So last night, as you may be aware, this whole draft thing went down. Stephanie and Shane McMahon took a big knife and split the WWE cake into two separate pieces so they wouldn’t have to share any with each other, and now we once again are presented with a chaotic and fascinating brand split, which will send shock waves through the months and years to come. If you were like me, you eagerly tuned in to see who would go where, and just how Smackdown would manage to pull off a draft that would get them back in the game and make them a viable competitor to the unstoppable megalith that is Raw. And then, if you are also like me, you kept right on waiting.
It’s not that the draft they did was baaaaaad, per say. It’s just that it lacked a certain clarity of vision. Smackdown got a bunch of people and Raw got a bunch of people, and at the end of it, I was left with the impression that an opportunity was missed to really make a go of this thing. So I hoisted myself off the couch, dislodged the cap who was peacefully sleeping on my face, and dusted off the old keyboard to give this thing a genuine go. Indeed, to take my rightful place as THE DRAFT CZAR.
Got My Bowling Ball With The Cross, Got My Pokey Stick. READY.
Here are the ground rules. I am operating this draft by all of the rules that WWE did during theirs. Tag teams are together as units, managers and valets get to jump brands with their clients, and 6 NXT stars MUST be drafted. In addition, the picks are in blocks of 5, with Raw getting 3 and Smackdown getting 2, because Raw is the longer show. I also, could not draft people who are not actively with the company, (no Bobby Lashley :(,) and I could not change people’s contracts to suit my needs, (no Samoa Joe.)
With all of those rules in mind, and with the very clear aim of constructing a Smackdown capable of taking on Raw, and a Raw capable of growing business to another level, here we gooooooo!
Monday Night Raw Pick 1: Seth Rollins
This is unquestionably the right choice for a number of reasons, and for a lot of the same reasons that dictated how many drafts operated back when the process first started back in the early 00s. Seth Rollins is the top heel in WWE, by a very, VERY substantial margin. He has a ton of momentum, has potential fresh matchups with pretty much everyone who isn’t John Cena or a fellow Shield member, and clearly has the ability to be in several segments a night and keep people’s attention while driving storylines. He’s also the ideal choice for the first pick because it only contributes further to the career long feud between Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns, and presents kayfabe evidence of Rollins’ superiority.
In many cases here, the draft order isn’t necessarily going to represent how great the performer is, so much as what the can contribute to the new identities of each show, as well as creating a competition narrative between the two brands. Luckily here that’s not an issue. Rollins is number one and he’s picked number one.
Tuesday Night Smackdown: Dean Ambrose
Here, WWE made the right choice again, and not just because Ambrose is actively the WWE Champion. The important thing to realize about this whole situation is that Smackdown is such an underdog in any sort of actual measurable conflict, that no wrestling fan is going to take that brand seriously as an alternative to Raw. Hell, it’s a laughable idea, and has been for all but about 3 years of Smackdown’s run as a show. So if we’re going to craft an identity for that show, then it has to be focused and absolutely clear to fans. Raw can continue being pretty much exactly what it is, but Smackdown has to be a show that is designed from the top down to be a lovable underdog that fans weary of Raw will turn to and champion, much as they have NXT.
Having Shane and Bryan in leadership roles is a fantastic start, and making Dean the first pick further drives that point home. He is not the talent that Rollins, Reigns or Cena are. He just isn’t. But he represents something to the fan base at large that they can’t. We can craft an unpredictable, fresh identity with him at the top.
Monday Night Raw: Charlotte
I know that to this point the draft has been exactly the same as the real one. Don’t worry, drastic changes are coming. But these first 3 picks are dead on. They made a point on the show to make it clear to fans that this new era where the women are focused on is not going away, and drafting Charlotte as a prestige pick is a meaningful one. While Charlotte was part of that underdog group of women fighting for recognition a few months ago, she has now become entrenched as a constant presence on Raw, and is better suited there.
