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SmackDown Rundown: Draft Night One

Updated: May 5

Draft Night One Rules 

Mattered ****

Triple H Beard

When the Draft Night One started, it was announced that the champions would be unavailable for the draft and would be staying on their respective brands. I love that choice because now the draft will be interesting. If all the champions go first, it's predictable. If they don't go first, it makes no sense, so why not keep them out and make it interesting? I love what Triple is doing with the draft. 

Paul Heyman

Roman Reigns was withdrawn from the draft in a big twist to further create intrigue. The Wiseman announced that since he wouldn't be there, he decided to let the other stars shine, and then he said that's what a real Tribal Chief would do. Then he said, please read into my words Kayla. Is he talking about Solo or the Rock? Great start to the night with one comment. The Bloodline beef is moved forward, and the stage is set for a new, more exciting draft.

NXT Hopefuls 

Mattered ***

NXT Wrestlers

WWE went live to NXT to show all the NXT superstars waiting patiently. They chanted NXT and brought up stars from previous years, like now SmackDown Tag Champion Grayson Waller. I like seeing NXT because they are truly the best comparison to college athletes trying to make the league. 

Cody & AJ Contract Signing 

Didn't Matter **.5

Cody and AJ

This segment was odd. Cody and AJ basically had a compliment off. Each one talked about how much they had in common and how great they were, and the central question was basically, can Cody handle the weight of being champion? I appreciate that nobody got put through a table or punched because that bucked the trend. I also liked that it felt like a UFC weigh-in, but I wish it were spicier. Cody still needs to find a true rival. 

The Picks Are In!

Matterd ***.5

Triple H Cody Draft

Cody announced SmackDown's picks, and Triple H did Raw's. The first picks of the night are in! Bianca Belair went first to SmackDown. What a pick! One of the most dominant women in WWE and star-worthy of 1. The Number one Raw pick was Jey Uso. I'm happy for him, and it makes some sense because he could win Raw's World title, but it feels like a reach. 

Carmelo Debuts

Next, Raw took Seth Rollins, which doesn't help them right now because he will be off, but you can't argue with the body of Work. Then SmackDown shocked the world by picking Carmeo Hayes at two. Ladies and gentlemen, HIM is here, and he wasted no time. He walked right and made his first shot for the championship. He challenged Cody, and now he has a chance to take down the top dog in WWE right away. What a debut! This is the WWE that I love: new Superstars with big debuts.

Dragon Lee & Rey Mysterio vs. Humberto and Angel 

Mattered ***

Dragon Lee

The match was a copy-and-paste of what we have seen for weeks now. If you have seen one of these tag matches, you have seen them all. Rey basically gifted Dragon Lee the win by tagging after the 619. However, the real intrigue happened after the match when Santos and Elektra came out and revealed the footage of Dragon Lee's attack. 

LWO Smackdown

It turns out it was Carlito who attacked Dragon Lee. Santos and his squad got a good laugh at that. Honestly, I don't even blame Carlito. Everyone made fun of him when Rey picked Dragon Lee over him for the Wrestlemania match. Either WWE is responding to the audience again in real-time, or they have planned this all along. Either way, I love the booking because it's clearly in tune with the audience. Also, at some point, Rey has to question himself. Santos, Carlito, and his own son turned on him. At what point is it his fault?

Naomi Has to Work Twice as Hard

Mattered **

Naomi Glow Entrance

I was not a fan of this segment. Tiffany approached the GM and assumed she would be added to the title match because the world revolves around her. However, he instead said that, against his better judgment, he put her in the #1 contender's match against Naomi because Bayley had suggested it. But this had already happened, and Tiffany lost. I love Tiffany, but how is this fair to Naomi? What does she have to gain? Either she gets what she already earned, or she loses it. So Tiffany gets two chances, and Naomi has to earn it twice?

Bron Breakker Auditions

Mattered ***

Bron Breaker Cedric Alexander

Bron faced Cedric Alexander on SmackDown. First off, Cedric needs to revise his look. He looks like a very blatant rip-off of Swerve Strickland. Now, back to the match. Bron squashed Cedric. The match was over very quickly. However, it was entertaining. Props to both guys because too often we see bland squash matches, but these two made sure it was memorable. Cedric tried to backflip into his finisher. Instead, Bron speared his soul out of his body before he could finish, and Bron won the match. 

