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WWE 2016 Draft Raw/SmackDown Thoughts

I feel like I’m behind the times on some topics. A topic in particular, the Raw/Smackdown draft is one of them. It’s been a week to soak in the results while taking in the Battleground pay per view too. Both rosters had their fair share of obvious picks to a few surprises to a couple of “Really?” picks to “Oh, ok that’s where they’ll be” picks.

The key to me in all of this is to see if the Smackdown roster is strong enough that I would make the effort to actually watch it on TV rather than read the results and watching only the recaps on the pay per views. For now, I’m sold on the roster to the point where I will commit time to watching it on TV. But the key is to keep me interested. Credit Vince McMahon with not only doing the draft again but to attach metrics to it. I’m curious to see how this will play out in the future as Shane & Stephanie will try to one up each other for better results.

As for the rosters, here’s a quick breakdown by brand:

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Seth Rollins: Not surprised he was the number one overall pick. He’s the top heel and it’s inevitable that he’ll get the heavyweight title back around his waist.

Charlotte: Makes it official she’s the top female wrestler on the roster. Hopefully the feuds with the faces will carry enough attention for all of the WWE fans to see. She’s destined to be a long time champion like her father Ric Flair.

Finn Balor: You think the WWE has big plans for this guy as the third overall pick by Raw?

Brock Lesnar & Roman Reigns: Both with substance violation issues may hold them back temporarily but we’ve been wrestling fans long enough to know they will still be big draws; although the Reigns suspension was a surprise to us all. Is this a temporary blip for Reigns or are there other issues that may come up in the future?

Kevin Owens: So he got drafted after Sami Zayn, Chris Jericho, and Rusev? I’m not devaluing Zayn, Jericho, and Rusev, but unless I’m missing something, this pick is a steal for Raw.

Gallows & Anderson: Lower than expected but their potential is strong to becoming a top tag team on Raw.

Cesaro: Will he get his due even though he was drafted lower than I expected? He is what he is, right?

Rusev to Raw, Miz to Smackdown: Makes sense to have these two titles on separate shows. How very convenient!

SmackDown: Interesting mix of a roster. It’s definitely not the B League but intriguing enough that it contains a mix of veterans, mid-card mainstays, and newbies that need developing. It comes to quality, not quantity of the roster.

Dean Ambrose: Surprised the champion was drafted number two overall. Does that mean Rollins wins the title at Summerslam and brings the belt back to Monday night primetime? Or will there be a new title for Raw? Or Smackdown? Ambrose is the top face and should remain that way for a long time.

AJ Styles: No surprise based on how his year in the WWE has progressed. An eventual champion.

John Cena & Randy Orton: I like both picks to Smackdown taking them away from the Raw spotlight to make way for other younger superstars.

Bray Wyatt: As expected the number two heel picked in the Smackdown draft. He wins a lot of matches. His recent injury bug may hold him back for now but you can hold him down for so long.

Baron Corbin: The gem pick of the entire draft. I like his progression up the roster since his Wrestlemania debut winning the Andre the Giant battle royal. Only good things will be coming his way.

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American Alpha, Apollo Crews, Alexa Bliss, Mojo Rawley, and Carmella: The NXT folks in the developing stage while in the big league of Smackdown. What they do and how far they go is up to them.

Dolph Ziggler: Surprised he was pick two spots behind Baron Corbin; the guy that’s been dominating the feud between these two. Ziggler should’ve gone lower based on recent performances.

Becky Lynch, Natalya, Alberto Del Rio, The Usos, Kane, Kalisto, Naomi, and Zach Ryder: The mid-card mainstays of the group that will keep the Smackdown brand stable while pushing some wrestlers to the top billing while allowing some newly arrived NXT’ers to grow.

So we wish Stephanie McMahon, Raw GM Mick Foley, Shane McMahon, and Smackdown Daniel Bryan all the best in making their respective brands as entertaining while trying to make us come back for more.

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Paul Laska
Paul Laska is a Self-Published Author, Sports Writer, & Travel Writer who resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Currently working on articles on Sevilla, Lisbon, and Oregon while writing a new novel for a 2015 release. Check out my Facebook page, Laska Travels. I'm also a freelance writer. Contact me for potential projects.


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