WORCESTER, Mass., July 20 (UPI) — The landscape of the WWE has changed following the Draft as top Superstars have found a new permanent home on Raw or Smackdown Live.
Taking place Tuesday as part of Smackdown Live from the DCU Center in Worcester, Mass., commissioners Shane and Stephanie McMahon along with their newly appointed general managers Mick Foley and Daniel Bryan, drafted Superstars in a bid to create the best WWE brand.
With Raw regularly airing for three hours every Monday, Stephanie and Foley were awarded the first overall pick in the Draft and the ability to draft one extra Superstar every round. Confidently, the duo picked Seth Rollins first hoping that he will re-gain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and bring it to Raw.
Shane and Bryan then selected current champ Dean Ambrose for Smackdown Live. Rollins and Ambrose are set to meet Sunday at Battleground in a tripe threat match for the title alongside their former Shield partner Roman Reigns.
Wanting to keep the WWE Women’s Championship on Monday’s, Charlotte became the first woman drafted and joined the Raw brand. The Smackdown team then grabbed The Phenomenal one AJ Styles before Raw selected the first Superstar from NXT, Finn Balor.
As Round 2 commenced, the Raw team selected the currently suspended Roman Reigns. In a surprise move, Smackdown then drafted John Cena making one of WWE’s most recognizable faces exclusive to Tuesday nights. More big names were then drafted including Brock Lesnar to Raw, Randy Orton to Smackdown and WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day to Raw.
Notable draftees from rounds 3 – 4 include Sami Zayn and his longtime rival Kevin Owens landing on Raw while Smackdown obtained The Eater of World’s Bray Wyatt, Intercontinental Champion The Miz and Becky Lynch. Sasha Banks, United States Champion Rusev, Chris Jericho and tag team Enzo Cass also found homes on Raw.
The final televised Draft rounds featured The Club being separated from Styles by being drafted to Raw, NXT tag team American Alpha being selected for Smackdown along with Dolph Ziggler, Alberto Del Rio and Natalya with Raw grabbing NXT’s Nia Jax, Neville and Sheamus. The full draft list can be found at WWE.com including rounds 7 – 11 which took place on the WWE Network.
The only remaining un-drafted Superstar left is the recently injured Heath Slater who was shown angrily awaiting his name to be called in the locker room as the lights were turned off. WWE shared the comedic moment on Twitter writing, “Hey, did #RAW and #SmackDownLIVE forget about @HeathSlaterOMRB?”
The Draft, announced in May, reintroduces the company’s once established brand split between Raw and Smackdown in which both shows will act as separate entity with their own unique roster and set of champions.
The first brand split and draft was first introduced in 2002 after WWE acquired rival promotions WCW and ECW leading to an influx of talent. The last draft took place in 2011 when the brand split was eliminated shortly afterwards.