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The best & worst picks from every WWE Draft

Published at :April 25, 2024 at 6:07 PM
Modified at :April 25, 2024 at 6:07 PM
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(Courtesy : WWE)

Darshanbir Singh


The Superstar Shake-up sets up the future storylines and rivalries for all brands involved

The WWE Draft is a pivotal event in the world of professional wrestling, reshaping rosters and setting the stage for new rivalries, alliances, and championship pursuits. Since its inception in 2002, the WWE Draft has been both a source of excitement and controversy, with each year bringing unexpected shifts in superstar placements.

In this article, we delve into the annals of WWE history to evaluate the best and worst picks from every WWE Draft since its inception. From iconic transfers that propelled superstars to main event status to disappointing moves that failed to capitalize on potential, we examine the moments that defined each draft year.

Let’s have a look at the best and the worst pick from Smackdown since 2002.

2002

The Rock’s shift to SmackDown set a high standard for future drafts. His star power and subsequent success elevated SmackDown’s status. However, the worst one was also from Smackdown where Chris Benoit’s move to SmackDown was marred by injury, preventing him from making an impact on his new brand.

2004

Edge’s transition to Raw proved to be a pivotal moment in his career, elevating him to main event status. His success on Raw, winning multiple championships, solidified his position as a top-tier talent. Conversely, Paul Heyman’s move to Raw ended in a swift departure, lacking any meaningful storyline or impact.

Also Read: Top 10 best WWE Draft picks in history

2005

John Cena’s move to Raw marked a significant shift in WWE’s landscape, solidifying his position as the face of the company. His subsequent reign as WWE Champion on Raw further cemented his status as a top star.

However, Muhammad Hassan’s transfer to SmackDown was cut short due to controversial storylines, hindering his potential.

2007

William Regal’s move to SmackDown revitalized his career, leading to a memorable reign as General Manager. His transformation into a sadistic tyrant garnered significant attention and established him as a dominant force on the blue brand.

Conversely, Chris Masters’ switch to SmackDown was marred by injuries and failed to capitalize on his potential, resulting in limited success.

2008

CM Punk’s switch to Raw brought him championship success and solidified his position as a top talent. His reigns as World Heavyweight and Intercontinental Champion on Raw showcased his versatility and in-ring prowess. However, Jim Ross’ move to SmackDown lacked foresight and resulted in an unceremonious exit, disappointing fans and diminishing his legacy.

2009

CM Punk’s return to SmackDown saw him embrace a villainous persona, leading to memorable feuds and championship reigns. His character evolution and outspoken nature endeared him to audiences, solidifying his status as a top heel.

On the other hand, Candice Michelle’s transfer to SmackDown ended abruptly with her release from the company, squandering her potential and leaving fans disappointed.

Also Read: Top 10 worst WWE draft picks in history

2011

Mark Henry’s move to SmackDown rejuvenated his career, culminating in a dominant World Heavyweight Championship reign. His transformation into the “Hall of Pain” era showcased his versatility and established him as a credible main event threat. However, John Cena’s brief stint on SmackDown lacked significant storyline development, resulting in a missed opportunity to elevate the blue brand.

2016

Finn Bálor’s debut on Raw immediately established him as a top star, capturing the Universal Championship in his first pay-per-view appearance. His impressive in-ring skills and charismatic persona endeared him to fans, solidifying his status as a future main event player.

Conversely, Alberto Del Rio’s move to SmackDown failed to reignite his career, resulting in limited success and missed opportunities.

2017

Jinder Mahal’s transfer to SmackDown marked a surprising rise from mid-card obscurity to WWE Champion, showcasing his transformation into a top-tier talent. His reign as WWE Champion elevated his status and established him as a credible main event competitor. However, David Otunga’s move to Raw was overshadowed by his absence from television, resulting in a lack of impact and relevance.

2018

Drew McIntyre’s return to Raw kickstarted a successful singles run, culminating in a WWE Championship victory. His dominant presence and hard-hitting style solidified his status as a top-tier talent.

However, Eric Young’s move to SmackDown failed to capitalize on his potential and resulted in limited opportunities, leaving fans disappointed with his lack of significant storylines.

2019

Randy Orton’s transfer to Raw led to renewed rivalries and championship success, showcasing his versatility and enduring popularity. His reign as WWE Champion solidified his status as a top-tier talent on the red brand.

Conversely, Erick Rowan’s move failed to capitalize on his momentum, resulting in a lackluster run on Raw and missed opportunities for the powerhouse wrestler.

2020

Big E’s move to SmackDown launched a successful solo career, culminating in an Intercontinental Championship reign and Money in the Bank victory. His charisma and in-ring ability endeared him to fans, solidifying his status as a future main event player. However, Arturo Ruas’ transfer to Raw was uneventful and failed to establish him as a significant presence on the brand, resulting in limited opportunities and relevance.

2021

Seth Rollins‘ switch to Raw rejuvenated his character and storylines, leading to memorable feuds and championship opportunities. His transformation into “The Visionary” showcased his versatility and established him as a top-tier talent on the red brand.

Conversely, Hit Row’s transfer to SmackDown ended abruptly with their release from the company, squandering their potential and leaving fans disappointed.

Also Read: List of all WWE Drafts & brands involved

WWE Draft 2023

In the absence of Roman Reigns, Raw had been desperately lacking a strong top heel for some time. However, the red brand’s new acquisition, Gunther, perfectly filled that void. The former Intercontinental champion had been on an absolute tear since arriving on the main roster just over a year ago. He had put together an all-time title run with a plethora of outstanding defenses, drastically raising the profile of the prestigious prize in the process.

Karrion Kross’ return to WWE’s main roster or Smackdown to be precise had left much to be desired, marking a disappointing chapter in his career thus far. Despite surpassing his brief stint in 2021, the Herald of Doomsday has struggled to find his footing in the Smackdown, let’s see what is planned for him this year with AOP.

While this is just how every other draft looked like, it will be important to see how WWE plans this year’s draft that starts on Smackdown on 26th April 2024.

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