Now preparing for the actual WWE Draft on Tuesday is next to impossible. We don’t even really know what the format will be. We don’t know if it will look like an actual draft where you pick the best wrestlers that you want, similar to a NFL or NBA draft; or if it will be done like it has been in the past in WWE where it’s a “random” draw. We don’t know the order of picks. Maybe RAW will get more picks than SmackDown since it’s a 3-hour show compared to SmackDown’s 2 hours. [UPDATED: WWE.com did put out a little bit of information on the format of the draft on Sunday. The article and information is linked here.]
But regardless of format, you need a Draft Big Board heading into any draft you do so Thoughts From The 808 decided to create one for you. Since we really don’t know the format yet of the draft, here are a few criteria we used to guide our Big Board:
- Draft assuming these rosters are to stay in tact for 5 years.
- Everyone can be drafted, champions included.
- Tag teams stay together. Same for managers. (*Note: We separated Bray Wyatt from the Wyatt Family and AJ Styles from The Club since they are both their own separate entities at this point.) [UPDATED: WWE.com article stated tag teams will stay together unless the GM that drafts them chooses to separate them. Also, the Wyatt family was not considered a "tag team" so Rowan and Stowman will be drafted separately. Luke Harper was not listed since he is injured.]
- Since we are not sure how NXT will play into this draft, they have their own section. [UPDATED: WWE.com article says there will be 6 NXT selections.]
1. John Cena
2. The New Day
3. Roman Reigns
4. Seth Rollins
5. AJ Styles
6. Kevin Owens
7. Sami Zayn
8. Dean Ambrose
9. Brock Lesnar
If you’re not going Cena, I think you’re other two options are either Reigns or Rollins. Reigns is like a mini, younger version of Cena and Rollins can do almost anything and is just getting into his prime. He has a lot of upside and everything he does will seem fresh.
If you want to get crazy on the first pick, you would probably go New Day, Styles, or Owens. I included Sami Zayn and Dean Ambrose in this first tier as well but I wouldn’t touch either of them with the #1 pick. Some people may go crazy with Dean Ambrose so I had to include him in this list, and I have Sami ranked higher so he makes it as well. Brock Lesnar was also a surprise entrant on WWE.com's article. I thought he'd be a special attraction similar to The Undertake and not be able to be selected in the draft. I think he has to go in the top tier since he's Brock Lesnar. But since he's working a limited schedule and now has a possible wellness violation, I'll put him at the bottom of the tier. But you could easily argue that he could even be deserving of the #1 pick.
No matter who my #1 pick is, I’m targeting The New Day with my #2 pick if they are still available. Again, this is assuming all tag teams stay together so you are getting 3 guys with one pick and you are getting the best act in the WWE right now. Also, if you want to eventually pull the trigger on the Big E push you have the chance at getting another top level guy on your roster. Again, I don’t know what the draft day rules for tag teams and groups will be so this is a bit of an unknown or wild card.
Here's the section where everyone will probably differ quite a bit, just based off their personal preferences and favorite wrestlers. I may have Cesaro too low and some people would probably even have Bray Wyatt in the top tier. If you are building for the future, you may have Apollo Crews higher. I really struggled with where to put Chris Jericho myself. If I knew I was getting the Chris Jericho we've had for the past 6 months, I'd probably have him at 10-12. He's been amazing and you need true, solid heels if your brand is going to be successful and build new stars. Chris Jericho is that to a T. But, we also stated in our guidelines that you are planning for 5 years. Who knows how many months out of those 60 you will have Jericho as an active performer. So I settled him at 19.
27. Titus O’Neil
28. Social Outcasts
29. Darren Young
32. Jack Swagger
33. The Vaudevillians
34. Golden Truth
MAIN ROSTER AGING VETERANS TIER
35. Big Show
37. Mark Henry
38. The Dudleyz
But let’s say you draft a Barron Corbin or Apollo Crews, or even a Tyler Breeze or Darren Young. They need to be built up to look credible and will need people to beat who also aren’t trying to work their way up the card. That’s where your credible veterans come into play. You aren’t building your show around them but you are using them to build the stars you want to make in the future.
MAIN ROSTER BOTTOM TIER
39. Sin Cara
40. Erik Rowan
41. The Ascension
42. Shining Stars
2. Sasha Banks
3. Becky Lynch
5. Summer Rae
8. Eva Marie
9. Dana Brooke
10. Alicia Fox
I think the top four in this division are on a tier to themselves, and if I was serious about a women’s division I’d want to make sure I had at least 3 of those 4. But again, you are going to have to set aside the picks to get them so it is a little bit of Risk/Reward there.
Maybe a small unpopular opinion alert here but I went Charlotte over Sasha Banks for the #1 spot. I know EVERYONE loves Sasha and she has the high upside, but Charlotte has proven herself on the main roster over the past year and you can’t say that about Sasha yet. Maybe it’s to no fault of her own but we haven’t seen a lot of what Sasha can do yet. There’s a lot of hype there but it’s all from NXT and not what she’s really done on the main roster. I know what I’m getting from Charlotte. She’s an outstanding heel and can anchor my women’s division. I can also bring in Ric Flair again and have a built in storyline there. I don’t think you can go wrong with either one of those two but I give the slight edge to Charlotte.
I would be tough to get both of those women on your roster I’d assume though, since after you took one I’d think your opposing GM would take the other. So then I think if you are going to get either Paige or Becky you need to get them both and build your division.
I also think Summer Rae has a lot of potential and we haven’t seen much of her yet in the ring so I have her at the #5 spot. I would have liked to rank Nikki and Emma but with them coming off injuries they apparently are not eligible to be drafted Tuesday night. I think the rest of the list 6-9 is pretty interchangeable and Alicia Fox is probably solid at the 10 spot.
1. Finn Balor
2. Shinsuke Nakamura
3. American Alpha
4. Samoa Joe
6. The Revival
7. Austin Aries
8. Nia Jax
10. Hideo Itami
11. Alexa Bliss
12. Tye Dillinger
I think the #1 pick is Finn Balor and I’m not sure it’s even debatable. They have been holding him back for awhile and seem to have big plans for him. He is being groomed to be a star and will come out of the gate hot. If you can get him, take him. If he was available to be drafted with the regular roster I’d have him Top 10, and you could maybe even talk me into Top 5. I’m not as sold on him yet as other seem to be but they are going to want to make him into a star. You’ll want him on your roster.
After Balor, I think the next wrestler with the chance to be as big of a star as Balor is Shinsuke Nakamura. People love him and his charisma. I’m not sure how the limited English would play on the main roster though.
I love American Alpha and think they have the potential to be over huge on the main roster. You are also getting a tag team and the 2-for-1 deal here so I love their value. This would be a team I’d specifically target in my draft. No matter how the rest of my draft board turned out, I’d be disappointed if I left Draft Day without these guys on my roster.
And then Samoa Joe can plug into your main roster on Day One and be a credible star, which is important. He’s also another guy that can just go in the ring and give you quality matches and fill air time.
If you went women heavy in your draft, you probably want to put Bayley, Nia Jax, and Asuka on your Big Board. The main probably we said earlier is that you don’t have a lot of depth in the women’s division right now, here is where you could add that depth if you chose to do so.