Feeling Drafty: Superstar by Superstar Analysis of 2016 WWE Draft

by BROCK KOLLER

The WWE Draft has come and gone. Now the question is - were the right Superstars chosen for the right show? Here's a look at what I thought about the first 30 stars to get selected. It's anyone's guess how this will out shake out - but since you are here, you are reading my guesses. Thank you. 

Round No. 1
1. Seth Rollins - Raw; Seth Rollins was the right choice to be the first pick. Even though he is not currently the champion - that I'm sure will change very soon - he is without a doubt the top star on the roster. He is a bonafide star and WWE needs to make sure everyone is aware of that. 


2. WWE Champion Dean Ambrose - SmackDown Live; Right behind Rollins, is Dean Ambrose. Ambrose winning the WWE Championship solidified his status as a main eventer. He will bring the championship to Smackdown and make the show his own. Ambrose should be the center of the show. It's no longer The Rock's show, it's Dean's show. 


3. WWE Women's Champion Charlotte - Raw;  Charlotte may not be the most popular and if I were a Commissioner or General Manager, I personally would have selected Sasha Banks as the top women's wrestler on my roster, but she is Women's Champion, has been for months now (including her Divas Title reign), and that accounts for something. Right now, Charlotte is the one to beat in the women's division and her being the top female in WWE made this the right pick. 


4. AJ Styles - SmackDown Live; A.J. Styles has proven he is that good. In ROH, he was that good. In New Japan, he was that good. In TNA, he was that good. And in WWE, he is still that good. While his heel turn was surprising, what he has done with it is not. Styles is magic. He can turn any situation into gold and as a top draft pick, making Smackdown a must-watch show is his next task, one he should succeed with.  

5. Finn Bálor - Raw from NXT; The most exciting pick of the entire WWE Draft. In my book, the next big thing in the WWE. The next mainstream media darling. The next big-time t-shirt seller. The next face of the company. Two things though - first, he was picked before John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, and many other already established stars. Is that a problem? At first glance, yes. Why didn't Raw pick Cena (storyline wise)? But him being picked so high up, should make those who are not aware of Balor from NXT take notice. It should intrigue viewers to watch and see who this guy is. Second, tons of wrestling fans have been clamoring for Balor's main roster debut. Does this pick kick the wind out of the sails? It will still be a surprise when Balor shows up, but now we are expecting him to. That goes for all the NXT picks. The surprise of if they will be called up is no longer there. But the anticipation of when, still remains. I guess that's good enough. I'll still throw my arms up in the air when his music hits. 

Round No. 2
6. Roman Reigns - Raw; You have to imagine things would have turned out differently for Roman Reigns had he not been suspended. He would have most certainly been a top 3 pick. This time, he just missed the top 5. But Raw gets Rollins and Reigns to carry the show. Will be interesting to see what they do with Reigns. Is a double turn in the cards? Barring any other mistakes, Reigns should stay at the top of the Raw pack and still be one of the poster-boys for the New Era. 


7. John Cena - SmackDown Live; The face that runs this place is returning to the place that made the face famous. John Cena is returning to Smackdown where he rose from the ranks - from mid-carder to WWE Champion in the mid-2000s. It's been reported Cena will take a lesser schedule as it concerns live events, but not television tapings, so Cena should still be a huge part of the Smackdown show.  An early benefit of the draft is Styles and Cena can continue their excellent rivalry through the end of the summer and beginning of fall.


8. Brock Lesnar - Raw; Well, here comes the pain strictly on Monday nights, which is really no different than what he has been doing. Lesnar rarely appeared on Smackdown. Heck, he rarely appears on anything. With the recent news coming out of UFC, Lesnar's WWE ride could take an unexpected turn. He's been an unstoppable force since his return to WWE - minus two losses - but an RKO out of nowhere might be in his future. And then what happens after that? No one probably knows right now. 


9. Randy Orton - SmackDown Live; Randy Orton is making his return to the WWE at Battleground and then in the ring at SummerSlam. Where things stand now, it would not be all that surprising to see Orton get a win over Lesnar and catapult the third generation superstar back to the top on Smackdown. They just need to keep Orton away from Cena, but Orton butting heads with Styles would be an interesting occurrence. 


10. WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day - Raw; The New Day are on the top of the mountain so it feels like one of them will turn on the other soon enough, right? Well, now with this fresh setup to the WWE, this may give new life to The New Day. As rightfully the first tag team to be drafted, The New Day has the set the mark high for the next WWE Tag Team Champions.  The next tag team to be drafted could prove their only immediate threat - Enzo & Cass - not only for the titles, but for the fans' adulation. And both teams are on Raw. What happens to the tag teams on Smackdown? TBD. 

