Hey peeps, I’m back. I had to take a brief hiatus to deal with a family matter. All is good now and I’m ready to get back to business.

I don’t think it’s any secret that I was a fan of the WWE Brand Extension. I liked when RAW and SmackDown were separate entities and the Superstars were kept apart except for PPVs. It is one of the things that made matches like Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XXI so special. One of the biggest reasons I liked the Brand Extension is that it gave guys a bigger chance to shine. Randy Orton is always having long matches on RAW and SmackDown. Which is fine but wouldn’t it be a better use of time if they allowed Dolph Ziggler to really get over as a babyface? When you have guys like CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler all turn babyface at the same time someone is bound to get lost in the shuffle with no brand extension. That person happens to be Ziggler.

Also, since the Brand Extension effectively ended SmackDown hasn’t been something you need to see. Sure, there are still some really good matches on SmackDown but all the major angles and stories are played out on RAW so it’s not like you need to see SmackDown. That brings me to my next point, without a Brand Extension there’s no need for the World Heavyweight Championship. What exactly does the belt mean now? It’s basically the 2013 Intercontinental Championship. We all know that the top guy in WWE gets the WWE Title. At least when there was a Brand Extension the World Heavyweight Championship meant you were the top guy on a that brand. This is a heck of a lot better than just being another guy which is really what Alberto Del Rio is.

I’m not here to tout the virtues of the Brand Extension (even though I basically did that), I’m here to draft to separate WWE rosters. Fantasy football season is right around the corner, so this is my WWE Fantasy Draft. I know this will never happen (it should) but I thought it would be cool to do something fun.

Here’s how you go about this: Triple H or Vince McMahon comes out on an episode of RAW and say that for too long things have been out of control of WWE. Superstars go wherever they choose now and it’s creating chaos. It’s simple and works. HHH or Vince announces that there will be a new era in WWE, the return of the Draft. You set it for the night after a PPV. It would do big numbers because of the post-PPV interest and the interest of seeing where guys are going.

Vickie Guerrero controls SmackDown and Brad Maddox controls RAW. They are at each other’s throats now so wouldn’t it just be a natural for them to have their own rosters do their bidding? You flip a coin and that one gets the first pick. Each GM gets ten picks on TV and then you do the rest of the draft on the app. It’s an innovative way to get people to download the thing for something they’d actually want to see. Make this edition of RAW a big deal beyond the Draft. WWE Championship on the line, dream matches, things to get people invested in the product.

You’d have to set rules for the new extension. The WWE and Intercontinental Championships are exclusive to RAW. The World Heavyweight and United States Championships are exclusive to SmackDown. The Divas and Tag Team Champions can float to either show. You could make the titles exclusive to one brand but it wouldn’t be right to have only Divas on SmackDown and Tag Teams on RAW for example. Those champions can appear on both shows. They’re low level titles that barely get defended so it doesn’t matter if those people float around. The idea of the brand extension is to create exclusivity to make you watch both shows.

You have to keep the wrestlers apart except for PPVs. Even then there shouldn’t be much interaction. If you want to have two guys bump into each other backstage to set something up down the line, that’s fine. WrestleMania season you can loosen the reigns because that’s the time of year you should be concerned about putting out the best matches possible and will help get you a couple of matches that have a special feel to them because of the Brand Extension like the aforementioned Michaels/Angle match.

I know WWE has ancillary shows like Main Event and Superstars so for that you tape one match from the RAW crew and one from the SmackDown crew. You could have the show hosted out of a studio to give it a Primetime Wrestling feel from the days before RAW existed.

WWE currently has 76 active Superstars and Divas listed on their roster. Two 38 person rosters are plenty to round out a brand. Of course that number includes four part-timers: The Rock, Triple H, The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar. If you take those men out of the equation, each brand will have 36 people. Still more than enough. The problem with the part-time guys is what do you do with them? They go where the feud is. One year they might show up on RAW, the next on SmackDown. Or always on RAW. I’m not saying it’s perfect but this is a fantasy article.

So, those four are out of the equation. The remaining 72 doesn’t include Chris Jericho. I know he’s no longer with WWE but it’s odd that he was removed from the roster page so soon.

Before we draft the actual rosters we need to deal with the non-wrestlers. The managers, Ricardo Rodriguez, Zeb Colter and Paul Heyman just go wherever their clients are. I’d also make Teddy Long a heel manager. The guy is pretty good on the microphone and I think most of the WWE Universe doesn’t like him anyway so it’d be a natural fit. Even though Jim Ross isn’t listed on the roster page he should be so I’m including him. We all know Vince wants Michael Cole as the voice of WWE so his is the Play-by-Play guy on RAW. He will be joined by Jerry Lawler and Booker T on commentary and Justin Roberts will be the ring announcer for RAW. On the SmackDown side, Josh Mathews will do Play-by-Play and be flanked by Jim Ross and JBL. Lillian Garcia will do the ring announcing for SmackDown. I like that lineup for both shows.

