2016 WWE Draft

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

2016 WWE draft
The 2016 WWE Draft logo.
General information
SportProfessional wrestling
Date(s)July 19, 2016
LocationWorcester, Massachusetts
NXT (outgoing only)
← 2011
2017 →

The 2016 WWE draft was a professional wrestling event and the tenth WWE draft, the first since 2011, produced by the American professional wrestling promotion WWE between the Raw and SmackDown brands. It took place on July 19 during the live premiere of SmackDown on the USA Network in the United States broadcasting from the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts.


In 2002, following the acquisition of the remains of World Championship Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling, the then-World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) introduced the brand split, dividing its roster among two brands, Raw and SmackDown, represented by the shows of the same name.[1] The brand split would continue until 2011, with a draft held every year (except 2003) to refresh the brands' rosters. In August 2011, the brand split ended, allowing all WWE wrestlers to appear on both shows.[2]

In mid-2016, with a larger roster of wrestlers, in part thanks to WWE's developmental brand NXT, WWE decided to reintroduce the brand split with a draft to be held on the July 19 episode of SmackDown – the show's debut broadcast on the USA Network, as well as its renaming to SmackDown Live (with the show now broadcasting live as it was previously aired on tape delay). On the July 11 episode of Monday Night Raw, WWE Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Vince McMahon appointed Shane McMahon as the commissioner of SmackDown and Stephanie McMahon as the commissioner of Raw.[3] The following week, the commissioners introduced Mick Foley and Daniel Bryan as the general managers of Raw and SmackDown, respectively.[4]

The rules of the draft were posted to WWE's website on July 17.[5][6] They were the following:

  • Raw received the first overall draft pick.
  • For every two draft picks for SmackDown, Raw received three picks (due to Raw being a three-hour show, while SmackDown is two hours).
  • Tag teams counted as one pick unless a commissioner/general manager specifically only wanted a single member from the team as their pick.
  • Six draft picks had to be made from the NXT roster; title holders could not be picked.


In addition to the televised draft, the live episode of SmackDown also featured several matches.

1John Cena defeated Luke GallowsSingles match5:25
2Darren Young and Zack Ryder defeated The Miz and Rusev by submissionTag team match4:05
3Bray Wyatt defeated Xavier WoodsSingles match4:45
4Dana Brooke and Charlotte defeated Sasha Banks2-on-1 handicap match2:18
5Chris Jericho defeated CesaroSingles match4:52
6Dean Ambrose (c) defeated Seth RollinsSingles match for the WWE Championship12:17
(c) – the champion(s) heading into the match


SmackDown Live[edit]

The following is the list of wrestlers who were drafted on SmackDown Live.[9]

Rnd. Pick # Brand Brand pick # Employee
(Real name)
1 1 Raw 1 Seth Rollins
(Colby Lopez)
1 2 SmackDown 1 Dean Ambrose
(Jonathan Good)
WWE Champion
1 3 Raw 2 Charlotte
(Ashley Fliehr)
WWE Women's Champion
1 4 SmackDown 2 AJ Styles
(Allen Jones)
1 5 Raw 3 Finn Bálor
(Fergal Devitt)
Drafted from NXT
2 6 Raw 4 Roman Reigns
(Leati Anoa'i)
2 7 SmackDown 3 John Cena
2 8 Raw 5 Brock Lesnar
2 9 SmackDown 4 Randy Orton
2 10 Raw 6 The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods)
(Ettore Ewen, Kofi Sarkodie-Mensah and Austin Watson)
WWE Tag Team Champions
3 11 Raw 7 Sami Zayn
(Rami Sebei)
3 12 SmackDown 5 Bray Wyatt
(Windham Rotunda)
3 13 Raw 8 Sasha Banks
(Mercedes Kaestner-Varnado)
3 14 SmackDown 6 Becky Lynch
(Rebecca Quin)
3 15 Raw 9 Chris Jericho
(Christopher Irvine)
4 16 Raw 10 Rusev with Lana
(Miroslav Barnyashev with Catherine Perry)
WWE United States Champion
4 17 SmackDown 7 The Miz with Maryse
(Michael Mizanin with Maryse Mizanin)
WWE Intercontinental Champion
4 18 Raw 11 Kevin Owens
(Kevin Steen)
4 19 SmackDown 8 Baron Corbin
(Thomas Pestock)
4 20 Raw 12 Enzo and Cass (Enzo Amore and Big Cass)
(Eric Arndt and William Morrissey)
5 21 Raw 13 Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
(Andrew Hankinson and Chad Allegra)
5 22 SmackDown 9 American Alpha (Jason Jordan and Chad Gable)
(Nathan Everhart and Charles Betts)
Drafted from NXT
5 23 Raw 14 Big Show
(Paul Wight II)
5 24 SmackDown 10 Dolph Ziggler
(Nicholas Nemeth)
5 25 Raw 15 Nia Jax
(Savelina Fanene)
Drafted from NXT
6 26 Raw 16 Neville
(Benjamin Satterley)
6 27 SmackDown 11 Natalya
(Natalie Neidhart)
6 28 Raw 17 Cesaro
(Claudio Castagnoli)
6 29 SmackDown 12 Alberto Del Rio
(José Rodriguez)
6 30 Raw 18 Sheamus
(Stephen Farrelly)

