The hottest news coming out of the WWE Universe in recent weeks has been the revelation of the upcoming Brand Extension. Speculation has spread like wildfire every single day since the announcement: which Superstars will end up on which show?
In 2002, WWE implemented its first Brand Split. However, at that time the industry was a year removed from the deaths of WCW and ECW as WWE welcomed many of the once Ted Turner-owned and Extreme drifters.
There was certainly no shortage of star power. This time around, WWE's talent pool presents thin ice on which the company can skate. The fear is that this experiment will crash through the ice under its own weight and drown quickly.
On the flip side, this Draft presents an opportunity for up-and-coming WWE Superstars to finally shine. There are sure to be many backstage who are silently hoping for a spot on the show not containing John Cena.
As always, time will tell whether or not a Brand Extension will prove successful. Regardless, the prospect of something fresh taking place within WWE has viewers excited once again; even the most jaded fans.
Anything can happen on July 19th, 2016 when SmackDown goes Live and the WWE is split into two separate brands. And we have a few ideas of our own as to how this entire Draft will play out.
Here are 10 bold predictions for the 2016 WWE Draft:
10. John Cena and A.J. Styles Will Head to the Same Brand
At WWE Payback, John Cena will team with Enzo Amore and Big Cass to take on The Club in a Six-Man Tag Team match. Does this mean anything for the Draft? Absolutely. It means that Cena and Styles will find themselves on the same show.
Why is that exactly? The answer should be clear: A.J. Styles secured a victory over John Cena at Money in the Bank, meaning that Styles holds the lead in one-on-one contests against Cena and WWE just cannot allow such a thing.
Chances are John Cena will face A.J. Styles at SummerSlam, where Cena will even the series before eventually taking the rubber match. This feud is reminiscent of Kevin Owens' rivalry with Cena last year.
9. The New Day Will Part Ways
Will The Wyatt Family actually cause a rift within The New Day? Or will the Brand Spilt cause the end of this beloved faction? As evident in recent storyline, something is brewing within the group.
Xavier Woods has seemingly lost some of that Positive Power and could very well move away from the message all together once separated from Kofi Kingston and Big E. The Draft could see Woods walk away from his colourful comrades.
Of course, Kofi Kingston and Big E could remain WWE Tag Team Champions while away from Xavier Woods, depending on the immediate future on the titles and whether or not the group will continue on as champions.
8. Projected Returns Will Disappoint
The general consensus within the WWE Universe is that the fans remain eager to witness the return of Kurt Angle to the company that truly turned The Olympic Hero into a complete Wrestling Superstar.
With the Draft on the horizon, many names from the past have been tossed around the internet as possible returnees to WWE, with Kurt Angle near the top of this list. However, all this speculation will lead to disappointment.
Will somebody from the past appear on Draft night? Probably. There are bound to be surprises for both Raw and SmackDown. Of course, this will not please many fans. The best solution: head into Draft night with low expectations.
7. Enzo Amore and Big Cass Will Split
As with the Drafts of yesteryear, there are bound to be certain shake-ups in the tag team division as teams will part ways and head to separate brands. Can such a thing happen to the popular duo of Enzo Amore and Big Cass?
Take a look at Big Cass: this Superstars screams "Vince McMahon Material." Now take a look at Enzo Amore: this Superstar - while clearly the more popular of the tag team - screams "CM Punk/Daniel Bryan Material."
Don't be surprised if Enzo Amore and Big Cass part ways come Draft night with Cass heading to Raw and Amore heading to SmackDown. However, can these guys stand on their own in WWE?
6. Finn Balor Will Debut
At this very moment, the history books will declare Finn Balor as the greatest NXT Champion of all time. Perhaps that will change someday, but for now that distinction belongs solely to Balor.
However, Finn Balor's time in NXT has expired and its time for the Irish Superstar to make his way up to the main roster in WWE. What better way to introduce Balor to the main audience than with the Draft?
The question here: which show should acquire Finn Balor? The answer: whichever brand is set to focus more on the wrestling aspect of the business than the soap opera angle, which will likely be the SmackDown brand.
5. Stephanie McMahon Will Select Seth Rollins
There has already been a working relationship established between Stephanie McMahon and Seth Rollins when the pair ran together in The Authority. Therefore, it makes perfect sense for Stephanie to select Rollins.
Keeping Seth Rollins close to Stephanie McMahon could also translate into long-term storyline development. If WWE should decide to turn Rollins face at some point between now an WrestleMania, a great feud could come of the move.
Triple H vs. Seth Rollins would prove to be a classic encounter of Teacher vs. Student. The man who allowed Rollins to use the Pedigree as his finishing maneuver attempting to teach the ultimate lesson.
4. The Undertaker Will NOT Be Drafted
There is but one heartbeat in the WWE. That steady thumping of the company chest belongs to nobody else, only The Undertaker. Since 1990, The Undertaker has remained a WWE constant.
The Undertaker's WWE career spans from Kurt Cobain to Britney Spears to Taylor Swift. While taking on different roles and character shifts over the years, multiple generations know and love The Deadman.
For this, The Undertaker will be omitted from the Draft board and left to decide his own fate upon his next return. The Undertaker has earned the right to arrive on any show at any time and without question.
3. Stephanie McMahon Will Claim the Women's Champion
At WrestleMania 32, the WWE finally rid the Universe of the term "Diva" and reintroduced the Women's Championship. The very title which was once placed on the line in the main event of Monday Night Raw (Trish Stratus vs. Lita).
With Sasha Banks back on the scene, the lengthy reign of the current Women's Champion Charlotte could be coming to and end. Banks has become the most over Woman on the roster despite little television time since WrestleMania.
Regardless of which Woman holds the title come Draft night, one should expect the Women's Championship to follow Stephanie McMahon to her brand as The Boss Lady dealing with the likes of a self-proclaimed Boss is rather intriguing.
2. Shane McMahon Will Have the WWE Champion
While nothing has officially been announced as to who will run which show, the belief stands that Stephanie McMahon will control one brand while Shane McMahon will control the other. The sibling rivalry is best for this Brand Extension.
Assuming Dean Ambrose retains the WWE Championship against Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns at Battleground, then the WWE Championship will likely remain with Shane McMahon and his designated brand.
Stephanie McMahon selecting Dean Ambrose in the Draft makes little sense as Stephanie has made her disdain for Ambrose clear. Meanwhile, Ambrose fits Shane McMahon's vision of the New Era rather well.
1. Brock Lesnar Will Sign with Raw
SmackDown has always been considered the "B Show" in WWE. However, with the brand going live, the belief is that more focus will be placed on SmackDown to rid the show of that "B" feeling.
Of course, let's remember one very important thing: Monday Night Raw will always be considered the "A Show" in WWE. If anything, SmackDown will improve to the "A Minus" program moving forward.
Similar to "Stone Cold" Steve Austin choosing a side back in 2002, Brock Lesnar will find himself presented with the same option. Ultimately, an "A Minus" will not impress Lesnar enough and "The Beast" will sign with Monday Night Raw.
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