WWE Draft 2016 Results: Full Raw, SmackDown Rosters, List of Picks and Grades

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterJuly 20, 2016

Credit: WWE.com

The New Era can truly begin now that the WWE draft 2016 is over.

On Tuesday night, Raw and SmackDown both selected wrestlers with the ability to be household names in the near future. Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan nabbed AJ Styles for the blue brand; Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley picked up Kevin Owens for WWE's marquee show.

And while WWE had its missed opportunities during the draft, there were ample signs that the company is serious about highlighting its future as much as its past.  

Company golden boy and 15-time world champ John Cena didn't go until the seventh pick. Finn Balor went higher than Brock Lesnar; Sami Zayn went off the board before Chris Jericho.

The draft was sometimes logical with Raw and SmackDown's authority figures selecting top talent. At times, though, the train went off the rails.

Former WWE Creative member Andrew Goldstein mocked how high Big Show went Tuesday:

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

The televised portion of the draft saw the McMahons and their respective general managers make a total of 30 picks on the air. After SmackDown ended, both shows added 30 more names exclusively on WWE Network.

Raw, being an hour longer than SmackDown, had three picks for every two for Shane and Bryan's show. That led to Raw often getting two consecutive selections.

That's partly why the red brand won the night in overall talent, but SmackDown still ended up with an intriguing roster.

The following examines how WWE benefited its shows and Superstars with a detailed review of how the draft went down and the makeup of the rosters. Grades are based on the impact and wisdom of each pick.


Raw TV Draft Results

Raw Televised Draft Picks, Grades
Overall Pick No.SuperstarGradeNotes
1.Seth RollinsAExpected pick with relationship to Stephanie, huge potential as centerpiece of marquee show.
3.CharlotteA+Big boost to women's division for Charlotte to go before Roman Reigns, John Cena, Brock Lesnar, etc.
5.Finn BalorA+Drafting an NXT star this early boosts the prestige of that brand, gives Balor instant momentum.
6.Roman ReignsB+Reigns' suspension clearly pushed him down the pecking order, will struggle to beat out Balor as top babyface.
8.Brock LesnarB+Raw is logical place for Lesnar, part-time status takes away from the pick's impact.
10.The New DayA-Provides strong base for tag team division, going higher than Rusev, The Miz speaks to tag title's importance.
11.Sami ZaynAMuch higher spot than expected, helps paint him as more than a midcarder.
13.Sasha BanksA-Allows for Banks-Charlotte rivalry to continue, gives women's division second cornerstone.
14.Chris JerichoCShort-term addition with Jericho likely to return to music before long, missed opportunity to highlight an emerging star in New Era.
16.RusevB-Would have helped U.S. title's prestige to have Rusev go higher.
18.Kevin OwensC-Surprising move to keep Owens and Zayn on same brand after upcoming climactic match, too low of a spot for him.
20.Enzo Amore and Colin CassadyAWill help boost tag team division, Amore will shine in prominent spot on Raw.
21.Luke Gallows and Karl AndersonC+Splits up The Club, removes group's best asset, helps make Raw the go-to show for tag team action.
23.Big ShowDHas zero momentum after long TV absence, draft spot could have been used to boost emerging star instead.
25.Nia JaxA-Adds variety to women's division, relatively high draft spot creates buzz around NXT star.
26.NevilleA-A returning Neville will be a fun addition to strong Raw roster, drafting him here creates a bit of buzz for him.
28.CesaroB-Surprisingly low spot, signals that he is a midcarder, will be invaluable in-ring asset for Raw.
30.SheamusC+Has unfortunately become an afterthought at this point, unexciting addition to most fans, will be dependable bruiser opponent for many.
Picks announced on SmackDown

