The WWE draft is less than one month away, and fans are excited to see where their favourite stars will end up once the brand split takes effect on July 19.
Predictions are already taking place regarding which champion could end up on which brand, but more importantly, it’s the order of the draft picks which will determine how valuable Shane and Stephanie McMahon think they are.
It’ll be interesting to see the final roster, and who the WWE believe will suit each roster the best. Regardless of what the current plan is, here are the top three stars that I feel need to be drafted by each show.
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#1 PICK – DEAN AMBROSE TO SMACKDOWN
The key to making this brand split successful is by giving Tuesday Night SmackDown a lot more importance than it’s been given over the years. It’s time to escape the shadow of Monday Night Raw so it’s only right SmackDown takes the first pick and is in the driving seat right away.
Along with this, the WWE have decided to make Dean Ambrose their WWE World Heavyweight Champion, which means he’s their number one guy. The champion simply has to be the number one pick in the draft and his immense popularity could be the key to making SmackDown a must watch show.
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They need eyes on SmackDown; they need to give fans an incentive to tune in and what better way than to give them somebody they cheer every single week without fail. The WWE Universe loves Ambrose; they love the fact that he’s champion and by taking the champion, SmackDown will be making a statement.
If Ambrose isn’t drafted first, it’ll be clear that they don’t value him as the top star in the company, and they’ll ruin the perfect opportunity to solidify him as the biggest star in the company, especially since they can only rely on the next star for a certain amount of time.
#2 PICK – BROCK LESNAR TO RAW
Whether fans like the idea of Brock Lesnar fighting Mark Hunt at UFC 200 or not is irrelevant at this point. He’s still a star attraction for the WWE, on the same level as guys like The Undertaker and The Rock so it’s obvious that Raw will want to snap up a star name and with so much media attention surrounding The Beast, it’s only right he ends up on the WWE’s flagship show.
The only downside to this draft pick is that Raw will be investing in a talent who is only around sporadically, he’d be around for the big events, but he won’t be there on a weekly basis so it may seem like a wasted pick at first. However, when you look at it long-term, having Lesnar on your roster is huge because of what he brings to the table, it’s his size, the popularity, his strength and of course, Paul Heyman.
He’s a great card to have on your roster as Raw would be getting two for the price of one, an incredible athlete and perhaps the best talker in the WWE today. Lesnar has to be a top pick, although his success lies with SmackDown I feel that the final rosters would make him suit Monday’s better.
The outcome of his bout with Hunt will be key if he loses it could be tough to build him up as the number one monster in the company, while a knockout win over a dangerous opponent could force SmackDown to make a move instead.
#3 PICK – JOHN CENA TO SMACKDOWN
Whether fans love him or not, John Cena is still the face that runs the place so it’s clear that he’ll easily be one of the top five picks, I believe he’ll be SmackDown’s second pick, and they’ll secure another huge coup.
Cena is a similar pick to Ambrose; he has a large following – despite the obvious boos – but he still gains enough interest to make a second show seem like the most important. He also started his career off on SmackDown, so there’s no doubt that Cena will cherish the challenge of competing with Raw, and he’ll probably succeed in doing so.
There are a couple of big feuds that suit Cena on SmackDown a lot better, mainly because I feel he could do a lot more in the main event spots on SmackDown where he could become the focal point once more over the coming years.
#4 PICK – SETH ROLLINS TO RAW
The return of Seth Rollins has been hyped up so much that he’s another guaranteed top five pick, and I can see him being drafted by Raw because he has all the ability to be the number one guy in the company, with only Lesnar standing in his way to claiming that spot.
There’s not much you can say about Rollins that’s already been said, he’s arguably the best performer in the WWE, he’s one of the best heels, he’s got a fantastic, marketable look and he entertains the masses consistently.
I feel that Vince McMahon will have more input on Raw, which is why I can see him having Rollins close so he can continue to mould him into the biggest star in the company. Although Rollins can succeed on both shows and become the biggest star in the company, I feel he can have more freedom on Raw to continue what he’s doing.
#5 PICK – AJ STYLES TO SMACKDOWN
AJ Styles is somebody that can become the biggest star on SmackDown for however long he remains in the WWE. In fact, he can become the same guy he was on TNA but for SmackDown, that’s how talented he is as a wrestler.
That’s the worrying thing about Styles, despite the love he has from the fans and how much he entertains, we don’t his shelf life and how long he can keep going at the top. He can offer both brands so much, but he’d be a lot better suited to SmackDown.
The feud that could carry SmackDown is one between Styles and Cena, especially if a championship is involved. I can’t help but feel that he’d be in a lesser position on Raw whereas he can become the star of SmackDown.
#6 PICK – ROMAN REIGNS TO RAW
Roman Reigns is a tricky one, on one hand, the WWE have invested a lot in him becoming the face of the company, and they’re probably still going down that route, despite the recent news coming out regarding his wellness policy violation.
On the other hand, you have to question what he adds to a brand compared to the others. Despite being a face, the likes of Ambrose and even Rollins receive amazing reactions so he’s falling behind there. He’s good in the ring, but again, the likes of Rollins are levels above him.
He’s not the greatest of talkers, but it’s his look that can help him become a top ten pick in the upcoming draft. I think it’s simple, SmackDown needs viewers and fans don’t want to see Reigns as much, so he should stay on the show which has plenty of guaranteed of views already on Monday’s.
It's going to be a tough draft to call, especially when you consider the likes of Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, the New Day and the Wyatt Family will be hot on their tails.
Who do you think will end up on Raw and SmackDown? Have your say in the comments section below.