WWE announced Wednesday afternoon that WWE SmackDown would be going live in July with it's very own cast, essentially confirming that the brand extension would be returning. On the mid-week edition of the Wrestling Inc. Podcast, hosts Sean Ross Sapp and Rob McCarron capitalized by hosting the Wrestling Inc. WWE Mock Draft, which you can see above, or listen to below. On the show, the panel talks about their strategies for their picks, and the lasting effect this will have on all three brands (NXT included).
Below are a short list of rules:
- If a champion is selected, that title goes to your show, but new titles can be created.
- Given Triple H's role, he can't be selected. With Ryback and Undertaker's future uncertain, they can't be either.
- Only officially contracted WWE talent can be picked (not Bobby Roode or Eric Young)
- Factors include drawing power, the length of the shows, upside of the talents, creating a unique program, and the show lengths.
- Try to weaken your opposition in the spirit of competition.
- Tag teams can be selected collectively or split.
- 25 selections are made, followed by a random supplemental draft. Trades are available.
Rundown of the draft:
The opening round saw interesting selections, as Sean picked John Cena for Raw over WWE Champion Roman Reigns. The reason given was that on a three hour program, Cena is able to fill up more promo time than Reigns for Smackdown, at least in a successful manner. Reigns went #2 to Rob. The top of the singles division were solidified in round two with Seth Rollins (Raw) and AJ Styles (Smackdown.)
Raw decided that a numbers game would be wise to play and controversially took the Wyatt Family in round 3. This effectively gave them Bray Wyatt as a singles star and Rowan/Harper as a tag team. Smackdown (Rob) revealed his plan to make Smackdown a "New Era" based show, and felt pressure to play the numbers game, taking Enzo & Cass in round 3, New Day in round 5, American Alpha in round 9, and Anderson & Gallows in round 10.
Raw chose to stack their singles divisions, taking Brock Lesnar, Shinsuke Nakamura, Samoa Joe, Dean Ambrose, Rusev and Finn Balor in the top ten. Raw also selected Women's Champion Charlotte in the top 10, later bolstering it with Sasha Banks, Bayley, Becky Lynch, Asuka, Alex Bliss and Natalya. This gives them the opportunity to have a top women's program, as well as a strong secondary as well.
While Raw took the majority of the women's division, Rob's Smackdown expressed a desire to create a Cruiserweight division unique to their program. To establish it, Smackdown selected former Mexican megastar Andrade Cien Almas, Kalisto, Austin Aries, Tyler Breeze, Rich Swann, and the brand new NXT tag team of TM61. This gave them 8 solid names to build the division around. Smackdown would later get the Shining Stars and Tye Dillinger in the supplemental round
In an effort to thwart Smackdown's growing cruiserweight division and establish Raw's extremely dry tag team division, Sean selected NXT tag team Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano, as well as the Revival. They'd later add The Usos and Dudley Boyz as desperation moves to make a tag team division. In the supplemental round, Raw would luck out and fill the bottom tier with Ascension, Vaudevillians, in addition to making trades that put Blake & Murphy and the Prime Time Players back together.
While Raw picked Ciampa & Garagno as a bit of a spite pick, Smackdown selected popular women's wrestler Paige. She, along with Carmella, Maryse (selected with Miz), and the currently injured Emma and Nikki Bella make up a shallow women's division. The supplemental round was kind to Smackdown, leaving them with more women than Raw, although with much less depth
Steals in the draft include Chris Jericho to Raw at 21, The Big Show to Smackdown at 19, and Dolph Ziggler to Raw at 24. Some of the more controversial picks included 'The Drifter' Elias Samson to Smackdown at 22, and The Usos at 20 to Raw.
