The WWE draft is less than a week away and now that we basically know the rosters and have a fair idea as to who will be eligible to be drafted, here is a full simulation of how the draft could look on Tuesday night. Dem and I were both assigned a brand and drafted as if it we were the General Managers putting our real brands together.
Here were the rules we followed:
- Raw gets pick one, but has to draft to fill three hours of content while SmackDown needs to fill two hours.
- ALL superstars are to be drafted individually with no concern for stables or tag teams to be taken.
- All injured Superstars can be drafted, but their injuries must be taken into consideration when drafting.
- The Intercontinental Champion (The Miz) and the United States Champion (Rusev) must be on separate brands.
Part timers will not be drafted. EG: Brock Lesnar, The Undertaker, Triple H, The Rock, etc. However, Chris Jericho will be drafted.
- The Women’s Division will not be drafted for the sake of simplicity. You can read a separate article on the women’s split here.
- The assumption must be that this is a brand split to create two viable rosters for this very week’s programming.
- NXT stars eligible for call-up: Finn Balor, Jason Jordan, Chad Gable, Tye Dillinger, Wesley Blake, Elias Sampson and Buddy Murphy. All NXT superstars do NOT have to be taken.
- Dem has been assigned SmackDown to draft and I will be drafting for Raw.
So without further ado, this is our draft simulation:
Pick 1 (RAW): Dean Ambrose (WWE Champion)
Nic: The WWE Champion needs to remain on Raw, allowing SmackDown to create its own brand from scratch. Because of this, Ambrose is the clear number one pick, assuming he retains against Rollins on RAW and wins at Battleground which he surely should.
Pick 2 (SmackDown): Seth Rollins
Dem: Rollins is the guy you can build a brand around. Elite in the ring, fantastic on the mic and plays the crowd extremely well. Whether he’s champion or challenger, he always delivers.
Pick 3 (RAW): John Cena
Nic: Cena is the face of the WWE and a mainstream hit which makes him perfect for the RAW brand which should have more entertainment focus while SmackDown is a heavier wrestling brand. There’s no real justification required for taking Cena so early.
Pick 4 (SD): AJ Styles
Dem: While SmackDown is focused on the wrestling, we’re still in the business of entertainment. Styles may well be the best in the ring, but it’s his ability to play the role of heel and face extremely well that makes him more special. His experience is a huge asset too, in getting himself and others over.
Pick 5 (RAW): Roman Reigns
Nic: Reigns has made some mistakes recently but there’s no denying his talent as a performer. The WWE still value him as their guy and having him on RAW allows this tweener character of his to develop further.
Pick 6 (SD): Kevin Owens
Dem: A really tough decision this early, but Owens just gets over the line. Could maybe move him more into a tweener role, given his humour, but there’s always that underlying selfishness that makes him hated. He’s extremely over and another ready-made champ.
Pick 7 (RAW): Randy Orton
Nic: Raw has stocked up on babyfaces so far and needs an established top heel. The perfect guy for that is Orton who will be fresh off a match with Lesnar to gain him some credibility. Orton believes he has plenty of in-ring time left which makes this pick not as short sighted as it may seem.
Pick 8 (SD): Sami Zayn
Dem: Similarly, SmackDown has stocked up on heels to start with, so Zayn is the perfect face to help lead the revolution. Very much in the Daniel Bryan-mould in the eyes of the fans, he can continue his rivalry with KO or put on MOTY candidates with any of the top 3 so far. Still needs a bit of work on the mic.
Pick 9 (RAW): Finn Balor (NXT)
Nic: The first of the NXT crew to be drafted is the obvious choice, Finn Balor. Balor is without a doubt a star of the future and someone who an entire brand can be built upon. Nine may be a big price to pay for an NXT talent, but Finn is certainly worth it. He’s got no storylines going in NXT currently making him an obvious call up.
Pick 10 (SD): Cesaro
Dem: Probably taking him a little higher than I would’ve liked, but Cesaro offers some flexibility in his role on the roster. The brand split could be what he needs to become a top guy, but if he can’t do it, he’s still an elite upper mid are talent.
Pick 11 (RAW): Bray Wyatt
Nic: Wyatt has one final strong heel run in him before his character can be changed up to work as a babyface which will give him some fresh material to work with. It should be interesting to see how that plays out long term.
