or the WWE) went right or wrong.

Draft Order

  1. Seth Rollins (RAW): I predicted he’d end up on RAW and am a fan of him going #1 to establish that he is one of the top guys in the WWE.
  2. Dean Ambrose (SmackDown): Originally I had him on RAW to continue his feuds with his former Shield members. His feud with Rollins will end and I think a grudge feud between him and Reigns would be entertaining. There should be fresh feuds for him on Smackdown.
  3. Charlotte (RAW): I had Charlotte on RAW because she has proven she deserves to be on the “flagship” show. I didn’t expect her to be drafted as early as she was.
  4. AJ Styles (SmackDown): I assumed he’d be one of the main guys on Smackdown and I’m happy to see he is. I remain stunned at how Styles has been booked on television as a top guy. SmackDown had the reputation as the “B-Show” that primarily features wrestling, so it makes sense for them to be led by a guy who is a tremendous wrestler, always fighting with a chip on his shoulder to prove he is the best.
  5. Finn Balor (RAW): I, like many, predicted Balor was coming up but I didn’t see him going to RAW or being drafted as high as he was. I’m delighted to be wrong.
  6. Roman Reigns (RAW): He was always going to lead RAW and be drafted early regardless of circumstance.
  7. John Cena (SmackDown): I like Cena going to SmackDown as I predicted and I also like that he wasn’t immediately drafted. Go check out what he said at the Draft Centre on the Network to see what he has in store for SmackDown.
  8. Brock Lesnar (RAW): Similar reasoning to Reigns.
  9. Randy Orton (SmackDown): I had Orton going to SmackDown. My assumption is veteran star power will help make SmackDown must see. I hope it doesn’t have the reverse effect.
  10. The New Day (RAW): I had all three members on RAW and not splitting up. I hope they can travel between both brands as long as they are champion because the tag division on either brand is not very deep.
  11. Sami Zayn (RAW): I had Zayn on RAW because the three hour show needed guys who can put on entertaining and competitive matches. I anticipated some other guys on his level being on SmackDown so that he could easily elevate to the next level and hopefully the main event scene but that wasn’t the case as we’ll see.
  12. Bray Wyatt (SmackDown): I had Bray on RAW because I knew more times than not I’ll be tuning into RAW and not SmackDown. He is my favourite wrestler and so I’ll have to keep up with what he is doing on his show. The Wyatt Family is splitting up again and other than Luke Harper who is still out with injury, I worry for Stroman and Rowan.
  13. Sasha Banks (RAW): Sasha brings even more star power to RAW. SmackDown could have used Sasha as one of the top 3 faces of their brand. I’m glad I’ll see her on RAW but SmackDown should have drafted her once Charlotte was picked.
  14. Becky Lynch (SmackDown): I had Becky remaining on RAW but now she is the face of SmackDown’s women’s division. Perhaps the strategy was to create opportunity for Becky to prove she is a star and not simply draft one (refer to above).
  15. Chris Jericho (RAW): RAW has and will always be Jericho.
  16. Rusev w/Lana (RAW): I assumed it would go this way with the United States Championship being on RAW and the Intercontinental Championship being on SmackDown.
  17. Miz w/Maryse (SmackDown): Refer to above.
  18. Kevin Owens (RAW): I am not a fan of how late Owens was drafted and that he is on RAW with Sami Zayn. These two should have been separated. Also Owens will most likely remain in the same spot he was in prior to the draft. At least on SmackDown, he’d be among the top guys instantly. Bray being on SmackDown can lead to him being the top babyface on that brand. I thought Owens would have that same fortune but now he is on RAW behind each guy drafted before him if that is an indication to the WWE mindset.
  19. Baron Corbin (SmackDown): I thought Corbin would be on RAW because I assumed more eyes would see him on this show rather than SmackDown. He has opportunity to be a top heel on SmackDown and so I hope he seizes the opportunity.
  20. Enzo & Big Cass (RAW): They are the highlight of three hour RAWs every week and the show would have suffered a major loss if they ended up on SmackDown.
  21. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson (RAW): I had these two on RAW but the Club had been doing some great work as a faction that I didn’t think WWE would separate them. I hope they don’t flounder. My idea was that if the Tag champs can go between both shows that would give added incentive for these guys to win the belts and join AJ on SmackDown to…beat up John Cena! If not, perhaps we see the formation of the Balor Club?
  22. American Alpha (SmackDown): YES! These guys have made it to the main roster and are another reason for me to make time to watch SmackDown. As stated numerous times already, I’m unsure how the championships will work out but this team is new blood and will dominate the tag division shortly!
  23. Big Show (RAW): I had him on SmackDown simply because he’s on the roster and really don’t see him factoring into any major storylines. He was drafted earlier than he needed to be.
  24. Dolph Ziggler (SmackDown): Is it too late for Ziggler to finally be one of the main guys? No Zayn, Owens, Cesaro or Jericho on this show, perhaps now he can ascend. The WWE creative and powers that be have really hurt this guy’s perception in the eyes of fans.