SmackDown TV Draft Results

SmackDown Televised Draft Picks, Grades
Overall Pick No.SuperstarGradeNotes
2.Dean AmbroseASmackDown nabs WWE's top champion, allows him to build name outside of relationship with Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns.
4.AJ StylesAHelps establish Styles as a top-tier star, gives SmackDown one of the best fresh faces.
7.John CenaA+Gives SmackDown major star power, keeps Styles-Cena feud alive.
9.Randy OrtonB+Underappreciated star who will help put over emerging talent, surprising that SmackDown is bringing aboard both Cena and Orton, who were the faces of a previous era..
12.Bray WyattA-Good position to pick him up, a potential cornerstone for SmackDown moving forward, opens the door for a number of feuds.
14.Becky LynchB+Now given space to be top babyface, so far has little competition in division.
16.The MizCGives SmackDown a second titleholder, hurt by Daniel Bryan's reluctance to pick him, low spot for intercontinental champ.
18.Baron CorbinBSurprisingly high spot boosts a newcomer from NXT, adds to feel of SmackDown as "B" show.
22.American AlphaA-Exciting addition to tag team division, smart call-up, good spot to increase attention around team.
24.Dolph ZigglerB-Has potential to be major player for SmackDown, although low draft spot suggests more of a midcard position.
27.NatalyaB+Allows Lynch-Natalya feud to continue, can be workhorse of division, higher-than-expected spot.
29.Alberto Del RioB+Will be a backbone of the show from an in-ring standpoint, lacks momentum.
Picks announced on SmackDown

WWE Network Draft Picks

Raw Draft Picks Made on WWE Network
Pick No.Superstar
31.The Golden Truth
33.Titus O'Neil
36.Darren Young
38.Sin Cara
40.Jack Swagger
42.The Dudley Boyz
44.Summer Rae
46.Mark Henry
48.Braun Strowman
50..Bo Dallas
52.The Shining Stars
54.Alicia Fox
56.Dana Brooke
58.Curtis Axel
Picks announced on WWE Network


Crafty Draft Picks

Seth Rollins would have certainly preferred to leave the arena as WWE champion, but going No. 1 overall is a nice consolation prize.

SmackDown Draft Picks Made on WWE Network
Pick No.Superstar
32.The Usos
41.The Ascension
43.Zack Ryder
45.Apollo Crews
47.Alexa Bliss
51.Eva Marie
53.The Vaudevillains
55.Erick Rowan
57.Mojo Rawley
Picks announced on WWE Network

Choosing Rollins before Cena, Randy Orton, Lesnar or Jericho help set the stage for the New Era. The move spoke to WWE looking to highlight new stars over leaning on the established ones. He has a number of great potential feuds in front of him now, from fighting Balor to perhaps helping Zayn climb up a few rungs.  

Selecting women's champion Charlotte so early helped highlight the women's division. Whether WWE builds on that remains to be seen, but it's a statement that the women will be key to Raw's future.

Cena going to SmackDown gives the blue brand instant name recognition.

It's fine to showcase stars on the rise like Baron Corbin and Bray Wyatt, but the leader of the Cenation can be the means to that upward movement. He will bring a buzz to the show, drawing in casual fans. That's a win for everyone else on the roster.

American Alpha (Jason Jordan and Chad Gable) joining the party Tuesday nights is going to be mighty fun.

As loud as crowds were getting for the former NXT tag champs and as entertaining as they have been in a number of recent standout matches, it was time to see what they can do on a bigger stage. 

They could easily be among the stars SmackDown catapults next.


Overall Thoughts

Many expected SmackDown to end up being the show for the workhorses and the indy darlings—the night when WWE catered to the die-hards.

That didn't end up being the case. Yes, Tuesday nights will feature the likes of Dolph Ziggler and American Alpha, who fit that bill, but it will also be the home of Cena and Orton instead of picking up guys like Owens. 

As a result, it's not clear what SmackDown's identity is. Raw has the advantage in terms of tag team talent, as well as two of the top stars of the women's division.

As Vaughn Johnson of Philly.com pointed out, there were quite a number of great choices on the female side of the roster after the televised portion of the draft:

The WWE Network part of the draft, though, brought Carmella and Naomi to the blue brand's women's division. Still, there is work to be done to sort out just what will make SmackDown special. 

It will clearly be a show of opportunities, though. Becky Lynch, for example, won't have to contend for stage space with either Sasha Banks or Charlotte. She has so often been the afterthought of the women's division.

SmackDown will offer her a bigger share of the pie each week. Expect her to flourish as a result.

WWE champ Dean Ambrose can make his mark without his former Shield brethren. Corbin won't have to fight for airtime as often, likely getting an instantly higher spot in the SmackDown hierarchy. Newcomers like American Alpha are bound to make Tuesday nights their launchpad.

The draft opened the door for those grapplers, sliding them over to SmackDown. Fans will be watching intently to see who most takes advantage of that opening.