By: Andrew Lister
Just days before the monumental WWE draft happens during the debut of live Smackdown on Tuesday, July 19th, WWE has released the full set of rules for the draft alongside eligible superstars. You can find the article here, but I’ll quickly break down Tuesday’s proceedings.
First, since Raw and Smackdown are of different televised lengths, the rosters will be a little uneven. The ratio of picks will be 3 for Raw to 2 for Smackdown. On the surface this may seem to be setting Smackdown up for failure; however, it makes sense to have more talent available on the longer show and less talent on the shorter in order to maximize superstar exposure.
Next, tag teams count as a draft pick unless one show wants to break up a team. This will probably lead to some very shocking and needed splits.
Finally, a total of 6 NXT superstars will be up for drafting. This will be most interesting, and this added suspense will build the impact of these rising stars, especially if one gets drafted shockingly early.
A while back, Raccoon Reigns and Jason of The Rundown Wrestling Podcast made their drafts picks. I’m going to take my own crack at this, keeping to the draft rules, and explaining my top picks for both sides. This list is my vision of what both shows should look like, and I invite you to tell us your own thoughts on the draft. Get ahold of The Rundown or The Questionable Endeavor Network on social media, via e-mail, or in the comments below, and we may read your comments on the next episode of The Rundown.
The rules state that Raw gets 3 and Smackdown gets 2, so we’ll do rounds by picking five superstars before going on to the next round. I’ll explain the first five rounds of picks and then give a general list of the other superstars.
Since Raw gets the first pick, let’s start with who Stephanie McMahon should draft first. Click the link below for our list.
Raw Pick #1: Seth Rollins
Why wouldn’t Stephanie pick the WWE Champion, Dean Ambrose? Storyline-wise, she can’t stand the guy, and her past supporting Seth Rollins means that she’ll have supreme confidence that he’ll win the title at Battleground and bring the belt to Raw.
Smackdown Pick #1: Dean Ambrose (WWE Champion)
If Stephanie is picking Seth, then Shane will counter with the WWE Champion. This will not only give Smackdown the Champ (and hopefully a continual ratings boost), but it furthers the heat of the main event storyline going into the PPV.
Raw Pick #2: The Miz (Intercontinental Champion)
This could be a really shocking choice so early, but I see Stephanie wanting to pack her show with gold. Thus, she brings over the Most Must-See Intercontinental Champion of All Time.
Smackdown Pick #2: John Cena
Do you really think they’ll wait long to draft this guy? Also, if they want ratings on Smackdown, what better way to do so than to send over the most important guy to the company? Why would he be better fit for the smaller show? He’s already proven himself and is bound for the WWE Hall of Fame. What else does he have to prove on the big stage?
Raw Pick #3: Charlotte (Women’s Champion)
This will be another shocker of the night. Stephanie has pushed the idea of the Women’s Revolution, and this would go a long way to show that the women of WWE are important enough to warrant a Round 1 pick.
Raw Pick #4: The New Day (WWE Tag Team Champions)
Stephanie has a bit of an advantage in the number of talents, so why wouldn’t she take the opportunity to sweep up another set of belts? All three members of The New Day will come aboard Raw, keeping a key element to the longest-running episodic show in history.
Smackdown Pick #3: The Wyatt Family
I may be wrong on this one, especially since The Wyatt’s are listed separately on the WWE.com article, but if I were WWE, I would do a similar thing as they should do with Rollins and Ambrose. This would hype their match at the PPV and possibly get the Tag Belts on Smackdown.
Raw Pick #5: AJ Styles
While this would break up the great rivalry with John Cena, it would allow him to do some different things as well as potentially have a crossover match down the road with Cena again.
Smackdown Pick #4: Finn Balor
Can you imagine AJ Styles coming down with The Club, proclaiming that they are going to run roughshod over Raw? Then the lights go out, and out comes Finn Balor, the next draft pick. Maybe we could see The Club break down right there on Smackdown and the start of The Balor Club!
Raw Pick #6: Roman Reigns
I really hope that they don’t draft Reigns too early as a way to punish him in some way. That being said, he still does need to be drafted on the main show if they are at all serious about pushing him. Moreover, this gives him a chance to feud with Rollins once again.
Raw Pick #7: Kevin Owens
One of the best heels in the WWE right now deserves to be on the main show.
Smackdown Pick #5: Sami Zayn
Again, there’s a chance to have Owens and Zayn rumble during the show at this point, and it gives some finality to their rivalry at Battleground.
Raw Pick #8: Bayley
To boost the women’s roster as well as get another shock from NXT, this is a must pick. You could even have a Women’s Match going on with Charlotte before the draw to build an instant feud.
Smackdown Pick #6: Gallows and Anderson
To officially usher in the Balor Club and bolster the tag team division of Smackdown, this needs to happen.
Raw Pick #9: Brock Lesnar
Why haven’t I drafted him earlier? Maybe it’s because he’s a part-timer. Maybe it’s because there’s a bit of a scandal regarding his performance at UFC 200. Maybe it’s just because I don’t like the guy. Either way, he still gets drafted to Raw.
Raw Pick #10: Chris Jericho
He’s the Best in the World, and he’s bound for Raw
Smackdown Pick #7: Rusev (United States Champion)
Smackdown needs another single’s title. Smackdown is the place for Rusev.
Raw Pick #11: Enzo and Big Cass
Bada-boom, most hungry tag team in the room!
Smackdown Pick #8: Sasha Banks
I’m unsure if they’re going to really focus on women’s wrestling on both brands, but they have enough talent to make a serious division on each. If Sasha wins the title at Battleground, the gold goes with to Smackdown.
Raw Pick #12: Darren Young
If they’re serious about his new push, they have to put him on Raw and draft him early.
Raw Pick #13: Randy Orton
This could be swapped with their #12 pick, but either way I see Randy going to Raw to be an upper card force.
Smackdown Pick #9: Samoa Joe
What a shock this would be! There would be some danger drafting the NXT Champ after two other NXT stars, but it would be out of nowhere and unexpected. Also, this gives Nakamura a chance to win the belt at the next Takeover.
Raw Pick #14: The Vaudevillains
We need heel teams, and this could reinvigorate the career of this team.
Smackdown Pick #15: Becky Lynch
I want to see Sasha vs Lynch! Bring it on!
Raw Pick #15: Cesaro
He’s over with the fans, and he’s a solid wrestler.
Filling Out The Rosters
There are a lot of wrestlers left. Below I’ll list down who should round out each show, stopping to comment on a few of my choices.
What do you think? Leave us your picks in the comment section, on our forums, or to The Rundown’s e-mail or Social Media. We’ll read your comments live on our next episode!
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