Matt’s Mock Brand Split Draft 1.0


Screw Mel Kiper, this is the draft that matters in 2016.  And I’ve always preferred McShay.

This took a lot of time, as I had to take a number of things into account here, from Championship division to storyline continuity.  I also think it’s funny that of the primary three people featured in this photo above, 2 are ineligible to be drafted as they aren’t even with the company and the third is Jack Swagger, who is absolutely terrible and I wouldn’t draft if we were picking who to put on a reignited Sunday Night Heat broadcast.

So let’s start with how we should format this thing.  First, what to do about championships:  I propose not instituting a new championship belt on either show.  Instead, the superstars who currently hold titles will carry them to the show they are drafted to.  So how do the titles jump from show to show?  The four primary PPV events will be Raw vs Smackdown events, where every title must be defended against a number one contender from the opposing brand.  This would but the belts up for grabs by each show at Royal Rumble, Mania, Summerslam and Survivor Series.  Additionally, the remaining 8 PPV events will be evenly divided, and titles belts must be defended at each Brand’s PPV events as well to maintain storylines within the brand.

I considered the possibility of additional belts, but then we get into the annoying ass “unification” of the belts again if this thing goes south and they put the brands back together in two years.

Secondly, how will we draft?  Each brand will be assigned a GM.  Then, I have a list of the current roster, male and female, and I will draft 10 superstars to each brand.  Tag Teams will be drafted together, because I am not about to break up Enzo and Cass or The New Day for the sake of finding a way to bury the Dudleyz completely or ruin Jay Uso’s life by ripping him away from Jimmy.  I will then assign female superstars to each brand.  Finally, I will give each brand 4 call up selections.  I will detail the top few picks from the superstars category, the top few picks from the women, and all 4 call up selections.

Let the big board begin:

Stephanie McMahon HeadshotStephanie McMahon

Raw General Manager

Reasoning:  I realize that Shane has been a crowd favorite and his return was huge for a lot of reasons, but for the sake of continuity, and because of all her other enterprises, I think the flagship ends up with Stephanie, which I’m pretty well ok with.


Superstar-Category_Superstar_562x408_ShaneMcMahonShane McMahon

Smackdown General Manager

Reasoning:  I put Shane here for two reasons.  First, I think that he inevitably has to be general manager of one of the two brands otherwise him coming back will have little payoff.  Secondly, I see Smackdown, first and foremost, being a starting ground to get new guys going with the casual audience that doesn’t commit to NXT each week.


02UGgybeTriple H

NXT Co-General Manager w/William Regal

Reasoning:  I know, I hate it too, but what H has done in NXT is otherworldly, and I think there is a case for them to move NXT from the network to TV, probably to aid in the fledgling SyFy network’s ratings now that they are out SmackDown.  Plus the filming schedule is ideal for a man who is committed to spending time with his kids.

The Talent:

Superstar-Category_Superstar_562x408_romanReignsPick 1 – Raw

Roman Reigns

Reasoning:  There is no scenario where “The Guy” wouldn’t go first.  He’s the champion and he’s clearly the face they expect to carry the company into the next era.  It’s not a good call, it’s not a bad call, it’s just going to be the choice they make whether we like it or not.  He keeps the belt moving into the split.


John_Cena_proPick 1 – Smackdown

John Cena

Reasoning:  The Face That Runs The Place is back.  Why would I put the top dog and money earner on Smackdown?  John Cena proved with the US Open Challenge that he was willing to do what it took to highlight the up and coming stars, and since that’s what I see Smackdown becoming.  Think of Smackdown as the AAA league, where NXT is AA and the Performance Center is A.  Cena draws the audience, the talent showcases what they can do.  Win-win.

Superstar-Category_Superstar_562x408_sethRollinsPick 2 – Raw

Seth Rollins

Reasoning:  There is no way in hell they’d split up Rollins and Roman considering how simple the creative department’s job should be for the foreseeable future.  Rollins is a megastar with mega heel heat that comes naturally, even if he seems like a nice guy and word around the medical community involved in his surgery and rehab is that he was one of the nicest of the Superstars they’ve met, next to Cesaro of course.  The Rollins/Roman/Ambrose story is just too well laid out to split them up now.

