Hits and Misses from WWE's Monday Night Raw and Smackdown LIVE draft

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Hits and Misses from WWE's Monday Night Raw and Smackdown LIVE draft
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  • Heath Slater
    American professional wrestler and actor
  • Seth Rollins
    Seth Rollins
    American professional wrestler

The WWE held their draft to separate the talent into two specific rosters, one for Monday Night Raw, and one for Smackdown LIVE on Tuesdays. This is not the first time the WWE has performed a brand split, as it was originally done from 2002-2011 but due to low-ratings for their Smackdown property the concept was revived, and much like the original, this brand split seems doomed to fail.

Here are my thoughts on the hits and misses from last night’s show.

HITS

1) Seth Rollins

Rollins was the first overall draft choice last night, this makes complete sense due to his storyline alignment with Stephanie McMahon, and will play very well into his character. In his heel role, Rollins did an excellent job when he held the Money in the Bank briefcase a couple years back coining himself “Mr. Money in the Bank,” and he will undoubtedly work “#1 Pick” into a signature phrase within his promos.

2) Finn Balor

The former NXT Champion Finn Balor was chosen 3rd by the Raw brand last night making him look like a legit superstar. His selection received a huge reaction from the crowd and he’ll be welcomed in at the top of the card on Raw. Also, with the move of AJ Styles to Smackdown but Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows remaining on Raw don’t be surprised if the rumoured “Balor Club” finally comes into play on Monday nights.

3) Heath Slater

Like the clumsy child left standing against the wall in a grade two kickball game, Heath Slater was the only performer not drafted last night.

After a series of enjoyable vignettes, both his Social Outcast partners (Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel) were selected to the Raw brand, leaving Slater on his own. The draft coverage ended last night with Slater sitting in a room by himself and the lights being turned off.

Shortly after the draft Slater then tweeted out the following:

I suspect this will lead to a series of comedic vignettes of Slater vying for free agency on both brands, and in a night that was littered with disappointments, Slater was a delight every time he found his way onto the screen.

MISSES

1) Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn

These are two of the hottest up and coming stars that the WWE has on their roster. In a booking decision that made ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE they were simultaneously choke-slammed by Kane last night to show how little they mean to the company.

Zayn was then drafted by the Raw brand immediately after being made to look like a jobber… and Owens the same several picks later.

By putting Kane into this position of power, this is yet another example of the WWE looking to the past for older performers they consider “stars” as opposed to looking forward to younger performers who have the opportunity to become main event stars of the future.

2) Stephanie McMahon

There is no doubt that Stephanie McMahon is a very good on camera performer. However in the past few weeks she has taken it upon herself to talk-over other performers while on camera, and continually get in what seem to be unscripted insults.

When you’re a heel (bad guy) in the WWE the goal is to get what is called “heat” (to have the crowd dislike you and cheer against you), but there is a fine line between crowd “heat” and crowd “hate," and the bosses daughter continually steps over that line by bullying and brow beating everyone she performs on camera with.

3) Mick Foley

Mick Foley returns to WWE TV as the GM of Raw. Although he is a very popular performer, he now sports a Santa Claus like beard and gingerly walks around on knees that can barely support his weight after years of in-ring damage, he looks and feels like a relic of the past.

Foley’s selection as GM came off like an afterthought, as the WWE crowd was much more excited to see Daniel Bryan as the Smackdown GM, and in his first in ring session he seemed to forget several of his lines prompting Stephanie McMahon to cue him. Overall, Foley seems too miscast in this role.

4) Terrible T-Shirts

This might seem like a silly point but putting any performer into a branded blinding red Raw or bright blue Smackdown T-Shirt immediately makes them look like less of a WWE superstar and more of a fast food employee.

Much like Foley, these shirts are relics of a bygone era and should have been upgraded or avoided completely to save losing the individually of the characters.

5)   Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns

WWE was put into a terrible situation over the past few days with Brock Lesnar testing positive after competing at UFC 200. This complicated the already sticky situation they were in with Roman Reigns currently under suspension for a WWE Wellness policy violation. However, that didn’t seem to matter as both drug-positive performers were selected in the draft to the Raw brand.

6) NXT Draft Picks

Seven NXT performers were selected to the main roster last night. Both Finn Balor and the American Alpha tag team made complete sense and will be given the focus they deserve. The fact that there was no explanation given to the names left off the draft list such as NXT Champion Samoa Joe, Shinsuke Nakamura, NXT Women’s Champion Asuka and Bayley have left many fans asking questions.

As for the other NXT performers who now find themselves on the main roster (Nia Jaxx, Mojo Rawley, Alexa Bliss, and Carmella), sadly they will be nothing more than afterthoughts and none are ready to perform at the WWE level.

7) Jerry Lawler

After the draft had finished it was revealed that the announce teams would also be getting a shake-up. Michael Cole, Byron Saxton and Corey Graves will be calling Raw and Mauro Ranallo will be joined by JBL and David Otunga on Smackdown. Which means longtime announcer Jerry Lawler has lost his seat. There has been no word if the King will be reassigned to other WWE duties or if he’s about to be wished best of luck on his future endeavours.

 

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