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This Day in Wrestling History (July 19): Smackdown Goes Live with the 2016 WWE Draft

Today’s TDIPWH is presented in two parts. The first part focused on the events of the day, including TNA’s worst match and show of 2009 and the surprise return of the Undertaker. This part will focus on the 2016 WWE Draft.

1 year ago today, WWE presented the 2016 WWE Draft on the premiere episode of Smackdown Live from the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Unlike the previous drafts, talent distribution was not even. RAW would get 60% of the roster to Smackdown’s 40%. Each round was divided into five draft picks, with RAW and Smackdown alternating picks (RAW would get three picks, while Smackdown got two).

All members of the roster were eligible to be drafted, including all non-champions in NXT; however, only six NXT picks were available between the two shows. Tag teams counted as one pick, unless the commissioner or general manager explicitly stated that only one member of the team is being picked.

Six rounds were conducted during the show, with the rest of the roster being drafted on WWE Draft Center Live following Smackdown. Beginning with the eighth round, RAW and Smackdown alternated picks for the remainder of the draft.

Some members of the roster were not drafted due to inactivity or injury.

  • Ryback was in a contract dispute with WWE. He would be released on August 8.
  • Nikki Bella was out with a neck injury at the time of the draft. She would return at Summerslam and would join the Smackdown roster.
  • Though Triple H competed in the main event of Wrestlemania 32, he is considered semi-active.
  • Heath Slater was the only eligible performer to not be drafted. He would eventually join the Smackdown roster when he won the WWE Tag Team Championship (Smackdown subdivision) with Rhyno at Backlash.
  • Luke Harper was out with a knee injury at the time of the draft. He returned at No Mercy and helped Bray Wyatt defeat Randy Orton. Harper would join the Smackdown roster.
  • Rosa Mendes was on maternity leave. She retired from wrestling in February 2017.
  • Emma was out with a back injury. She returned on RAW in February 2017 as Emmalina, but was quickly taken off TV again when the gimmick bombed. She returned again as Emma in April.
  • The Undertaker was considered semi-active. He returned to Smackdown on the show’s 900th episode in November 2016, then declared himself unaffiliated in January 2017 on RAW. The Undertaker would retire following a loss to Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania 33.
  • Tamina was out with a knee injury at the time of the draft. She returned in April 2017 as part of the Superstar Shakeup (essentially, the 2017 Draft).
  • Tyson Kidd had been out with a spinal injury since June 2015. His in-ring career is likely over as he is reportedly transitioning to a producer role.
  • The Rock is considered semi-active, though he had not had a match since his record-breaking six-second win over Erick Rowan at Wrestlemania 32.

2017 WWE Draft (Live)

Round Overall Pick # Brand Superstar Notes
Round Overall Pick # Brand Superstar Notes
1 1 RAW Seth Rollins
1 2 Smackdown Dean Ambrose WWE Champion
1 3 RAW Charlotte WWE Women's Champion
1 4 Smackdown AJ Styles
1 5 RAW Finn Balor Drafted from NXT
2 6 RAW Roman Reigns
2 7 Smackdown John Cena
2 8 RAW Brock Lesnar
2 9 Smackdown Randy Orton
2 10 RAW The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods) WWE Tag Team Champions
3 11 RAW Sami Zayn
3 12 Smackdown Bray Wyatt
3 13 RAW Sasha Banks
3 14 Smackdown Becky Lynch
3 15 RAW Chris Jericho
4 16 RAW Rusev and Lana WWE United States Champion
4 17 Smackdown The Miz and Maryse WWE Intercontinental Champion
4 18 RAW Kevin Owens
4 19 Smackdown Baron Corbin
4 20 RAW Enzo Amore & Big Cass
5 21 RAW Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
5 22 Smackdown American Alpha (Jason Jordan & Chad Gable) Drafted from NXT
5 23 RAW Big Show
5 24 Smackdown Dolph Ziggler
5 25 RAW Nia Jax Drafted from NXT
6 26 RAW Neville
6 27 Smackdown Natalya
6 28 RAW Cesaro
6 29 Smackdown Alberto Del Rio
6 30 RAW Sheamus
7 31 RAW Golden Truth (Goldust & R-Truth)
7 32 Smackdown The Usos (Jimmy & Jey)
7 33 RAW Titus O'Neill
7 34 Smackdown Kane
7 35 RAW Paige
8 36 RAW Darren Young and Bob Backlund
8 37 Smackdown Kalisto
8 38 RAW Sin Cara
8 39 Smackdown Naomi
8 40 RAW Jack Swagger
8 41 Smackdown The Ascension (Konnor & Victor)
9 42 RAW The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von)
9 43 Smackdown Zack Ryder
9 44 RAW Summer Rae
9 45 Smackdown Apollo Crews
9 46 RAW Mark Henry
9 47 Smackdown Alexa Bliss Drafted from NXT
10 48 RAW Braun Strowman
10 49 Smackdown Breezango (Tyler Breeze & Fandango)
10 50 RAW Bo Dallas
10 51 Smackdown Eva Marie
10 52 RAW The Shining Stars (Epico & Primo)
10 53 Smackdown The Vaudevillains (Aiden English & Simon Gotch)
11 54 RAW Alicia Fox
11 55 Smackdown Erick Rowan
11 56 RAW Dana Brooke
11 57 Smackdown Mojo Rawley Drafted from NXT
11 58 RAW Curtis Axel
11 59 Smackdown Carmella Drafted from NXT

Oh, there was wrestling on the show too.

  • John Cena defeated Luke Gallows.
  • Zack Ryder and Darren Young defeated Rusev and The Miz via submission.
  • Kevin Owens and Kane fought to a no contest.
  • Bray Wyatt defeated Xavier Woods.
  • Charlotte and Dana Brooke defeated Sasha Banks in a handicap match.
  • Chris Jericho defeated Cesaro.
  • Dean Ambrose defeated Seth Rollins to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

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