This last Tuesday night, on the debut episode of WWE Smackdown Live, we saw the 2016 WWE Draft. There were a few surprises and I was proven right in some others from my previous article. Overall the 2016 WWE Draft was different. It brought back some almost forgotten guys and girls and broke other groups up while keeping some together. The problem I have with the draft is it did so many things wrong and setup both shows for trouble.
First, the Women’s division is now divided- we kind of knew that would happen. The odds of one show letting the other draft all of the women were so low before the show even started. Now we have Natalya and Becky Lynch on Smackdown Live where they will probably end up battling for months and then finally a final battle for a new Smackdown Live Women’s Championship. They do have Naomi, Maryse (manager only role at the moment), Carmella, Alexa Bliss and Eva Marie (fan unfavorite) to mix into the matches though. That is seven, six if you drop Maryse, women on Smackdown Live. Monday Night Raw got Sasha Banks, Lana (manager role only at this time), Nia Jax, Paige, Summer Rae, Dana Brooke, Alicia Fox and the WWE Women’s Champion, Charlotte. That is a total of eight women, seven if you drop Lana, including the champion. WWE Monday Night Raw only sees one pull from NXT, Nia Jax, while Smackdown Live sees three pulls from NXT to widen their Women’s division. Sure, the Women’s division looks even but the power lays with WWE Monday Night Raw who got three of the most prominent with fans women (Charlotte as champion, Paige and Sasha Banks).
Next up, we saw the breakup of the Wyatt Family, the keeping together of The New Day and the hopes of seeing Carmella and Enzo and Cass reunited dashed. All in one night. Yep, WWE finally called up Carmella from NXT while keeping fan favorites, Enzo and Cass together. The problem is, the former trio were drafted to different shows. This could have been done to keep from diluting the popularity of Enzo and Cass by adding Carmella. This could also have been done to give Carmella time to get over with the fans on her own. It would have been interesting to have seen Carmella and Enzo on the show opposite the Usos and Naomi as that could have setup some interesting, inevitable, cross brand mixed tag matches. There is still hope that later Carmella could be traded to Raw and set this match series up (maybe via a feud with Naomi leading up to the trade).
Breaking up the Wyatt Family while keeping New Day together is confusing to me. Who are the New Day going to wrestle in three man tags that could give them a run for their money? All three man teams that could be put together at this point would be haphazard and not having worked together before- or nearly as much as the New Day has. Then again, we might see Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson and Finn Balor reconnect and create another version of the extremely popular Bullet Club from their time together in Japan. It would be interesting to see the pop they would receive in North American arenas.
Some confusing drafts and one missing one have me stumped. If the Beast, Brock Lesnar, is only a part time wrestler then why draft him at all? Let him, and maybe a few other “really over” guys/girls be “floaters” that appear on either show as needed to boost ratings. This could be done with whomever holds the championship belts. This would remove the need to have new belts created/brought back and it would give a draw to whichever show the champion came from (home field advantage, “our guy/girl” etc). This would keep feuds alive and well, it would allow the shows to have regular airings of the titles as “special events” such as “oh my god! That was the WWE Heavyweight Champion that just hit X in the back!” moments that WWE thrives on.
The surprise missing draft participant is the Undertaker. Sure, he only wrestles here and there but so does Brock Lesnar. Both are crowd draws and should be kept back as much as possible. This gives both an extra oomph with fans when they do make an appearance.
All in all, the 2016 WWE Draft was okay- most of the trades I have no problem with as it sets up some former group members to pursue titles of their own. What are your thoughts on the 2016 WWE Draft?