July 19th was a monumental day for WWE, and for the fans around the world. After nearly two decades since its inception, SmackDown finally went live, moving to Tuesdays on the USA Network. Not too long ago, RAW and SmackDown had an intense rivalry, and with the likes of Paul Heyman on the creative team, and with superstars such as The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle belonging exclusively to the blue brand, SmackDown was considered to be the better show. However, all that changed in the past decade, with RAW taking back the “A – brand” tag.
However, this change in the landscape of the organization bodes well for everyone involved. Not only will the superstars get more air time to showcase their talent, now that they’re exclusive to their brands, but the fans can now witness a relatively fresher product. Gone are the days when a casual fan had to tune in to RAW to catch up on all the storylines while SmackDown was majorly used for the replays. With Shane McMahon as the face of the brand, and with Daniel Bryan running the show, the glory days of SmackDown will soon return, creating an interesting dynamic between the authority figures and the superstars.
On the first ever episode of SmackDown Live, Stephanie and Mick Foley announced their draft picks, while Shane and Daniel Bryan managed to draft some major stars to the blue brand. Below is the complete list of draft picks by both the brands – which includes the on – air draft picks, as well as the post show picks.
The New Day
Enzo and Cass
Anderson and Gallows
The Big Show
Alberto Del Rio
WWE shuffles the announcing teams for RAW and SmackDown
It was announced after SmackDown Live that even the broadcast teams for RAW and SmackDown would be shuffled, with Michael Cole leading the announcing team for RAW, while Mauro Ranallo can continue his fine work on SmackDown by being the lead announcer. However, JBL finds himself back on SmackDown as a part of the blue brand’s broadcast team, while Jerry “The King” Lawler – who for the major part of two decades has been announcing on RAW and SmackDown has been relieved of his duties!
RAW: Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton
SmackDown: Mauro Ranallo, JBL and David Otunga
Six superstars get picked from NXT
Going into the show, there was a lot of buzz surrounding certain superstars who were rumored to get drafted from NXT. Bayley, Samoe Joe, Finn Balor, American Alpha and Shinsuke Nakamura were considered to be the top six draft picks from NXT. However, WWE had different ideas, as Eva Marie, Mojo Rawley and Carmella were brought to the main roster, along with Finn Balor and American Alpha.