Smackdown goes Live and things could be about to get interesting as the brand extension returns for the first time in five years. Who’s heading to Raw? Who’s going to Smackdown? These are my predictions on how things could play out.
WWE listed the rules for the draft stating that Raw will have the first overall-pick, Tag Teams count as one unless Commissioner/General Manager specifically only wants one member of the team and there will be six picks made from the NXT roster.
Furthermore, since SmackDown Live is a two-hour show and Raw is three hours, for every two picks SmackDown Live receives, Raw will receive three picks. This does not entirely suggest that the Raw roster will be 33% greater than Smackdown’s roster.
On last night’s Raw last night, things began to become even clearer as Stephanie McMahon revealed the Hardcore Legend Mick Foley as Raw’s general manager, while Daniel Bryan will take the general manager duties of Smackdown.
WWE also published a list of the eligible draftees with 31 singles competitors, nine tag teams and ten women wrestlers available for selection, along with six NXT superstars.
There were some notable absentees from the list with Undertaker and Triple H – who have not appeared on WWE television since WrestleMania – the most notable not listed.
Injured superstars Nikki Bella, Emma, Tyson Kidd, Tamina Snuka and Luke Harper, as well as Rosa Mendes who recently had a baby were also not listed in the article, as was Ryback due to his contract dispute with the company.
It is hard to predict exactly how many will end up on each show but below I present my top ten predictions – five for Raw and five for Smackdown – of how things may pan out on tonight’s Smackdown Live.
1. Seth Rollins drafted to Raw
Raw’s main event in which Dean Ambrose fought Seth Rollins to a controversial draw seems to suggest that the former Shield brothers will be the leaders of the respective brands.
Raw commissioner Stephanie McMahon was very much rooting for Seth Rollins and even announced him as the new WWE Champion only for the referee to reverse her decision after seeing a replay declaring the match as a draw.
Rollins will no doubt be the main man on Raw for the forseeable future but I don’t think he will play the bad guy much longer. A potential match against Roman Reigns at SummerSlam would be the perfect opportunity for a double turn.
2. Dean Ambrose drafted to Smackdown
When the brand extension was first announced it was declared that John Cena would be the face of Smackdown but things have changed over the past few weeks and I now believe Vince McMahon sees Ambrose as a main event player.
I was not a fan of splitting up The Shield at first but the fact that the Triple Threat Shield match is taking place at Battleground suggests that the former teammates will be split. Rollins and Reigns will be the main guys on Raw so that leaves Ambrose to lead the Smackdown brand.
Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan were behind the WWE Champion on Raw so it seems obvious that this will happen. I do still think Cena will be drafted to Smackdown as well opening the door for a future Ambrose vs Cena fued.
3. Roman Reigns to Raw
Even though he is currently serving the final days of his suspension for violating WWE’s wellness policy, I still believe Reigns will be a main event player and should be the top heel on Monday night’s.
There were plans for him to fight Seth Rollins at SummerSlam but his actions may have scuppered those plans. It was reported Vince McMahon is not happy with him but I still think he will be one of tonight’s draft picks.
One thing is for certain is that Roman Reigns and John Cena will be kept apart but as before that Reigns would lead Raw and Cena lead Smackdown, the chairman could very well switch things around but I am still punting for Reigns to go to Raw.
4. John Cena to Smackdown
He has been WWE’s main man for 14 years but reports suggest that John Cena’s career could be starting to wind down and with the Franchise being removed from house shows in the US, it seems Cena is no longer the guy.
He leader of the Cenation is currently engaged in a fued with The Club which makes it likely that wherever Cena goes, AJ Styles and co. will follow him. Cena heading to Smackdown seemed a lock but with the Roman Reigns controversy, things could be up in the air.
Like Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton, Cena could soon become a part-time superstar but his still has the enough in him to keep going every week if he wanted to. Whether he is going to take a lighter schedule or not, Cena will still be a top choice for both Shane and Stephanie.