The WWE Draft One Year Later: Who’s Flourished And Who’s Failed?
One year ago WWE held the first draft since 2011. Here's a look at how some of the draftees have done over the last 365 days.
One year ago, the WWE entered a new era with the introduction of SmackDown Live and the first WWE Draft since 2011. Here’s a look at how some of the draftees have done over the last 365 days.
Who’s Done The Best?
No one has benefited more from the 2016 draft than Little Miss Bliss: in the course of a year, she’s gone from a bit player in NXT to one of the top women on the main roster.
Bliss was drafted to SmackDown Live from NXT and went on to become a two-time SmackDown Women’s Champion. Smackdown traded her to Raw on April 10, 2017. She subsequently won the Raw Women’s Championship. Making her the first woman to have held both brands’ titles.
Before the draft, fans were starting to worry that WWE wouldn’t use the Phenomenal One to his full potential – but the draft eased all those fears.
Styles was drafted to SmackDown Live as the brand’s second overall pick and quickly became the highlight of the show as “the face that runs the place.” In September 2016, he defeated Dean Ambrose to win his first WWE Championship and held the title for 140 days. He’s since become the United States Champion – and it looks like a dream feud with Shinsuke Nakamura is in the works.
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Baron Corbin made his main roster debut at WrestleMania 32 where he won the third annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, but it wasn’t until the draft that things took off for him.
Corbin was drafted to SmackDown Live.After a series of forgettable feuds, he entered the title picture for the WWE Championship. He’s now Mr. Money in the Bank – and that’s practically a guaranteed title win.
Who’s Done The Worst?
Finn Balor can mostly chalk up his lackluster year to injury. Nevertheless, he hasn’t done much since the draft.
Balor was drafted to Raw from NXT as the fifth pick overall. He enterd the title picture immediately. At SummerSlam 2016, he defeated Seth Rollins to become the inaugural WWE Universal Champion. Unfortunately, he was injured during the match and subsequently sidelined for more than eight months. He has yet to reclaim – or even challenge for – the title he was forced to relinquish.
Yours truly went to high school with Mojo Rawley. So it’s sad to see that he’s done virtually nothing on the main roster.
Rawley was drafted from NXT to SmackDown Live as the third-from-last overall pick. He and his Hype Bros tag team partner Zack Ryder had some minor success in the SmackDown tag team title picture. But it all went downhill when Ryder injured his knee during a multi-team battle royal. Rawley did win the fourth annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania.
This one breaks my heart, but Sami Zayn has been nothing but buried since the draft.
In the year since being drafted to Raw, Zayn lost not one but two title opportunities. First against The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship at Survivor Series. Then against Chris Jericho for the United States Championship. He also participated in an awful storyline with Braun Strowman which saw Mick Foley threaten to trade Zayn to SmackDown for Eva Marie.
Zayn has recently embarked on a feud with WWE newcomer Mike Kanellis. For his sake, I hope it turns around his bad luck.
As you can see, the draft has done some wrestlers more favors than others. It also seems that more members of the SmackDown roster have benefited from the draft than those on Raw.
What are your thoughts on the draft one year later? Who do you think has shined? Who could use some improvement? Share your thoughts below!