The Next Round Is In

Mattered ***.5

Michelle and Tori

The next round of draft picks was announced by Michelle McCool, legendary SmackDown Diva, and Tory Wilson, also a legendary Smackdown diva, but she announced Raw's picks. I'm so happy to see WWE treating this like a real draft with a special guest to make draft picks. 

Liv Morgan Barbie

This round was solid. SmackDown retained the former legend killer, who is now just legend Randy Orton. Raw retained Liv Morgan, which is excellent news for Raw. Watch out, Becky. I have a feeling Liv isn't done with you yet. 

Nia Jax Raw

Then the picks got interesting. Raw stole Bron Breakker from SmackDown. Bron Breakker going to Raw is a big deal. He's a star in waiting. He's already a two-time NXT champion, and he has a lot to offer. Raw may be looking at the future of the brand. Plus, I hope Bron Breakker crosses paths with Sheamus. It would be a Raw Dream match. SmackDown then stole Nia Jax. Nia Jax has been just excellent since she returned. I want to see her face just about every woman on the roster, especially Jade and Bayley. Nia could be Bayley's next big feud. 

Bloodline Arrives 

Mattered ***.5

The New Bloodline 2

The Bloodline arrived to see a frightened Paul Heyman and asked where they had been drafted. Paul told him they hadn't been drafted because Roman withdrew, and nobody knew what they would get, especially with SSolo adding members, and then Tonga came out. However, Kevin Owen attacked both before Solo could take his anger out on Heyman. Kevin was madder than I've ever seen him, and I'm glad because that's what he should have been like after someone tried to kill him. He had to be pulled away from Tonga, and the segment ended. 

Kevin Owens Brawl

I like the follow-up. Kevin Owen's is a great first feud, and I appreciate the growing pains of the new Bloodline. Where do they fit without Jey, Jimmy, Rock, and Roman? 

Jade and Bianca Arrive/Bloodline Brawl Erupts  

Mattered ***.5

Bianca Belair Celebrates

I'm not going to lie; the women's part of this segment was very boring. Kayla interviewed Bianca about being the first pick, and she communicated that she was happy and that she was coming for the last remaining title holders of Damage Control. Then Damage Control's Asuka and Sane came out to confront her, Jade came out to support her, and they argued without getting physical. But then Kevin Owen's and Tonga's brawl broke through their segment, and I love to see the two worlds interact even in small ways like this to show that they are one locker room instead of segmented off from each other.

Kairi and Asuka

 I'll give the woman a pass for their bland segment because it was a setup for the men, but they can't keep just doing faceoffs. That was cool the first week, but we need more than aura now. Also, it would have been cool if they had fought and the men brawled into their brawl. How crazy would it have been for security to try and break up the two separate brawls?

Randy punches Solo

Back to the men's brawl, Solo came out and helped Tonga, and they were stomping Kevin Owens until Randy Orton came out to help. He came in like he got a hot tag, knocking down anything that wasn't nailed down to the floor until the Bloodline retreated. The crowd was going wild! I must concur with the crowd that this is very exciting. The Bloodline is getting top dogs to face, and I can't wait to see how that goes for them. 

The Dudley Boys Headline Round 3

Mattered ***

The Dudley Boys

It was pretty cool that WWE got Bubba and Devon together to make these picks. Bubba did SmackDown, and Devon did Raw. There were no shakeups this round. Sheamus and Ricochet stay on Raw, and LA Knight and the Bloodline stay on SmackDown. It's not the most exciting round, but logically, some rounds will be like that. Plus, they were all great picks. 

Tiffany Stratton vs. Naomi #1 Contender Match 

Mattered ****

Nia Jax SmackDown

Earlier in the night, I said that Nia Jax would be a great opponent for Bayley, but I didn't think they would get to it right away. Tiffany and Naomi were lighting it up in the ring, showing that they are top performers in the women's division, when Nia came out of the crowd and wrecked Bayley. Nia brought Bayley to her knees with ease. Naomi saw Nia stomping on Bayley and decided to help, but Nia hilariously swatted Naomi like a fly. She threw her head into the ring post, causing a disqualification, and returned to stomping on Bayley and left. 