AJ_Styles_2016Pick 2 – Smackdown

AJ Styles

Reasoning:  Some part of me wanted to go with Kevin Owens here, but I think what you’ve really got with AJ Styles going to Smackdown is an already ignited feud with Cena, some genuine heel heat as a result, and a guy who has already shown in just a week that he can be a great heel on a loaded roster that needs good heels.  There’s also his phenomenal in ring ability (pun intended), as well as the potential for story with a Finn Balor call up.  Plus all of his black and blue merch matches the Smackdown set.

Pick 3 – Raw:  Dean Ambrose – As I said earlier, the storyline just writes itself for a never ending feud between Roman/Rollins/Ambrose revolving around the title, and then the inevitable Shield reunion.

Pick 3 – Smackdown:  Rusev (US Champion) – This is a high pick for the US Champ, but I don’t really know who will have the IC belt come mid-July, plus I expect Lana to have to be on Smackdown per my reasoning for the women’s selections.  RUSEV CRUSH SMACKDOWN!  Plus there’s already a thing with Cena that can go forward.

Pick 4 – Raw:  Cesaro (w/MITB) – I see them higher and higher on Cesaro lately, and that’s a great thing.  His merch is moving, the Cesaro section is loud and proud, I think the briefcase follows the title to Raw.

Pick 4 – Smackdown:  Kevin Owens – This pick requires no explanation other than KO is awesome.

maxresdefaultPick 5 – Raw: Enzo and Cass – These guys move merch, and since I see no way that The Club doesn’t end up with AJ, that means The New Day is probably going that direction as well, and taking the tag titles with them to the blue brand.  Plus you need guys on both shows that can carry lengthy promos, so splitting Enzo and Cass away from The New Day is a no brainer.

Pick 5 – Smackdown:  The New Day (Tag Champs) – See above

Pick 6 – Raw:  The Wyatt Family – While I would much rather send Strowman to Smackdown to get some work in, I don’t see them not keeping Bray where he could, at any given time, just randomly decide to fuck Roman’s day up.  Plus with Raw being a longer broadcast, there’s plenty of time for his nonsense and his 20 minute ring entrance.

Pick 6 – Smackdown:  Sami Zayn – I’m sending Sami with KO, plus he’s really good in the ring and I think he can do a lot along the lines of what he did to put over Nakamura for the TakeOver Dallas audience in NXT.  He’s a great guy with good experience and he’s been all around the world, he’s going to be a great resource for the younger guys.

Pick 7 – Raw:  The Usos – Because where Roman goes, the rest of the family follows.

Pick 7 – Smackdown:  The Club (Gallows and Anderson) – Where AJ goes, the Club will follow. maxresdefault Hopefully at some point soon it will be the Balor Club.

Pick 8 – Raw:  Randy Orton – Randy Orton is not going to Smackdown.  The biggest complaint about Orton has long been that he seems to phone it in when he doesn’t feel like it matters.  But when it matters, he’s an incredible talent that is capable of delivering (see Mania vs Rollins – The RKO Heard Round The World).  I’d leave Orton on the broadcast with Roman and Rollins simply for this purpose.  And he should be back fairly soon.

Pick 8 – Smackdown:  The Miz – I see him ending up on Smackdown sans the IC Title, which I’m expecting him to drop between now and the split, but when you get to my explanation for the women’s selections, Miz to Smackdown will make more sense.

dolph_ziggler_renders_8_by_wwepnguploader-d9pmdixPick 9 – Raw:  Dolph Ziggler – While he’s been in booking purgatory with Baron Corbin, he’s a multi time IC Champion and former WHC, and he puts on a great show when he’s give the opportunity.  This will also break up some of the IC talent that I’ve long been lauding for their efforts so that there is still some great wrestling on both broadcasts.

Pick 9 – Smackdown:  Zack Ryder – I’m taking a call up pick for Smackdown and finally uniting the Hype Bros on the main roster.  Ryder is coming off a Wrestlemania moment and he’s good in the ring, he also works incredibly well with Mojo and I think it’ll be fun to get him on Smackdown.

Pick 10 – Raw:  The Vaudevillians – This selection is solely so I can keep them on the same show as Enzo and Cass.  I don’t really have an explanation for it, but I know that Simon and Aiden cut significantly better promos with quality promo guys to banter with.  chris_jericho_by_vsplanet-d4moax6

Pick 10 – Smackdown:  Chris Jericho – This pick is entirely dependent on whether Jericho is going to keep on wrestling for a while.  Jericho is the best in the world at what he does, which (aside from not taking a loss at WM to AJ) is getting new talent going and playing a magnificent heel in the process.  I’d like to see Jericho bring his experience and expertise to the younger talent that I see populating the Smackdown brand.

