SmackDown began its rebuild of the women’s division and brought in new names to potentially face Roman Reigns.
The first night of the 2023 WWE Draft has come and gone. Some individuals switched shows, while others stayed put in their current brand. These new rosters will take effect after WWE Backlash on May 6, but breaking down the first night of selection, it is SmackDown that has come out as the victor.
- Roman Reigns, Solo Sikoa, with Paul Heyman
- Bianca Belair
- The Street Profits
- Bobby Lashley
- AJ Styles, Michin, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson
- Bayley, Dakota Kai, and IYO Sky
- Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn
WWE Monday Night Raw
- Cody Rhodes
- Becky Lynch
- Gunther, Ludwig Kaiser, and Giovanni Vinci
- Matt Riddle
- Drew McIntyre
- The Miz
- Shinsuke Nakamura
- Indi Hartwell
Both brands added some critical pieces that will help in the future of content across all shows. Of course, the conversation starts with The Bloodline in Reigns, Sikoa, and Heyman. But this immediately raises the question of what happens with The Usos, who are in the draft pool on Monday. After failing to regain the tag team championships in the SmackDown main event, seeing them jettisoned to the other show at the command of Reigns adds a new layer to that story.
What is most impressive is looking at how SmackDown has revamped the women’s division. Fans have long called for the Friday show to improve its women’s division which lacked depth. That should not be a concern after this first night of draft picks. With Belair on SmackDown, it should be expected that Rhea Ripley will go over to Raw. But Belair still has a host of interesting challengers. The inclusion of Fyre and Dawn stands out the most because the NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions are two highly experienced performers that immediately boost the women’s division.
With Reigns staying on SmackDown, he needed some new challengers for the Universal Championship. Lashley and Styles can help with that, but fans wouldn’t expect either of them to be the individual to pick up the victory over the dominant champion. Still, it is a fresh story that is needed at the top of the men’s division.
The first night of the WWE Draft featured some interesting picks across both shows and the inclusion of WWE NXT. With one night left, this first evening sets the stage for many questions heading into Monday Night Raw. But with a revamped women’s division and new potential challengers for Roman Reigns, SmackDown picks up the victory.