THE DRAFT IS HERE!!!!
The draft will start here on SmackDown and will end after the show. All the anticipation and hype have led us to this moment. One key thing that must be noted is that contrary to what Stephanie wants, last night’s contest ended in a draw. Ambrose was given his title back and a rematch was scheduled for tonight! Sneaky things to note about the draft:
- The Wyatts are not listed as a group
- Ryback is not listed so his time with the company may have come to an end
- Eva Marie is listed as a main roster Superstar and if drafted won’t count against the 6 NXT picks.
- Nikki Bella, Tamina Snuka, and Luke Harper are not listed as potential draftees
Now that that’s out the way, let’s get down to business.
The First Overall Pick (Round 1)
Tonight is all about the draft. It’s great that after all these years SmackDown is finally live but that’s an afterthought. Everyone knows that RAW has the first pick and Stephanie and Mick had no hesitation when selecting the #1 overall pick in the draft….
Seth Rollins. It was either going to be he or Ambrose and seeing as Stephanie and Dean don’t have the greatest history, this only made sense.
The draft will be broken up into rounds. Each round will consists of 5 picks alternating between shows with Raw picking 3 Superstars and SmackDown selecting 2. The rest of the first round was as follows:
- Finn Bálor (NXT #1)
- Dean Ambrose
- AJ Styles
I won’t be going over the draft in this piece, but I WILL be covering it in other articles and writings. You can find the full list of drafted Superstars here.
John Cena Vs. Luke Gallows
The coolest part of this match was that they did a picture in picture allowing us to watch commercials and Gallows get beat up at the same time! In somewhat of a preview to Battleground, Enzo and Cass came out to back Cena and Anderson and Styles were ringside because duh. Gallows got a chance to look strong but nobody beats Super Cena on a special night. Gallows gets his attitude adjusted while Styles and Anderson have a spill courtesy of Enzo & Cass. How you doin?
The big names keep coming here as the main event caliber talent is starting to disappear from draft boards. Roman Reigns is the first pick of the second round and the Universe couldn’t have booed harder. Will we finally see a heel turn when the leader of the Roman Empire returns? We know now that he’ll be without the aide of Dean Ambrose.
- Roman Reigns
- Brock Lesnar
- New Day
- John Cena
- Randy Orton
Champions (The Miz & Rusev w/Lana) Vs. Challengers (Zack Ryder & Darren Young w/Bob Backlund)
This is a pretty nifty and innovative idea! The contenders for both the US and IC titles team up to take on the holders of said titles. Rusev has been on a tear and The Miz has even looked good lately, almost besting WWE Champ Dean Ambrose a couple of weeks ago on SmackDown. Ryder is getting a push and rolling with it. It almost wouldn’t be a surprise at this point if he somehow manages to win at Battleground.
Teamwork makes a dream work and after Ryder and Young manage to get Rusev over the top rope and out, things are looking good for the challengers. Miz is still reeling from a Gut Check/Rough Ryder combo and an aggressive Ryder is all over Rusev out side the ring. Young looks toward his life coach for guidance and Backlund thinks it’s time. He orders Young to go for the Crossface Chicken Wing. Darren Young readies himself and sneaks up behind Miz. He grabs Miz and the wing is on! Miz taps and the unlikely duo of Ryder and Young win.
Bray Wyatt Vs. Xavier Woods
Having just been drafted to RAW, Xavier and the rest of New Day are here and happy! Woods gets in the ring and things must look and feel different for him. This is a Singles match against The New Face of Fear. There are no tags and nowhere to run. I think Woods realizes this as soon as the bell rings.
Bray is back at his usual tricks, using fear as a tool for success and it’s working. Woods would almost conquer his fear but it would not be enough to conquer Bray Wyatt.
Kane Vs. Kevin Owens
Bray won his match against Xavier Woods today but he may have lost his mental grip on him heading into Battleground. Woods can now rest easy knowing that he’ll be on RAW eating Booty-Os while Bray will be on SmackDown. Where will the rest of the Wyatts end up?
- Sami Zayn
- Sasha Banks
- Chris Jericho
- Bray Wyatt
- Becky Lynch
Charlotte & Dana Brooke Vs. Sasha Banks (Handicap Match)
How long has it been since we’ve seen a good ol’ fashioned sanctioned Handicap match? I mean, it’s not really a fair fight but if anybody in the WWE might be able to pull this off (aside from Lesnar & Super Cena) it would be The Boss!
Well for the first time I think ever on the main roster, Banks was pinned! As clean as can be. She didn’t see Charlotte tag herself in while Dana was busy being Back Stabbed and put in the Bank Statement. Charlotte was able to hit a huge boot and Natural Selection to get the pin and leave Banks on her back.
SmackDown decided it was time to add some more gold to the picture by taking The Miz. If you’re only going to have 2 titles on your show, why not the top 2 singles titles out there? After complaining the entire night about not being drafted, Kevin Owens is off the board too. He and Sami will still be seeing each other in the RAW locker room every week.
- Rusev w/Lana
- Kevin Owens
- Enzo & Cass
- The Miz w/Maryse
- Baron Corbin
Cesaro Vs. Chris Jericho
This was a bright spot in the night in terms of match ups! REAL competition between two of the most technical Superstars WWE has to offer. Jericho came into it bragging about already being drafted to RAW while Cesaro’s services were still up for grabs.
This match was like something from the Ruthless Aggression Era. Counters and reversals, dives and stiff shots. It looks like Cesaro is going to put it away but he gets caught with a Codebreaker while attempting a Springboard Uppercut. Lights out.
Natalya Vs. Alicia Fox
Yes, for the 3,466 week in a row and the second act of its kind tonight, a match that’s scheduled doesn’t happen. I had to scramble and piece together the people in the match and what kind of match it was. Right out of commercial break and into a fight, huh? I mean I guess so. There is no more, “Wait til Thursday.” You got to get it all out there now. Does Alicia still wrestle?
We get it. Nattie Vs. Becky at Battleground.
NXT is in the house! Nia Jax and American Alpha go in this round. If you haven’t seen any of these Superstars perform, pay your $9.99 and do your research! The other news from this round is that Gallows & Anderson will no longer be tied to AJ Styles. That doesn’t mean that they’re alone in this crazy world. Plot thickens….
- Gallows & Anderson
- Big Show
- Nia Jax (NXT #3)
- American Alpha (NXT #2)
- Dolph Ziggler
Neville! We haven’t seen or heard from him in a long time but I guess he’s due back from injury soon. Also, Nattie goes to SmackDown a few picks behind Becky. More heat for Battleground.
- Alberto Del Rio
The Main Event: Dean Ambrose Vs. Seth Rollins (WWE Championship Match)
This match was almost exactly the same as last night’s. The only difference is the Superplex spot. Instead of a double pin, Rollins attempts to roll thru and land another but Ambrose has other plans. He slides out and hits Rollins with Dirty Deeds. A 3 count and a clean win for the Champ and SmackDown’s biggest asset going into Battleground.
All in all, it could’ve been better, it could’ve been worse. It was the first SmackDown LIVE and I believe it can only get better from here. We have to see how the rest of this draft goes and who will be chosen from NXT.