Ok, now what you’re all here for: THE DRAFT! There will be 36 rounds, simple because each brand gets 36 wrestlers. In fantasy sports drafts (the ones I’ve done anyway) the draft snakes around so the first pick in Round 1 is the last pick in Round 2 and so on. That’s what I’d do here. If this were to ever happen we’d assume RAW would get the first pick. The draft layout will be pretty simple. The number in parenthesis next to the wrestler’s name will be their overall pick in the draft. Ok, enough chatter, let’s get to the draft.

Vince McMahon comes out and announces that RAW won the right to select first in the draft. The first two picks are done at once and then the next nine rounds occur after matches throughout the night. Maddox makes the picks for RAW and Guerrero for SmackDown as the respective GMs.

ROUND 1

RAW: (1) JOHN CENA

SMACKDOWN: (2) CM PUNK

ROUND 2

SMACKDOWN: (3) ALBERTO DEL RIO

RAW: (4) DANIEL BRYAN

ROUND 3

RAW: (5) RYBACK

SMACKDOWN: (6) SHEAMUS

ROUND 4

SMACKDOWN: (7) DOLPH ZIGGLER

RAW: (8) RANDY ORTON

ROUND 5

RAW: (9) THE BIG SHOW

SMACKDOWN: (10) MARK HENRY

ROUND 6

SMACKDOWN: (11) DEAN AMBROSE

RAW: (12) ROMAN REIGNS

ROUND 7

RAW: (13) SETH ROLLINS

SMACKDOWN: (14) CHRISTIAN

ROUND 8

SMACKDOWN: (15) THE MIZ

RAW: (16) ROB VAN DAM

ROUND 9

RAW: (17) KANE

SMACKDOWN: (18) DAMIEN SANDOW

ROUND 10

SMACKDOWN: (19) REY MYSTERIO

RAW: (20) CURTIS AXEL

 

That would conclude the televised portion of the draft. I think the guys drafted are currently the top twenty male stars of WWE based on their pushes. The exception of course would be Mysterio. The guy hasn’t wrestled in about ten years but if he’s even close to return it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have his name mentioned on TV and placing him on SmackDown is for the nest as that’s where he’s had his most success in WWE.

The first two picks are self explanatory. I wanted to split Punk and Cena up because Punk can be the top guy on SmackDown. No one will ever surpass Cena and Punk deserves to have a brand revolve around him.

You could split The Shield up at this point. Ambrose seems more ready to be a singles star and being on SmackDown with guys like Ziggler and Christian would help him do that. It would be a cool point in the show to have Ambrose get drafted and then Maddox uses his next two picks to take Rollins and Reigns because he wants to outdo Vickie and have Shield guys on RAW.

The key to this type of fantasy draft is to balance out the top guys on each roster. Guys like Ryback and Del Rio had to be picked higher than they probably should because they are the two top heels in WWE despite not being on the level of guys like Cena, Orton, Bryan and Punk. A glaring problem is there’s too many babyfaces in the top 20 so some guys are going to have to turn after the draft. Also, if you’re wondering why no Divas were picked it’s pretty simple, no one cares. Why waste TV time on something like that? And that’s not to disrespect any of the ladies of WWE. It’s just a fact.

Ok, so this is where the rest of the draft switches to the WWE app. Scott Stanford and Renee Young can host it and announce the picks. Vickie and Brad Maddox don’t even have to appear on the app. The picks can be called in to Scott and Renee and they announce them as they’re given to them through a headset. Or since WWE loves Twitter have Vickie and Brad’s Twitter post the picks and have Renee and Scott follow Twitter and talk about the picks on the app. That’s the best of both worlds of the two things WWE shoves down our throats. So, here is the conclusion of the draft.