WWE Draft Center Live[edit]

The following is the list of wrestlers who were drafted on the WWE Draft Center Live special on the WWE Network.[9]

Rnd. Pick # Brand Brand pick # Employee
(Real name)
7 31 Raw 19 Golden Truth (Goldust and R-Truth)
(Dustin Runnels and Ronnie Killings)
7 32 SmackDown 13 The Usos (Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso)
(Jonathan Fatu and Joshua Fatu)
7 33 Raw 20 Titus O'Neil
(Thaddeus Bullard Sr.)
7 34 SmackDown 14 Kane
(Glenn Jacobs)
7 35 Raw 21 Paige
(Saraya-Jade Bevis)
8 36 Raw 22 Darren Young with Bob Backlund
(Frederick Rosser III with Robert Backlund)
8 37 SmackDown 15 Kalisto
(Emanuel Rodriguez)
8 38 Raw 23 Sin Cara
(Jorge Arias)
8 39 SmackDown 16 Naomi
(Trinity Fatu)
8 40 Raw 24 Jack Swagger
(Donald Hager Jr.)
8 41 SmackDown 17 The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor)
(Ryan Parmeter and Eric Thompson)
9 42 Raw 25 Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray Dudley and D-Von Dudley)
(Mark LoMonaco and Devon Hughes)
9 43 SmackDown 18 Zack Ryder
(Matthew Cardona)
9 44 Raw 26 Summer Rae
(Danielle Moinet)
9 45 SmackDown 19 Apollo Crews
(Sesugh Uhaa)
9 46 Raw 27 Mark Henry
9 47 SmackDown 20 Alexa Bliss
(Alexis Kaufman)
Drafted from NXT
10 48 Raw 28 Braun Strowman
(Adam Scherr)
10 49 SmackDown 21 Breezango (Tyler Breeze and Fandango)
(Mattias Clement and Curtis Hussey)
10 50 Raw 29 Bo Dallas
(Taylor Rotunda)
10 51 SmackDown 22 Eva Marie
(Natalie Coyle)
10 52 Raw 30 The Shining Stars (Primo and Epico)
(Edwin Colón and Orlando Colón)
10 53 SmackDown 23 Vaudevillains (Aiden English and Simon Gotch)
(Matthew Rehwoldt and Seth Lesser)
11 54 Raw 31 Alicia Fox
(Victoria Crawford)
11 55 SmackDown 24 Erick Rowan
(Joseph Rudd)
11 56 Raw 32 Dana Brooke
(Ashley Sebera)
11 57 SmackDown 25 Mojo Rawley
(Dean Muhtadi)
Drafted from NXT
11 58 Raw 33 Curtis Axel
(Joseph Hennig)
11 59 SmackDown 26 Carmella
(Leah Van Dale)
Drafted from NXT


Several wrestlers remained undrafted mainly due to injury or inactivity, some of which eventually were assigned to a brand. The chart is organized by date.[9]

