The WWE has done it now. They have another a brand split scheduled between Raw and Smackdown. Everyone is wondering if this one will work better than the last time they tried it. Will NXT be an official third brand and be part of the draft? Chaos will surely ensue and we will have even more McMahon family drama to wade through.
So, for those who like to indulge in pointless exercises, I have decided to try my hand at doing a mock draft for this brand split. But first, a couple items to establish:
- The WWE World Champion, the WWE Tag Team Champions, and the WWE Women’s Champion will not be on any one roster, but will instead work both shows as needed. As such, none of the holders of those titles may be drafted.
- When a new WWE World Champion, WWE Tag Team Champion, or WWE Women’s Champion is crowned, the former champion will take the spot on the brand where the new champion was previously. (e.g. If Roman Reigns is beat for the belt by someone on the Smackdown brand, Reigns will then be added to the Smackdown roster and the new champion would be removed from that roster to work all shows.)
- The number of PPVs will remain the same, and the main event of each event will alternate between Smackdown and Raw brands.
- An established tag-team can be used as one pick.
- Part-time wrestlers such as Brock Lesnar, The Undertaker, The Rock, etc. can still be drafted and have their rights maintained by that particular brand.
- Managers, Valets, etc. will go with their respective clients to the brand that drafts them.
- The Intercontinental title will be the main title for the Raw brand. The US title will be the main title for the Smackdown brand. These belts will often be the main event focuses of the respective weekly shows.
- NXT will remain a “sub-brand” operating as a minor league of sorts.
- Raw and Smackdown may “call up” an NXT talent, but will have to send a corresponding member of their roster to NXT.
- Shane McMahon will be in charge of Raw and Stephanie McMahon will have control of Smackdown.
- The draft order will reverse in each round. Therefore, Round 1 will be Raw then Smackdown and Round 2 will be Smackdown then Raw, etc.
- Let’s begin.
The first pick is a huge deal because it is who the brand obviously thinks will be their standard bearer, their top challenger for the World title, the “face of the brand,” etc. As such, Shane makes his way to the podium and makes the announcement of Raw’s first pick.
Raw – Seth Rollins
Everyone is in a bit of shock with this pick, especially Stephanie McMahon. She was sure Rollins would fall to Smackdown. With the clock running, Stephanie quickly consults Triple H and then makes the first pick for Smackdown.
Smackdown – John Cena
This pick obviously pained Stephanie to make, but everyone understands how dependable Cena has been for the company, the amount of merchandise he sells, his main stream appeal, etc. And so it begins.
Smackdown – Rusev // Raw – The Miz
The Round 2 selections move the United States title to Smackdown and the Intercontinental title to Raw respectively. No major surprise here.
Raw – AJ Styles // Smackdown – Enzo and Cass
Shane uses his third pick on AJ Styles, who has already main evented two recent PPVs. Stephanie, meanwhile, decides to bring in one of the most over young tag teams around in Enzo and Big Cass. However, Mel Kiper Jr. declares this to be a reach for the Smackdown brand.
Smackdown – Chris Jericho // Raw – Bray Wyatt
A couple of surprises in this round. Stephanie puts aside her past with Chris Jericho to get a very solid hand, either as a heel or a face. Meanwhile, Shane brings in the head of the Wyatt family, and Raw already looks like a different show.
Raw – Neville // Smackdown – Sheamus
Todd McShay says that Sheamus is a steal in Round 5, but Mel Kiper disagrees. Raw continues to find fast and exciting workers.
Smackdown – Sasha Banks // Raw – Paige
Stephanie makes a surprise pick and snags Sasha Banks with her 6th Round pick. Shane panics a bit and grabs who he considers the next best woman’s wrestler on the roster.
Raw – Becky Lynch // Smackdown – The Club (Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows)
Shane continues to try to counter Stephanie’s foray into the Women’s division with his pick of Becky Lynch, but Stephanie smartly turns the tables and drafts The Club to star in Smackdown’s tag team division. This pick also sees the separation of AJ Styles and The Club, which none of the three are happy about.
Smackdown – The Usos // Raw – The Vaudevillains
Stephanie grabs a third tag team and Shane appears to be panicking again, realizing the tag teams are going fast. He drafts The Vaudevillains, who Todd McShay declares are a 1st round talent in any other draft.
Raw – Luke Harper and Erick Rowan // Smackdown – Brock Lesnar
Two more members of the Wyatt family go in this round as Shane drafts Harper and Rowan as a tag team. Stephanie challenges this move, as Harper and Rowan both work singles matches as well, but the choice is made anyway. Stephanie decides to counter with drafting the rights to Brock Lesnar. Paul Heyman comes out and thanks Stephanie for drafting the person who should have been the first overall pick (as he glares at Shane), and that Stephanie obviously knows who is going to draw box office for her.
Smackdown – Randy Orton // Raw – Cesaro
Stephanie picks another friend of Triple H and Raw is able to bring in a potential main eventer.
Raw – Dolph Ziggler // Smackdown – Apollo Crews
A bit of stretch for both brands here. Shane brings in a former world champion, but someone who hasn’t been able to win a match in ages. Stephanie takes a shot on a very athletic performer just starting out, hoping to catch lightning in a bottle.
Smackdown – Natalya // Raw – Emma
The Women’s roster continues to develop on both shows, with Raw drafting Emma even though she is out with an injury. Mel Kiper Jr describes it as a risky pick. Meanwhile, Natalya is seen as a great value choice in round 12.
Raw – Dana Brooke // Smackdown – Nikki Bella
And one round after Raw chose an injured wrestler, Smackdown does the same, hoping that Nikki Bella can return from her injury.
