Booking the Draft: How to Kickstart the 2016 WWE Roster Split | Smark Out Moment

Booking the Draft: How to Kickstart the 2016 WWE Roster Split

Posted by Matt Rutherford-West Saturday, July 9, 2016
It's been 5 years since the last WWE Draft and since then, the landscape of Raw and SmackDown has become stale. The whole concept behind the initial 2002 draft was to create two very separate brands in order to promote competition and rivalry between the two shows. WWE had beaten WCW in the Monday Night Wars and ECW had folded too, leaving no clear rival to compete against. The original plan was to relaunch WCW as a 3rd brand (after Raw and SmackDown), but after Buff Bagwell vs Booker T went down, the plan changed.

We'll use the 2002 rule set in this column, with 20 draft picks taking place in this column and the rest happening on a supplementary draft in the future. In terms of titles on each show, the WWE Championship, Intercontinental Championship and WWE Tag Team Championship will be exclusive to Raw and the World Heavyweight Championship, United States Championship and Women's Championship will be exclusive to SmackDown. We also need a couple of COO's too before starting the draft itself. We'll also take a look at the initial storylines that could be used with the draft picks we see below in a future column. Now, let's get on with the draft!

Raw COO: Stephanie McMahon
This one writes itself – there's no way that the most credible female heel isn't going to be in the top job on Raw. Using a McMahon as well allows Raw to credit themselves as the "A show" initially which allows for the fires of rivalry to be stoked significantly. 

SmackDown COO: Daniel Bryan
I was torn personally between Bryan and Shane McMahon for the SmackDown job. Bryan gets the nod ahead of Shane because he is a) better on the mic than Shane and b) will not wrestle again, ever. Think back to the Mick Foley WWF Commissioner role he played – he was never a physical character but used promos for the physicality instead. Plus, there is history between Stephanie and Bryan which can be played on a lot.

Raw draft pick #1: Dean Ambrose
This is the obvious choice; first pick should normally always be the current WWE Champion. It sets the standard for the night to come and also shows WWE continued faith in him

SmackDown draft pick #1: John Cena
Putting John Cena on SmackDown would give the show instant credibility. Certain demographics only watch WWE for John Cena and making sure that he is on SmackDown will add viewers straight away.

Raw draft pick #2: Seth Rollins
Putting Seth on Raw continues the Ambrose-Rollins storyline nice and easily and these two could easily main event Raw pay per views until the end of time and I'd be happy. These two can put on a show for anyone to watch and be interested in.

SmackDown draft pick #2: AJ Styles
Again, this both continues the Cena-Styles storyline but also gives name power to SmackDown. Plus, anyone who gets drafted to SmackDown could easily have a good match with Styles, he'd even make Eva Marie look good. OK, maybe not but you see where I'm going with it.

Raw draft pick #3: Roman Reigns
The controversial pick – will WWE use him because of his drug violation? Will they keep his face off the show? Will he come out and say he did it for The Rock? Who knows. However, he made a mistake, he's paying his dues and let him come back and wrestle. Would have been #2 or even #1 pick in some crazy alternative universe if it wasn't the violation. 

SmackDown draft pick #3: Rusev
Yes there are bigger picks to be made but Rusev a) current US Champion and therefore brings the title to SmackDown and b) needs to be believable again. Giving him attention by being draft pick #3 gives him that and sets him up to be the (eventual) number 1 heel on SmackDown.

Raw draft pick #4: Sheamus Again there are bigger picks but this is setting up Sheamus to be a big star again. His value plummeted during the League of Nations angle and his credibility was hurt a lot too with that stupid haircut. Get Sheamus down to the barbers and give him a new haircut. 

SmackDown draft pick #4: Chris Jericho
Chris comes and goes from WWE, but when he is around he is an amazing and credible name to have around. Look at the previous three SmackDown picks as well – each one could have a good match with Jericho and he could play to their weaknesses and hide them too if needed.

