WWE RAW and SmackDown have had a few months to establish their brands and now that we more or less know where everyone in their respective shows stand, it’s time to look at who has benefited most from the draft. A lot of superstars have gotten pushes since the split and here are the 10 who have capitalized from them and benefited most. Anyone who was called up from NXT will not be on the list as it’ll be a comparison of main roster success before and after the draft.
- AJ Styles
You may be thinking AJ should be higher on this list, but consider this. If the brands are not split, Styles defeats Cena at SummerSlam regardless and probably goes on to win the WWE World Championship anyway. For that reason, he sits at number 10 on this list. Styles is the face of the blue brand, but was never going to be anything other than just that. On top of that, he was drafted with pick four showing how highly rated he was pre-split.
- Chris Jericho
Jericho is in a similar boat to Styles. He’s been in career best form since before the brand split and would definitely have been featured prominently regardless. However, the draft has put extra spotlight on Y2J and he has thrived. Jericho has been consistently one of the best parts of RAW, even when the red brand has faltered overall.
- Baron Corbin
Corbin hasn’t won any titles or really been pushed on SmackDown so far, but all the signs are there that it is coming. Corbin is undefeated since the draft, even holding a (shenanigans) victory over Dean Ambrose. He’s squashed the likes of Apollo Crews multiple times and will probably do the same to Jack Swagger. Corbin hasn’t benefited a great deal from the draft just yet, but once the opportunity presents itself it’s clear he’s being set up for big things.
Sheamus has been one of the few RAW mid-carders who can genuinely say they’re in a better position now than they otherwise would have been. If the rosters were still merged, Sheamus would probably still be feuding in the undercard with the likes of Apollo Crews or not on the show at all, instead he was in a 17 minute match at Clash of Champions and will probably be a Tag Team Champion within a month or two. Sheamus has certainly benefited more from the best of seven series than his counterpart Cesaro.
- The Usos
The Usos were stale. Nobody could care less about them and the ‘stink’ of being associated with Roman Reigns even got them a few boos. With upwards of five tag teams in front of them if the rosters stay merged, it’s fair to say The Usos’ time at the top was done. The draft has given them new life. No characters have had more drastic change than Jimmy and Jey and the brothers have never been better. As heels, they should reach tag team gold at No Mercy and become the number one team on SmackDown.
- Dolph Ziggler
The only reason Ziggler isn’t higher on this list is because it is a very strong top six. Ziggler pre-draft was putting over Baron Corbin and floundering. Post-draft he’s been in a WWE Championship match at SummerSlam and since moved into the hottest feud in the company. Ziggler is probably the third biggest babyface on SmackDown and a vital part of the brand … let’s hope he’s not gone from the company after No Mercy!
- Becky Lynch
Splitting the women’s division has had a largely negative affect on the roster, but Becky Lynch has been the standalone improver. Most women are in the same position now as they were before the draft, but Lynch has been elevated to the top of the SmackDown division. On top of that, she’s thrived, getting fantastic reactions and showing just how good she is both inside the ring and on the mic. Becky will be the face of the SmackDown women’s division for quite a while and she certainly wouldn’t have been in this position had the rosters stayed merged.
- Kevin Owens
Yes, this list is dominated by SmackDown (good booking does that), but Owens has been the clear RAW beneficiary. He was a little fortuitous with Finn Balor’s injury, but for someone who was coming out of a mid-card tag team feud at SummerSlam, he’s clearly rocketed up the division. Owens is the Universal Champion, the number one heel on RAW and central to the show – in other words, exactly where he should’ve been all along.
- The Miz
Newsflash: The Miz has always been this good, but the draft has given him the perfect storm to breakout. Miz was nothing more than an enhanced jobber before winning the Intercontinental Championship and even afterwards, he never really seemed like anything more than a transitional title holder. If the brand stayed together, it’s safe to assume he would’ve dropped the belt to someone like Sami Zayn or Finn Balor, but since the draft, he’s shone as the number one heel in the entire company. His feud with both Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler concurrently has been amazing and he has become must-watch television.
- Heath Slater
Slater outranks Owens and Miz simply because of how unlikely his rise has been. Remember, before the draft Heath was still a Social Outcast and the faction was rarely sited outside of Main Event and Superstars. Going undrafted and being able to show off his comedic knowhow has seen him rise to SmackDown Tag Team Champion. He’s also been one of the best parts of both RAW and SmackDown since the draft. Nobody has benefited more from the brand split than the One Man Band.