Biggest Takeaways from WWE Draft 2016 Review | Smark Out Moment

Biggest Takeaways from WWE Draft 2016 Review

Posted by Ben Guest Wednesday, July 20, 2016
The 2016 WWE Draft has finally happened and the future of WWE is about to begin. But with the WWE title picture still unclear and so much left to be sorted in the wake of this huge shakeup, here is a review of what the draft means for some individual superstars, the championships, the two brands and WWE as a whole.

logo for the 2016 WWE Draft

Surprising Picks

Charlotte was picked for Raw at number 3. This is a huge boost for the women's division and although it may not be the biggest surprise, with them wanting women to look equally important, it is still shocking to have her this high on the list.

AJ Styles was pick number 4 for SmackDown. This is another surprise simply because he has only been in WWE for 6 months and he was picked above the like of Roman Reigns, John Cena and Brock Lesnar. But talent-wise, he deserves to be one of the top picks.

Pick number 5 for Raw was FINN BALOR! Although he should come under the next section of NXT Picks, this is the biggest surprise of the night. We all know what Finn Balor is capable of, we all know that he deserves to be this high on the list, but the fact that WWE have drafted him so highly is incredible and hopefully means he's in for a big push.

Brock Lesnar was drafter number 8 for Raw. This is a big surprise because Lesnar is one of the biggest draws in the company and off the back of his recent UFC 200 victory, I expected him to be higher than this. The only reason I can see for him being this low are his recent USADA violations.

Rusev (Raw) and The Miz (SmackDown) were drafted numbers 16 and 17 respectively. Although the numbers they were picked at aren't particularly surprising, I thought they may go earlier because they are both champions, but these are some of the less surprising picks to make the list.

Kevin Owens was drafted number 18 for Raw. Chris Jericho, Sami Zayn and Becky Lynch could all easily have waited until after KO, he is ready for a main event push anytime.

Cesaro was picked by Raw at number 28. The list of people who went before him includes the likes of Big Show, Dolph Ziggler and even Nia Jax. This makes me lose all hope that WWE have any faith in him and based on the promo he cut later in the night, he may be thinking the same.

NXT Picks

American Alpha were the second NXT pick (after Finn Balor who was covered in the previous section) and they were picked at number 22 for Raw. This is a call up that most people expected and most people are happy about. I look forward to seeing how they enhance the tag team division.

Nia Jax was picked for Raw at number 25. Really? I'm not sire she's ready to be called up yet and to be this high on the list is a surprise. There are at least 4 better women than her in NXT, only 2 of whom were also called up.

Alexa Bliss was drafted number 47 for SmackDown. I didn't expect this, but I'm glad it happened, no complaints from me.

The 57th draft pick was for SmackDown and was Mojo Rawley. Like Nia Jax, he didn't need to be called up yet, there are so many people I would have taken over Mojo, but maybe he can surprise me, or at least get buried in the tag division alongside Zack Ryder.

The final NXT pick was the final draft pick and is SmackDown's Carmella. This is one that I called and I'm glad it happened. There are some complaints that she was drafted to a different brand than Enzo and Cass, but I think that's a good thing. It means she can become a legitimate star on her own and not just 'that girl with Enzo and Cass', plus it allows for a feel good moment down the line when they're reunited.

A quick mention of a few people who didn't get call ups. Samoa Joe is the NXT champion and although Kevin Owens was called up while he was still champ, I think he needs to stay and defend the title. Shinsuke Nakamura can be called up at anytime and I'm a little disappointed he wasn't but I understand the argument that he needs to improve his English and his promos. Asuka is in the same boat as Samoa Joe, call her up when she drops her title.

The biggest surprise in terms of people who weren't called up is Bayley. Everyone had her as a guarantee to be in this draft yet there was no mention of her. But I think there is an easy explanation for this. Raw was supposed to have 3 picks for every 2 SmackDown had and this rule was abandoned after SmackDown went off air, so Raw needs some more stars in the future. Some of those spaces will be filled by upcoming Cruiser weights, but Sasha Banks has a match against Dana Brooke and Charlotte at Battleground and has chosen a mystery partner. All 3 of these girls are on Raw which means her partner is also likely to be. So on Sunday, don't be too surprised to hear Bayley's music hit.


The championship pictures are still unclear and plenty could change in the coming weeks, but as things stand Raw has the Women's, Tag Team and United States championships. Along with the exclusive cruiser weight division, and probably another title with that, it's difficult to see how they're playing the title picture. Raw has a majority of the good women and tag teams so there is no need to have two of either title an floating championships takes away from the idea of a brand split. i really don't like any of the possibilities that come to mind.

Overall Raw has a strong roster, but with it being an hour longer than SmackDown, they still have a difficult task ahead.


SmackDown has two of my favourite guys in WWE, Dean Ambrose and AJ Styles, but they also have a lot of picks that I couldn't care less about, such as Zack Ryder, Eva Marie and The Ascension. There women and tag teams don't look good enough to make a division capable of competing with Raw and even the mid-card may struggle after a few months. Add in the fact that right now they only have two championships and SmackDown still looks like the 'B' show.

The positive thing for SmackDown is that filling 2 hours a weeks shouldn't be difficult with the people they have and with more call ups possible in the future, don't rush to any conclusions about either brand.


If anything, I'm cautiously optimistic after this draft. A big change like this means that they'll be putting a lot of effort into both shows, which should lead to 5 hours of great content a week in the coming months and with how good WWE has been since WrestleMania, we know that there is real potential for some great shows. But how long can they sustain it? The last brand split led to many people calling for the brands to never be split again and with this split rumoured to be forced by USA Network, how much faith do WWE themselves have in it? My advice to anyone unsure of how to feel about either or both brands would be to watch as much as you can of both, try not to look too far into the future and just enjoy what's happening as it happens and remember that there is a reason WWE is the biggest wrestling company in the world. And if all else fails, you can always complain about what happens, on the internet!

So there is our review of the draft and where the future of WWE looks to be heading. Do you disagree with anything, have your own thoughts on the future of WWE or have anything to say about the draft? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Ben Guest is a history student at De Montfort University in the United Kingdom. Outside of professional wrestling, he is also a fan of Liverpool FC.


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