WWE’s 2016 Draft
On July 19, 2016, the WWE held their long anticipated brand extension draft because they finally realized that they had too much talent and weren’t utilizing them properly. It’s not like they will use everybody properly now, but more wrestlers will get an opportunity to shine, and that’s really forward progress.
This draft wasn’t my ideal draft, but It never was intended to be. I obviously feel some wrestlers are over-valued and under-valued compared to WWE’s perception. It’s been that way since I started watching in 1989. I mean come on, you couldn’t give The Big Boss Man, Jake the Snake Roberts, Mr. Perfect, or Ted Dibiase the F’N title? Really? Holy shit, I left out Ravishing Rick Rude who was one of the all-time greatest heels, but nah, screw him. Push Hogan to the moon after he was well over. Back to the year 2016 now. I must focus. But seriously, if Rick Rude was alive and in his prime right now, he would be at least 30% of the IWC’s favorite wrestler. Just saying.
Anyway, I have questions, and I will be glad to answer them, but for once, I shall not be doing this alone. It’s like sex for the first time, only with a married man and a married woman. Allllright. I will be joined by my longtime friend and former Malarkey Show co-host, Russell. On the flip side, all the way from our nation’s capital, I will also be joined by Keri who had the…..uhmm……fortunate luck to marry my buddy Eric. Hopefully this is slightly more interesting than simply reading my blathering on endlessly. If you would also like to join the discussion, contact me, or do a search on Facebook for Superkent’s 9 Deuce Blog Group. It’s open to the public, and we are a quiet bunch by and large. To get you in the mood for this, please watch this amazing video of the Undertaker being pissed off at the original WWE Draft.
- Out of the top ten picks, which one surprised you the most by either being too high or too low? Use this link for draft reference if needed. http://rajah.com/node/52723
Russ: So I don’t think I was really surprised by any of these picks. I understand the Kayfabe reason to pick Charlotte so that made sense to me (even if totally undeserved). I guess Finn Balor in the top 5 was a little shocking. There are way more established WWE guys like Cesaro (28, criminal) or KO (18, sort of insulting) that I would have picked before Finn. He is good, but I think he elevates himself to the level of his opponent and he has been the benefactor of some great feuds if he were asked to lead a match I’m not so sure how amazing it would be. I could be wrong though, cause I do like Balor.
Keri: None of the top ten picks really surprised me that much. I mean they were quite frankly rather predictable. But I have to say putting in a part timer like Brock ahead of guys who fight week after week for recognition and opportunities is a little messed up. I know why they did it because of the name recognition alone but still he is a part timer and the organization with all the talent they have should try to move away from that. Same thing can also be said for Orton. The guy has been on the shelf for almost a year, hasn’t wrestled a match yet and is drafted in the top 10. This was a ratings ploy nothing more, nothing less.
Kent: Between Cena, Brock, and Roman, those are all confusing, but I gotta go with Charlotte. Are you shitting me? She is one of the least talented wrestlers in the women’s division. She reminds me of, and please don’t take this as sacrilege, Undertaker, Batista, and Roman Reigns early on in their careers. None of them were good enough to carry a match, but they could have great matches with an above average wrestler. These guys wrestled to the level of their competition early on, and so does Charlotte. Every single good Charlotte match involves her in the ring with a very good woman wrestler. Charlotte could evolve, but for now, hell no, not worth of being in the top 10.
- Out of the whole draft, aside from the top ten, which pick(s) surprised you most?
Russ: Sami going at #11 was really shocking to me. He’s good, not that good again when you have other guys like Cesaro (Seriously 28!) I guess Carmella was an odd choice she needs more development time in NXT.
Keri: I have to agree with Kent here. Kevin Owens was drafted too low if we were basing this on ability. The picks should have gone 11. Owens and 12. Zayn and both to different brands. The storyline with them while fascinating and provides us with some damn good wrestling is going to run its course eventually. Creative has to realize that you can only push a story for so long before the audience starts to get bored. Also Cesaro not breaking the top 20 is just criminal. The guy comes back from injury and is basically in and out of the ring gold since his return and still gets buried. It’s so unfortunate that I don’t want to talk about it anymore.
