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Five Implications of the WWE Draft Rules



While you were sleeping, WWE announced the rules for the upcoming WWE Draft this Wednesday on SmackDown Live.

There aren't a lot of them, but they do have ramifications that will be felt across the board. As per WWE.com:

  • RAW gets the #1 overall pick. 
  • RAW receives three picks for every two picks SmackDown receives because RAW is a three-hour show as opposed to the two-hour show the Blue Brand is. 
  • Tag teams count as one pick unless the Commissioner/General Manager explicitly wants only one specific member of the team. 
  • There will be six picks off the NXT roster. 

Wow.

Meanwhile, here's a list of all talents eligible for Stephanie McMahon (representing RAW) and Shane McMahon (representing SmackDown) to actually draft.



Male Superstars



  • AJ Styles
  • Alberto Del Rio
  • Apollo Crews
  • Baron Corbin
  • Big Show
  • Braun Strowman
  • Bray Wyatt
  • Brock Lesnar
  • Cesaro
  • Chris Jericho
  • Darren Young (w/ Bob Backlund)
  • Dean Ambrose—WWE Champion
  • Demon Kane
  • Dolph Ziggler
  • Erick Rowan
  • Jack Swagger
  • John Cena
  • Kalisto
  • Kevin Owens
  • Mark Henry
  • Neville
  • Randy Orton
  • Roman Reigns
  • Rusev (w/ Lana)—United States Champion
  • Sami Zayn
  • Seth Rollins
  • Sheamus
  • Sin Cara
  • The Miz (w/ Maryse)—Intercontinental Champion
  • Titus O’Neil
  • Zack Ryder


Tag Teams



  • Breezango (Fandango and Tyler Breeze)
  • Enzo and Cass (Enzo Amore and Big Cass)
  • Gallows and Anderson (Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson)
  • Golden Truth (Goldust and R-Truth)
  • Shining Stars (Epico and Primo)
  • Social Outcasts (Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel and Heath Slater)
  • The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor)
  • The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley)
  • The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods)—Tag Team Champions
  • The Usos (Jey and Jimmy Uso)
  • The Vaudevillains (Aiden English and Simon Gotch)


Female Superstars



  • Alicia Fox
  • Becky Lynch
  • Charlotte—WWE Women’s Champion
  • Dana Brooke
  • Eva Marie
  • Naomi
  • Natalya
  • Paige
  • Sasha Banks
  • Summer Rae


Looking at the rules, here are five implications that will have effects that go beyond Wednesday morning:

1. RAW's roster proportion relative to SmackDown will be 3:2, which makes sense given the length of RAW's TV time.



This is a good call because if WWE plays their hand right, we can finally allocate time properly to the roster across both shows. More Superstars get on TV means more opportunities for everyone from top to bottom. Of course, this is WWE we're talking about so don't get your hopes up too much.

We can't imagine the TV aesthetics of a three-for-me-two-for-you kind of draft—does RAW double up every other pick? Do we go with regular alternating picks, with the balance made up via Supplemental Draft? Do all non-draftees automatically become RAW talents? This is one major point the WWE will have to have a good think about, for the sake of enjoyable, logical viewing.

2. Tag teams may or may not be split up.



The Smark Henry Offices are divided on this issue. On one hand, the tag team division is barely afloat right now, so we need to keep tag teams together to allow their stories and chemistry to develop. Besides, the longer teams are together, the higher the chances that the WWE Universe is attached to them. Case in point: the Lucha Dragons, for example, regularly draw some of the best live fan reactions, but are listed as separate singles competitors in the draft. Will a particular show think they're a good enough team worth splurging two picks on just to keep them as a unit?

On the flip side, seeing midcard guys get thrown together in unlikely teams can be a lot of fun, too. Team Hell No stands out as one of the best examples of a random team between two singles stars put together, and Kane and Daniel Bryan took the ball and ran all the way to the moon with it. If you want to go back a bit further, you can look back at all of the times Chris Benoit Lord Voldemort was in a tag team.

3. NXT call-ups!!!



With six picks coming from the NXT roster, it won't be long until we see the likes of Finn Bálor, Samoa Joe, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Bayley on RAW or SmackDown.

Given the rules they've set up, here are the NXT stars ranked in order of most likely to get called up by Wednesday:

  • Finn Bálor 
  • Shinsuke Nakamura 
  • Bayley 
  • Samoa Joe 
  • The Revival 
  • American Alpha 
  • Alexa Bliss 
  • Tye Dillinger 
  • Nia Jax 

Okay, we realize there are nine names on that list, and two of them are tag teams. But that's the Smark Henry shortlist, and anyone outside of that list will be a shocker.

4. NXT might end up being early 2010s TNA.



Assuming Samoa Joe stays on NXT, imagine the brand being led by him, Rhyno, Bobby Roode, and Austin Aries.

That's pretty much TNA from earlier this decade! There are wrestling fans who actually want to make this happen, and if Vince allows it to, it'll be one huge "Fuck you" to Tita Dixie.

5. Inactive/injured Superstars aren't on the list of Superstars eligible to be drafted.



Names like the Undertaker, Nikki Bella, Luke Harper, Emma, and Tyson Kidd are not on the board. Does this mean that they're going to be "free agents" after the draft? Are they going to be immediately assigned a brand come the Supplemental Draft?

It'll be interesting to see where these Superstars end up once they return, but honestly, why not just put them on the big board? If I'm Shane McMahon, why wouldn't I want Luke Harper to rejoin the Wyatt Family... or to break out on his own if need be? Or why wouldn't I want a returning Emma to bolster my women's division? Hell, why wouldn't I want Nikki Bella to come back and immediately make an impact on my show?

It's a bit lazy not to include them on the draft board, but it could also be a calculated move to surprise anyone with any picks that come out of left field on Wednesday. Then again, there's a reason they came up with the list of eligible Superstars along with the rules, right?

*****

Hiccups or not, the WWE Draft is shaping up to be a must-watch event on Wednesday, and it's creating the sort of buzz we rarely feel outside of a huge event like WrestleMania, SummerSlam, or NXT TakeOver!

Set your alarms for Wednesday morning, so we can all catch (and bitch about) the Draft together! Tweet us what you think over at @SmarkHenryPH!

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