Round No. 3
11. Sami Zayn - Raw; Sami Zayn will be a main eventer now. No question. Should Seth Rollins be crowned WWE Champion or a returning Wold Heavyweight Champion - Zayn could be the first contender not named Roman Reigns. Raw is Zayn's show to lose. He just has to make it to that level and be the "good guy Seth Rollins" the show needs. 


12. Bray Wyatt - SmackDown Live; Speaking of new life, Bray Wyatt has followed the buzzards to Smackdown where he should create nothing but chaos for everyone. He no longer has his family to tag along. He's his own man. I can surely see Bray taking the title from Ambrose down the road. It's time Bray Wyatt becomes champion. 


13. Sasha Banks - Raw; The future of the women's division is at the lucky #13 pick. Sasha Banks will be crowned women's champion sometime soon - or if they can wait that long - at WrestleMania. Sasha and Charlotte have the potential to be one of the best women's rivalries in a long time and now they are given the space and time to do it right - with both being on the Raw roster. 

 
14. Becky Lynch - SmackDown Live; Where does this leave Becky Lynch? Who knows if they will make a second women's title (or call it the Ladies Championship), but Becky is very deserving of it. Should Charlotte defend her title on both shows - her feuding with Becky while Sasha awaits her match - could not only make Becky's Smackdown placement more interesting - but it would prolong the Sasha feud, which would help create the drama needed to make that moment when Sasha wins even more satisfying to viewers. 

15. Chris Jericho - Raw; Chris Jericho could have been picked an either show and I would have been happy. He can work with the best and most seasoned, and at the same time, work with the greenest and youngest to make them better. And Chris Jericho vs. Finn Balor is already a match of the year candidate and it hasn't even happened yet. 

Round No. 4
16. United States Champion Rusev (with Lana) - Raw; I really hope they let Rusev show more of his humorous side. With more time to let wrestlers shine, a new side of Rusev would be nice to see. Keep him evil, by all means, but show that he's not just one-dimensional evil. And no sketches with fish, please. 


17. Intercontinental Champion The Miz (with Maryse) - SmackDown Live; The Miz is firing on all cylinders and should be no different on Smackdown. I would love to see The Miz hold an I.C. Open Challenge every week - a la John Cena's U.S. Open Challenge. There's a bunch of new contenders for him to face, so why not them show them off - and build Miz's reputation in the process. 


18. Kevin Owens - Raw; Wow. Kevin Owens should have been drafted way higher. Way higher. He is too good to be #18. But maybe that'll add fuel to his fire - which he really doesn't need. Owens is an amazing talent - skilled on the mic and in the ring. It looks like his feud with Sami Zayn could continue forever - fight forever! - but hopefully, they find some new talent through this draft to give to Owens. Again, throwing Finn Balor up against Owens - always a winner. 


19. Baron Corbin - SmackDown Live; Baron Corbin could finally use his Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal victory to good use now that the roster is thinned out and he can show what he's made of. It seems WWE is very high on Corbin and with a new setting - and please, keep him away from Dolph Ziggler - and new opponents, Corbin could easily be an I.C. title holder in the near future. But that would mean The Miz would have to drop it soon or could the Lone Wolf become a friendly one to fight the A-Lister?


20. Enzo & Big Cass - Raw; At #20, the hottest tag team that does not have its own cereal was selected. Enzo & Cass have it all and you can't teach that. Catchphrases, funny entrances, and complimentary wrestling styles. I wouldn't mind seeing fan favorite vs. fan favorite with Enzo & Cass against The New Day. WWE would probably like to not have that so maybe we'll see The Dudleys get their 10th title reign or The Club get a title run and then drop it to the new E&C. 

Round No. 5
21. Gallows and Anderson - Raw; The Club is without its leader. Though they are quite familiar with Finn Balor. I personally would keep that away for now. When the time is right, let them meet up, but it does not need to be rushed like Styles and The Club. Let Balor do his thing and The Club can work on becoming champs. 


22. American Alpha - SmackDown Live from NXT; American Alpha has the potential to be the best tag team on any roster - and they very well could be right now - but can they become champions? It remains to be seen how the Tag Team Championships will be defended or if a second pair of titles will be introduced. One way or another American Alpha will be wearing gold in the very near future. Glad they got the call up to the main roster from NXT. 