The good thing about Charlotte is that you can build brand new babyfaces by putting them against her and they won’t have to win. For a division that is splitting and will need to introduce several new faces, this is invaluable.
Tuesday Night Smackdown: Sasha Banks
This is where that competition narrative comes into play. There are two major stars in the women’s division right now. There is the dominant champion who gets 5 segments a week and then there’s the charismatic fan favorite who never seems to get her due. Each of these women is tailor made for the show that I have assigned her to, and Sasha is absolutely capable of being the headliner of her own division, and her style will line up beautifully with my other plans for the roster. Meanwhile, on the draft show, it’s also a way for Smackdown to get back at Raw for their pick, while showing that each show will be equal in terms of star power across all divisions.
I’m not sure if this was really a good time to separate the division in two, as there are really only 6 or 7 viable women in it right now, but if you’re going to do this you absolutely CAN NOT let one division flounder without a face for years while you throw shit against a wall. This is a lesson they should have learned from the last brand split.
Monday Night Raw: Finn Balor
The was the smartest thing that WWE did all night.
By presenting the draft in 5 pick blocks, they got a lot of picks crammed onto the show and maximized how much reactions they would get on social media at the end of each spurt. But by putting Balor here, at the end of the first block, they ensured that social media would light up through the first match with people asking who he was, or freaking out that his time had come. This was very carefully orchestrated by WWE, who have been maneuvering Balor towards this in NXT for at least 6 months, and was marvelously done.
I have already seen people saying that he should have gone to Smackdown, with little justification beyond that being the “smark show”. The idea here is not to turn Smackdown into NXT. No casual fan will watch that. You have to have stars, and we’re going to let the PERCEPTION of underdog status do most of the footwork there. It’s going to be work to get Smackdown over as a brand AND get over a bunch of fresh faces at the same time. As excited as we get for new faces, it is a proven fact that it takes months for the general audience to fully accept and get behind each new arrival. Larger fan consideration takes months to build, and a ready made star like Balor needs the stability of Raw to be all that he can be from the start.
He’s going to be a huge, huge star. Like, silly huge.
Monday Night Raw: John Cena
I get what they’re doing by trying to put Cena on Smackdown. I do. They’re gently phasing him out of his role as the breadwinner for the company, while putting him on the show that needs to draw viewers, since he’s the only proven person who noticeably affects viewership numbers with his presence. But Smackdown is the wrong choice for Big John.
Even now, as he has won pretty universal respect and acclaim from even the most hardened cynics, John Cena is not meant for Smackdown. He is the smiling face of this company until he hangs it up, and he needs to be on Raw. He is so willing to work with new faces, and he is so happy to have long midcard matches, that he will help to make up for the fact that a lot of the true up and coming midcard talents are headed the blue way. Having John Cena around can help to hide a lot of issues, and you don’t need to look further than his United States title run to see how much he can bring to a situation, even if all he has to work with is Zack Ryder.
He deserves for Raw to be his show in much the same way that Smackdown was the Undertaker’s show. The fact that it works out great in terms of reinforcing our brand identity is just icing on the cake.
Tuesday Night Smackdown: The New Day
One thing that was missing from the actual draft this year, that they got right back in 2002, was the paranoia by the GMs about being left out in the cold in terms of not having any champions on the roster. Realistically, we all know that the US title will go on one show and the Intercontinental on another, and that they’ll debut new titles for everything else, but that’s the real life side of things. In the story they’re presenting that is not a clear certainty at all, and it would have to be a major concern. After all, there could easily be a situation where Battleground comes and goes and the champion of your brand is Zack Ryder.
Man, that’s 2 shots at Zack Ryder already. Sorry, Zack!
