Hello WNW people Mitch “Big M” Adams and Zack Krasney here welcoming you to WNW reacts to the 2016 WWE Draft. A lot has been said already about the draft, both good and bad. The debate amongst WNW writers has been extraordinary. Each writer seems to have their own unique take on the events that transpired on the first Smackdown Live. We have all reacted in a different way towards the draft and we would now like to share our thoughts with you. Please feel free to share your own opinions on the draft bellow on our comment section. Ok, let's get to it.
The draft has officially ended, and the rosters have taken shape. I will try to condense all of my thoughts so I will keep this short and sweet.
- I loved the first couple round of picks, but as the televised rounds continued, the picks got weirder, and the overall draft really didn’t deliver on any big surprises.
- I feel that Big Show could have been saved for the Network and a surprise pick should have been made.
- I was disappointed that we didn’t get all 6 NXT picks on Smackdown, but when I saw who got called up it made sense. The biggest shocker is that we had 3 women from NXT called up and none of them were Bailey, she could have been a huge final live draft pick for Raw.
- Shocked that Kalisto is on Smackdown, and won’t be a part of the cruiserweight division on Raw, but I am super happy that Neville will be on Raw with them, as it will make him a strong name on the red show.
- The banter between the shows was nice, I personally really enjoyed Mick pointing out that Smackdown had no female talent, forcing Shane’s hand a little. It’s natural transitions like that I felt could have had us introduce more rounds of draft picks without getting boring.
- I find it interesting that Heath Slater was never drafted, What is up with that?
- Smackdown as a whole should have made room for another round of picks. Having the show end with picks like Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus felt very anti-climatic.
Like I stated before Bayley should have been called up, and ended the live draft. All in all, I honestly predicted about 90% of these moves. That doesn’t mean they were bad moves, just safe ones. I hope over the next few weeks they clear the air about the Women’s Championship and Tag Championship. I am sure Battleground will shake things up further, and SummerSlam will be the big event that officially separates the brands into two distinct properties.
Well, the draft ended, and WWE doesn't feel particularly different. I'm among the party that feels like Raw got the much better end, with more wrestlers and an entire division, while Smackdown didn't get a thing to accommodate.
If Smackdown is supposed to be the wrestling show, why didn't it get the Women's Division or the Tag Team Division? Neither of those has enough people to warrant two titles, and the match-ups between the halves of the roster on their respective brand are going to get incredibly stale fast. I'm not optimistic, but I am willing to give it a chance before I go into a full-on rant. There are however a few notable picks I wanted to get into! These are in no particular order.
The former Prince Devitt was chosen as a draft pick before John Cena, Brock Lesner, Roman Reigns, and almost every former World Champion on the current roster. That speaks high volumes for how much faith is in Finn Balor, and I'm really excited to see what he's gonna do on the main roster. There's just a huge amount of potential! He could technically be part of the Cruiserweight Division, but that seems like a bit of a waste of his talents. For fantasy booking, I'm hoping he'll take the now drafted Club and shoot straight to the top. Finn and virtually anyone is currently nothing but dream matches, so it'd take some type of talent to waste the potential there for him currently, though knowing WWE Creative...
On the opposite spectrum, the man who should be a main eventer was one of the last picks in the broadcasted draft. Cesaro made it clear he was unamused by that, and rightly so. Big Show, Nia Jax, Neville, and Baron Corbin were all drafted before him. Not feeling too optimistic about the Swiss Superman's future past the mid card now.
So AJ Styles is Smackdown and Gallows, Anderson, and Balor are all Raw. If Finn and The Club don't align, and it's not impossible given Finn's a face and The Club are heels, that faction lasted all of...two months? give or take. It's looking like AJ Styles will be a top dog on Smackdown, which is amazing, but I'm fairly worried about the future of Gallows and Anderson. Their booking isn't wonderful, and as just another mean tag team, they'd probably flounder. Though I admit, I could be wrong.
I see the potential for something great to come out of the draft, but so far what's in store is much of the same.
Here's the hoping the blue brand gets an actual identity in the near future.
