Welcome everyone to The Ultimate Sports Blog live coverage of the WWE Draft. I am your draft expert Jeremy Lambert and I’ll be providing analysis of every draft pick made during the televised portion of the WWE Draft. Remember to check out the WWE Draft Big Board for who I believe should be picked in the top 20 and Steve Cook’s WWE Draft Sleepers for valuable late round picks.
For those that missed WWE Raw last night, allow me to catch you up.
Raw has the first overall pick. For every two Smackdown picks, Raw has three picks. Tag teams can be drafted together or separate. There will be six NXT draft picks. Raw is also home of the cruiserweight division. Mick Foley is the Raw GM while Daniel Bryan is the GM of Smackdown.
News: Brock Lesnar’s failed UFC drug test is causing his stock to drop tremendously. Some scouts believe that he might not be drafted tonight, making him an undrafted free agent.
News: Sources say that Simon Gotch and Sin Cara got into a scuffle backstage. No word yet how this will their draft stock.
#1 Pick (Raw) – Seth Rollins
Analysis: The only logical choice for #1. Rollins has #1 on our big board and is a great choice by Foley. He’s going to be a star for years to come and it’s clear that Raw has their future in min.
#2 Pick (Smackdown) – Dean Ambrose
Analysis: He’s the reigning champ, which can be the only reason he was taken this high. Ambrose is very awkward and is known to slow down the progression of others. Bryan definitely going off the board with this pick. This is also a reach because all reports indicated that Raw has no intention of taking Ambrose, meaning Bryan could’ve waited with this one.
#3 Pick (Raw) – Charlotte
Analysis: I don’t know what Foley is thinking. Charlotte could’ve been had at least three rounds later. Charlotte is the top female in the draft, but you can’t waste the third overall pick on someone who won’t see a ton of action and has always relied on the help of others to succeed. It feels like Stephanie has had her hand in both picks. Going with Rollins, who she’s very familiar with and helped groom, and Charlotte, a dominant female.
#4 Pick (Smackdown) – AJ Styles
Analysis: This is more like it. Great pick by Bryan. So far Bryan’s picking with guys who have come up through the independents, just like Bryan. He’s familiar with these guys and it makes sense that he would want to build around them.
#5 Pick (Raw) – Finn Balor
Analysis: Foley is all over the place. Balor tested well at the NXT combine, but interviewed poorly. He’s also been diagnosed with a split personality disorder, which really hurt his stock. Foley, knowing all about split personality disorders, was clearly willing to look past that to make this pick. This feels like Foley’s first pick of the draft.
News: Sources have confirmed that Cena got tired of waiting in the green room and demanded that his match be now. Cena was expected to be a top five pick and has yet to have his name called.
#6 Pick (Raw) – Roman Reigns
Analysis: Very surprising. Reigns drug test caused his stock to fall. He tested well at the combine, but he also tested hot. This could be a great pick for Reigns if he manages to turn his life around and lives up to his potential. Or it could really backfire.
#7 Pick (Smackdown) – John Cena
Analysis: Cena cannot be happy that he fell down to #7, but I think he ends up in the right situation. Cena is a franchise guy and Smackdown needed a franchise guy.
#8 Pick (Raw) – Brock Lesnar
Analysis: Raw really willing to ignore out of the ring issues with these picks. Lesnar was still a top 10 pick in my mind, but him and Reigns on the same show is asking for problems. Lesnar won’t be around often, but could cause a big stir when he is.
#9 Pick (Smackdown) – Randy Orton
Analysis: Orton is a proven commodity, but injury issues have to be a concern. If he stays healthy, this is a good pick for Smackdown.
#10 Pick (Raw) – New Day
Analysis: Very smart pick. Three picks in one. Raw already gets one more pick a round and this was like having three more picks in the round. Raw is building a well-rounded roster.
News: Sources indicate to us that Bryan and Shane were really thrown for a loop in the first round. They thought they had an idea of how things would play out on the Raw side and didn’t expect Stephanie to have as much influence as she did. They have been flustered since then and demanded more time to regroup between rounds.
#11 Pick (Raw) – Sami Zayn
Analysis: A little surprise. Zayn’s stock fell literally two seconds before, but I’m not sure Raw got the memo. Not the biggest reach we’ve seen tonight.
#12 Pick (Smackdown) – Bray Wyatt
Analysis: Bray has potential, but he’s a project. Smackdown still seems thrown off by Raw’s strategy.
#13 Pick (Raw) – Sasha Banks
Analysis: Smart pick. If you have Charlotte, you want someone to play off her. Sasha is by far the best choice.
#14 Pick (Smackdown) – Becky Lynch
Analysis: Complete reactionary pick. Smackdown is playing Raw’s game right now.
#15 Pick (Raw) – Chris Jericho
Analysis: Feels like a throw away pick. Jericho is a good locker room presence, but he would’ve been around later.
News: Foley felt he had to take Jericho earlier than planned because he was afraid of losing his writing buddy.
#16 Pick (Raw) – Rusev
Analysis: An absolute steal. I had Rusvev in my top ten and Raw manages to pick him up at #16. Great pick.
#17 Pick (Smackdown) – The Miz
Analysis: Another reactionary pick by Raw. Shane and Bryan showing that a lack of experience might not be a good thing when it comes to running a show.
#18 Pick (Raw) – Kevin Owens
Analysis: Owens is a hidden gem. Didn’t test well at the combine, but the tape doesn’t lie and he was the best interview during the draft process. Raw doing all the right things this round.
