WWE Draft results: Full rosters, thoughts from Raw, SmackDown brand split

WWE held a draft Tuesday night for the ninth time in company history -- all since 2002 -- and extended split its brand for the second time following an initial division from 2002-11.

Depending who you ask, it did not go so well.

Sure, the presentation was fine but plenty of questions have been raised considering how WWE booked the draft. The rosters appear severely lopsided -- not just in numbers, which was planned -- and appear to show that WWE is not completely interested in giving SmackDown Live a chance to actually be a competitor to its flagship program, Monday Night Raw.

Below is a breakdown of the two brands and every draft choice made on Tuesday night. One would expect the rosters to get filled out further in the coming days. In the past, WWE has even facilitated "trades" in order to balance things better than initially planned.

Brands


Raw SmackDown
Day Monday Tuesday
Length 3:05 (8-11 p.m.) 2:00 (8-10 p.m.)
Commissioner Stephanie McMahon Shane McMahon
General Manager Mick Foley Daniel Bryan
Seasons running 24 16

Draft rules

  1. Draft order: Raw picked first, SmackDown second, at the start of each round. For the televised portion, Raw received three picks for every two SmackDown picks, though things evened out for the later rounds.
  2. Tag teams: Could be drafted as a single unit (two or three wrestlers) unless a commish/GM drafted one of the individual superstars first and split up the team.
  3. NXT eligibility: There were be six planned call-ups from WWE's developmental brand.

Draft results


Raw SmackDown
First selection Seth Rollins (1) Dean Ambrose (2)
World Heavyweight Champion
Additional picks Charlotte (3)
Women's Champion
AJ Styles (4)

Finn Balor (5)
From NXT
John Cena (7)

Roman Reigns (6) Randy Orton (9)

Brock Lesnar (8) Bray Wyatt (12)
The New Day (10)
Tag Team Champions
Becky Lynch (14)
Sami Zayn (11) The Miz w/ Maryse (17)
Intercontinental Champion
Sasha Banks (13) Baron Corbin (19)
Chris Jericho (15) American Alpha (22)
From NXT
Rusev w/ Lana (16)
United States Champion
Dolph Ziggler (24)
Kevin Owens (18) Natalya (27)
Enzo and Cass (20) Alberto Del Rio (29)
Gallows and Anderson (21) The Usos (32)
Big Show (23) Kane (34)
Nia Jax (25)
From NXT
Kalisto (37)
Neville (26) Naomi (39)
Cesaro (28) The Ascension (41)
Sheamus (30) Zack Ryder (43)
Golden Truth (31) Apollo Crews (45)
Titus O'Neil (33) Alexa Bliss (47)
From NXT
Paige (35) Breezango (49)
Darren Young w/ Bob Backlund (36) Eva Marie (51)
Sin Cara (38) The Vaudevillains (53)
Jack Swagger (40) Erick Rowan (55)
The Dudley Boyz (42) Mojo Rawley (57)
From NXT
Summer Rae (44) Carmella (59)
From NXT
Mark Henry (46) --
Braun Strowman (48) --
Bo Dallas (50) --
Shining Stars (52) --
Alicia Fox (54) --
Dana Brooke (56) --
Curtis Axel (58) --

This marks the end of the draft as aired live on USA Network and WWE Network. Considering a few superstars were not drafted -- WWE only lists Heath Slater but there are others -- it is to be assumed they will be divied up as WWE sees fit.

Draft review

Simply put, the draft was uneven with the division of talent making little sense in a number of cases. Here are some quick takeaways from the draft.

  • SmackDown was billed as a show providing opportunity to youth but three of its first four picks are older wrestlers, even if one is new to the company. Their ages: 39, 39, 36.
  • WWE put the two most popular tag teams (The New Day, Enzo and Cass) and its two top female wrestlers (Charlotte, Sasha Banks) on the same show -- Raw.
  • Burgeoning stars Sami Zayn (No. 11) and Kevin Owens (No. 18) were also picked for Raw, while long miscast talents Bray Wyatt (No. 12) and Dolph Ziggler (No. 24) are on SmackDown.
  • The top NXT call-up (Finn Balor) also went to Raw. The only other singles male call-up was a shocker in Mojo Rawley (SmackDown).
  • The top female NXT wrestler (Bayley) was not drafted despite three others being called up in Nia Jax (Raw, No. 25), Alexa Bliss (SmackDown, No. 47) and Carmella (SmackDown, No. 59).
  • On that note, Carmella was not drafted to the same show as Enzo and Cass, a former trio in NXT.
  • This does not matter any booking reason, but WWE split up known off-screen couple Alberto Del Rio (SmackDown) and Paige (Raw). Rough move.
  • The Ascension (No. 41) was actually drafted.

Announcer changes

  • Raw: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
  • SmackDown: Mauro Ranallo, JBL, David Otunga
  • Jerry "The King" Lawler is not listed by WWE on either show.

Storyline changes

  • New division: WWE announced at the start of Raw on Monday that a cruiserweight division -- and presumably a new title -- will be created and exist exclusively on Raw. There is currently a Cruiserweight Challenge taking place on WWE Network; the winner could potentially be the first champion.

Unanswered questions

  • Championship belts: Title holders are up for grabs like everyone else, so does that mean their belts belong to the respective shows? Will they be contested between brands at pay-per-views? Will WWE once again split the heavyweight title so each show has a lead champion? It may have hinted at that with Raw's finish on Monday.
  • Pay-per-views: In addition to the uncertainty about the championships, will pay-per-views be co-branded or separate? If the former, will each brand have separate matches on the same show and will there be any crossover?
  • Women's division: There are 10 women listed as draftable not counting NXT wrestlers. Can WWE keep interest in the division on a show potentially without a champion or a fan favorite, such as Sasha Banks?
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Adam Silverstein joined CBS Sports in 2014 as college football and golf editor. He also helps lead pro wrestling, boxing and mixed martial arts coverage. Adam still maintains that Tim Tebow could have... Full Bio

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