The WWE Draft has come and gone, and we now know the rosters for Raw and SmackDown. Though the titles exclusive to each show are unclear — as are any new titles for tag, main event, and women’s divisions — wrestling fans can generally get an idea of what their Monday and Tuesday nights will look like for the foreseeable future.
Since each roster and its wrestlers have their pros and cons, it’s time take a look at each individual draft pick in the order they were chosen, along with my thoughts on how they could (or should) be used.
Raw: Seth Rollins. Stephanie interrupting Mick was amazing. He’ll lead Raw as its top heel and probably have a title on him by the year’s end.
SmackDown: Dean Ambrose. Current champ. Might lose it in the next week or so. Will the shows have their own championships? Regardless, he’ll be one of the top guys on the show.
Raw: Charlotte. Charlotte is a great heel, and will continue to be at the top of the division…until Nia Jax.
SmackDown: AJ Styles. Will be great at home on Smackdown. Should the show get its own top championship, he’ll get the gold for sure.
Raw: Finn Balor. Dude is gonna win the gold in a year. Also, FINALLY.
Raw: Roman Reigns. Can continue the Seth vs Roman feud. No idea what his future will be post-suspension.
SmackDown: John Cena. Remember those awesome matches where Cena wrestled Cesaro and Kevin Owens using a springboard stunner? That’s due for a major comeback.
Raw: Brock Lesnar. Let’s see if he gets suspended. Or works more dates. Or leaves for UFC.
SmackDown: Randy Orton. So Lesnar vs Orton will be Raw vs Smackdown at one of the few brand vs. Brand PPVs.
Raw: The New Day. At least they’re staying together. Will there be a second tag title, though?
Raw:SmackDown: Bray Wyatt. Would be interesting to see what happens now that Bray hopefully has a bit more time to showcase his talents.
Raw: Sasha Banks. PUT THE TITLE ON HER.
SmackDown: Becky Lynch. Two women’s titles, please?
Raw: Chris Jericho. Maybe one last title run?
Raw: Rusev and Lana. Hopefully gets a shot at the WWE Championship in the next 18 months.
SmackDown: Miz and Maryse. Miz is a great talker, and can help establish up-and-coming wrestlers from NXT.
Raw: Kevin Owens. Zayn is on the same show. Hopefully they don’t just stick to a program between the two forever.
SmackDown: Baron Corbin. Hey, they might develop his character a bit more.
Raw: Enzo and Cass. Splitting them up would be a nightmare.
Raw: The Club. They’ll be a lot better with Finn.
SmackDown: American Alpha. If they’re not tag champs in the next nine months, I don’t know what I’ll do. Something pretty passive, probably.
Raw: Big Show. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
SmackDown: Dolph Ziggler. Hey, he might have some direction…maybe?
Raw: Nia Jax. The female Roman Reigns, perhaps?
Raw: Neville. Would be cool to lead the upcoming cruiserweight division.
SmackDown: Natalya. I have no idea what they’re doing with women on SmackDown, and I don’t think they do, either.
Raw: Cesaro. Hope to see him in the main event. His interview post-pick was pretty amazing.
SmackDown: Alberto Del Rio. Great wrestler, but what purpose does he serve in the current WWE product?
Raw: Sheamus. See above
Raw: Golden Truth. Comedy between these two is great, and they still put on great matches.
SmackDown: The Usos. SmackDown has very few tag-teams right now. That’s a bit concerning.
Raw: Titus O’Neil. Will likely continue his midcard push…maybe?
SmackDown: Kane. As enhancement or comedy talent? I guess we’ll find out.
Raw: Paige. I hope she doesn’t get lost amongst the new-ish wrestlers.
Raw: Darren Young. I could see him winning this Sunday and bringing the title to Raw.
SmackDown: Kalisto. Why not bring one of the best cruiserweights to the show that doesn’t have the cruiserweight division on it?
Raw: Sin Cara. Sure, why not.
SmackDown: Naomi. Before she was out, she showed some improvement. I’m interested to see how she does in the coming months.
Raw: Jack Swagger. I legitimately forgot he was still part of WWE.
SmackDown: The Ascension. Instead of being jobbers, WWE could make them into the legitimate threat like they were in NXT.
Raw: Dudley Boys. Let’s hope this gives them some purpose in the division.
SmackDown: Zack Ryder. He’s been getting a bit of a push since WrestleMania. Let’s see how that goes now that Mojo Rawley is on the main roster.
Raw: Summer Rae. She’s much more talented than just a glorified jobber. Let’s hope they use her that way.
SmackDown: Apollo Crews. They clearly have no idea what they’re doing with him, but hopefully he finds a purpose on Tuesday nights.
Raw: Mark Henry. Dude is near the end of his run, but one big main event before retirement would be lovely.
SmackDown: Alexa Bliss. She could be a top heel, and hopefully they use her like one in the SmackDown women’s division.
Raw: Braun Strowman. Being with the Wyatts was holding him back. Not any longer!
Smackdown: Breezango. They work well together, and seeing them fight a match at a PPV would be most welcome.
Raw: Bo Dallas. Does this mean they’ll do something else with him?
SmackDown: Eva Marie. She’s getting better, I think. I hope.
Raw: Shining Stars. They were introduced and then disappeared. Will they “shine” in the new Raw tag-team division?
SmackDown: Vaudevillains. I genuinely like these guys and hope they get a storyline on SmackDown.
Raw: Alicia Fox. She’s much more than a jobber or a sidekick. Perhaps a title match in the future? We shall see.
SmackDown: Erick Rowan. The jury’s out on whether or not he’ll team with Bray.
Raw: Dana Brooke. She’ll no doubt stay with Charlotte for the time being.
SmackDown: Mojo Rawley. I’m willing to bet he’ll be tagging with Ryder pretty soon.
Raw: Curtis Axel. Great wrestler, but will likely stay at jobber status.
SmackDown: Carmella. They’re clearly trying to establish her separately from Enzo and Cass, which makes sense.
The men’s and women’s main event scenes are pretty stacked on Raw, while SmackDown has slightly fewer established acts. One could only hope that a few of the wrestlers drafted to SmackDown, most who originate from NXT, could eventually established as main event players. Otherwise, it’ll be John Cena winning again and again.
The NXT call-ups weren’t a surprise. Finn Balor will undoubtedly be a top player in the WWE for years to come. Nia Jax makes for a scary monster heel in the women’s division that Awesome Kong could have been several years prior. American Alpha will likely win over the audience and get traded over to Raw the next year, assuming SmackDown is given the same degree of importance it had in past brand extensions. Alexa Bliss will be a top heel, and Carmella will give the audience something to resonate with as she establishes herself as a face independent from Enzo and Cass. Mojo Rawley will add some comedy to the show, as well.
Heath Slater not getting called up is either a horrible mistake or fodder for an interesting storyline with his Social Outcast partners, Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel. Expect something to be said about that in the next week.
The tag team division on SmackDown is less than stellar when compared to Raw, but perhaps this will give rarely featured teams the chance to highlight their talents in front of a live television audience. Lord knows The Ascension and The Vaudevillains could use it.
The women’s division on both shows should be interesting, but there aren’t enough women on each show. If the same five or six wrestlers fight each other over the course of a year, the content risks going stale.
Overall, I believe the draft isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Sure, SmackDown has to establish itself as an equal brand when compared to Raw, and I’m sure we’ll see some storylines and developments over the next week, month, and year that make it so. Until then, I’ll be cautiously watching both programs.
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