#19 Pick (Smackdown) – Baron Corbin
Analysis: I don’t get it. Corbin is one of the most overrated people in this draft and Smackdown used a top 20 pick on him.
#20 Pick (Raw) – Enzo Amore and Big Cass
Analysis: Raw caps off a killer fourth round with another brilliant pick. Cass was one of the best prospects in the draft and many thought he’d go top ten. Raw manages to get him and Enzo, another two for one pick on top of their extra pick. Stephanie proving why he’s been successful and on top for so long.
News: Many are surprised that Cesaro has fallen out of the top 20. He was looked at as a can’t miss, top 5 guy. Cesaro has remained neutral throughout the draft tonight as he waits for his name to be called.
#21 Pick (Raw) – Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
Analysis: Raw with another value pick. They’ll re-unite with Finn Balor. Those three had a ton of success together overseas. Whether or not that continues in the big leagues is anyone’s guess, but Raw is smart to try it.
#22 Pick (Smackdown) – American Alpha
Analysis: Smackdown rebounding strong here. These guys are can’t miss prospects. Smackdown needed something good and they got it.
#23 Pick (Raw) – The Big Show
Analysis: Raw was bound to screw up at some point.
#24 Pick (Smackdown) – Dolph Ziggler
Analysis: Could be a steal if Ziggler can re-energize his career. If not, another wasted pick for Smackdown.
#25 Pick (Raw) – Nia Jax
Analysis: Interesting. Nia obviously brings the size and power, but Bayley and Asuka are far more polished athletes. I guess Raw felt they needed an intimidating presence alongside Sasha and Charlotte.
News: Cesaro is distraught. He begged GMs to give himself a chance to showcase himself IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DRAFT. They did, and he failed. This is huge.
#26 Pick (Raw) – Neville
Analysis: Raw with another great pick. Raw building a fantastic brand.
#27 Pick (Smackdown) – Natalya
Analysis: No clue what Smackdown is doing. They need top-end talent. Natalya is a solid role player and sometimes not even that.
#28 Pick (Raw) – Cesaro
Analysis: How did Raw get away with this? A top-five talent with the #28 pick. They’ll have to build him back up a bit after tonight, but there’s literally no risk taking him right now.
#29 Pick (Smackdown) – Alberto Del Rio
Analysis: I give up.
#30 Pick (Raw) – Sheamus
Analysis: Underrated. There are still a couple talents I have ahead of him on my big board, but Sheamus is a solid pick that can do multiple things for you.
News: People can’t believe what Smackdown is doing. Some are wondering if Shane made the wrong choice is making Bryan his GM. This situation could get messy.
#31 Pick (Raw) – Golden Truth
#32 Pick (Smackdown) -The Usos
#33 Pick (Raw) – Titus O’Neil
#34 Pick (Smackdown) – Kane
#35 Pick (Raw) – Paige
Analysis: Raw with some solid picks. Good value in Titus O’Neil, a great athlete, and Paige, young but experienced. Kane has nothing left to give and his late push was nothing but a smoke screen. Golden Truth are solid locker room leaders, which Raw definitely needs given their shady character drafting. The Usos are a decent pick, but depth guys at best.
#36 Pick (Raw) – Darren Young
#37 Pick (Smackdown) – Kalisto
#38 Pick (Raw) – Sin Cara
#39 Pick (Smackdown) – Naomi
#40 Pick (Raw) – Jack Swagger
#41 Pick (Smackdown) – The Ascension
Analysis: Swagger, one of the top athletes at the combine, is great value at #40. Young is a smart pick as well given that he has an IC Title match this Sunday. Kalisto is a good pick for Smackdown, but a bad fit for Kalisto. Smackdown bought an extra pick this round, but wasted it on The Ascension.
#42 Pick (Raw) – The Dudley Boyz
#43 Pick (Smackdown) – Zack Ryder
#44 Pick (Raw) -Summer Rae
#45 Pick (Smackdown) – Apollo Crews
#46 Pick (Raw) – Mark Henry
#47 Pick (Smackdown) – Alexa Bliss
Analysis: Smackdown finally figuring things out. Probably a little too late though. Ryder could walk away with a title this weekend and is great value at #43, Crews is one of the top athletes in the draft and has a ton of untapped potential, and Bliss is a great prospect who has been shining in NXT. Raw did alright. Dudleyz are solid value, Summer provides depth, and Henry is well-liked. It appears Smackdown is buying into every round. Not sure why they didn’t do this earlier.
#48 Pick (Raw) – Braun Strowman
#49 Pick (Smackdown) -BreezAngo
#50 Pick (Raw) -Bo Dallas
#51 Pick (Smackdown) – Eva Marie
#52 Pick (Raw) – The Shining Stars
#53 Pick (Smackdown) – The Vaudevillians
Analysis: A lot of depth picks. BreezAngo is good value and Bo Dallas could be a steal if they can rebuild him.
#54 Pick (Raw) – Alicia Fox
#55 Pick (Smackdown) – Erick Rowan
#56 Pick (Raw) – Dana Brooke
#57 Pick (Smackdown) – Mojo Rawley
#58 Pick (Raw) – Curtis Axel
#59 Pick (Smackdown) – Carmella
Analysis: A lot of missed opportunities here. Depth and nothing more.
My grades will be in tomorrow.