Damien Barling: 2017 WWE Draft

Since its draft day in the NFL I thought now would be a perfect time for a WWE draft. Now this isn’t a Raw and Smackdown thing, this is taking the best wrestlers in the WWE and NXT and drafting the perfect roster for the most compelling television, matches, and pay per view events.

A couple of notes, 1) I think the brand split is awful. Instead of creating two compelling programs its created two less then stellar shows with a severe lack of depth. 2) I excluded John Cena and Brock Lesnar. Those guys are stars on an entirely different level then the rest of the roster. To be fair, I excluded all part timers (Triple H, The Undertaker, Chris Jericho). 3) I didn’t factor in age. I honestly don’t think it matters.

With the number one pick in the 2017 WWE Draft, Damien Barling selects…

1 AJ Styles
This was difficult. The only thing that separated AJ from the number 2 pick was the fact he’s already proved to be the absolute best in the company. AJ in 2016 will be talked about for a very long time. His promo skills are as flawless as his in ring ability.

2 Shinsuke Nakamura
I like that they’ve kept a certain amount of mystery to him. I don’t like they’re forcing him to talk. I really don’t like they’re forcing him to talk with his mouthpiece in. He doesn’t need to hold 20 minute promo segments. Keep everything except his matches short and to the point. He’s already a massive star whose body movements are more charismatic then anyone’s promo ability. He’s one of the best wrestlers in the entire world and if we don’t get him versus AJ Styles on a massive stage, the WWE has cheated us.

3 Finn Balor
We’ve only begun to see what the former Prince Devitt can do in the WWE. He’s a star now, he can be the face of the company one day. He’s that good. Sooner or later we’re going to see him as a heel and see how truly deep and charismatic this young man is. That Demon character is everything. I absolutely love that dimension to him. Extraordinary.

4 Seth Rollins
Really close call with Balor and Rollins and could flip flop them and be perfectly fine with it. While I think the company has messed up his current babyface run he can easily be won of the biggest fan favorites on the roster. On the flip side, he can be an extremely effect heel. He’s super versatile and can really do it all.

5 Bobby Rhode
Easy NXT call up. This guy is the 2017 Riu Flair. He walks the walk, talks the talk, he dresses the part, and he can go – in the ring and on the mic. I understand NXT is a touring brand and they need him on that roster but viewers of Raw and Smackdown are cheated every week Bobby Rhode isn’t on.

6 Samoa Joe
Badass!! That simple. They haven’t really done anything with him yet but that changes starting Sunday when he takes on Seth Rollins at Payback. Samoa Joe has that legitimate, “I can beat you down” feel. He has that MMA hybrid feel that Brock Lesnar poses.

7 Cesaro
He was so much better then were he’s positioned. The thing with Sheamus has shaken out pretty well. By the time he arrives to the Golden One Center (and the Wingstop Soundstage) on Monday he may very well be coming in with a tag team championship. Cesaro can be a singles star. Crowds love his freakish strength. He’s a good talker and a great wrestler. Cesaro needs to be in more meaningful matches.

8 Charlotte
She’s the best wrestler in the women’s division and she’s very easily hatable. It appears they’re gearing her up for a babyface run so it’ll be fun to see where that goes.

9 Kevin Owens
The ultimate bad guy. The crowd wants to cheer him so bad but he’s good enough to keep them from really getting behind him. Certain crowds, like Chicago or Philly, will love KO no matter what but he knows how to get sympathy for the guys he’s working with.

10 Roman Reigns
He’s a star. He may not be the star WWE has pushed him to be, but he has a presence, a look, and he has solid matches. Stop scripting his promos, let him run his character, he’ll climb this draft chart fast. He has everything. He’s not at fault for the crowd reactions he gets. He is The Guy!

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