Raw draft pick #5: Big Show
Each show needs a monster and Big Show is the monster for Raw. Give him one last run before retirement – he's earnt it.

SmackDown draft pick #5: Kane
Each show needs a monster and Kane is the monster for SmackDown. Give him one last run before retirement – he's earnt it.

Raw draft pick #6: Apollo Crews
If Apollo Crews isn't WWE Champion within 5 years, I'll eat my hat. He has the look, the talent and now just needs the credibility. He has a lot going for him. My main worry is that they'll do a Tyler Breeze with him and just leave him floating around the lower mid-card area and do nothing with him. I feel bad for Tyler.

SmackDown draft pick #6: Bray Wyatt
This also brings the rest of the Wyatt family with him as part of a "deal" – how sneaky of him. Bray has been out of action and is coming back now and needs fresh storylines. The Family could quite easily spend the first few shows attacking wrestlers during matches before starting a storyline properly.

Raw draft pick #7: Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens is one of the few wrestlers to come out of a feud with John Cena relatively unscathed. He is still a legitimate wrestler, still can do wonders on the mic and still is a bad ass. Normally when wrestlers are fed, I mean feuding, with Cena something happens to them – thankfully this hasn't happened with Owens.

SmackDown draft pick #7: The Miz
The Miz being on SmackDown brings along a problem – he needs to drop the title before the draft starts. This could easily be done in another match between him, Zayn, Owens and Cesaro and I don't think anyone would mind that exact same match again. The Miz is a nice, mid card heel who people naturally hate and who, when doubled up with Maryse, present a lot of options. It can also get Maryse back in the Woman's Championship side of things.

Raw draft pick #8: Sami Zayn
Where Kevin Owens goes, Sami follows. I hate how short this feud between the two has been. These two could put on matches for years and I'd never be bored by them. Sami can also do a lot in the ring and could easily be main event player in a year.

SmackDown draft pick #8: Zack Ryder
With The Miz being draft pick #7, Ryder had to be #8. I want him to have his revenge. Simple as that.

Raw draft pick #9: Dolph Ziggler
I still remember watching Ziggler cashing in his MITB briefcase with a gleam in my eye. The pop he got that night shows that the fans are behind him. He can talk, he can wrestle, he can sell merchandise but he isn't the top dog in WWE. Give him a chance, let him have a long spell in the Rumble, hell let him win the Rumble, and show that he can main event WrestleMania with whoever it may be.

SmackDown draft pick #9: Finn Balor
Caught you off guard with this one! Balor will eventually come to the Raw/SmackDown scene and what better way to kick it off than to pick him during the draft before he has even appeared. This means that current Balor/NXT fans get a big carrot dangled in front of them to watch SmackDown and those who haven't watched Balor/NXT something to be interested in / go and watch NXT. This also could set up a storyline with the final draft pick.

Raw draft pick #10: Ryback
Again, another surprise pick. Ryback is in a "contract dispute" at the moment and while the chance of him coming back is the same as Cena losing clean to Balor in his first match, hell this is fantasy booking. Before left Ryback was gathering steam and momentum with his character and with his time on the side-lines he's still picking up traction.

SmackDown draft pick #10: The Undertaker
Yes, this is one pretty much no-one called too. Let me make it clear, The Undertaker doesn't have to wrestle week in or week out, or even appear on the show. He could pre-record segments and have them air "live". This is the holy cow draft pick everyone is looking for and would set the internet alight.


Yes, there are a lot of ifs, buts and maybes with the WWE Draft, but it is something that could give WWE the shot in the arm it needs. Yes, there are a lot of wrestlers I've left out who could easily be in the initial draft. A lot of tag teams missed out too. The two shows (as drafted above) have got credible heels and faces, have got current storylines and new storylines and have got the star power that's needed. All the jigsaw puzzle pieces are there. The question is, will WWE use them?

WWE brand split extension 2016

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