The 2016 WWE Draft has just concluded, and of course, the wrestling world is buzzing, trying to forecast which show will be better, which stars will have the biggest impact and so forth. All of this will be examined in the future, but right now, there are still some questions that need to be answered going forward that weren’t addressed on tonight’s show, nor the after-show.
No New Championships
I’ve been very much against the idea of the brand split to begin with, and I’m still not sold on this being a good idea, but I’m at least happy to see that there were no announcements regarding any more championships being duplicated—just the addition of the Cruiserweight division, which I’m still hesitant to trust, but that’s another topic for another day.
One of the main reasons I was against a brand extension was because in retrospect, having two world titles, two midcard titles, two women’s championships and two tag team titles meant everything was watered down. It appears as though that’s not going to be the case going forward, but it also brings up the question of what WWE is going to do without having those belts on both shows.
How is Monday Night Raw going to seem like it’s worth as much if the WWE Championship isn’t there? You can’t have Dean Ambrose make appearances on that show without making it seem like he’s not part of the SmackDown roster and exclusive to that brand, but without having people go between shows, that means the championship will stay on SmackDown until at the very least, next year’s draft, which is just insane.
The Picking Order Changing
For every 2 picks SmackDown gets, Raw chooses 3. That was the rule set forth ahead of time and it carried over throughout the SmackDown episode, but once that ended and the WWE Network supplemental draft started, this seemed to be thrown out the window.
Mostly every subsequent round of picks were an even set of trades. Raw received Paige and Darren Young, and after that, the rules appeared to change, as it went SmackDown, Raw, SmackDown, Raw, and repeated that pattern until the end. Overall, Raw ended up with 5 more draft picks than SmackDown, despite there being 11 rounds if I remember correctly, meaning the blue brand finished on a much more equal footing than it should have been given prior rules.
Only Six NXT Draft Picks
Breaking rules in another way, WWE said there would be 6 NXT draft picks. By the end of the night, Finn Balor, Nia Jax, Jason Jordan, Chad Gable, Mojo Rawley, Eva Marie, Alexa Bliss and Carmella were brought up.
Those are 8 names, but even if you group American Alpha together as one pick, it still counts as 7 draft choices that were made.
Is it the end of the world? Of course not. In fact, this is a positive thing. However, it goes to show that you can’t trust WWE to follow their own rules that they set up in advance, even though it’s completely their call to word things that way to begin with. A more vague description such as “All NXT stars are eligible to be drafted” would have been a nicer umbrella term to allow for more flexibility. Keeping it set at 6 and then going against that is just odd.
If you haven’t read the article I wrote yesterday about how much of a stupid mistake it was for WWE to announce the split of The Lucha Dragons, go here and check it out, but this factors into something happening with Heath Slater at the moment.
WWE announced ahead of time that tag teams would be drafted together unless one brand specifically chose only to take an individual. The Lucha Dragons said on Monday that they would enter the draft as individuals, rendering their split something that doesn’t count (and was spoiled with that announcement, as mentioned in the article). Then, every tag team proceeded to be drafted together except for two instances: The Wyatt Family and The Social Outcasts.
Here’s the caveat: The Wyatt Family wasn’t listed as a tag team, so they weren’t split up by the draft itself in that rule. Braun Strowman was simply drafted to Raw as a singles star and Erick Rowan wound up in the same group as Bray Wyatt. Oddly enough, two of the three Social Outcasts members were drafted to Raw, meaning Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas don’t have to split up, either.
This kind of renders that rule to be utterly pointless, doesn’t it? At least if Axel and Dallas were on separate brands, it would give more credibility to it.
And where does Heath Slater come into the mix? Obviously, his exclusion from the draft was meant for laughs (and something I was hoping would happen, although on our podcasts, I expected Bo Dallas to be the final draft instead of Heath), but seeing as how this article is about unanswered questions, we definitely do need to eventually learn what is to become of The One Man Band.
Hopefully, this is addressed at Battleground with Slater campaigning to both brands to be on their show and neither really wanting him, but if he ends up on Raw, it will put into question the purpose of the tag team split.
Luke Harper, Nikki Bella, Emma, Tamina Snuka, Rosa Mendes, Tyson Kidd, Triple H, The Undertaker and everyone else who is currently inactive for one reason or another are still up for grabs. What is the process of bringing them into the fold? Are they free agents who can sign to whatever brand makes them the best offer down the line, or are they going to be factored in some other way?
WWE likely has no clue what to do with them or simply doesn’t care, so they are deliberately ignoring the situation so as to not cause a problem later on, but it would be nice to know at least somewhat of a game plan for how to handle their returns—or, in some cases, if they won’t even be making a return, like Ryback seems to be falling under.
What About Everybody Else?
While the focal point of the night was obviously on the wrestlers themselves, we’re forgetting about the multitude of other personnel backstage and throughout WWE programming that need to know where their homes are.
For instance, is Tom Phillips going to be the only backstage interviewer for one show and Jojo taking care of the other show, or will they appear for both? We can assume the commentary teams will remain the same, but what about the referees? If Raw and SmackDown run live events while the other is broadcasting a television show, then the referees can’t be in two places at once, so will Mike Chioda and Charles Robinson be the leaders of the two brands like before, or is something else planned?