The supplemental draft (selected at random) saw some big pickups. Raw got Japanese star Hideo Itami (who will be used to team with Neville) and Kane. The gambles that Raw would get a lot of tag teams and Smackdown would get a lot of women to help fill out those respective rosters also paid off. However, there was a trade, as Raw sent Dana Brooke and Mojo Rawley to Smackdown, in exchange for Murphy and Titus O'Neil. This worked out for all involved, as it reunited the Hype Bros, Prime Time Players, and Blake & Murphy. It also helps provide Smackdown with a female in Dana Brooke with large upside.
Full results are below:
1. John Cena
2. Seth Rollins (to be crowned World Heavyweight Champion)
3. The Wyatt Family (Harper and Rowan to be crowned Tag Team Champions)
4. Brock Lesnar
5. Shinsuke Nakamura
6. Samoa Joe
7. Charlotte (Women's Champion)
8. Rusev & Lana (United States Champion)
9. Dean Ambrose
10. Finn Balor
11. Sasha Banks
12. Alberto Del Rio
14. Becky Lynch
16. Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano
19. The Revival
20. The Usos
21. Chris Jericho
22. The Dudley Boyz
23. Alexa Bliss
24. Dolph Ziggler
Random supplemental picks: Darren Young, Sheamus, The Ascension, Sin Cara, The Vaudevillains, Hideo Itami, Blake, Kane, Golden Truth, Fandango, Tamina. Also, Titus O'Neil and Murphy were acquired (for Dana Brooke and Mojo Rawley)
Raw's primary program will look like this:
Singles (New World Heavyweight Title, U.S. Title) : John Cena, Seth Rollins, Brock Lesnar, Shinsuke Nakamura, Finn Balor, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman, Alberto Del Rio, Hideo Itami, Sheamus, Chris Jericho, Cesaro, Rusev, Kane, Neville, Dolph Ziggler, Fandango, Sin Cara
Women (Women's Title): Charlotte, Asuka, Bayley, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss, Natalya, Tamina, Lana
Tag Teams (New World Tag Team Titles): The Wyatt Family, Itami & Neville, Ciampa & Gargano, The Revival, The Dudley Boyz, Blake & Murphy, The Usos, Vaudevillians, Prime Time Players (reunited), The Ascension, Golden Truth.
1. Roman Reigns (WWE World Heavyweight Champion)
2. AJ Styles
3. Enzo Amore & Big Cass
4. Kevin Owens
5. New Day (WWE World Tag Team Champion)
6. Sami Zayn
7. The Miz & Maryse (Intercontinental Champion)
8. Randy Orton
9. American Alpha
10. Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows
11. Andrade Cien Almas (To be crowned Cruiserweight Champion)
13. Nikki Bella
15. Baron Corbin
17. Austin Aries
18. Tyler Breeze
19. Big Show
21. Zack Ryder
22. "The Drifter" Elias Samson
23. Apollo Crews
25. Rich Swann
Random supplemental picks: Social Outcasts, Shining Stars, Jack Swagger, Naomi, Summer Rae, Alicia Fox, Eva Marie, Nia Jax, Tye Dillinger. Also Dana Brooke and Mojo Rawley were acquired (for Titus O'Neil and Murphy)
Smackdown's primary program will look like this:
Singles (WWE Title and IC Title): Roman Reigns, AJ Styles, Randy Orton, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Baron Corbin, The Miz, Apollo Crews, The Big Show, Zack Ryder, Elias Samson, Jack Swagger
Tag teams (WWE Tag Team Titles): New Day, Enzo & Cass, American Alpha, Anderson & Gallows, TM61, Hype Bros, Shining Stars, Social Outcasts
Cruiserweight (Cruiserweight Title): Andrade Cien Almas (La Sombra), Austin Aries, Kalisto, Rich Swann, Tyler Breeze, Shane Thorne, Nick Miller, Primo, Epico, Tye Dillinger
Women: Paige, Nikki Bella, Emma, Dana Brooke, Maryse, Carmella, Nia Jax, Naomi, Summer Rae, Alicia Fox, Eva Marie,
Who has the better hypothetical roster, Raw or Smackdown? Let us know in the comments below!
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