That brings us to the tag team champions, and a tremendous act in general, in the New Day. At the end of the day, no matter how much I chirp on about “brand identity” you’re going to need to get people on the show who fans actually want to see. Enter these three, who have endless potential as opponents for so many teams, and also for singles runs when they eventual split up in some way. Big E and Xavier have major singles runs in them down the road, so not only is this going to drive eyes to Smackdown in the short term, but it’s also an investment in the future, and 3 picks for the price of one. When you’re handicapped by these rules about picks, that’s insanely important.
Monday Night Raw: Brock Lesnar
I doubt he would have agreed to wrestle on Smackdown anyway, and his status is more than a little up in the air with this drug test situation. Putting him here is a prestige pick that let’s Raw crow about getting the biggest stars, while basically punting the next real pick off the Smackdown to help even the odds. It’s important that we present Shane and Daniel as being smarter and shreweder than Mick and Stephanie, so that we begin to believe that they could actually win against the staggering odds ahead of them. Flashy but dumb picks, like this one, help in that regard.
Tuesday Night Smackdown: Randy Orton
Alright, this is where i’m going to lose some of you.
Again, let me reiterate, this is NOT going to be a blue version of NXT, where I pick nobody but smark favorites and throw them in dream matches every week until the well runs dry and the brand goes in the tank. This brand needs someone who any average fan would have no trouble seeing as the equal to the people we’re putting on Raw. It’s clear that down the road, they’re going to do things to pit the brands against one another, and if it’s John Cena on one side and Sami Zayn on the other, it’s not going to work in the near future.
So we bring in Orton, who isn’t nearly the dominating presence that Cena is, to be our ringer, and to give guys like Dean Ambrose a major threat to compete against, so we don’t fall into the trap that early Smackdown did, by having weaksauce title matches presented next to Raw main events that blew them out of the water.
How Randy fits in long term is really up to Randy. It’s hard to say what he is as a commodity at this point in his career. But he’ll help us take the first step with Smackdown.
Monday Night Raw: Sami Zayn
This will certainly be presented on the show as a stinging blow to Smackdown, as Zayn is such a poster boy for the underdog gimmick we’re creating there. But at the end of the day, Zayn fits better on Raw, which will be in need of some fresh babyfaces who are on their way up the card, and where he can get the maximum eyes on him as he wrestles middle of the show main events.
The truth about guys like Sami Zayn is that they absolutely can get over, but that it takes work, which is why WWE pushed monsters for so many years first. Big guys get a reaction the second they walk through the curtain, but those reactions are hard to sustain. Little, talented guys take a long time to sell to fans, because they have to see the plucky little guy wrestle and fight and work and have great match after great match before the respect him. Once the respect comes, you have something sustainable that you can run with for years and years. Just look at Bryan, Benoit, Ziggler, Michaels, etc. There were multiple years of growing pains for each of them as they worked and worked and worked to sell themselves beyond individual segments until finally, fans couldn’t help but respect them. If that’s what it’s going to take with Zayn, then Raw is the best place to speed up that process, and Rollins is the ideal foil for him at the end of the rainbow.
Monday Night Raw: Bayley
Right now, down in NXT, WWE is sitting on a female John Cena. It’s hard to overstate how fortunate it is for WWE that, after having set up and established a true women’s division for the first time in their history, they are now ideally situated for a woman to be called up who could be remembered as the top female wrestler in WWE history 20 years from now. Not because she’s the most talents, (she’s very good but there are many who are better,) or because she’s the most charismatic or any of that. Because she is the first babyface hero that the women’s division has had since Alundra Blayze. Previously, to be a face in the women’s division, you had to either be an anti-hero or a victim. But into the vacuum caused by the draft comes Bayley to feud with Charlotte and create something special for the long term.
Now, I am aware that Bayley is almost certainly Sasha’s planned mystery partner at Battleground. And she can REMAIN Sasha’s mystery partner, but that is all wrong as a way to debut her. WWE has been debuting NXT stars as if they are fresh signings from WCW that 10 million people have been watching every week, and expecting fans to just go along with their gimmicks as if they’ve been there and watched them form and develop over the years. So when they arrive, they’re coming in with characters that aren’t getting properly explained or sold, and a few of them are falling flat on their faces despite obvious talent, (Emma, anyone?) We’re not doing that. I want Bayley in front of every camera I get get her in front of, selling the hugging gimmick from the word go, and making a new audience of little girls fall in love with her instead of depending on the old one.