  25. Nia Jax (RAW): Wow! Did not expect her to make it to the main roster this quickly. With less women on the RAW brand she won’t necessarily flounder but with Charlotte and Sasha as your leaders, she’ll have to work harder to remain a player in the division.
  26. Neville (RAW): I had him on SmackDown because whenever he was on RAW he never appeared to be in meaningful matches or storylines. He may be a part of the launching the Cruiserweight division on RAW and if so, he’s on the right show.
  27. Natalya (SmackDown): I had her on SmackDown because both shows should have an equal balance on strong female wrestlers.
  28. Cesaro (RAW): I had him on SmackDown for the exact reasons he stated in his backstage interview.
  29. Alberto Del Rio (SmackDown): I had him on RAW simply to balance out the number of wrestlers on both brands. I am not a fan but I wish him success on SmackDown.
  30. Sheamus (RAW): I had him on SmackDown for similar reasons to Owens, Neville, Cesaro and Del Rio; to re-invent, be meaningful, avoid being disgruntled and a body on the roster.
  31. Golden Truth (RAW): The kick off to announced picks on Draft Center LIVE. I would have broken up this team because I don’t care about them.
  32. The Usos (SmackDown): I had them going to SmackDown. They are an exciting team and I am looking forward to a future encounter with American Alpha.
  33. Titus O’Neil (RAW): I had him on RAW but with all the talent that remains, I don’t see any change of how he’ll be showcased.
  34. Kane (SmackDown): This is where Big Show should have been drafted as well. These guys won’t be around much longer so why make either a priority pick.
  35. Paige (RAW): I had her on whatever brand Del Rio was going to be on. She was drafted way too late and I fear how this will affect her confidence because she is still among the top women in the division.
  36. Darren Young w/Bob Backlund (RAW): I had him on SmackDown because I fear once the WWE loses interest in this gimmick he will be lost in the shuffle behind all those drafted ahead of him.
  37. Kalisto (SmackDown): He`ll be doing his lucha thing!
  38. Sin Cara (RAW): It’s okay that they broke up the Lucha Dragons but what is the reasoning to have Sin Cara as a featured Cruiserweight over Kalisto?
  39. Naomi (SmackDown): I’m glad she’s with the Usos on SmackDown, the women’s division on this show is up for grabs if she wants it bad enough.
  40. Jack Swagger (RAW): I had him on RAW but in the same role he’s had for months now.
  41. The Ascension (SmackDown): The tag division was crowded but they’ll have to match the level of the Usos and American Alpha; easier said than done.
  42. The Dudley Boyz (RAW): Will Bubba get to shine as a single’s star on the “flagship” show?
  43. Zack Ryder (SmackDown): I had him on RAW because I felt they were getting behind him and similarly to Corbin I wanted him to be on the show that potentially will get more viewers. That being said there’s opportunity for him to shine on SmackDown.
  44. Summer Rae (RAW): I had her on SmackDown but in the same spot she’s in now.
  45. Apollo Crews (SmackDown): WHY WAS HE DRAFTED THIS LATE?!? I hope he moves up the card on SmackDown. For his sake, I was in favour of a brand split. There isn’t as much competition on SmackDown so maybe he’s ascend ahead of many drafted before him.
  46. Mark Henry (RAW): Similar reasoning to Kane.
  47. Alexa Bliss (SmackDown): Good for her. She certainly was improving on NXT but never got any major storylines there. I think she’ll be a major player in this division in due time.
  48. Braun Strowman (RAW): I fear how he’ll do on his own.
  49. Breezango (SmackDown): I like this team and I think they’ll be a fun team in there with the Usos and American Alpha.
  50. Bo Dallas (RAW): At least with the Social Outcasts we knew what to expect on a three hour RAW.
  51. Eva Marie (SmackDown): Totally forgot she got drafted. Totally forgot she’s been broken away from Nia Jax.
  52. Shining Stars (RAW): It was a matter of where their vignettes would show; it will be on Monday nights.
  53. The Vaudevillains (SmackDown): Refer to the Ascension.
  54. Alicia Fox (RAW): Refer to Jack Swagger.
  55. Erick Rowan (SmackDown): At least he has Bray on SmackDown with him as a fallback if the vintner gimmick fails for a second time.
  56. Dana Brooke (RAW): I thought the WWE was high on her but she got drafted late. At least she remains with Charlotte.
  57. Mojo Rawley (SmackDown): Wow! We’ll see how he fairs. The track record for guys like him (Matt Morgan, Bam Neely, Ezekiel Jackson, Ryback)  isn’t too good. If he forms the Hype Bros it will prolong his longevity in the company.
  58. Curtis Axel (RAW): The least entertaining of the Social Outcasts. On his own, I fear how he’ll do.
  59. Carmella (SmackDown): I love that she got drafted by why is she separate from Enzo and Big Cass?

 

Overall impressions? They stocked the 3-hour show with as many stars as they could so that viewers won’t lose interest. That being said SmackDown has a solid core but I think there is more opportunity for some guys on this roster to change their standing on the card. Also, other than Balor and American Alpha I am surprised by the NXT draft picks. The commentary teams have also changed with Corey Graves now being a RAW announcer and JBL and Otunga on SmackDown. Lastly, we’ll see how championship titles and trades are handled. Week 1 of this “new era” begins after Battleground so we’ll see how they make all this work!

 

 

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