Smackdown – Dean Ambrose // Raw – Kevin Owens
Two very big names here in round 14, and both brands feels they have superstars for years to come with these two.
Raw – Sami Zayn // Smackdown – The Luchadores (Kalisto and Sin Cara)
Shane quickly grabbed Sami Zayn since it appeared Stephanie was all ready to take him with the next pick. Meanwhile, Stephanie added another tag team and one where both team members have appeared and succeeded in singles competition.
Smackdown – Baron Corbin // Raw – The Shining Stars (Epico and Primo)
Stephanie takes one of her husband’s newest finds in Baron Corbin while Shane tries to bolster his tag team ranks with the Shining Stars.
Raw – Golden Truth (Goldust and R-Truth) // Smackdown – Alberto Del Rio
Another tag team comes off the board, and another where the two members are solid hands in singles matches as well. Alberto Del Rio brings a strong championship pedigree with him to Smackdown where he could shine.
Smackdown – The Dudley Boyz // Raw – Mark Henry
Some veterans come off the board in Round 18, with Raw added some much needed strength to their roster and Smackdown brings a highly decorated team into the fold.
Raw – Bo Dallas // Smackdown – Titus O’Neill
A big surprise for Raw as Shane begins to Bo-lieve in Bo Dallas. Smackdown picks up someone Todd McShay declares is one of the “most mainstream ready stars he has seen in years.”
Smackdown – Lana // Raw – Eva Marie
Even though Lana accompanies Rusev to the ring, she did make her wrestling debut a few months ago, so she is eligible to be drafted as a wrestler. Luckily for her, Rusev was also drafted to the Smackdown brand. Meanwhile, Shane drafted Eva Marie hoping that she can build on her heel reactions from the crowd.
Raw – Naomi // Smackdown – Alicia Fox
The run on women wrestlers continue in Round 21.
Smackdown – Summer Rae // Raw – Tamina
Both brands draft their third woman wrestler in a row now. Tamina, while still rehabbing from ligament damage, still could become the “steal of the draft” according to Todd McShay.
Raw – Zack Ryder // Smackdown – Jack Swagger
In round 23, fan favorite Zack Ryder is picked up by Raw, creating some buzz in the locker room. Smackdown countered with another former champion, Jack Swagger.
Smackdown – Ryback // Raw – The Ascension
Interesting picks here. Both brands appear to be banking on the potential of these picks rather than the current situation with them. Stephanie apparently believes she can work through Ryback’s concerns with management while Shane is hoping that Konnor avoids further wellness violations.
Raw – Curtis Axel // Smackdown – Tyler Breeze+Fandango
Shane aims high for the former Paul Heyman guy while Stephanie rounds out her tag team division with Tyler Breeze and Fandango, who also can perform in singles contests for Smackdown.
Smackdown – Big Show // Raw – Braun Strowman
Mel Kiper Jr said it best with these picks, “At this point in the draft you are looking for at least one thing you can work with. With these two guys, it is definitely size. Smackdown is going with size and experience while Raw is banking on size and potential. It will be interesting to see which approach brings better results.” Also, the addition of Strowman unites the Wyatt Family.
Raw – Darren Young // Smackdown – Heath Slater
Sadness falls on the draft as the Social Outcasts are split up. However, Heath Slater goes overboard in his celebration of being drafted. He hugs Stephanie and starts talking about how he is obviously the Smackdown MVP. Stephanie hilariously tries to trade him to Raw immediately, but Shane just walks away from her.
Smackdown – Triple H // Raw – The Rock
While both of these men are only part-time wrestlers, they both bring huge names into the fold. Triple H is the husband of the person running Smackdown, of course. And The Rock is his long-time nemesis. That could get interesting come time for the major PPVs.
Raw – The Undertaker // Smackdown – Kane
Shane drafts The Undertaker here after facing him at WrestleMania as some sort of apology. Stephanie follows that with the other Brother of Destruction, so she can make sure she has her own monster. Again, both men are only part-timers at this point, but Kane seems to have a little more life left in him.
Round 30 (Final Round):
Smackdown – Shane McMahon // Raw – Rosa Mendes
Stephanie surprises Shane and drafts him to her active roster due to him being an active wrestler as of WrestleMania. How Shane will run Raw while working Smackdown dates is going to be a very interesting dynamic going forward. Then Shane finishes off the draft by drafting Rosa Mendes, mainly to hold a roster spot for a woman’s wrestler once she returns from maternity leave.
Supplemental Pick (One choice from NXT to bring up to the main rosters without having to send one of the current wrestlers down to NXT):
Raw – Finn Balor // Smackdown – Samoa Joe
Shane and Stephanie take the opportunity to pull a main event star from NXT as a supplemental choice in the draft. Todd McShay and Mel Kiper Jr both comment that these supplemental picks could be the best choices of the entire draft. Everyone mumbles and agrees.
And there you have it. The full draft for the brand split. Do you like Raw’s roster with people like Seth Rollins, AJ Styles, Cesaro, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, and Finn Balor? Or do you prefer Smackdown’s roster with superstars like John Cena, Chris Jericho, Rusev, Brock Lesnar, Dean Ambrose, and Samoa Joe? Which show has the greater tag team division? Would you rather watch the Women’s Revolution on Raw or Smackdown? How much longer can Shane count on the Undertaker delivering big matches? And how much will Stephanie screw with her brother after drafting him to work in the ring on Smackdown?
Sound off in the comments section and let me know what you think. Until next time…
Tags: AJ Styles, Brock Lesnar, Cesaro, Chris Jericho, dean ambrose, Finn Balor, John Cena, Kevin Owens, rusev, sami zayn, Samoa Joe, seth rollins, The Rock, Triple H, undertaker