Pick 12 (SD): Rusev (United States Champion)
Dem: I rate Rusev extremely highly, so much so I’ve chosen to bring the US title to SmackDown ahead of the more prestigious IC title. Rusev can carry the title for a while and continue to build it up to the level Cena had it earlier this year. He’s a really good performer and more than handy on the mic.
Pick 13 (RAW): Chris Jericho
Nic: Y2J is apparently sticking around with the WWE for the rest of the year and his current heel run is one of his best ever. There is a lot that could be done with him including work in the tag team division for the remainder of the year.
Pick 14 (SD): Karl Anderson
Dem: You need only look at his work in Japan to see how good Anderson is. Other than being a part of the club, which can be the dominant tag team, he is an accomplished singles competitor if it’s ever required. Great on the mic too, the Club with Styles should be a dominant force.
Pick 15 (RAW): Baron Corbin
Nic: Corbin has blown expectations out of the water since debuting on Raw and he’s done so with next to zero help from WWE creative. His presence alone shows that he just needs the right push to become a big star. With the rosters split, Corbin could have a big role to play as a heel on Raw.
Pick 16 (SD): Chad Gable (NXT)
Dem: A huge bolter, Gable is one half of NXT’s American Alpha, who should have a big role to play in the brand split. He and Jason Jordan are perhaps the most exciting tag team there is, and Gable has extremely good charisma on top of his in-ring work. He’s an absolute star in the making.
Pick 17 (RAW): Big E (WWE Tag Team Champion)
Nic: Big E has the most promising career of all three New Day members if/when the team breaks up. He has the charisma and in-ring prowess to be a big star in the WWE. The New Day has plenty left to do however so hopefully someone doesn’t ruin that by drafting them to SmackDown!
Pick 18 (SD): Alberto Del Rio
Dem: Del Rio has been quite interesting in recent times, with potential early signs of a face turn. I think he could play a very good role early on for SD, and he’d be easy to get behind simply with the “Si” chants. We’d force him to change his finisher, but he’s a good alternative main eventer/upper mid-card if necessary.
Pick 19 (RAW): The Miz (Intercontinental Champion)
Nic: The Intercontinental Championship will be staying on Raw and Miz will be able to continue his run as a gutless heel champion, before he drops the title to Balor, possibly on debut. That would be a perfect way to start Finn off on Raw.
Pick 20 (SD): Luke Gallows
Dem: The Club will be on SmackDown all together, and the tag team of Anderson and Gallows in particular can be made to look unstoppable, whether they’re champions or not.
Pick 21 (RAW): Xavier Woods (WWE Tag Team Champion)
Nic: Woods is the most underrated performer on the roster. ELITE on the microphone and far better in the ring than he gets a chance to show. There’s nothing stopping him from being a single’s champion once the New Day moves on.
Pick 22 (SD): Jason Jordan (NXT)
Dem: There’s a lot of untapped potential with Jordan, especially as an eventual singles competitor. American Alpha versus The Club can be huge for all involved, particularly Alpha, and Jordan will continue to learn, especially of the experienced Anderson and Gallows. He isn’t ready for singles competition now, but in a couple of years, he could be a huge star.
Pick 23 (RAW): Colin Cassady
Nic: Many within WWE seemingly rate Cass as a big star of the future and with his size, power and charisma, it’s easy to see why. However, Cass needs a lot more work before a single’s push and needs to continue as a tag team wrestler for the time being. He has a big future on RAW ahead of him.
Pick 24 (SD): Dolph Ziggler
Dem: Bit of a steal here for such a reliable performer. Ziggler might need a bit of a character change to push himself back up the card, but he’ll set the standard for the roster.
Pick 25 (RAW): Neville
Neville is back from injury and provides a guaranteed good wrestling performance every time he appears. He will be a strong and important part of the mid card for years to come and should be a pretty consistent IC and tag team champion.
Pick 26 (SD): Apollo Crews
Dem: Crews is a future champion and face of SmackDown in my opinion. He’s unbelievable in the ring, and he’ll be getting longer matches. He needs to establish himself first, show a bit of a mean streak, and there’s plenty of talent to help him with that – notably, a heel Ziggler.
