…With the way RAW ended, among other things buzz is high going into tonight’s WWE Draft on the first Live edition of Smackdown, which will also be on Tuesdays starting tonight. Stephanie McMahon will be the Commissioner of RAW while Mick Foley will be the GM. Shane McMahon will be the Commissioner of Smackdown while Daniel Bryan will be the GM. Vince McMahon drew the battle lines last week on RAW.
Both shows will compete against each other and already RAW has two big advantages over Smackdown: Raw is one extra hour and it was announced last night RAW will host the Cruiserweight division. Assuming the Cruiserweight Championship is brought back (which I am here), it looks like both shows will have three titles.
Shane announced Smackdown, which has always been “The B-Show” embrace its current position of being The Underdog. RAW, which has always been the flagship show will now have some competition. As a reminder, WWE announced last month each brand will have its own PPV each month so there will be two PPVs a month after Summer Slam. Speaking of, I think we can expect the big four PPVs each year–Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, Survivor Series and Summer Slam–to be cross-brand like they were during the first split.
…One other thing that hasn’t been said that I think might be in the works is a third show. WWE could certainly pull it off.
A week removed from the shocking revelation Brock Lesnar failed UFC’s PED Drug Test a few weeks before his match a UFC 200, what this could mean for his return to WWE has been all the buzz in regards to the brand split. Bleacher Report announced this morning WWE has apparently decided to cut him from a scheduled appearance tonight on Smackdown for no apparent reason. He will be drafted to a roster either way, though.
Lesnar failing a drug test last month and apparently a second test taken a few weeks later has ramifications that’s become a PR nightmare for UFC. WWE will likely suspend Lesnar for failing the drug test as well. Remember: Roman Reigns is currently serving a 30-day suspension for violating WWE’s Health and Wellness policy.
At the very least, Lesnar is expected to suspended by WWE as well. If they decide to pull a Roman Reigns he would still be able to compete at Summer Slam. Reigns’ suspension is over as of today. As long as Lesnar’s suspension begins by Friday, he can still compete at Summer Slam against Randy Orton, which will be on August 21. Paul Heyman alone can promo the match so…yeah.
…I think it’s safe to say last night’s match between Ambrose and Rollins ended in a no-contest. We will see an encore tonight on Smackdown. As a reminder, it doesn’t really matter who leaves with the belt tomorrow. It will be defended in a Triple Threat Match involving all three members of The Shield at Battleground on Sunday.
Speaking of the WWE Championship, that has become the belt’s name in recent weeks and WWE Champion for the title holder. That isn’t shorthand, mind you. As a reminder, when the brand split ended the belt was renamed the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. That likjely means the other belt will be the World Heavyweight Championship.
It’s also become a bit obvious the Shield Feud and the brand split are connected: Whoever wins at Battleground wins the existing top title for their show. My prediction is Dean Ambrose retains and goes to Smackdown with Reigns while Rollins goes to RAW. They can immediately build the new top title on RAW the following night.
…Before I list who I think will be the top Draft Picks, I want to say something I meant to say since I took over this blog last year. For those who missed it, the PG Era died after the first brand split ended and while Triple H was building the Authority. WWE has been pretty overt about that fact in the last two years in particular–Assylum Match anyone? So for everyone who keeps saying “Get rid of the PG Era!” on Social Media, WWE got rid of it a long time ago.
We can expect things to get more wild and crazy after tonight ^_^
Now, here are my picks for who the top draft prospects will likely be:
- John Cena
- Brock Lesnar*
- Roman Reigns
- Seth Rollins
- Dean Ambrose
- AJ Styles
- The New Day (3 People)
- The Wyatt Family (4 people)
- Sasha Banks
- Becky Lynch
- Nikki Bella (assuming she returns)
- Brie Bella (assuming she returns)
- Darren Young
- The Miz
- Sami Zahn
- Kevin Owens
- Titus O’Neil
- Enzo Amore
- Big Cass
- Apollo Crews
- Big Show
- The Undertaker*
* Has a part-time contract and only competes in a few matches a year max
The Draft itself will likely take up most of the airtime. The only match I’m aware of on the card for tonight is the Ambrose/Rollins rematch. In addition, Steph announced RAW will get 3 picks for evey pick Smackdown gets. RAW will have a bigger by default. Some tag teams will be broken up–The Lucha Dragons actually split up ahead of the draft. The New Day and The Wyatt Family will likely stay together though.