The WWE Draft is Tuesday night and we here at The Ultimate Sports Blog love our mock drafts. There is plenty of talent in WWE pool and with only two brands drafting, each brand is sure to get a couple of can’t miss talents. Let’s do this.
UPDATE: WWE announced that tag teams will count as one and that there will be 6 NXT picks during the draft. We’ve now updated the Big Board to reflect those changes.
- Seth Rollins – The only logical choice for the top spot. He was top three in the vertical and broad jump and 40-yard dash and a top five overall athlete at the combine. He’s coming off major knee surgery on his ACL and MCL, but has showed no signs of slowing down since returning. He’s a complete performer with a solid build (6’1”, 217 lbs) and at only 30-years-old, he’s a guy who you can build around for the next ten years. Some people have questioned his character, but most of his character issues are not his fault as he’s been put in positions that pretty much set him up for failure. Rollins has proven that he can overcome most character issues and be the franchise guy for years to come.
- Cesaro – The most complete wrestler in the draft. 6’5”, 232lbs of pure strength and athleticism. He tested off the charts during the combine, posting top three numbers in the vertical jump, the broad jump, and the bench press, and a top five 40-yard dash. The two concerns with Cesaro are his age (35) and injuries. He missed six months late last year and early this year with a torn rotator cuff and wears KT tape in every match. However, that shouldn’t deter brands from taking Cesaro this high. He’s the surest thing in the draft. He can have a match with anyone on the roster. From bigger guys like The Big Show to smaller guys like Kalisto and can wrestle multiple styles. Cesaro is a guy who fits in any scheme and has proven to be a valuable asset, even if he’s not utilized correctly
- AJ Styles – As far as talent goes, no one touches Styles. His combine numbers were very good but, more importantly, he passes the eye test. Give me a guy who I’ve seen perform at a high level all throughout his pre-draft career over a guy who tests well at the combine every day of the week. Styles would be #1 on my list if not for a couple of things. He’s on the small side (5’11”, 218 lbs), he has a history of back injuries, and he’s 39-years-old. Those things have to be taken into consideration, especially if you’re drafting for the future.
- New Day – Three for the price of one. New Day should not fall out of the top five. Big E is an underrated athlete with a stocky build (5’1”, 285 lbs), Kofi Kingston (6’0”, 212 lbs) is a fantastic athlete who tested extremely well at the combine, and Xavier Woods (5’11”, 205 lbs) is an underrated performer. There are concerns that they don’t perform as well on their own, but getting all three in the top five is huge and instantly makes your brand popular and entertaining.
- John Cena – A franchise player in every sense of the word, Cena is the surest thing in the draft. Cena topped the bench press at the combine but tested average on the other events. Don’t let his combine results fool you, Cena is without a doubt a top five pick and could go as early as #1. His history speaks for itself. He can carry a brand on his shoulders, and at 6’1”, 251 lbs, those are some big shoulders. The only concerns I have with Cena is his age (39) and his wear and tear. Cena has a lot of miles on him as a wrestler and seems to be slowing down. He’s also getting outside opportunities, and while his passion for wrestling never wanes, the lure of Hollywood might be too much.
- Brock Lesnar – There’s no doubting the ability of Lesnar. He’s a freak of nature. At 6’3”, 286 lbs, he’s a physical specimen that must be seen to be believed. He tested well at the combine, ranking as one of the top five athletes when all tests were combined. If you were drafting on need alone, Lesnar could be the top pick. But there are a lot of red flags with Brock. He’s 39, isn’t around often, and recently failed a drug test in another sport. Most scouts aren’t holding the failed drug test against him because it happened elsewhere and thus doesn’t matter. If you’re drafting Brock, you’re drafting him for 3-5 years and 3-4 matches a year. You’re also going to have to pay him a lot of money. Lesnar is a can’t miss wrestler and gives your brand immediate legitimacy, but that comes at a very high price.
- Rusev – Quite possibly the steal of the draft. Rusev has everything you look for in a potential franchise guy. He’s a well-rounded performer and he’s got a great build at 6’0’’, 304 lbs. He’s an underrated athlete who tested well at every combine event. Some people believe he has character issues, but he passed every interview with flying colors. Only 30-years-old, Rusev is going to be around for at least another ten years. There’s a lot of untapped potential here as well. He’s definitely worth a top 10 pick, and if he falls past #10, then someone should be fired.
- American Alpha – Jason Jordan (6’3”, 245 lbs) and Chad Gable (5’8”, 202 lbs) are exceptional athletes. Both men are former amateur wrestlers and their combine results were off the charts, testing better than any other NXT star. The only reason they’re not higher on this list is the unknown. Coming from NXT, they’re coming from a small pond where they were big fish. Scouts always hesitate on small brand players because their competition level isn’t as high as it is on the top brands. However, these two are nearly as “can’t miss” as you can get and are worth a top ten pick.
- Big Cass and Enzo Amore – High risk, high reward. Scouts love Big Cass, and he has tremendous upside. I think he’s more of a 10-20 pick, but from everyone I’ve talked to, it definitely sounds like he could go in the top 10. He has measurables (7’0’’, 276 lbs) that you can’t teach and all the potential to become a star. Cass is a project and hasn’t proven to be a singles star, but with the new rules, you get Enzo Amore (5’11”, 200 lbs) as well. Enzo is a well-rounded performer, but concussion issues are a concern. As a duo, they are definitely worth a top ten pick as you’re getting two guys who you know can thrive together and one guy who could potentially be your next star.
