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There you have it folks, the 2016 draft is in the history books. It’s an exciting time for us fans as we’ve been campaigning for the roster split to return ever since it ended back in 2013. Ending it was a mistake. By bringing back the roster split your giving more people a chance to shine, and it’s going to help make Smackdown a must see show again.
Now that the rosters are confirmed, let’s take a look at the two sets of rosters.
Monday Night Raw
Commissioner: Stephanie McMahon
General Manager: Mick Foley
Seth Rollins, Charlotte (WWE Women’s Champion), Finn Balor (NXT), Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar, The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods – WWE Tag Team Champions), Sami Zayn, Sasha Banks, Chris Jericho, Rusev (w/ Lana – WWE United States Champion), Kevin Owens, Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady, The Club (Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson), Big Show, Nia Jax (NXT), Neville, Cesaro, Sheamus, The Golden Truth (Goldust & R-Truth), Titus O’Neil, Paige, Darren Young (w/ Bob Backlund), Sin Cara, Jack Swagger, The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von), Summer Rae, Mark Henry, Braun Strowman, Bo Dallas, The Shining Stars (Primo & Epico), Alicia Fox, Dana Brooke & Curtis Axel
Tuesday Night Smackdown
Commissioner: Shane McMahon
General Manager: Daniel Bryan
Dean Ambrose, AJ Styles, John Cena, Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt, Becky Lynch, The Miz (w/ Maryse – WWE Intercontinental Champion), Baron Corbin, American Alpha (Jason Jordan & Chad Gable – NXT), Dolph Ziggler, Natalya, Alberto Del Rio, The Usos (Jimmy & Jey), Kane, Kalisto, Naomi, The Ascension (Konnor & Vikor), Zack Ryder, Apollo Crews, Alexa Bliss (NXT), Breezango (Tyler Breeze & Fandango), Eva Marie, The Vaudevillians (Aiden English & Simon Gotch), Erick Rowan, Mojo Rawley (NXT) & Carmella (NXT)
*Wow, did Smackdown get screwed over or what? Just look at the different levels in star power between the two brands. That rule about Raw getting three picks to Smackdown’s two really hurt the blue brand. What they should have done was for both shows to take it in turns to pick one superstar each (with the exception of the New Day since they are the tag champs).
*The only team to split up were The Wyatt Family. Vince clearly wants to make something out of Braun Strowman, but is it the right decision for him to go it alone? I don’t know. I can imagine him bulldozing through the roster and end up feuding with Roman Reigns where Reigns gives the big guy his first loss. I expected the Dudleys to go their separate ways, but it didn’t happen. Had a gut feeling that the Usos would have split up.
*Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens should have been kept apart. Also noticed that Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin are also on the same brand. Please don’t make them wrestle again! They already my pick for worst feud of the year. Swap Corbin with Owens and everything will be fine.
*Let’s talk about the NXT guys. Finn Balor and American Alpha were expected, so no surprise there. Very surprised with Mojo Rawley though. People are moaning about Mojo getting called up before Nakamura or Samoa Joe. I don’t mind. I like Mojo. Not the greatest in the ring but you can’t deny him of his charisma. The guy has charisma by the bucket load. Also being on the same brand as his Hype Bro partner Zack Ryder only adds depth to the tag team ranks, or they could make him heel by costing Ryder the US title at Battleground because he’s jealous of Ryder’s success. He’s a big guy so the heel thing can work for him.
Carmella was someone I wasn’t expecting. You can’t say she doesn’t deserve it because she does. Just a shame she isn’t reunited with Enzo & Cass, they all have amazing chemistry together. I’m so happy for Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss. Both of these girls have improved a lot over the past year, expect one of these two to win the most improved female award in this year’s Rif Rasslin Awards.
*I mentioned Nakamura and Joe just now and I think it’s right for them to remain on NXT for the time being. Sure both of them can slot in well on the main roster but it’s not the end of the world just because they haven’t been called up.I understand the fans frustration because if you could pick anyone from NXT why pick Mojo over the likes of Joe, Nakamura, Bayley or Asuka? They could have said that Shane & Stephanie have agreed with NXT GM William Regal that certain NXT stars are prevented from being used in the draft. They didn’t have to give names, just an explanation would have been handy.I can envision Joe getting called up by the end of the year or as a mystery entrant in next year’s Royal Rumble. Nakamura is sure to be a lock in for the Raw after Mania. You can’t forget about Bayley. I still believe that she’ll make her debut this Sunday at Battleground as Sasha Bank’s mystery partner. Failing that, then I’m going to say the Raw after SummerSlam.
*In addition to the roster split WWE have announced that both shows will get new announce teams. The new announce teams will feature Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton Monday nights on Raw, while Mauro Ranallo, JBL and David Otunga handle the commentary for SmackDown Live every Tuesday night. No more Jerry Lawler! That’s a shocker right there. He’s been around since 1992 (he quit in 2001, but returned towards the end of the year) and always been one of the iconic ‘voices’ of WWE. He may not have been the commentator he once was, but for an old school fan like myself it’s going to be hard not hearing the King on WWE programming. I guess he’ll be a company ambassador now he’s left the broadcast booth.
Whiles Raw does have more people on the show the booking matters more than anything at this point. It’s about elevating midcarders to that next level while mixing in the veterans with the newer guys as well. I don’t think Smackdown’s roster is that bad at all. They just need some more bodies. Remember that this is only the beginning. There’s plenty of time to improve on the situation.