Tuesday Night Smackdown: AJ Styles
Breaking up the Club is fucking stupid.
They just brought them in, the just started getting them over, and now they’ve been separated arbitrarily to prove that ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN IN THE DRAFT. We’re not going to be doing that, (small spoilers for later pick.) AJ Styles to Smackdown is an obvious fit though, for sure. He’s a workhorse god, has truly found himself as a dickhead heel with a stable at his back, and can easily main event for Smackdown on and off for the rest of his career. He’s one of those pieces that opens up so many possibilities for you, as he can wrestle anyone in any way and make it work. And he’ll have the chance to stay near the top of the card, for as long as he wants to.
Monday Night Raw: Enzo and Big Cass
They’ve crafted a relationship with Cena that fans seem to enjoy, they can headline a new tag division on Raw, but more importantly, they get separated from the New Day. Enzo and Cass and the New Day really fill the same role off these shows each week. Fans love the catchphrases, they have a funny and entertaining midcard match, and they keep the show light and moving along when it would normally bog down towards the middle. You need an act like that on both shows, filling that extremely important role, and Enzo and Big Cass are already growing into major fan favorites. Easy pick.
Tuesday Night Smackdown: The Miz (w/Maryse)
Well, somebody on this show needs to be able to cut a promo. Sheesh.
Seriously though, the Intercontinental title, for all that it has been dragged through the mud for years now, is still a prestige title to a lot of fans. Miz is a perfect midcard antagonist to any bright new up and comer who comes along, and this now leaves Smackdown with 3 titles, while Raw only has one. Shane and Daniel get another one up on Mick and Steph.
Speaking of which, you may have noticed that nobody has taken Roman Reigns yet. I want that to be a major talking point on the show, with the announcers wondering how much his suspension hurt him, even though he could be WWE champion in a week. I want Stephanie to be noticably shutting Mick down whenever he suggests it. Basically, I want it to be clear that Shane and Daniel are using Stephanie’s pettiness against Roman to take advantage of her. It’s not a tough sell, as it would come naturally for all of those characters. We’ll see how that plays out by the end.
Monday Night Raw: Rusev (w/Lana)
It’s an obvious choice, with Smackdown about to take every belt there ever was, that Raw would snatch up Rusev to get the US title. But beyond that, I like Rusev on Raw. He’s a character who could be built up into a contender down the road if necessary, and he has been performing at a high level lately. I’m still curious to see if he’ll evolve into something beyond the ANGRY RUSSIAN at some point, because his potential extends beyond that. But he’s a fine midcard champion for the moment.
Monday Night Raw: Neville
We haven’t really talked about Stephanie’s announcement of the crusierweight division yet. Actually, I would like it very much if, instead of her announcing it off the top of the show, if she waited until this point in the draft to announce it, as it would be a great bit of gamesmanship from the Raw side, and it would lead to another bout of social media chatter in the middle of the show to make sure people are paying attention.
As far as Neville, you couldn’t ask for much more as the face of a newly launched crusierweight division. They’re bringing in a wild variety of styles from all around the world, so to have someone so incredibly well traveled and versed in different styles at the top to start with is a blessing. You could just throw a new unknown challenger at Neville every week and let him dazzle us until the dvision gets established and really create something special from it. Or you could have him drop the belt to a newly redebuted Funaki. Which route they go will largely determine how seriously we take this division going forward.
Tuesday Night Smackdown: American Alpha
Did you hear the reaction these guys got on Smackdown? Good stuff.