The Women’s Division

TOTAL DIVAS -- Season: 5 -- Pictured: "Total Divas" Season 5 Key Art -- (Photo by: E! Entertainment)

TOTAL DIVAS — Season: 5 — Pictured: “Total Divas” Season 5 Key Art — (Photo by: E! Entertainment)

This one is going to be a little easier for me to draft because I think that for the sake of promoting Total Bellas/Divas, the cast members of that show will be on the Tuesday broadcast.  I mean, “when the action is over in the ring, catch these two superstars tonight on Total Divas, immediately following Smackdown, and only on E!” just makes sense.  Fortunately, this doesn’t completely rob Smackdown of quality female wrestlers.

Rather than draft them, I’ll just break out what I see going forward:

Raw: Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, Naomi, Tamina, Summer Rae (and eventually Bayley).  I’m pretty on board with this as a women’s division, as I’m hoping the time off camera brings us a revitalized Naomi and Tamina, and Summer Rae has the potential to be pretty damned good if they give her more ring time to work.

Smackdown:  Nikki Bella (upon return), Eva Marie, Paige, Natalya and Lana are my sure things.  I’m also going to put Emma and Dana Brooke here because Dana will need some more work and Emma will be where Zack Ryder goes, and I put him on Smackdown.  The only problem I have is how to get Renee on Smackdown but leave Ambrose on Raw, but since she’s not in ring talent, I can leave her as the Divas presence on Raw.

The Call Ups


I don’t want to take everything from H and Regal, but seriously, what was this when they got started?  They have an uncanny ability to see incredible talent and make them stars.  But we’ve agreed to pull four from each, so here we go:


Pick 1 – Raw:  


Reasoning: The Hugster is going where the title and Sasha both are.  The main audience is going to love her.



Pick 1 – Smackdown:PY2Dlv9k

Finn Balor

Reasoning: Look at the picture.  That’s why.



Pick 2 – Raw:  Samoa Joe – Joe is a sturdy veteran with lots of experience all over the world.  Following next week’s NXT The End…. which is titled because it is finally supposed to be the end all be all of the feud between Balor and Joe, I think it’s safe to put Joe on the other program where Balor can carry heat alongside his Club-mates.

Pick 2 – Smackdown:  Nia Jaxx – As I’m working towards a Total Divas Smackdown Women’s Division, I think there is a great deal of value in sending Nia Jaxx to the blue brand with Eva Marie.  She draws heat, mostly because she’s mean to Bayley, and she could help take some of the negative focus off of Eva as well.  She’s gotten significantly better in the ring, as easily noticeable from her first Bayley match in London to the match where “Bayley got hurt” (read as kayfabe injury because they didn’t really have anything for Bayley to do at The End…).  There’s probably a reason to put her on Raw with the rest of The Rock’s cousins, but I like the idea of sending Joe there so at least one Samoan who isn’t related to the Rock gets some time on Raw.

Pick 3 – Raw:  Carmella – I’m a huge fan of the NXT Women’s Division, and I really enjoy Carmella both in the ring and when she’s working with Enzo and Cass.  I have no problems bringing her up now, even if she could use just a touch more work, because she’ll get plenty of work with the hyper talented bunch on Raw.

The_Hype_BrosPick 3 – Smackdown:  MOJO FREAKIN’ RAWLEY – I’m not going into too much detail with this one either, I’m just ready for the damn Hype Bros.  And can you imagine them working alongside The New Day?  Mojo chanting “He Ain’t Hype” to the rhythm of the New Day claps?  Yay!  Plus they’ll finally make solid and consistent use of Zack Ryder this way.

Pick 4 – Raw:  American Alpha – These guys are freaking incredible in the ring, and while they’re faces who will have trouble taking some of the shine from Enzo and Cass, they won’t have any trouble getting over with the Smark audience who will marvel at their in ring chops.

Pick 4 – Smackdown:  The Mechanics/Revival – No flips, just fists.  These guys are good heel tag competitors.  They’ll complement some of the other teams I’ve put on Smackdown like The New Day because they’ll balance out some of their frills nicely.

I’m probably way wrong, but considering I just got paid for 3 hours at work and this is what I spent my time on, I’d say I am right in some respect.