Tiffany Stratton Naomi Bayley

Nia's statement was made, but Tiffany wasn't done yet. She took the opportunity to throw Naomi and Bayley in the ring and give them the Prettiest Moonsault for the second week in a row. The week changes, but Tiffany remains at the Tiffy Top. 

Street Profits Run in with A-Town Down

Mattered ***

A-Town Down under

B-Fab talked about how The Street Profits would retain their titles and ensure that the group stays on SmackDown. Then A-Town Down said that nobody could defeat the best Undefeated tag team champions of all time. Then Grayson made the segment by saying that they are champions, something the Bengals would know nothing about. Grayson's remark got a big reaction from the Ohio crowd and Dawkins, who was wearing a Bengals jersey. The A-town Down Under definitely acts like they have been there before. 

Final Testament 

Didn't Matter **

Final Testament SmackDown

The Final Testament jumped the New Catch Republic to set up a match for next week. Leader Karrion Kross says that regardless of What brand they are drafted to, the violence won't stop until they get what they want. However, Kross never mentioned what they wanted. It feels like the Final Testament is just doing things. 

Last Round of SmackDown

Mattered ***

JBL Teddy Long

Wow, watching Teddy Long and JBL on SmackDown! What a blast from the past. Twenty years ago, I was watching JBL and Teddy Long on SmackDown. Teddy did SmackDown's picks, and JBL did Raw's. Raw took Alpha Academy, which feels like cheating when you get such a talented group for one pick. They also took Kianna James. What a pick. Kianna is going to the major league, and if there's one thing that she has shown in her career, it's that the stage is never too big for her. I can't wait to see how she shakes up Raw.  

AJ Styles

SmackDown took AJ late, which honestly felt disrespectful. Jey Uso is the number one overall pick, and he is challenging for the title, while AJ is going in the fourth while competing for the SmackDown title. This makes him look second-rate. I don't personally like him better than a lot of superstars who went ahead of him, but in Kayfabe, he should be better than a fourth-rounder. 

Kianna James 

Mattered ***

Kiana James NXT

Kianna James got a little introduction montage showing her off and then an interview back in NXT as everyone celebrated her graduation. I loved this moment; it really felt like a college player getting drafted into the league. Kiana said she is ready to prove she's the one percent, and I'm ready to see it. 

Nick Aldis and Teddy 

Mattered ** 

Teddy Nick Aldis

Teddy and Aldis made matches together, which was sweet to have the old and new GM announce Matches together, but the matches were a little weird. Teddy Long's tag match needed no preamble, and we knew it was happening. Nick Aldis announced a women's triple threat match with Naomi, Tiffany, and Bayley. Tiffany didn't prove anything, and yet she gets the triple threat anyway. This is the right outcome, but how we got there didn't make sense. 

Carmelo vs. Cody Rhodes 

Matterd ****

Cody Rhodes Melo

Carmelo took his first shot, and while it didn't go in, it was awful close. Melo took Cody to the limit, showing how talented he was right away by going move for move with the best and outselling Cody as well. You can definitely see the influence of Shawn Michaels on Melo. Also, in addition to a great match/debut, the story they told was also excellent. Melo may not have won, but he took a piece of Cody and almost had him. Now Cody's arm is hurt. Will that cost him against AJ? 

AJ Confronts Cody

Didn't Matter *

AJ Cody Rhodes

This segment is the definition of did not Matter. AJ almost attacked Cody, but Cody turned around just in time. Aj talked about how he was so close to getting Cody, and then they shook hands. What was the point of any of this? Why come out to attack and not attack? Why shake the hand of a man who tried to attack you? The show would have been better off without this segment. 

Final Grade 8/10 B-

Tiffany Stratton Hair

Draft Night One was a success. There were surprise guests, big Debuts, and a revamped draft system. Bayley, Naomi, and Tiffany added Nia to the mix and continue to be the most interesting thing in WWE. Cody and AJ were actually the worst thing on the show. If Cody can get going, then SmackDown will be an A show again.

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