Hindsight makes everything easier. In the case of last years brand split and WWE Draft, retrospect makes all the difference. A year on from the draft I will be looking at the five picks that disappointed the most and the five sleeper picks that did much better than their place in the draft predicted.
Best And Worst Picks of the 2016 WWE Draft
To get the worst out of the way first I will start with the five worst picks
#5: Finn Balor
This pick is number five because it is admittedly harsh. At SummerSlam, WWE looked like they had made a new superstar with Balor becoming the first ever Universal Champion. He beat Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins clean. Unfortunately Balor got injured during the Rollins match and didn’t compete again for nearly nine months until the night after Wrestlemania. Since coming back Balor has been booked as just another guy. He has been treated nothing like the potential main-eventer he was at SummerSlam. For that reason his stock has dropped.
#4 Big Show
The Big Show was a top 15 pick for Raw and went inside the top 25 overall. His placement was much higher than it should have been for a guy that appeared very scarcely after the draft. He did not make a TV appearance on Raw until December. His high draft position was unwarranted for a wrestler that they had no plans for. His spot could have gone to help another midcarder or NXT debutant get a TV push.
#3 American Alpha ( Chad Gable & Jason Jordan)
SmackdownLive took the NXT duo as their NINTH pick of the draft. This duo was picked ahead of Cesaro, Neville and many more acts that had much better years than these two. With AA the problem was that they had to take a back seat to Heath Slater’s quest for a contract. This hurt this team in the long run as by the time they won the SDL tag titles it was meaningless. Their short reign didn’t help matters. Hopefully they have better singles career than they did a tag career as they were easily one of the most disappointing picks of the entire draft.
#2 Dean Ambrose
SDL picked Ambrose as their number one pick. At the time he was the WWE champion and was second overall in the draft. Ambrose was hot, having cashed in the Money In The Bank contract to take the title off of rival Seth Rollins. He defended it at BattleGround in the much anticipated Shield triple threat. A year later and Ambrose is met with much apathy from the WWE Universe. He has been relegated back to quirky face Ambrose in a seemingly never ending feud with The Miz after losing the WWE Title to AJ Styles.
#1 Seth Rollins
The NUMBER ONE PICK of the WWE draft. This man was picked before John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns and a whole wealth of talent that have been much better than him in the past year. Being picked number one usually means that you are the cornerstone of the entire company. Rollins should be the featured performer of the brand. Instead, Rollins has been none of these things.
Coming into the draft Seth Rollins was white hot after returning from a knee injury that put him on the shelf for roughly seven months. The injury ended his entertaining run as the top heel in WWE. In his absence the WWE Universe realised just how talented Rollins had been and couldn’t wait for him to come back. He was a returning hero that the fans were ready to forgive for his heinous acts and annoint him as the biggest babyface in WWE. The WWE had different plans and Rollins returned as a heel, before a half cooked face turn saw him crawl along the road to Wrestlemania. He and Triple H put most of the people watching to sleep. Rollins hasn’t been able to regain momentum ever since and is currently far away from the title scene.
Best of the WWE Draft
With that out of the way its time to look at the best picks made last year who looking back unbelievably went quite late.
#5 The Miz
The Miz was the Seventh pick for SDL and was top 20 overall. He went on to carry SDL and became one of the most entertaining parts of the Main Roster in a long time. His awesome mixed tag feud with John Cena and Nicki Bella was nothing short of Sports Entertainment at its finest. He also brought relevance back to the Intercontinental Championship. Based on the year he had, Miz was a top 5 pick without a doubt.
The VERY LAST PICK of the draft went after a whole host of names that are either released or undercard fodder. Yet one year later Carmella is set to break out as the number one heel of the SDL women’s division. She is the first ever Ms. Money In The Bank.
#3 Chris Jericho
Jericho was a top 15 overall pick. He was Raw’s ninth pick of the draft. This was a high draft position and one befitting Jericho’s status as a legend in WWE, but with hingsight this man should easily have gone in the top 3. Before the end of the year Jericho and his list were making Kevin Owens’ terrible Universal title run one of the most entertaining acts in the company. His match quality was consistent. The fact that he managed to once again get over with the List Of Jericho, as well as the breakup angle with Owens is enough to show that Jericho deserved to go much higher than he did.
#2 Alexa Bliss
The first ever woman to hold both the Raw and Smackdown women’s titles. Alexa Bliss has been one of the best women’s champions in recent history. When she was drafted her pick was announced on the WWE Network only. She was just barely in the top 50. She was chosen after fellow (less talented) women superstars Alicia Fox, Dana Brooke, and Summer Rae. Bliss has blown all other women out of the water, after winning the SDL championship. Her promos and feuds were much better than the anything the Women were doing on Raw. Bliss is now one of the clear leaders of the Womens revolution and one of the divisions most recognizable stars.
#1 Braun Strowman
THIS BEAST OF A HUMAN WAS THE 48TH PICK. 48. Let it sink in that this monster was chosen after Summer Rae, Alberto Del Rio, Mark Henry, Darren Young, Sin Cara and Kane. Like Bliss, Strowman was only drafted on the network to little fanfare. He has become a sure fire main eventer and is a potential breakout star for WWE if handled properly. His matches are some of the highlights of Pay Per Views. He is truly must watch. If WWE were to redraft its rosters there is no doubt that Strowman would not go nearly as low again.
What a difference a year makes as there were many more picks that I could have gone with here. If I wanted could have gone to 10 of each easily. That is the beauty of getting to look back on something as unpredictable as WWE, where things change all the time.