I’m very excited for what tag team wrestling is going to look like for the next few years. American Alpha are the first of a number of tag teams that are going to debut with team identities and things that make them stand out, and it’s going to make for some very fun times ahead. I’d be leery of throwing them at the New Day too fast though. This show is going to have enough room for multiple tag team wrestling segments per show. Let’s use it.
Monday Night Raw: Becky Lynch
I was torn here, I really was. Becky has had so many interactions with Charlotte and Sasha that it’s an awkward fit putting her with either of them, but they’re the clear choices to lead each division, so she gets left out in the cold a bit. Ultimately, I put her on Raw because a) I think Sasha will function best on an island without her only established friend, and b) Becky is the only established babyface in the women’s division other than Sasha and someone is going to need to keep the women’s division on Raw from being an endless procession of Charlotte heeling it up.
Tuesday Night Smackdown: Kevin Owens
Maybe the most bizarre thing from the actual draft was how they spent WEEKS telling us that Owens and Zayn were going to be on separate shows and then just went ahead and put them both back on Raw anyway. What kind of sense does that make? What’s the point of their match at Battleground now? It’s pretty silly.
Kevin Owens is as surefire a future main eventer as you can get. He has gotten so great at injecting little bits of personality into every situation that he’s a joy to watch no matter how he winds up on your screen, and there is abundant room at the top of this roster for a top heel to emerge. The fact that he got picked several rounds after Sami will only make this more delicious.
Monday Night Raw: Kalisto
With her new division now announced, Stephanie is going to stock up on the other obvious home run crusierweight before Shane can try to screw her out of it. And why not? Kalisto is the kind of wrestler that you could watch in a vacuum with no sound, context or clarity, and he would still keep your attention. In fact, that was the entire premise of WCW’s much beloved crusierweight division. To be something exciting to watch while the announcers sold the viewers on the main event. He would have been great at it then, and he’ll be great at it now. Of course, this is a major reach at this point in the draft talent wise, but that isn’t what we’re doing here.
Just make sure you never let him talk again. EVER. “LUCHA THING YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY”.
Monday Night Raw: Big Show
There’s a short list of guys who would be absolute poison to what we’re creating on Smackdown. Big Show, Kane, Mark Henry, Jack Swagger. Big guys who have been around forever, have no upward momentum and just take up space. They all have their uses still in different ways, but in order to make Smackdown feel fresh and upwardly mobile, we can’t have whole segments each week hijacked by these guys. Of those four, Big Show still has the most value, and he’s exactly the kind of pick that a crowing Stephanie McMahon would make. Hell, there’s still time to turn the guy into a sort of late-career Andre clone, who doesn’t sell, can’t be hurt, and never loses battle royals. There’s something there.
Tuesday Night Smackdown: Nia Jax
Even though we’re getting here in round 5, Nia Jax is absolutely central to my plans for the Smackdown women’s division going forward. Trying to compare her to Awesome Kong just because they’re both big is ridiculous, but what Kong did more than anything is prove how marketable the monster vs. athlete premise is in women’s wrestling. Women with Jax’s size and skill set are incredibly, incredibly rare. Putting her up against Sasha Banks right off the bat is a license to print money, and once Jax is established, she’s someone you can debut new faces against as needed.
Monday Night Raw: Chris Jericho
He’s oddly enjoying a career renaissance of late. We’ll take advantage of that and let him continue to be the gate keeper for some of the younger talent on this show. What i’d REALLY like to see though, and this is just fantasy booking that has nothing to do with the placement of this pick, is for Jericho and Big Show to reunite their tag team to compete with some of this young tag team talent that is going to be coming up through the ranks. That would help protect both of them as they get older and give a tremendous heel foil for Enzo and Cass. But whether that happens or not, Jericho is still a very positive presence at this point, on a show that will need midcard support.
