WWE Draft: Predicting Where The Big Guns End Up
WWE fans are in for a treat tonight as the WWE draft happens live on Smackdown, where members of the rosters will be drafted to Raw or Smackdown.
You can find all the relevant details about how the draft works here:
Expect the unexpected, for WWE has a reputation for being all about unpredictability and surprises. It's incredibly difficult top predict what will happen in tonight's draft, but we've had a go at predicting where some of the big players will end up when at 1am UK time.
As ever, the McMahons are at the centre of the drama - Stephanie is heading up Raw while Shane McMahon will be running Smackdown instead jumping off a variety of structures at ridiculous heights. The extra pieces to the puzzle come in the form of 'General Managers, fan favourite Mick Foley is assisting Stephanie on Raw and will compete against Shane and his accomplice Daniel Bryan, who received an unbelievable reaction when he was announced as Smackdown General Manager on this week's Raw.
The draft is being made NFL style, with both brands assembling their rosters by choosing who they want, when it is their pick. There's no denying that Stephanie McMahon, Mick Foley and Raw have the upper hand to begin with, they get the first pick and also get three picks for every two Shane, Bryan and Smackdown have - meaning they will have a considerably larger roster.
Who will be that first pick for Raw then? I have Seth Rollins down as the man to be selected first. He is the total package, has the look, the charisma and is an incredible wrestler. His links with Stephanie will surely see him as the first pick and will establish him as the top guy on the Raw brand, which is totally deserved.
His arch-nemesis and former ally Dean Ambrose, current WWE Champion at the time of writing (though he is defending his title on Smackdown against Seth Rollins tonight) will probably be Smackdown-bound if Rollins ends up on Raw, purely to bring some balance to the rosters.
15-time Champion John Cena may well to head to Smackdown to make it feel extra special. What better way to move away from the idea of Smackdown being secondary to Raw by having the face of the company on the brand - Cena is rumoured to be having a reduced schedule in the new future so it may suit him better. With the amount of merchandise that he sells and the mainstream appeal he has, he will no doubt be one of the first picks.
Roman Reigns, currently serving a suspension for a violation of the wellness policy, is eligible for the draft, even if he won't be there in person. My spider senses tell me that he will end up on Raw. The same can be said about Brock Lesnar, who was a major force in the inaugural draft when he was selected on Smackdown; Lesnar had stellar matches with Kurt Angle, the Big Show, Eddie Guerrero and co. But he won't be around much these days and will fit in better on Raw when he is required to show up and dish out a few German suplexes.
Lesnar's Summerslam opponent Randy Orton will end up on Smackdown, by my reckoning. He will still be able to square off against the Beast in Brooklyn for Summerslam and can bring star power to Smackdown, as he did back in 2011 with his wonderful rivalry with Christian.
We still don't have a clear indication of what's happening with the Champions, but each brand will probably have a world title exclusive to their brand, followed by either the Intercontinental or United States Championships. The latter belt is held by Rusev, who I suspect will slot in on Smackdown, while the coveted Intercontinental Championship will remain on Raw, in the hands of the Miz and his wife Maryse.
The tag team situation is a strange one, as there could well be two tag team divisions. Current Tag Team Champions The New Day should bring their entertaining shtick to Raw if they have to be exclusive to one brand. I really feel there is a chance popular tag team Enzo and Cass could be separated, as tag teams can be spit if a commisioner/general manager requests one member of the team. Separating Enzo and Cass would be terribly disappointing - crowds adore them and so the best option would be to keep them together on Raw. The Wyatt Family could be also be disbanded.
AJ Styles is one of the best things in WWE at the moment - he and his mates from the Club (yes they are really named after a chocolate biscuit bar) should be on the more wrestling-based Smackdown, as should plucky underdog Sami Zayn. Zayn's rivalry with Kevin Owens can be renewed at any time and still comes across brilliantly because of the quality of performers and they chemistry they have. I wouldn't be opposed to the idea of Owens and Zayn ending up on different brands and I think they will.
Thanks to the success of the exceptional Cruiserweight Classic first episode, Raw will be having their own Cruiserweight division, much like they did a few years back. Expect guys like Kalisto, Neville and Sin Cara to be involved in that.
If Raw are having their own special selling point, with the reintroduction of Cruiserweights, Smackdown should be the destination for the Women's division, spearheaded by current champion Charlotte. Give the women of WWE time and investment in characters and storylines and watch the likes of Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks and Bayley soar to the top. In my view, after only just unveiling a new belt at Wrestlemania, having two titles and two separate Women's rosters won't work.
Then there's the NXT factor, with six draft picks being made from the NXT roster. My guess would be that former NXT Champion Finn Balor will be one pick and will be drafted to Raw, red-hot tag team American Alpha will tear it up on Smackdown alongside Austin Aries, formerly of Ring of Honor and TNA. "The Perfect 10" Tye Dillinger should get a shot on Raw, while I can see both Nia Jax and Bayley bringing much-needed depth to the Women's division.
Plus, let's not rule out the possibility of a few of the old-guard coming back, if rumours are anything to go by.
Tune in to see how it all goes down on Smackdown, which will be shown live on Sky Sports at 1am.
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