Pick 27 (RAW): Kofi Kingston (WWE Tag Team Champion)
Nic: Completing the New Day, Kofi is a veteran who you can rely on in absolutely all facets of the industry. Who knows how long he has left, but he is a vital member of the stable and an easy pick at 27, even without The New Day’s popularity.
Pick 28 (SD): Tyler Breeze
Dem: There’s something about Breezango (whatever they’re called) that I really like. The two click really well, and have that loveable heel role the New Day used to have. Breeze can have a solid run in this tag team before breaking away and hopefully getting a better singles push as a result.
Pick 29 (RAW): Sheamus
Nic: Sheamus may not have any momentum and that probably won’t change any time soon, but he’s a veteran who you can put in any spot on the card reliably. He has a lot of potential to put guys in the mid-card over and is very useful for live events and the sort.
Pick 30 (SD): Kalisto
Dem: Kalisto has huge potential if used properly. He’s a two-time US champ, and when he won it initially, it was a huge moment. He needs a bit of a rebuild, and become a full-time singles performer, but he can be a reliable, exciting guy.
Pick 31 (RAW): Enzo Amore
Nic: Enzo completes the equation with Big Cass. While he mightn’t have much of a singles career ahead of him, Enzo is as good as anyone in history on the mic and will be a strong tag team/comedic wrestler for years to come.
Pick 32 (SD): Bubba Ray Dudley
I see Bubba as a face singles competitor who gets over with the crowd. His singles run in TNA as champion was pretty good, and he’s an experienced performer who’ll put others over. A feud with Rusev for the US title would be first up on my list.
Pick 33 (RAW): Luke Harper
Nic: The only other member of the Wyatt Family with any real value, Luke Harper is a fantastic performer who will have incredible value both with or without Bray. He’s still recovering from an ACL injury at the moment, but he hopefully has quite a bit of wrestling ahead of him.
Pick 34 (SD): Tye Dillinger (NXT)
Dem: Dillinger is one of the most over competitors in NXT as a bit of a tweener who loses a lot. He has all the tools, and just needs an opportunity. He’s 35 years old without championships behind him, but I can see him doing well in Dolph Ziggler’s current role.
Pick 35 (RAW): Zack Ryder
Nic: Ryder has had a resurgence since WrestleMania and RAW still needs single’s mid-card depth. Ryder has to be taken more seriously considering RAW will need to function with half a roster and that means good things for the very talented Ryder.
Pick 36 (SD): Jimmy Uso
Dem: While the Usos have no real form behind them, it’s a steal to get Jimmy this late. They’re a reliable tag team and can occasionally find themselves in singles matches, which they’ll perform well in.
Pick 37 (RAW): Titus O’Neil
Nic: O’Neil didn’t show much in his feud with Rusev, but he’s still a competitor who has the look and charisma to be decent in the mid card. On top of that, he’s perfect for charitable work the WWE do and can be the face that looks after most of that.
Pick 38 (SD): Jey Uso
Dem: If you pick one Uso, you have to pick the other one.
Pick 39 (RAW): Big Show
Nic: Big Show doesn’t have much time left in a WWE ring but he has at least one more feud left in him and would be perfect for putting someone like Baron Corbin over. He’d probably be more valuable backstage than out in the ring, but an easy pick this late.
Pick 40 (SD): Fandango
Dem: Tagging with Tyler Breeze has temporarily saved Fandango’s fledgling career, and it may be the kick-start he needs. He’s talented in the ring and good on the mic (he won NXT season 4) and with the right push, this tag team can be successful.
Pick 41 (RAW): Simon Gotch
Nic: The Vaudevillains have lost a lot of credibility lately with a lot of cheap losses, but RAW needs tag team depth and Gotch in particular is someone with an interesting offense that could make him useful in singles action possibly later on down the track.
Pick 42 (SD): Jack Swagger
Dem: Swagger can put on a pretty good match, given his wrestling pedigree. With rumours Triple H is looking to cut some talent soon, who knows where Swagger stands, but he’s a handy late selection.
Pick 43 (RAW): Darren Young
Nic: Young doesn’t really have the charisma or in-ring skills to stand out for very long, but with a fresh gimmick and a small push, he will at least have some short term relevance and that will be handy early on while the brand attempts to establish itself.
Pick 44 (SD): Kane
Dem: Kane can get one final run in SD, building a feud to put a talent over. If Ziggler can be pushed higher up the card, maybe Crews feuds with a heel Kane.