(Real name)
Reason for not being drafted Subsequent status Date Notes
(Ryan Reeves)
Contract dispute Released August 8, 2016 Ryback was released from WWE due to a contract dispute.
Nikki Bella
(Stephanie Garcia-Colace)
Neck injury SmackDown August 21, 2016 Returned at SummerSlam, replacing the suspended Eva Marie, in a SmackDown match teaming with Natalya and Alexa Bliss to defeat Becky Lynch, Naomi, and Carmella.
Triple H
(Paul Levesque)
Semi-active Unaffilliated August 29, 2016 Returned on Raw and attacked Seth Rollins, and subsequently only appeared on Raw but never declared an affiliation to any brand.
Heath Slater
(Heath Miller III)
Only active wrestler not to be drafted SmackDown September 13, 2016 Earned a SmackDown contract after winning the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship tournament with Rhyno at Backlash.
Luke Harper
(Jon Huber)
Knee injury SmackDown October 9, 2016 Returned at No Mercy to help Bray Wyatt defeat Randy Orton.
Rosa Mendes
(Milena Roucka)
Maternity leave Retired February 13, 2017 Announced retirement on February 13, 2017.[10]
(Tenille Dashwood)
Back injury Raw February 13, 2017 Returned to the Raw brand as "Emmalina", then announced her makeover back to "Emma".
She was off television until April 3, 2017, where she returned as her evil-Emma character.
The Undertaker
(Mark Calaway)
Semi-active Unaffiliated January 9, 2017 Returned at SmackDown's 900th episode on November 15, 2016.
Subsequently, appeared on the January 9, 2017 episode of Raw, where he declared his unaffiliation to any brand.
(Sarona Snuka-Polamalu)
Knee injury SmackDown April 11, 2017 Returned as part of the Superstar Shake-up.
Tyson Kidd
(Theodore Wilson)
Neck injury Retired June 29, 2017 Suffered a life-threatening spinal injury on June 8, 2015.
On June 29, 2017, Kidd officially retired from in-ring competition and became a producer.
The Rock
(Dwayne Johnson)
Semi-active Retired August 2, 2019 Announced he had quietly retired on August 2, 2019.[11] Even after coming out of retirement and returning to WWE on a part-time basis on 2024, Rock did not affiliate with any brand.

Response and aftermath[edit]

Following the brand extension draft, former WWE wrestlers made their return to WWE and sided with either Raw or SmackDown. Within the next month, Jinder Mahal and Brian Kendrick returned on Raw, while Rhyno and Curt Hawkins joined SmackDown. Shelton Benjamin was announced to return on SmackDown, but his return was put on hiatus due to a torn rotator cuff, which required surgery.[12] In September, Raw draftee Jack Swagger moved to SmackDown. Various competitors from the Cruiserweight Classic also signed contracts with Raw due to being a part of the cruiserweight division. Former NXT Women's Champion Bayley joined Raw after her final match at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II.

On November 29, 2016, a new show called 205 Live premiered. The new show exclusively features WWE's cruiserweight division. The division was formerly exclusive to Monday Night Raw, but became shared between Raw and 205 Live until 205 Live became its own brand in 2018.[13][14]

As a result of the reintroduction of the brand extension, the July 19 Draft episode (and the first live episode) of SmackDown on Tuesdays gained a viewership by 2.2 rating with 3.17 million viewers (compare to Raw's rating with 3.04 million viewers on the previous night), and was SmackDown's highest rated episode since December 2010.[15][16][17]


  1. ^ Zimmerman, Christopher Robin (March 26, 2002). "WWE Draft 2002 Recap". Archived from the original on March 3, 2012. Retrieved February 23, 2008.
  2. ^ Nemer, Paul (August 30, 2011). "Raw Results – 8/29/11". Wrestleview. Retrieved November 5, 2016.
  3. ^ Caldwell, James. "7/11 WWE Raw Results – CALDWELL'S Complete Report". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  4. ^ Caldwell, James (July 18, 2016). "7/18 WWE Raw Results – CALDWELL'S Complete Live TV Report". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  5. ^ Pappolla, Ryan. "Draft rules revealed: Everything you need to know about the WWE Draft". WWE. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
  6. ^ Caldwell, James. "WWE Draft Details – Draft process, NXT call-ups, Brock & other part-timers, Ryback not included, Reigns's status, injured stars left off, Tag Teams". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
  7. ^ Powell, Jason (July 19, 2016). "7/19 Barnett's WWE Smackdown Live TV Review: The WWE Draft, Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE Championship, John Cena vs. Luke Gallows". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
  8. ^ Parks, Greg (July 19, 2016). "7/19 WWE Smackdown LIVE – Parks's Complete Coverage of WWE Draft". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
  9. ^ a b c "2016 WWE Draft results: WWE officially ushers in New Era". WWE. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
  10. ^ Pappolla, Ryan (February 13, 2017). "Rosa Mendes Announces Her Retirement". WWE.com. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  11. ^ Hoegler, Alex (August 2, 2019). "The Rock Announces His Retirement From Wrestling". Sportster. Retrieved August 2, 2019.
  12. ^ "Shelton Benjamin undergoing shoulder surgery, WWE return put on hold". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved August 7, 2016.
  13. ^ HHH discusses 205 Live...and more - 411 Mania.com
  14. ^ McMahon, Vince (November 30, 2016). "Vince McMahon on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved December 12, 2016.
  15. ^ WWE’s Live ‘SmackDown’ Debut Locks Up Show’s Top Rating Since 2010
  16. ^ WWE Draft Scores Highest WWE SmackDown Rating In Years, When Was The Last Time SmackDown Beat RAW?
  17. ^ WWE Raw ratings (July 18, 2016): Viewers down the night before the draft