WWE fans around the world are buzzing this week about the return of the WWE Draft.
To capitalise on the excitement, NZPWI’s David Dunn and Steve McCleary went head-to-head in a fantasy draft in their attempt to build the best brand possible.
Every member of the WWE roster—including WWE NXT—was deemed eligible for the NZPWI Fantasy Draft. As in the actual WWE Draft, tag teams or stables count as one pick unless a Commissioner/General Manager only wants one member of a team.
Steve’s picks (representing WWE Raw) are listed in red, while David’s picks (representing WWE SmackDown) are listed in blue.
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1. WWE Champion Dean Ambrose
It’s impossible to look past one of the more unique Superstars in recent memory. The only thing predictable about Dean Ambrose is that he’s unpredictable. He’ll fight until the last breath in his body and maybe not stop even then. That equals entertainment.
1. John Cena
If you can’t have the WWE Champion, you’d better make sure you’ve got the face that runs the place. John Cena is still one of the best in-ring performers in WWE today, and he’s a box office attraction unlike anyone else on the roster.
2. Seth Rollins
The yin to Ambrose’s yang, Seth is potentially the top talent in the world today. Phenomenally talented at every aspect of the game, no draft should be without him. He’s a perfect headliner.
2. AJ Styles
Phenomenally talented, you say? Look no further than AJ Styles. There’s a reason Styles has been one of the top guys in every promotion he’s been in, and now I’ve secured him to do the same on my brand.
3. Shinsuke Nakamura (NXT)
A once in a lifetime talent, Nakamura can be a total game-changer. A perpetual charisma machine, he’ll captivate fans while kicking the heads off his opponents.
3. Roman Reigns
He’s not a good guy and he’s not a bad guy, but he’s the guy. Whether you love him or you hate him, no one is indifferent when it comes to Roman Reigns – and the guy can turn it on in the ring.
Cesaro can do it all inside the ring. And if you’re building a roster of talents who you know can handle whatever’s thrown at them, you need Cesaro to be part of it. And as someone who can speak five languages, he’ll be the perfect ambassador for your brand.
4. WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte
With Steve drafting the WWE Champion, I’ll take Charlotte and her women’s title. No one was more synonymous with the Divas Revolution. It’s that level of consistency that makes Charlotte the perfect person to build a division around.
5. Bayley (NXT)
If there’s one talent who’s ready to be a hero to millions of youngsters, it’s Bayley. Buckets of heart and the talent to boot, Bayley is essential in any revolution of women’s wrestling.
5. Randy Orton
Orton’s coming back after a long absence and he’s going to be red-hot heading into SummerSlam. Furthermore, he’s got name-value almost second to none on the WWE roster, which makes him a marquee attraction.
6. Kevin Owens
The prizefighter is an easy pick. Again, if you want a roster where you can mix and match opponents to your heart’s content and have the match quality be off the charts, you do two things – you draft all of the people I have above, then you add Kevin Owens.
6. Chris Jericho
Jericho is a rare talent capable of filling any role in any position on the card. You need someone to get the crowd going in a high-energy opening match? You need someone to talk a crowd into the building to see him get destroyed in the main event? No matter the job, Chris Jericho is the man for it.
7. American Alpha (NXT)
If you want a tag team division, you start with this team. The potential these two talents have is insane. They have everything they need to be top tag team competitors before eventually moving on to excellent singles careers.
7. Intercontinental Champion The Miz w/ Maryse
The Miz is one of the best heels in the business today, and surprisingly underrated in the ring. Bringing the Intercontinental Championship and his lovely wife, Maryse, with him is a nice bonus too.
8. Brock Lesnar
Sure, maybe he’ll only be around a few times a year. And maybe he has a few issues right now. But when Brock Lesnar is on the marquee, people pay attention. A true anomaly, he stands out as a main event attraction anywhere.
8. Sami Zayn
The underdog from the underground, Sami Zayn is a man of the people. And it’s that connection he has with the people that makes him so valuable to any brand.
9. Luke Harper
This may look like an odd pick, but when you’re crafting a roster you need a wide variety of talent. Harper has never been allowed to show all that he’s capable of in that ring. He’s one of the most agile big men in the sport today, along with one of the creepiest. His unique style fills out a strong main roster.
9. Sasha Banks
If Charlotte is the present in the WWE women’s division, Sasha Banks is the future. With unrivalled charisma and some serious skill in the ring to back it up, Banks is poised to become one of WWE’s biggest stars.
10. Becky Lynch
From her puns, to her submission skills, to her endless enthusiasm – Becky should be the lynchpin for any women’s division going forward. She can do it all and deserves the chance to show it.
10. Finn Balor (NXT)
Finn Balor has been the most anticipated NXT call-up of the year, with people clamouring to see him join the main roster for the past several months. He’s headlined events with promotions all over the world, and it’s finally time for him to step onto the WWE main stage.
David and Steve also made 10 supplementary picks in the NZPWI Fantasy Draft to fill out their respective rosters.
11. Asuka (NXT)
One of the best talents in the world, irrespective of gender.
He’s just so fun to watch in the ring, and should have several years left in him yet.
12. Samoa Joe (NXT)
When you think tough, you think the NXT Champion.
12. WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day
Who doesn’t love The New Day? And I’m getting three for the price of one!
13. The Lucha Dragons
Lucha libre needs representation and both of these talents need more time to shine.
13. Dolph Ziggler
Similar to Chris Jericho, Ziggler can play any role in any position on the roster.
14. Tye Dillinger (NXT)
The Perfect 10 has all the tools to be a breakout star sooner rather than later.
14. Bray Wyatt
I’ve always preferred Wyatt on his own – let’s see what he can do without Rowan and Strowman.
15. Enzo Amore & Big Cass
Endless charisma teamed with pure strength, they’re an easy pick.
One of the hardest workers on the entire roster, it’d be a shameful thing not to pick The Celtic Warrior.
16. Austin Aries (NXT)
The Greatest Man That Ever Lived may be hyperbole… or maybe it isn’t.
16. Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows
They were the hottest free agents in the world earlier this year, and must-haves for the WWE Draft.
17. Hideo Itami (NXT)
Derailed by injury, Itami has the chance now to show everybody here what Japanese wrestling fans have known for a long time.
17. United States Champion Rusev w/ Lana
The Bulgarian Brute and The Ravishing Russian have got international appeal.
England’s finest, Paige is always ready to show opponents why the ring is her house.
18. Apollo Crews
Super likeable and super athletic, there’s no downside to Apollo Crews.
They’re super good looking.
19. The Dudley Boyz
They’re the greatest tag team of the modern era, and they’ve still got plenty of potential as singles competitors too.
20. Alexa Bliss (NXT)
Getting better every week, the twisted Bliss has everything needed to be a major player.
20. The Undertaker
He might only wrestle one match each year, but it’s going to be on my brand.
Which roster do you like best? Let us know in the comments!