Pick 45 (RAW): Braun Strowman
Nic: Strowman is still new to wrestling and while his ceiling probably isn’t very high, he’s still a vital part of Bray’s mystique in the Wyatt Family and will play a role in turning Bray face, hopefully with Strowman turning on his master and splitting the Wyatt’s that way.
Pick 46 (SD): Heath Slater
Dem: Slater is a great company man, doing whatever is asked of him. He’s extremely entertaining and a vital part of WWE’s online content.
Pick 47 (RAW): Curtis Axel
Nic: Axel is probably the only Social Outcast member with any chance of becoming something relevant again. The others are more suited toward comedic roles which gives Axel potentially a chance for a heel run. Even if it leads nowhere or he’s just used to put others over.
Pick 48 (SD): Bo Dallas
Dem: It’s easy to forget Dallas is only 26yo, so there’s still a fair bit of potential for him to become something, with the right push. Using his family history could be worth a shot.
Pick 49 (RAW): Aiden English
Nic: Completing The Vaudevillains. English is very good in the ring, but his singing gives him a potential gimmick down the line as a single’s competitor too.
Pick 50 (SD): D-Von Dudley
Dem: The plan is to split the Dudley Boyz, which leaves D-Von all alone. He isn’t great as a singles competitor, but maybe he can go back to his old reverend gimmick to introduce another young talent, as he did with Batista (clutching at straws).
Pick 51 (RAW): Erick Rowan
Nic: Gotta catch ‘em all? I’d have Rowan and Strowman team up and turn on Bray, Harper makes the save and we get a few Wyatt tag matches before Bray and Harper go their separate ways. Rowan and Strowman can tag for a while themselves.
Pick 52 (SD): Goldust
Dem: His experience and ability to be a part of a comedy promo makes him a decent late selection.
Pick 53 (RAW): Sin Cara
Nic: Sin Cara will make great fodder for heels who need a win on Superstars each week. It also makes sure he’s on a separate brand to Kalisto, allowing him to reach his full potential.
Pick 54 (SD): R-Truth
Dem: The Golden Truth may as well keep tagging, if not just to see what they can do. Maybe R-Truth can have his own talk show, to rival the Highlight Reel.
Pick 55 (RAW): Primo
Nic: Primo is the better of the Shining Matadores and considering the tag team is still brand new, you can probably get at least one good feud out of them before they fade into obscurity.
Pick 56 (SD): Tyson Kidd
Dem: It’s unlikely he’ll get back into the ring, which is a shame because he’s one of the most talented in the company. In the off chance he does though, he’ll be on SmackDown.
Pick 57 (RAW): Epico
Nic: Might as well take both of Los Stars.
Pick 58 (SD): Mark Henry
Dem: Henry deserves a final run before retirement and the smaller brands will allow him to do that.
Pick 59 (RAW): Viktor
Nic: Since Dem selected Henry, The Ascension will be split up, so Viktor will simply be there for squashes as the smaller of the two, he’ll be more useful than Konnor in that regard.
Pick 60 (SD): Konnor
Dem: In a move that will shock fans, The Ascension will no longer be a tag team. Given recent indiscretions, it wouldn’t surprise to see Konnor released or maybe, if lucky, sent back to NXT with his teammate. Otherwise, he’ll be a jobber.
End of draft.
|Dean Ambrose||Seth Rollins|
|John Cena||AJ Styles|
|Roman Reigns||Kevin Owens|
|Randy Orton||Sami Zayn|
|Chris Jericho||Karl Anderson|
|Baron Corbin||Chad Gable|
|Big E||Alberto Del Rio|
|The Miz||Luke Gallows|
|Colin Cassady||Dolph Ziggler|
|Kofi Kingston||Tyler Breeze|
|Enzo Amore||Bubba Ray Dudley|
|Luke Harper||Tye Dillinger|
|Zack Ryder||Jimmy Uso|
|Titus O’Neil||Jey Uso|
|Simon Gotch||Jack Swagger|
|Braun Strowman||Heath Slater|
|Curtis Axel||Bo Dallas|
|Aiden English||D-Von Dudley|
Who do you think got the better of the draft (the answer is RAW)? Send your thoughts to @NicNegrepontis and @DemP_9 on Twitter!