Tuesday Night Smackdown: Bray Wyatt
Brya Wyatt is a tough one. Does he really fit on either of these shows? Does he really fit anywhere? Wyatt is still somehow looking for his first great WWE match, his first good WWE feud and even his first truly great WWE moment, and yet he is such an interesting presence on any show he’s on. He’s a booking mystery that hasn’t gotten any easier to sort out over the years. Smackdown is an ideal place for us to sort that out, and to get him entirely away from his family.
Monday Night Raw: Cesaro
I know that Cesaro may seem like an ideal fit for Smackdown. He’s never gotten the chance he deserves, he’s a goddamn machine in the ring, etc. But if you look at the rosters that we have created, he’s not going to finally find that success on Smackdown. There, we’ve constructed a brand heavy with upper midcard heels and two dominate babyfaces. On Raw, we have a top heel, some aging main eventers and beyond that we have some real room for new names. A feud with Rollins could make Cesaro, and there’s absolutely no reason that we couldn’t see it sooner than later. He goes where the opportunity for quick and sustainable success suits him best.
Monday Night Raw: Roman Reigns
We’re now in the last round and we’re right before the main event of the show. I need to accomplish 3 things now. I need to finish the draft with a bang that spikes social media reaction for a third time and sends people off buzzing about how this is going to change things. I need to give people a very clear reason to tune into Smackdown next Tuesday to continue this momentum. And finally, I need to put the finishes touches on these rosters and leave a lasting impression in people’s minds of what they are and how each draft went.
I initially flirted with Roman on Smackdown, just because of the interesting power vacuum it would create on Raw, but it’s just not possible. There’s no way to put Roman Reigns on Smackdown and have fans view that as an underdog show and they can take ownership of. For better or for worse, Reigns is forced on to Raw because he would be poison to Smackdown. The good part is that this has been presented as the through line for the entire draft thus far, as nobody had any idea where Reigns would end up. This also helps them push this, “Roman is humble now” idea that they brought up every time his name was mentioned. Ultimately, though, Shane and Daniel forcing Stephanie to swallow the bitter bill at the last second would be satisfying, and would set up nicely for this.
Tuesday Night Smackdown: Shinsuke Nakamura
I understand why they’re leaving him in NXT for now. I do. But we have a brand to create, and there is no buzzier wrestler on this roster than the King of Strong Style. Selecting him here would send shockwaves in a good way across the WWE Universe, and will really leave a positive taste in the mouth of everyone who was cynical about what Smackdown would be. Hell, they could even keep him down in NXT for a few more months and just say that Nakamura will debut in October or something. It doesn’t matter. Drafting him here sets the tone.
Monday Night Raw: Baron Corbin
It makes sense for Raw to respond back with a someone else who has a ton of potential, though my thoughts on whether Corbin actually has that potential or not is another article for another time.
But who cares, because we’re about to go TOTALLY NUTSO INSANE.
Tuesday Night Smackdown: Triple H
Just imagine her face, you guys. Imagine Stephanie’s face.
We’ve reached the point with Triple H where I think we’ve gotten all the value we can out of him being portrayed as the evil corporate champion. To this new generation of talent and fans, he’s more of a benevolent wish granter than anything, and he really is the face of this new movement, from NXT to the crusierweight and everything else. Continuing to have him be a dick on Raw alongside his wife, (who is pretty much a forever heel,) is getting to be a waste of him. Bringing him over to Smackdown, even if it’s only for one match a year or so, to be the gatekeeper to the talent who he got into the company is much better, and it frees him up for all of the other things he needs to do. Give the Smackdown fans the heroes that they want to cheer for. And that reaction has been building for a long time towards the King of Kings.
Aww, hell. Just pencil in Nakamura/Triple H for Wrestlemania and let fucking do this already.
Monday Night Raw: Natalya
I mean, how do we top that? We can’t. By virtue of the order of picks we still have one more televised one to go, and if it’s a huge one, it’ll take away from the power of the last two Smackdown picks. So with Stephanie reeling, we’ll have them pick a solid pick that lets them run with the Becky Lynch/Natalya story that they told on the show.