ROUND 11

RAW: (21) BIG E LANGSTON

SMACKDOWN: (22) JACK SWAGGER

ROUND 12

SMACKDOWN: (23) ANTONIO CESARO

RAW: (24) WADE BARRETT

ROUND 13

RAW: (25) AJ LEE

SMACKDOWN: (26) FANDANGO

ROUND 14

SMACKDOWN: (27) CODY RHODES

RAW: (28) JIMMY USO

ROUND 15

RAW: (29) JEY USO

SMACKDOWN: (30) KOFI KINGSTON

ROUND 16

SMACKDOWN: (31) SUMMER RAE

RAW: (32) NIKKI BELLA

ROUND 17

RAW: (33) BRIE BELLA

SMACKDOWN: (34) SIN CARA

ROUND 18

SMACKDOWN: (35) TYSON KIDD

RAW: (36) KAITLYN

ROUND 19

RAW: (37) BRAY WYATT

SMACKDOWN: (38) JUSTIN GABRIEL

ROUND 20

SMACKDOWN: (39) NATALYA

RAW: (40) LUKE HARPER

ROUND 21

RAW: (41) ERICK ROWAN

SMACKDOWN: (42) TITUS O’NEIL

ROUND 22

SMACKDOWN: (43) DARREN YOUNG

RAW: (44) R-TRUTH

ROUND 23

RAW: (45) ZACK RYDER

SMACKDOWN: (46) BO DALLAS

ROUND 24

SMACKDOWN: (47) SANTINO MARELLA

RAW: (48) THE GREAT KHALI

ROUND 25

RAW: (49) DAVID OTUNGA

SMACKDOWN: (50) BRODUS CLAY

ROUND 26

SMACKDOWN: (51) TENSAI

RAW: (52) DREW McINTYRE

ROUND 27

RAW: (53) HEATH SLATER

SMACKDOWN: (54) NAOMI

ROUND 28

SMACKDOWN: (55) CAMERON

RAW: (56) LAYLA

ROUND 29

RAW: (57) EZEKIEL JACKSON

SMACKDOWN: (58) EVAN BOURNE

ROUND 30

SMACKDOWN: (59) ALICIA FOX

RAW: (60) TAMINA SNUKA

ROUND 31

RAW: (61) WILLIAM REGAL

SMACKDOWN: (62) PRIMO

ROUND 32

SMACKDOWN: (63) EPICO

RAW: (64) JINDER MAHAL

ROUND 33

RAW: (65) ALEX RILEY

SMACKDOWN: (66) ROSA MENDES

ROUND 34

SMACKDOWN: (67) AKSANA

RAW: (68) TED DiBIASE

ROUND 35

RAW: (69) JTG

SMACKDOWN: (70) YOSHI TATSU

ROUND 36

SMACKDOWN: (71) HUNICO

RAW: (72) CURT HAWKINS

 

Let’s wrap this up in a nice neat little bow. Here in the RAW roster in the order they were drafted.

JOHN CENA

DANIEL BRYAN

RYBACK

RANDY ORTON

THE BIG SHOW

ROMAN REIGNS

SETH ROLLINS

ROB VAN DAM

KANE

CURTIS AXEL

BIG E LANGSTON

WADE BARRETT

AJ LEE

JIMMY USO

JEY USO

NIKKI BELLA

BRIE BELLA

KAITLYN

BRAY WYATT

LUKE HARPER

ERICK ROWAN

R-TRUTH

ZACK RYDER

THE GREAT KHALI

DAVID OTUNGA

DREW McINTYRE

HEATH SLATER

LAYLA

EZEKIEL JACKSON

TAMINA SUNKA

WILLIAM REGAL

JINDER MAHAL

ALEX RILEY

TED DiBIASE

JTG

CURT HAWKINS

Now, here is the SmackDown roster.

CM PUNK

ALBERTO DEL RIO

SHEAMUS

DOLPH ZIGGLER

MARK HENRY

DEAN AMBROSE

CHRISTIAN

THE MIZ

DAMIEN SANDOW

REY MYSTERIO

JACK SWAGGER

ANTONIO CESARO

FANDANGO

CODY RHODES

KOFI KINGSTON

SUMMER RAE

SIN CARA

TYSON KIDD

JUSTIN GABRIEL

NATALYA

TITUS O’NEIL

DARREN YOUNG

BO DALLAS

SANTINO MARELLA

BRODUS CLAY

TENSAI

NAOMI

CAMERON

EVAN BOURNE

ALICIA FOX

PRIMO

EPICO

ROSA MENDES

AKSANA

YOSHI TATSU

HUNICO

 

I think if you take a look at the rosters, they are pretty balanced. SmackDown may have a bit of a deeper roster but RAW has Cena so RAW wins. There’s no point in debating that. Cena is the golden goose and he’s going to be on RAW. I have no problem with that and that’s why I drafted the rosters as such.

The thing I like about the way this draft worked is with a brand having two picks in a row it allowed tag teams to stay together. It’s a creative way for a team to stay together without their partner “randomly” being picked by the same brand a few rounds later.

SmackDown will be more of a “wrestling show” and RAW more of the “entertainment show”. Which is how it should be and that’s what I had an eye on when making up the rosters. Even though both shows would be under the WWE umbrella there needs to be something different about them so the shows don’t bleed into one another like they do now.

You should also push trades and free agent signings after this draft. It’s an easy way to shake things up and keeps the fans interested in a new character. Let’s say Corey Graves gets called up. Having Maddox and Vickie in a bidding war over him instantly makes him a big deal.

Of course, there is a reason there is the word “fantasy” attached to this title. It’s because it’ll never happen. Like me marrying Jennifer Lawrence. Not Hunger Games Jennifer Lawrence but Silver Linings Playbook Jennifer Lawrence. It’s just a fantasy. I’m sure WWE has their reasons why they did away with the brand extension. I’m sure to them they make sense. To me they don’t. I think this column more than adequately pointed out how it could work and how the rosters should look to make it work.

To me, this was a fun write. Sometimes I think we have to write about what we want to see and try and have some fun with this business we love and not sit there and critique and analyze every little thing in wrestling.

That’s going to wrap things up from me. Tell me what you thought about my draft or if you even like the idea of the brand extension. Feedback is always welcomed. Have a good week peeps.

 

 

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Embedded below is the episode of RAW in which the initial Draft and Brand Extension took place. It was a fun show.