By Graham "GSM" Matthews
On Tuesday, July 19, WWE held its first draft in over five years on the premier episode of SmackDown Live (which you can read my review of here). There were 59 picks made in total with 30 being televised and the other 29 occurring afterward on the WWE Network. Down below, you'll find the full breakdown of each round in the WWE Draft along with my analysis. (Credit to WWE.com)
Round No. 1
1. Seth Rollins - Raw
2. WWE Champion Dean Ambrose - SmackDown Live
3. WWE Women's Champion Charlotte - Raw
4. AJ Styles - SmackDown Live
5. Finn Bálor - Raw from NXT
GSM's Analysis: Some fans might be wondering why Raw didn't immediately choose the WWE Champion Dean Ambrose as their premier pick, but I loved the logic because it showed Stephanie McMahon was confident Rollins would be champion by the end of the evening (obviously, that didn't end up being the case). Ambrose should flourish on SmackDown as one of its top faces. Charlotte going early in the Draft really shows WWE is high on making the women a top priority again, which is welcomed. AJ Styles will without a doubt be a top heel on SmackDown. He's been a big part of the brand since coming to WWE, so that was a no-brainer to me. Finally, Finn Balor, baby! Woo! He's on the main roster where he belongs, and drafting him in the first round made him a big deal from the get-go. Rollins vs. Balor, anyone?
Round No. 2
6. Roman Reigns - Raw
7. John Cena - SmackDown Live
8. Brock Lesnar - Raw
9. Randy Orton - SmackDown Live
10. WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day - Raw
GSM's Analysis: I was actually quite happy Reigns got relegated to the second round behind all the others, but I have no doubt that he will resume his status as Raw's top babyface beyond Battleground. Cena going to SmackDown was one move that needed to be made in my opinion and I was glad it happened. He adds legitimacy to the blue brand being as big of a name as he is and should breathe new life into the show. Lesnar rarely shows up, so his pick hardly matters, but he was on SmackDown for the better part of his first stint, so at least they're switching it up with him this time. Orton, along with Cena, is a solid seasoned veteran for SmackDown, but I'm curious as to how his feud with Lesnar will be handled heading into SummerSlam if they're on separate shows. The New Day bring the WWE Tag Team Championships to Monday nights, but for how much longer? For those asking, I fully expect WWE to have the belts defended on both shows. Doing two sets of titles again would be disastrous.
Round No. 3
11. Sami Zayn - Raw
12. Bray Wyatt - SmackDown Live
13. Sasha Banks - Raw
14. Becky Lynch - SmackDown Live
15. Chris Jericho - Raw
GSM's Analysis: Zayn would been a good fit for SmackDown in my opinion, but it's not the end of the world. Meanwhile, Wyatt is perfect for SmackDown. He will be a top heel on the show for the foreseeable future, but it's the perfect platform for him to turn babyface, the role he is better suited in at the moment. Banks has expressed interest in wanting to be on SmackDown in the past, but as a major player in the women's division right now and a current feud with Charlotte, I didn't have a problem with her going to Raw. We've said for weeks that Lynch can be a big beneficiary in this Brand Extension, and having her the first woman drafted to SmackDown is huge. Again, here's hoping the belt is defended on both shows. Lastly, I didn't have a preference where Jericho landed as he will continue to be entertaining, regardless.
Round No. 4
16. United States Champion Rusev (with Lana) - Raw
17. Intercontinental Champion The Miz (with Maryse) - SmackDown Live
18. Kevin Owens - Raw
19. Baron Corbin - SmackDown Live
20. Enzo & Cass - Raw
GSM's Analysis: The midcard champions probably should have been bigger priorities in the Draft, but whatever, at least they made the air! Raw gets the United States Championship and SmackDown gets the Intercontinental Championship for now, but could that change after Battleground? I'm pulling for Darren Young and Zack Ryder to win their respective matches so the titles switch shows. Owens deserved to be drafted earlier on, but his outrage over being drafted so late was pretty comical. He could have been a top heel on SmackDown, but I hope this means Battleground won't mark the end of his feud with Zayn after all. Corbin being included in the televised portion of the Draft was slightly surprising as well as a refreshing change of pace. He can finally find direction on Tuesday nights with the right push. Also, Enzo and Cass on Raw? I would have put them on SmackDown so you don't have two hot tag team acts on the same show, but that decision would make more sense in the next round. They're still on a separate show from Carmella, but hey, at least WWE didn't split them up as I feared they might!