Kent: Kevin Owens drafted at 18 was a slap in his face. Sami was 11. Owens should have gone over Zayn. Just ridiculous. Nia Jax Over Cesaro is even worse. Nia is the single worse wrestler that I have seen this decade. Cesaro at 28 is brutal. Carmella only because she could have flourished on NXT, but they didn’t even put her on the same roster as Enzo and Cass, just setting her up for failure. Finally, everybody drafted below the Shining Stars, including Alicia Fox who is criminally underrated, Eric Rowan, and the Vaudevillians.
- Do you feel that they missed some opportunities? If so, please provide examples.
Russ: Yea misses include but aren’t limited to separating AJ from Anderson and Gallows. They are awesome together! I would have loved to see more of the beating up John Cena segments or even have AJ on Raw where he would shine as a heel against a turned Seth. I also thought Cesaro (there are so many worse picks above Mr. 28) on Raw was a miss. I love Cesaro but I believe he would have been better off on Smackdown Live where he could have been Main Event for sure!
Keri: There were a lot of misses here. Almost too many to count. Drafting unproven wrestlers like Nia Jax in the top 30 and over the likes of proven competitors like Del Rio (check out his work in Lucha Underground Season 1 and come back and say that the WWE is not holding him back), Cesaro, Neville, Paige, Alicia Fox, as well as others is just plain messed up. But as I said before, this was a ratings ploy.
Kent: Of course they did. They didn’t separate KO and Zayn. Why wouldn’t you do that, or have a stipulation in their PPV match where winner chooses which brand they want and loser goes to the other? Keeping New Day on the same roster as Enzo and Cass is absolutely baffling. That’s double dipping your 2 biggest fan friendly and over tag teams. That makes no F’N sense. I would have put Zo and Cass on Smackdown as Cena really seemed interested in taking them under his wing. I also didn’t like how they divided the women’s division. It’s not remotely equal, because even though RAW is stuck with Nia, they got such a better roster. Oh, I do not ever want another Cena vs. Orton match, ever, so why are they on the same roster?
- How do you feel about the people picked from NXT, and how do you feel that this will impact NXT moving forward? (Finn, American Alpha, Mojo Rawley, Nia Jax, Alexa Bliss, Carmella, and Eva Marie)
Russ: Finn was ready to go before this so he makes sense. American Alpha I’ll hold off on. I like them, but I don’t know enough about them. Nia Jax … is terrible and should feel terrible. Mojo, sure why not. Eva Marie …. What the fuck??? Alexa Bliss and Carmella I like and hope they have an impact on Smackdown. There are way better people I would have brought up way before some of these picks, like Shinsuke, and Aries to name a few. I think it is going to hurt NXT and its being done on purpose by Vince.
Keri: Finn was overdue for a call up in my opinion and has been since he lost the belt to Samoa Joe. Finn is the future of the business and the guy most likely to carry the company once Cena finally hangs it up. The guy already has proven that he can carry a brand. Look what he did with NXT. What can I say? I’m a huge Finn mark. As for the other choices, American Alpha are ready and are fantastic. I just hope creative doesn’t screw them up. Mojo Rawley only makes sense if it is to reunite with Zach Ryder as the Hype Bros. Now for the women, I think all the Smackdown ladies (with the exception of Eva Marie) have a lot of potential and will give the show a decent women’s division. However, on the flip side on RAW, Nia is still very green to be on the same show with the likes of Sasha, Charlotte, Paige, and Alicia. But she does give the division something that it never has had before a woman who can strike fear into her opponents. She is no joke and is tough competition in terms of overall power and size. I say keep her in the background and let her learn and then see where she can go from there. Eva Marie not going to waste my breath here. She’s here because total divas (I thought we were done with this term by the way). Nothing more, nothing less. Except to say keep her away from any potential Smackdown women’s belt. Alexa Bliss, I say it’s about time. This woman, due to the popularity of the NXT four horsewomen, has been really overlooked and has grown into quite a good heel. I expect great things from her. Carmella, I like her but feel that she may have been called up too soon but I say let’s wait and see what she is made of first before we judge. (Ed. Note: She wrote more than me. I’m impressed! I do believe Karma was the baddest bitch in WWE, you know, for those few days that she was there, but her run was incredibly short lived.)