- Kevin Owens – Don’t let his looks (6’0”, 266 lbs) or his combine fool you. Owens is better on tape than he tests. He’s proven to be a big-time player from the moment he stepped foot in the WWE ring. You know what you’re getting with Owens. He has a high motor, he’s going to bring it every night, and he’s going to thrive in any situation, no matter how bad it is. He’s a very safe pick who could pay big dividends.
- Dean Ambrose – Why isn’t Ambrose higher in the mock? Simple. Character issues. He’s a deranged lunatic and can’t be the face of the WWE because he’s too ugly. It doesn’t matter that he’s well-rounded, scouts have spent months downplaying his impact and talent, and it’s too late to turn back now. Ambrose is awkward, and he didn’t test well at the combine, but he has a solid build (6’4”, 225 lbs) and unteachable intangibles. Will GMs go against what the scouts have been saying? That remains to be seen.
- Neville – Neville really boosted his stock at the combine, posting the highest vertical jump and the longest broad jump. Injury concerns are an issue as he’s coming off an ankle injury that couple potentially slow him down. Some are concerned that you can’t build your brand around Neville, but he did well as the face of NXT and can fill multiple roles and positions. Neville is on the smaller side (5’10”, 194 lbs), but cruiserweights have picked up a lot of steam in the last week, and that’s definitely boosted Neville’s stock.
- Shinsuke Nakamura – At 36-years-old, Nakamura’s time is winding down and some are concerned with his lack of “big game” experience. He comes from overseas and NXT, where the competition level isn’t quite the same. He has good size (6’2”, 229 lbs) and is a decent athlete. Intangibles are what sets Nakamura apart. He’s a commanding presence from the moment he steps foot in the arena. Scouts love his physicality and star quality.
- Jack Swagger – An amazing athlete with all the tools needed to succeed. Swagger is a former All-American wrestler and a two-sport star in football and wrestling. He measures well (6’7”, 275 lbs) and, at only 34-years old, still has some good years left in him. He’s a major rebuilding project, though. Swagger needs to go to a brand that is willing to build him back up, and I’m not sure any GM is willing to do that. If they are, he could be a major steal.
- Charlotte – Wrestling is in her blood. You never have to worry about Charlotte’s passion for what she does. She’s always going to show up and work hard. She’s a great athlete and at 5’10” (Weight Redacted), she’s a physical beast. The knock on Charlotte is that she’s still rough around the edges and might not improve too much at 30-years-old. That shouldn’t deter GMs from taking the readiest female of the group.
- Roman Reigns – A few weeks ago, Roman was easily a top five pick and might’ve gone #1 overall. But a failed drug test has raised a lot of questions about his already shady character issues. Roman looks the part (6’3”, 265 lbs) and tested very well at the combine, but the character issues are extremely worrying. Will a GM take a risk on Roman and make him a top 10, potentially a top 5 pick? It wouldn’t surprise me. But there are many red flags that would steer me away from Roman.
- The Miz – Perhaps the most underrated superstar in the draft. Miz isn’t great at anything, but he’s very good at everything. Miz is a sports entertainer. At 6’0”, 232 lbs, Miz has good size and strength. He’s not a great athlete, but what he lacks in the physical department, he makes up for in passion. He’s a guy who will do anything asked of him and do it with a smile. Scouts love him and fellow wrestlers love him as well.
- Dolph Ziggler – Ziggler tested above average at the combine, but his passion has come into question. Scouts have noticed that he will take matches off or give half effort. He looks the part (6’0”, 218 lbs) and is one of the most talented performers on the roster when he cares, but getting him to care is a tough take. If Ziggler proved that he was 100% committed to the sport, he’d easily be a top 10 pick.
- Sami Zayn – Quite possibly the biggest sleeper in the draft. Zayn is undersized (6’1”, 212 lbs), came off awkward during the interview process, and didn’t test great at the combine, but the tape doesn’t lie. Zayn is an absolute stud in the ring. Injury issues are a concern and scouts are torn on Zayn some believe he can only thrive next to Kevin Owens while others think he can adapt to any situation and opponent. Zayn is definitely a talent worth keeping an eye on at the draft.
- Sasha Banks – If you miss out on Charlotte, grabbing Sasha Banks is a must. Only 24-years-old, Banks is a five-tool superstar who can thrive in any situation and role. She’s 5’5”, 114 lbs, so she’s not quite as big or as athletic as Charlotte, but she’s just as talented and still has room to grow. The only reason she’s not ahead of Charlotte on most big boards is her injury history and her recent disappearance has left some scouts wondering whether or not she can be the lead female of a brand.
Off The Board:
*Alberto Del Rio: Tested well at the combine, physically ready, passion questioned, character issues.
*Apollo Crews: Great athlete, but bombed the interview process and tested low on the Wrestlekliq test.
*Bayley: Good athlete with all the right tools to succeed.
*Bray Wyatt: Poor combine results, rambled during the interview process, scouts aren’t sure just how he fits in and whether or not he can be a big-time player.
*The Big Show/Kane/Mark Henry: All interchangeable shit cloggers.
*Chris Jericho: Scouts love his locker room leadership. Could be a top 20 pick based on that alone.
*Finn Balor: Seems like a can’t miss guy, but his stock is dropping at the wrong time and some wonder if he has the personality to thrive.
*Karl Anderson/Luke Gallows: Getting buzz at the right time, scouts don’t believe they can succeed if split up though.
*Samoa Joe: A lot of scouts don’t like the look of him, but he performs well on tape and is the type of hard-nosed guy that GMs covet.
*Randy Orton: Injury and character issues along with age has severely dropped his stock. Very high risk pick.
Make sure to check out Steve Cook’s Sleepers of the Draft for more WWE Draft coverage.