WWE Draft 2019 Results: Best and Worst Picks After SmackDown
WWE fans who are debating who won Friday's WWE draft are asking the wrong question. The better, more interesting question is this: Which brand got the tools it needed to succeed on its own terms?
SmackDown, in its new home on Fox, is becoming the more sports-oriented show, complete with the production values akin to that of a major sports entity like the NBA or NFL. Raw, with Paul Heyman at its helm, remains the premier destination for sports entertainment and the sort of theatrical presentation the company built its reputation on.
There's still one more night of drafting left on Monday's Raw. But for now, based on each brand's needs, here are the best and worst picks so far.
The Revival (SmackDown): Best
This was a perfect pick by the blue brand. The Revival are the best, most capable tag team in the world and have been criminally misused by WWE.
They play old-school heels, understand tag team psychology better than most of today's wrestlers and can shine equally well as the winner or loser of a match. If Fox lets them do even a fraction of what they did on NXT against American Alpha or DIY, we're in for a treat.
Lacey Evans (SmackDown): Worst
The Lady of WWE was drafted surprisingly high—perhaps a little higher than she deserved. She's probably better off on SmackDown than Raw, where she will be less likely to end up in some comedic skit that won't do her any favors. But there's no way she deserves to be pushed as hard as her draft placement implies.
For all her athletic gifts, she's too awkward in the ring to be a championship contender. Hopefully WWE Creative will let her lay low for a while to help her sharpen her abilities rather than strap a rocket to her again.
Ricochet (Raw): Best
Ricochet is a too small to be put in a believable athletic contest against SmackDown's heavyweights. But he has an eye-widening array of circus moves that pop the crowd.
Raw is the perfect destination for the crowd-pleasing types like Ricochet, who perform for the inner child in all of us.
Braun Strowman (SmackDown): Best
Another perfect choice by the blue brand, Braun Strowman was slowly getting stuck on Raw as Big Show 2.0. And truth be told, that's not a bad role to have in WWE. He will always have a job. He will always be in the title discussion, even if he never wins it.
But before consigning him to that role—which he can already do in his sleep—WWE should try one more time to help him to capture the spark he had years ago, back when he beat up Roman Reigns after WrestleMania. SmackDown gives him the best chance to revive his character and do just that.
Roman Reigns (SmackDown): Best
He's the Big Dog, and there's not much more to say than that. Roman Reigns is perfect for SmackDown. He has the legitimacy as a third-generation wrestler, and he has an inspiring comeback story, which will play great on prime-time, network television. He also has chiseled good looks.
Everything about him screams mainstream star, and that's what Fox needs to get its new program off to a solid start.
Bray Wyatt (Smackdown): Worst
Put aside, for a moment, that Bray Wyatt should not even be part of the draft. His new character is a creepy monster who pops up at random intervals; he should be above these sorts of proceedings. Instead, he should continue to surprise people on both shows by turning the lights down and executing the Mandible Claw.
The one thing WWE got right is that it moved Seth Rollins and Wyatt to different brands. After the mess at Hell in a Cell, the promotion is better off keeping them separate. By trying to immediately fix the problem, it would create more problems. If there could a do-over, though, Rollins would be better off on SmackDown, and Wyatt would be better off on Raw, It's going to be interesting to see how Fox deals with such an off-the-wall gimmick while still analyzing it like a sport.