Kent: Finn and American Alpha make great sense as does Alexa and Eva. The other 3 are not ready. Stop bringing up people who aren’t ready! Baron and Apollo weren’t ready, and Dana is questionable and I really like her. I hate how they left the NXT women’s division in ruins, especially when everybody knows that Bayley is due up any day. They are sabotaging Asuka’s run I fear. My biggest problem though is how poor this was explained. So these GM’s had the choice of anybody on the roster, but they chose Carmella and Eva instead of Bayley or Asuka? They chose Mojo over Shinsuke, Aries, Joe, or Tye Dillinger? All they would have had to do is involve Regal on draft night. Once a person was drafted, he’d be allowed to protect say 3 of his people, and that would continue. Something along those lines, or after the first 3 picks, then only protect 2. That would explain the logical fallacy in this. Morons!
- Whose value increased post draft?
Russ: Finn’s no doubt, American Alpha, Dean Ambrose, Neville who needs it, Bray, Seth Rollins, AJ.
Keri: Finn definitely. It showcased the faith the company already has in him. In addition, I would say AJ Styles, Anderson and Gallows, Bray, Zayn, Charlotte, and Sasha.
Kent: Finn Balor, American Alpha, Baron Corbin, Apollo Crew, Dean Ambrose, AJ Styles, The Miz, Darren Young, Braun Strowman, Bray Wyatt, The Usos, The Ascension, and Neville. I also think Heath Slater…I think this turns into something, I hope.
- Whose value decreased post draft?
Russ: Cesaro, I seriously think Vince hates him!
Keri: Owens, Cesaro, Becky, Del Rio (just go back to Lucha already), Paige, and Sheamus.
Kent: Cesaro, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Randy Orton, New Day, Kalisto, and Becky Lynch.
- Which brand won: Raw or Smackdown? Keep in mind that you are judging on what each show really needed.
Russ: I’m going with Raw, they just had more draft picks, which means they were bound to win this thing. However, I like a lot of what Smackdown has to offer with some of the Talent, Raw just has the better overall product. The mid-card is hot on Raw (Cesaro, last time I’ll mention him, Zayn, KO, Rusev) I really like the Tag Division on Raw too, way more entertaining than Smackdown. Overall a good mix to both brands and I feel we are going to get some entertaining feuds out of this. I just hope WWE doesn’t fuck this up like they always do and abandon it 5 weeks down the line. REALLY CESARO 28 what the fu……
Keri: Raw hands down. The roster is stacked with talent and championship belts. There really is no reason to watch Smackdown other than to see Ambrose, Becky, and AJ Styles.
Kent: RAW got the better end of the divas, tag teams, and cruiserweights. In theory RAW killed it because KO, Cesaro, Zayn, Jericho, Rusev, and Sheamus can main event at any time. The problem is that Seth, Roman, and Finn are going to destroy that main event scene for the next year or so, and nobody is going to get a chance, plus Brock when he does wrestle. There’s very little room to move up. I feel Smackdown has a better pecking order with plenty of room to bring the young guys up properly with plenty of legit veterans who matter in Cena, Orton, AJ, and Alberto. It’s just a really nice mix. I think The Usos are going to stand out along with The Ascension with more exposure. The mid card is in a really good place there without too many tweeners. I am picking Smackdown for now.
Editor’s Note: I write this up before Russ and Keri do, so I don’t always like to go back and write responses to some of their points. While I agree with most of what they are laying down, I think both are missing the boat on Smackdown. I also thought Bayley wasn’t coming out at Battleground, so don’t trust my opinion. I think RAW will continue chasing it’s tail as it tends to, because 3 hours is a lot harder to program than 2 hours. I think you will find the talent better used on Smackdown because they don’t have as many of those top 35 picks. They got 14 out of the top 35 picks, which seems shitty. That means that they will be forced to make something out of the midcard. I feel that RAW will not do a proper midcard. Remember, wrestling is at it’s best when you have a clear cut upper card, a couple interesting mid card feuds, and a couple of tag team feuds happening. In this case, less is more, and the talent will be able to shine. Time will tell. As a matter of fact, I say come February, we should revisit the draft because we will have a decent handle on the Wrestlemania card, and have an ample amount of shows to see their development. Most like I will get mocked for being a moron. Cena is already taking time off in October.
All pictures are directly from WWE.com, and it’s their property, not mine, so all credit to them.
Thanks you to Russ and Keri for providing their free time to a non-worthy cause. If you like their opinions, let us know. They need love too. Thanks for reading. Sniff you jerks later!