There’s really no point in trying to do some setup here. Last night was the WWE Draft and a lot of big things happened, many of which are going to change WWE’s direction going forward, at least in the short term. Today we’re going to take a look at what happened last night and what it might mean for the future.

Two quick notes before we start:

This is about the picks only, not the wrestling.

There won’t be much of a narrative to this as it’s really just going to be looking at various aspects of last night’s events.

First of all, here are all of last night’s picks:

Monday Night Raw
1. Seth Rollins
2. Charlotte
3. Finn Balor
4. Roman Reigns
5. Brock Lesnar
6. New Day
7. Sami Zayn
8. Sasha Banks
9. Chris Jericho
10. Rusev w/Lana
11. Kevin Owens
12. Enzo Amore/Big Cass
13. The Club
14. Big Show
15. Nia Jax
16. Neville
17. Cesaro
18. Sheamus
19. Golden Truth
20. Titus O’Neil
21. Paige
22. Darren Young
23. Sin Cara
24. Jack Swagger
25. Dudley Boyz
26. Summer Rae
27. Mark Henry
28. Braun Strowman
29. Bo Dallas
30. Shining Stars
31. Alicia Fox
32. Dana Brooke
33. Curtis Axel

1. Dean Ambrose
2. AJ Styles
3. John Cena
4. Randy Orton
5. Bray Wyatt
6. Becky Lynch
7. The Miz w/Maryse
8. Baron Corbin
9. American Alpha
10. Dolph Ziggler
11. Natalya
12. Alberto Del Rio
13. Usos
14. Kane
15. Kalisto
16. Naomi
17. Ascension
18. Zack Ryder
19. Apollo Crews
20. Alexa Bliss
21. Breezango
22. Eva Marie
23. Vaudevillains
24. Erick Rowan
25. Mojo Rawley
26. Carmella

Let’s get one of the major sections out of the way first with the NXT callups. There were indeed six names with:

Finn Balor
American Alpha
Nia Jax
Alexa Bliss
Mojo Rawley

First of all, I’m glad they went with Balor as such a high pick. Everyone who has watched NXT knew this one was coming and there was no reason to pretend he wasn’t going to the main roster. Just get it out of the way, let the fans ooh and ahh at the announcement and move on without leaving us hanging. As a bonus, it makes him look like a big deal when he goes before so many other big names.

The same is true with American Alpha. It was clear that they were the best team in NXT (or at least one of them) and that they were ready for the main roster months ago. They were going to come to the main roster and probably have the titles in less than a year before Chad Gable goes on to be one of the biggest stars in a very long time. Again, this one was expected and absolutely the right call.

That’s about it for the obvious picks (we’ll come back to the missing name in a second) so now let’s get to the other four, none of whom were going to set the world on fire. Rawley was probably the easiest option as he isn’t doing anything in NXT other than being a low level tag guy so let him come up to the main roster and be part of a low level tag team there. Rawley isn’t going to light the world on fire but there’s no need to keep him down there anymore.

That leaves us with the three women and this is where it gets confusing. Bliss and Carmella were both developing very nicely with Bliss having the second best match at a house show I recently attended. However, neither of them seem to be ready for the main roster and need more time developing, which is a major point of NXT. The same thing is true of Jax, who debuted less than a year ago and probably hasn’t even had twenty matches on TV yet. I get that she’s went straight to the top already but I’d let her get some more seasoning. It’s not the worst move but the women’s division has been devastated for the moment.

Before we move on, let’s look at the names that weren’t called up. There are really only three names worth talking about: Samoa Joe, Shinsuke Nakamura and Bayley. Joe and Nakamura need to stick around down there for the sake of having some star power though I can’t imagine they’re not both on the main roster in about a year. However, something as simple as “NXT General Manager William Regal has requested that a hold be placed on these two names so they can battle for the NXT Championship in Brooklyn.”

That leaves Bayley, who is just about guaranteed to be Sasha Banks’ partner on Sunday. If she’s not, I have no idea what they’re doing with her as she was ready for the main roster a LONG time ago. Again it would be nice if they had actually mentioned that Bayley isn’t being drafted for a reason though you can probably piece the idea together yourself.

Let’s take a look at some individual picks. The first thing that jumps out at me is Cena going seventh. I know his best days are behind him but going three spots after Styles and four spots after Charlotte is kind of a stretch. Rollins (the young future star and Stephanie favorite) and Ambrose (the reigning WWE World Champion) make sense as do Balor and Reigns (the future) but it’s a long way to get all six of them ahead of Cena.

Speaking of Reigns, it’s rather interesting that he was drafted as low as he was, though it’s also kind of interesting that he was drafted that high. This was an interesting test to see where he stands after the Wellness issue and it’s going to be even more telling to see where he is on the depth chart going forward. Reigns really wasn’t lighting the world on fire as champion and I’m not sure they’re going to put the title back on him anytime soon.

Charlotte going third is really a stretch. I know she’s the star of the division and has the title at the moment but third overall? Above Lesnar, Cena, Reigns and many other huge talents? I’m fine with her getting a top ten spot but this is way too high for my tastes. The division has already come way back down from where it was just a few months ago and I can’t validate the champion going that high with everyone else available.

We’ll get to one of the biggest points now with the #1 picks for both shows. Both of them are logical picks and it makes sense for Stephanie to not want Ambrose, who she can’t stand but also thought was going to lose to Rollins last night. These two as the top draft picks does make sense but it’s still kind of hard to accept the idea that people like Cena and Lesnar weren’t taken earlier, even with the fairly logical reasons to go with other options.

Before we get to the big question, there’s also the issue of the titles. Unless I missed it in an offhand line, I heard almost no explanation of titles being exclusive to shows. Shane implied that the Intercontinental Title would be exclusive to “Smackdown” while the United States Title would only be on “Monday Night Raw” but that was never clearly stated. With no words on unique titles or new championships, some of the choices, such as women and tag teams on both shows, seem a bit confusing.

That leaves us with the big question: who won? While I don’t think it’s completely one sided or even a decisive win either way, it really does seem like “Monday Night Raw” has the stronger roster. “Smackdown” has a better main event scene with Ambrose, Cena and Orton (the latter two alone making the show a much bigger deal than it was before) plus a lot of potential in Styles but “Monday Night Raw” has the bigger name in Reigns, the potential superstar in Rollins, the future in Balor, the women, the cruiserweights, New Day, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and Enzo Amore/Big Cass.

That’s just way too long of a list, especially with two of them being full divisions of talent. “Smackdown” has the bigger stars but “Monday Night Raw” has the more complete roster and that’s the important thing. Now the good thing is they definitely didn’t make one side that much stronger than the other but it certainly does seem to lean towards the red show more than the Tuesday counterpart.

The 2016 WWE Draft had a lot going on and it’s really hard to keep track of a lot of it. At the same time it’s really not clear where a lot of things are going. As is so often the case in WWE and wrestling in general, we’ll have to find out a lot more details before judgment can be passed. At the moment things look good but since this is WWE, I wouldn’t hold my breath on them finding a way to screw it up.

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