Experiencing my first live WWE Draft was like waiting for Christmas in July! I barely remember the 2011 edition where Randy Orton was sent to SmackDown and John Cena flip-flopped. The hype was real for July 19th and I would say it delivered, I know some were disappointed that there weren't any shocking returns or major NXT call-ups as some were hoping. That didn't affect me at all, In fact, I had this feeling that we wouldn't see the likes of Nakamura, Samoa Joe, or Austin Aries get called up just yet. They still have plenty to do for NXT, With that said I'm completely fine with Mojo Rawley joining Zack Ryder on SmackDown. The Hype Man has been down in developmental forever so why not give him a shot? If he ends up like Bo Dallas or Adam Rose, will you be surprised?
Nia Jax, Carmella, and Alexa Bliss will do great things for the women's division. We know Finn Balor and American Alpha will steal the show every time they step in the ring.
As for Raw being "better" than SmackDown, I'm not too convinced that's the case. SmackDown has four established main eventers in Ambrose, Cena, Orton, and Styles. But the blue brand also has many underdogs and rising talents with Wyatt, Crews, Corbin, American Alpha, Naomi, Kalisto, and The Vaudevillains. Raw does look great and I'm happy to see three of my favorites (Rollins, Cesaro, and Banks) on the flagship show.
I also wanted to address the complaints about Eva Marie getting drafted to SmackDown as opposed to Bailey. First off, Eva didn't take her spot because Miss All Red Everything counted as a main roster superstar. Second, this just means there's an even greater chance that Bailey will be Sasha Banks’s mystery partner at Battleground. So everyone just needs to calm down and take a deep breath! Everything will be fine.
I would call this Draft a success, and it makes the road to SummerSlam one of the most interesting in awhile.
The return of the brand extension will allow many guys and gals to step up and take the brass ring, which we all should be excited about.
Big M Reacts
Well, I’ll try to summarize what I thought of the draft. But it won’t be easy, personally, I felt the whole thing was a very “meh” affair.
-I was shocked and disappointed with the way the Women’s division was drafted. Mia Jax and Eva Marie being called up to the main roster before Bailey definitely doesn’t sit right. I’m hoping they were keeping Bailey as a surprise for Battleground as Sasha Banks Tag Team partner.
-People seem to think that Smackdown doesn’t have enough roster depth to support its own Women’s and Tag Team divisions, but I’ve crunched the numbers and I think it's more than possible. As things stand now Both Raw and Smackdown have five teams each with more most likely being called up from NXT in future months. And while Raw does have 2 more Women on the roster than Smackdown (The blue brand has five Women total) I expect more call-ups from NXT soon as well.
-Some picks should definitely not have been made on TV e.g. Big Show and Sheamus. And having Paige drafted off TV seems like another step in her bizarre apparent de-push she’s received in recent months.
-I must sadly lament that Raw does have a much stronger looking mid card than smackdown. And having the Cruiserweight division and Cesaro not on the blue brand simply doesn’t make sense if Smackdown was meant to be the more Wrestling focused show.
-Speaking of the new Cruiserweight division I hold grave concerns it will be used to keep great workers who don’t have the “Look” WWE favours above everything else permanently stuck in the mid card.
-The main event draft picks for both Raw and Smackdown were predictable, but they kind of made sense.
Raw looking to the future in order to rebuild WWE as a whole, Smackdown looking to the present to help get viewers tuned in.
All in all, it wasn’t a very flash WWE Draft, and it had little to no surprises. People think Smackdown have gotten the rough end of the stick here but they do have one thing going for them…Vince McMahon pays little attention to
Smackdown if any. So, therefore, the people booking the blue brand will be given more free reign than the people booking Raw. And that fact alone will probably make Smackdown the better show.
There seems to be a split between fans, some who think that after the draft Smackdown will be better off in the long term and others who think they got the shaft. I am in the latter group. I think that Raw gently bent Smackdown over and it's way with the Blue Brand. I will give a summary of my thoughts later, but first let's break down the draft rounds.
Round 1: Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Charlotte, AJ Styles, Finn Balor
The first round I really had no problems with. Seth Rollins is Stephanie McMahon's "guy" and she has faith he will bring the WWE Championship to her show. Charlotte is a smart pick because she is the head of the Women's division right now. Finn Balor is a surprise pick, but it set a good tone that NXT superstars aren't to be looked at as small draft picks. Smackdown was also logical. Shane has said he wants to lead in the "New Era" and Dean and AJ are absolutely the smart picks for that.