And that brings us to the end of the televised show. During that portion, we were really handcuffed by having to keep the picks working alongside the narrative of the show, and we had to present them in the best way possible to drum up buzz within the community. That was the hard part. Now we get to settle down and fill out these rosters with the pieces that will make them function week to week. I’ll present them in groups of 5 now and summarize at the end.
Monday Night Raw: Kane
Tuesday Night Smackdown: Sheamus
Monday Night Raw: Alberto Del Rio
Tuesday Night Smackdown: Naomi
Monday Night Raw: Alexa Bliss
Kane and Del Rio are going to Raw for much the same reason that Big Show did earlier. The interesting picks here are the other three. I really thought they had something interesting going with Sheamus by making him the guy who hates all of these newcomers and wants to test them when they come up. That’s a FANTASTIC role for a guy in his position to have, and the matches that are going to result are going to be aces.
As for Naomi and Bliss, they are both really great talents, that are investments in the future of each division. They should both be future champions.
Monday Night Raw: Apollo Crews
Tuesday Night Smackdown: The Club
Monday Night Raw: Erick Rowan and Braun Strowman
Tuesday Night Smackdown: The Usos
Monday Night Raw: Paige
DON’T BREAK UP THE FUCKING CLUB YOU ASSCLAMPS.
I did pair up Rowan and Strowman, as neither has any business being a singles wrestler in a company this competitive. If they can find second life as a monster tag team, then they may just make it on their own yet.
Monday Night Raw: Darren Young (w/Bob Backlund)
Tuesday Night Smackdown: The Dudley Boyz
Monday Night Raw: Zack Ryder
Tuesday Night Smackdown: Emma
Monday Night Raw: Titus O’Neil
I like the Dudley Boyz going to Smackdown here to keep some recognizable names there, and to be a great foil for the new teams to work off of. I’d get them and American Alpha together immediately. Emma and Darren Young are the wild cards here. Emma is transforming into something truly interesting, if only she could get it on tv to show anyone, and who the fuck knows where this Darren Young thing is going?
Titus O’Neil is an intensely lovable guy who nonetheless strangles every segment he’s in. But he sure is shiny.
Monday Night Raw: Sin Cara
Tuesday Night Smackdown: The Vaudevillains
Monday Night Raw: The Shining Stars
Tuesday Night Smackdown: Luke Harper
Monday Night Raw: Dana Brooke
And that brings us to the last round, where we’re mostly just filling out some undercard slots. Luke Harper could be very interesting for Smackdown when he comes back, the rest are just filler. And THERE I DRAFTED DANA BROOKE FOR YOU WRITER GUY. ARE YOU HAPPY?
And that brings us to the end of the draft! Just like with the real one, there are a bunch of people who got left out who will find their way onto one roster or another, but the heavy lifting is done. So at the end of it all, here are the rosters we are left with.
WWE United States Champion: Rusev
Alberto Del Rio
WWE Women’s Champion: Charlotte
Enzo and Big Cass
Rowan and Strowman
The Shining Stars
WWE World Champion: Dean Ambrose
Tag Team Division
The New Day
The Dudley Boyz
I like these rosters. They feel balanced in terms of star power, and both shows have something they do better than the other, (tag wrestling for Smackdown and Women’s wrestling for Raw). Smackdown is light on singles stars simply because of how many fewer draft picks they had, but there are a ton of guys left to fill those spots, with people like Tyler Breeze, Fandango, Goldust, Heath Slater, etc, still out there. I did my best, and created two brands that I think are clearly identifiable, and have given them room to grow into separately successful entities over time.
So that’s what I think should have happened. But what do you guys think? Were my picks a big pile of peanut butter fuckballs? Are you you really, seriously pissed that I left off the legendary Curtis Axel? Who would you have picked? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter at @cewshreviews. And with that note, until next time, cats and kittens!