Round No. 5
21. Gallows and Anderson - Raw
22. American Alpha - SmakDown Live from NXT
23. Big Show - Raw
24. Dolph Ziggler - SmackDown Live
25. Nia Jax - Raw from NXT
GSM's Analysis: The Club is officially been split up. I may have been in favor of this a few months ago, but they were just finding their stride as a trio when they were forced to go their separate ways (see: #BeatUpJohnCena). Raw's tag team division is stacked, but SmackDown drafting American Alpha was incredible. They can be cornerstones of that show and should be in possession of the twin titles in no time. Why the hell was Big Show included in the televised WWE Draft? Who cares? I care a little bit more about Ziggler, but he and Cesaro should switch shows. If nothing else, Ziggler broke out as a singles star on SmackDown back in 2009, so he's back where he belongs. Nia Jax being among the NXT call-ups definitely shocked me. I heard rumblings of that happening recently, but she's still very green, so we'll see how that plays out.
Round No. 6
26. Neville - Raw
27. Natalya - SmackDown Live
28. Cesaro - Raw
29. Alberto Del Rio - SmackDown Live
30. Sheamus - Raw
GSM's Analysis: While I would have liked Neville on SmackDown, he is a good fit for Raw with the Cruiserweight division set to return soon and he can be a big part of that. All due respect to Natayla, but she definitely did not need to be drafted on SmackDown Live. She can continue her feud with Lynch past the pay-per-view, but I would have rather seen Paige on TV than Natayla to be honest. Cesaro going to Raw was one of the most confusing decisions of the Draft. He would be stellar on SmackDown, and it seemed like he wasn't too pleased with the pick either during his awesome promo later on in the night that has had everyone talking. Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus being the last two picks for the televised portion was such a downer. Neither guy interests me at all, but maybe the Brand Extension will allow them to become relevant again. That's the hope, anyway.
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
GSM's Analysis: I would love to know who thought it was a good idea for The Golden Truth to be the first Superstars selected in the Supplemental Draft. I would not at all be surprised if fans turned it off right then and there. The Usos on SmackDown is... good, I guess? Raw has enough tag teams, so that was a logical choice. O'Neil would been better off on SmackDown, but I expect his singles push to continue either way. Kane on SmackDown at least means he will be away from Big Show. Paige comes across as more of a SmackDown girl to me, but the only thing people are arguing over is how she was split from her real life boyfriend Alberto Del Rio.
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
GSM's Analysis: As noted earlier, I would be totally content with Young winning on Sunday and bringing the Intercontinental Championship to Raw. Kalisto is at home on SmackDown, but isn't it weird he isn't on Raw where he would be a part of the Cruiserweight division (check out his hilariously bad promo on the Network when you get the chance)? It looks like Sin Cara will steal that spot instead. I honestly have nothing to say about Naomi and The Ascension on SmackDown and Jack Swagger on Raw because they will flounder no matter what.
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
GSM's Analysis: WWE didn't make the same mistake they did back in 2002 by splitting The Dudley Boyz up, but as much as I want them to have one more run with the tag titles at some point, Bubba Ray could be a big singles star on his own. He could still split from D-Von on Raw down the line. Out of everyone in the Supplemental Draft, Zack Ryder and Apollo Crews stood out to me the most because they are perfect on the blue brand, as is the debuting Alexa Bliss. She has done wonderful work down in NXT and should be a quality addition to the growing women's division. Oh, and Henry has yet to retire, apparently. Who knew?
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
GSM's Analysis: Well, with Strowman on Raw, The Wyatt Family has officially been broken up. As long as it means Wyatt will be turning babyface soon on his own, I'm okay with that, but please don't let this mean Strowman is in line for a singles push in the near future. Breezango remains a thing, but here's hoping it isn't long before Tyler Breeze breaks away from Fandango. Bo Dallas and The Shining Stars are on Raw. Moving on. Just to clarify, Eva Marie is not an NXT call-up because according to WWE, she was already on the main roster despite not wrestling since WrestleMania 32. She's on SmackDown, so whatever. The Vaudevillians on SmackDown was also for the better with the blue brand in need of more tag teams.
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
GSM's Analysis: I couldn't cared less about Fox and Axel going to Raw. Why would Wyatt and Strowman be separated yet Rowan is apparently staying with Wyatt? Strange. Dana Brooke is sticking with Charlotte, though I was hoping they would end up on separate shows because the chemistry just isn't there. Mojo Rawley was the one name I've been bringing up for weeks as a potential draft pick, and it looks like I was right. It makes sense to put him on the same show as his Hype Bros tag team partner Zack Ryder. Closing it out with Carmella was well done and while I wish she was with Enzo and Cass, she can continue to hone her skills on SmackDown.
Heath Slater was the only undrafted Superstar. Nikki Bella, Luke Harper, Tamina and Emma were among those exempt due to being on the disabled list right now. On the whole, I was pretty happy with the picks made. As you could tell, I would have switched a few people, but both rosters are solid and I'm looking forward to seeing how both shows fare with their own distinct rosters again.