Round 2: Roman Reigns, John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, New Day
Logic starts to slip a little bit in this round, but not a tremendous amount. Why would Steph draft Roman Reigns? I know it's Mic who technically drafted him but...it just doesn't quite make sense. Lesnar on Raw makes sense but based on his controversy right now it would have been smarter to leave him undrafted. Randy Orton on Smackdown is eh alright, I guess. Randy is like Jericho, hasn't been really great since 2012. But then when Raw drafted New Day I thought, "Yeah why didn't Smackdown go after New Day, they fit into the New Era well. Why wouldn't you draft New Day instead of Orton?" I'm sure Vince saw Orton as a "big" name for Smackdown, but I'm not sure I agree.
Round 3: Sami Zayn,Bray Wyatt,Sasha Banks,Becky Lynch, Chris Jericho
This is where the logic starts to slip even more and questions start popping up. Don't get me wrong, Sami Zayn is a great wrestler and I am happy he seems to be getting a push, but Sami before Kevin Owens? Hell, Chris Jericho before Kevin Owens? The next problem that I have is that Bray Wyatt is a great pick, but Smackdown hasn't drafted a woman yet. Then Raw drafts Sasha Banks, I'm not a fan of that. Don't get me wrong, if I were Raw, I'd draft her, too. Problem is now the Women's Division is getting a little too much talent. It feels like Smackdown drafted Becky out of desperation, even though she is a legitimate pick. You'd just think Smackdown would go for the potential Women's Champion in Sasha Banks. Last pick was Jericho, and honestly...he's too high up in this draft.
Round 4: Rusev (with Lana),The Miz (with Maryse),Kevin Owens, Baron Corbin, Enzo & Big Cass
This round started off stronger, but then took a nose dive. Rusev to Raw is fine, though I did see him as more of a Smackdown guy. Miz on Smackdown is fine, but I saw him more of a Raw guy. I will just chalk that up to personal preference, though. Kevin Owens to Raw...it makes sense but man Owens on Smackdown would have been much better, way more room to grow. Plus, Owens and Zayn should have been split up. Baron Corbin seems like a better choice for Raw. Yes, he's part of the new generation, but Corbin still feels very old school to me. I guess I don't mind Corbin on Smackdown either, as long as he's built well. However, that leads me to our final draft pick. Enzo and Cass ABSOLUTELY should have gone to Smackdown. They are the definition of New Era stars! Why would Smackdown go for Corbin who has been "meh" when Enzo and Cass have been on fire!? Seems like HORRIBLE judgment both in real life and in kayfabe!
Round 5: Gallows and Anderson,American Alpha, Big Show, Dolph Ziggler, Nia Jax
This is when it starts to get weird and questionable. Gallows and Anderson, logically they make a good draft pick except...do they? They are good henchmen to AJ, but in reality, as a team, they haven't been very successful. American Alpha is a great choice and they make perfect sense on Smackdown. Big Show...REALLY?! I don't even remember the last time I saw Big Show in a match! I would draft a dozen other people before I'd even consider Big Show. I know Big Show is a reliable veteran and will help get some younger guys over, but he should NOT have been drafted on the live broadcast and certainly not above half the people he went before. What the hell was WWE thinking? Ziggler, cool he goes well on Smackdown. Nia Jax...so don't get me wrong I think Jax has a lot of potential, but seriously? Why are we calling some of these women up before they are ready? And before Bayley?! Are you insane?! People are saying "well Bayley might be Sasha's partner at Battleground!" Yeah, but even if she is, this is all supposed to make sense and Nia should not be drafted above Bayley. Period.
Round 6: Neville, Natalya, Cesaro, Alberto Del Rio, Sheamus
What a lackluster finish to the draft. I know it makes sense that the better picks would've gone first, but they should've pulled out some surprises for the final draft picks to give it some momentum. Neville was a good start, he was a solid return and I can see them building the new Cruiserweight division around him. Natalya, yeah it's a fine pick. Smackdown needed women for their Women's Division. Cesaro to Raw...this just seems wrong. Even Cesaro realized it was wrong. Just...wrong. Alberto Del Rio on Smackdown? Could we trade him for Cesaro, please? Sheamus as the final draft pick was underwhelming. I don't dislike Sheamus but there should have been a huge final surprise. Jeff Hardy or Kurt Angle returns or HHH comes out of retirement or something huge.
What did you guys think? Agree with us? Disagree with us? Sound off below!