RAW’s #20 pick is… COREY GRAVES
Andrew: He is the red letter definition of a poor man’s CM Punk. A Pittsburgh native who was trained at 16 years old by Dory Funk Jr., Graves has been with WWE under the NXT banner since 2011. He looks like Punk with the downtrodden demeanor and adoration for piercings and tattoos, and he wrestles a lot like him, too. He is not the Best in the World just yet, but he has climbed up the ladder pretty quickly in NXT with no coming down in the near future. I see him as an introductory lower card heel whom the fans slowly get behind over time.
SMACKDOWN’s #19 and #20 picks are… KONNOR & VIKTOR
Ben: My counter to Riche getting a jump on the tag team ranks was to keep hitting my youth movement approach and grab the top dogs from NXT. I have some concerns over how they’ll do on the main roster working actual matches rather than squashes and having to show vulnerability, but they’re young and talented, so they can get better if need be.
RAW’s #21 pick is… RENEE YOUNG
Andrew: Ben picked his first female a lot earlier in his draft than I did, and I did not even go with a wrestler in that regard. Renee Young is a perfect addition as a backstage interviewer and moderator in emergency situations, a Swiss Army knife in miscellaneous roles. She has also dabbled in color work on NXT to good results and has extensive knowledge along with general likability. I know you wanted her, Ben, but even in an imaginary farce, I can now say that Renee Young is MINE!
SMACKDOWN’s #21 pick is… DAMIEN SANDOW
Ben: I was still a bit dizzy from Riche pulling off his Renee Young coup at this point—there’s no equivalent for her, she’s so good and so unique in her skills—that taking Sandow was almost a reactionary move to just fill up my depth chart. His main event push was aborted way too early, so this is a reclamation project to an extent.
RAW’s #22 pick is… MARK HENRY
Andrew: The moment you think time is up for Big Mark, he signs an extension with WWE and keeps on trucking with some great big man work both as a face and a heel. I would immediately turn him heel again and work him the way he was last summer against John Cena and in the summer of 2011. There is always room for a dominant strongman on my brand.
SMACKDOWN’s #22 pick is… ROB VAN DAM
Ben: I won’t get him full-time, but even a few months a year of RVD coming in, popping the crowd, putting on good matches and helping out younger stars makes him worth it at this stage in the draft.
RAW’s #23 pick is… ADAM ROSE
Andrew: Le pick du jour, you say? Au contraire. In fact, the 34-year-old South African native has had his WWE arrival in the makings for four years now, and was the FCW Champion as the less character-driven Leo Kruger before NXT made it to Full Sail University. He is now hot off the presses thanks to his Austin Powers-meets-Russell Brand party host with the most, but the wrestler himself is ready. I just hope the gimmick doesn’t isolate him as a mere comedy act ala Santino.
SMACKDOWN’s #23 pick is… TYLER BREEZE
Ben: Riche started to go on an NXT run, so I snatched up one of my favorites before he had the chance. I think of Tyler Breeze as being a guy who could be what they wanted Fandango to be before he got overexposed: a Honky Tonk Man style-heel who can really irritate crowds and have extended runs of success that will ultimately help get over the babyfaces who shut him up.
RAW’s #24 pick is… AIDEN ENGLISH
Andrew: A formally trained actor in with a college degree from Chicago, English began wrestling only a few years ago and is already on the fast track in WWE developmental. His singing act as “The Artiste” is one of funnest parts of the show and his promos are very polished. He is a combination of Chris Nowinski and The Genius, and that character alone can make it in the big time.
SMACKDOWN’s #24 pick is… A.J. LEE
Ben: Even with her future in the business somewhat shaky, I was surprised AJ was still out there halfway through; easily the most over Diva, honestly one of the most over performers period, she’s a no brainer.
RAW’s #25 pick is… GOLDUST
Andrew: A break-up is on the horizon for my #15 pick Cody Rhodes and his brother Goldust, but I still think the world of Dustin Rhodes. His work tagging with Cody was stupendous and he may be in the best shape of his career. Instead of going full-blown comedy the way Raw did right after the 2002 Draft with Booker T, I would put Goldust strictly in a role as a serviceable lower card veteran with nothing to lose.
SMACKDOWN’s #25 pick is… CHRISTIAN
Ben: Counter pick to Riche taking Goldust, as I wanted a veteran ring general who can work with my young roster; injuries obviously are a downside, but his active career is almost done and he’ll make a great behind the scenes guy.
RAW’s #26 pick is… JACK SWAGGER
Andrew: I am not fond of the Real American, but I saw an opening after Ben chose Christian. Swagger is like Christian with the difference being that Christian is on the way out while Swagger still has years left to give. However, will anyone ever buy into him as a credible threat even on an Intercontinental Title level? I don’t think so, but he can still do decent work at times. Not a winning pick for me.
SMACKDOWN’s #26 pick is… BRODUS CLAY
Ben: I’m loving his heel act in NXT and think he could still be a tremendous monster, possible even a World title contender during an off-brand pay-per-view; lots of value.
RAW’s #27 pick is… CAMACHO
Andrew: Like Brodus Clay dabbling in NXT looking for second life, this pick is based purely off of the potential that Camacho makes the most out of his call-down to Full Sail as he works with the future stars of WWE. Hunico is back to being Sin Cara, so let’s see if he can go it alone again. If the Tongan-American is anything like his dad Haku was, I may have gotten a steal.
SMACKDOWN’s #27 pick is… SIN CARA
Ben: With Hunico under the mask, I’ve got renewed faith this could be if not the next Rey Mysterio, a reasonable substitute. Good character for the younger crowd to connect to, and a good guy to move merchandise.
RAW’s #28 pick is… FANDANGO
Andrew: From a novelty under a mask to a novelty in ballroom dancing. Ben went with Sin Cara, and I go with another flash in the pan who has yet to find permanent dance floor in WWE in Fandango. In fact, I am a proponent for ditching the salsa and letting Johnny Curtis be himself for the sake of saving his career and giving him more to work with as a high flyer. He can do great character work, though.
SMACKDOWN’s #29 pick is… BAYLEY
Ben: I was excited to snag Bayley as the Divas started to go; I think she’s a great babyface and solid in-ring talent who will complement Paige nicely as their careers progress.