 
23. Big Show - Raw; Well, it's The Big Show-'s job to make the younger stars shine. There are a number of them coming to Raw and whether he's good or bad, Show is always a team player and ready to do the job when needed. It still means something when a newcomer defeats the giant and that will go far for many of the young Raw superstars. 


24. Dolph Ziggler - SmackDown Live; Dolph Ziggler on Smackdown Live  needs to be different than Dolph ZIggler on anything else we've seen before. Take a page from The Undertaker and alter your character a bit. This is a fresh start for everyone, so this fan favorite needs to make the most of it. All of his fans are counting on him. And stay away from Baron Corbin. 


25. Nia Jax - Raw from NXT; This could be good. If Charlotte is dealing with Becky Lynch on Smackdown, Nia could be the perfect foil for Sasha. Although, Summer Rae is also on Raw and she could keep Sasha busy, too. Where does that leave Nia? Maybe fighting Paige.   

Round No. 6
26. Neville - Raw; There is a rumored cruiserweight division starting on Raw. If that is the case, you are looking at the star of that division. Neville could be the next Rey Mysterio - start off a cruiserweight and in a few years win the Royal Rumble and main event WrestleMania. 


27. Natalya - SmackDown Live; An evil Natalya will still be battling Becky Lynch is the early goings on Smackdown Live. But like the other women, she will get bored if there's no title to go after. Something needs to be determined to make Natalya's Smackdown presence meaningful.


28. Cesaro - Raw; Another draft pick who should have been selected way earlier. Cesaro gave a passionate speech on WWE.com about his position in the draft and in the company. Cesaro should be a future WWE Champion, but for now, he might have to show he means business fighting Rusev for the U.S. Championship as he awaits bigger things.


29. Alberto Del Rio - SmackDown Live; Alberto Del Rio is in the Chris Jericho position on Smackdown. He can still be in important title scenarios, but he should also be used to build up and comers. A win over Del Rio by a fresh face is always shocking. Del Rio also knows how to verbally make the audience root against him. He is an important piece on the Smackdown brand. 


30. Sheamus - Raw; Sheamus should not be overlooked. He was getting stale as a babyface, so he returned as a mohawked heel. Now, that look may be waning and just like I've said earlier, it's a new start. I think if we learned more about who Sheamus is, the man behind the mohawk and piercings, it could prove to be a welcomed return of a face Sheamus - one the fans want to see win. We just need a sit down interview with Corey Graves aired over several weeks on Raw. There is now time for things like that again. 

So those are the top 30 picks of the 2016 WWE Draft. Below is how the rest of the draft turned out. Everyone has an opportunity to make this draft a good thing for their career - even Heath Slater who was not drafted. WWE's first try at a split roster over 10 years ago - started off strong with distinct show atmospheres and writing - but then slowly merged back into one, homogenized brand. This is a second chance for WWE to make competition within itself. It could be great or could just feel like 5 hours of the same show with different names and then it won't really matter who was drafted #1 or #45. 

But I'm betting WWE knows what it's doing and in a few weeks, we'll be saying Raw is very different than Smackdown, except for one thing: They are both can't miss.  

Round No. 7 (announced during WWE Draft Center Live on WWE Network)
31. Golden Truth - Raw
32. The Usos - SmackDown Live
33. Titus O'Neil - Raw
34. Demon Kane - SmackDown Live
35. Paige - Raw

Round No. 8 (announced during WWE Draft Center Live on WWE Network)
36. Darren Young (with Bob Backlund) - Raw
37. Kalisto - SmackDown Live
38. Sin Cara - Raw
39. Naomi - SmackDown Live
40. Jack Swagger - Raw
41. The Ascension - SmackDown Live

Round No. 9 (announced during WWE Draft Center Live on WWE Network)
42. The Dudley Boyz - Raw
43. Zack Ryder - SmackDown Live
44. Summer Rae - Raw
45. Apollo Crews - SmackDown Live
46. Mark Henry - Raw
47. Alexa Bliss - SmackDown Live from NXT

Round No. 10 Picks (announced during WWE Draft Center Live on WWE Network)
48. Braun Strowman - Raw
49. Breezango - SmackDown Live
50. Bo Dallas - Raw
51. Eva Marie - SmackDown Live
52. Shining Stars - Raw
53. The Vaudevillains - SmackDown Live

Round No. 11 (announced during WWE Draft Center Live on WWE Network)
54. Alicia Fox - Raw
55. Erick Rowan - SmackDown Live
56. Dana Brooke - Raw
57. Mojo Rawley - SmackDown Live from NXT
58. Curtis Axel - Raw
59. Carmella - SmackDown Live from NXT

Undrafted
Heath Slater