WWE held the first part of a two-part draft on Friday Night Smackdown; an event hammered home by commentary and others as one that would forever "alter the landscape" of Raw and Smackdown, in case you were wondering what the corporate buzz phrase of the night was. The pools of superstars were divided in half so that all the good picks didn't happen tonight and left only lower midcarders for the second part of the draft on Raw on Monday. Here's what happened on night one of the draft:
WWE Draft Night 1 Round 1
- WWE Champion Drew McIntyre drafted to Raw.
- WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns drafted to Smackdown.
- Raw Women's Champion Asuka drafted to Raw.
- Seth Rollins drafted to Smackdown.
- Hurt Business drafted to Raw.
The top champions of both brands will stay where they are, assuming Bayley isn't getting drafted to Raw too (and wouldn't it be weird if Raw had two women's champions?). Rollins drafted to Smackdown, the only change in this round, is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, his feud with the Mysterio family has been going on for approximately eight billion skillion years, and this may be the only way to end it. On the other hand, it's ending right in the middle of an unresolved storyline!
WWE Draft Night 1 Round 2
- AJ Styles drafted to Raw.
- Sasha Banks drafted to Smackdown.
- Naomi drafted to Raw.
- Bianca Belair drafted to Smackdown.
- Women's Tag Team Champions Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler drafted to Raw.
Poor AJ Styles. He leaves Raw because he hates Paul Heyman. Then Heyman gets fired as creative director. Then Heyman gets hired as an on-air talent on Smackdown. And now Styles has to leave to go to Raw! There's no doubt most of Styles' best WWE moments have taken place on Smackdown, which is, after all, known as the house that AJ Styles built, but maybe he'll benefit from a shakeup. Of course, Raw is also the inferior show in terms of entertainment, so the more likely scenario is he gets lost in the tedious three-hour grind like pretty much everyone else. Bianca Belair has been getting a bunch of promos to build her up on Raw, so it's a little weird to see her drafted to Smackdown, but no doubt it will be to her benefit. Naomi was already lost in the shuffle on Smackdown, so we may never see her again now that she's been drafted to Raw.
WWE Draft Night 1 Round 3
- Ricochet drafted to Raw.
- Jey Uso drafted to Smackdown.
- Mandy Rose drafted to Raw.
- Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio drafted to Smackdown.
- Miz and Morrison are drafted to Raw.
Oh, thank goodness! The Mysterios vs. Seth Rollins feud can continue indefinitely! When all of us are dead and buried, this feud will still be going on. Other things of note here: Ricochet remains on Raw, because Hurt Business need someone to continue beating! Miz and Morrison have been kind of stinking it up on Smackdown, at least in my opinion, with Miz pretty much burning away all the goodwill he'd earned during the Daniel Bryan/Shane McMahon era of Smackdown. Maybe a change will do them good.
WWE Draft Night 1 Round 4
- Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods are drafted to Raw.
- Big E is drafted to Smackdown.
- Dana Brooke is drafted to Raw.
- Otis is drafted to Smackdown.
- Angel Garza is drafted to Raw.
Wow! This was the big one! Obviously, the breakup of the New Day is the big story here. These guys always said they never wanted to break up, and I guess technically, it's not like they did the typical turn on each other kind of breakup, but it's still a huge deal. This happened on the same night Kingston and Woods won both returned from injury and won the Smackdown Tag Team Championships, so clearly they're getting a push on Smackdown. Big E has been doing a single push angle while they were out, and I guess that will continue on Raw, but Raw is the kind of show where pretty much everyone gets lost in the shuffle. I'm worried about Big E here. The rest of the picks in this round represented no change.
So that was the first night of the WWE Draft. The New Day breakup was the big story of the night, but this was only night one. Announced at the end of Smackdown, there will be more picks from the night one pool on Talking Smack tomorrow morning, so we'll have some updates tomorrow. The second part of the draft will continue on Raw on Monday with a whole separate pool of people, and we can probably expect at least one big shocker to compete with this. For the rest of the events of WWE Smackdown, check back with Bleeding Cool tomorrow, as we'll have our full Smackdown report up in the morning.