With the 2016 WWE Draft in the books following the conclusion of Tuesday’s Smackdown Live, there are reports circulating via the Wrestling Observer Newsletter about how the pick order was originally planned. Following Brock Lesnar’s huge victory over Mark Hunt at UFC 200, WWE’s initial Draft plans centered around cashing in on the huge publicity generated from the fight and drafting the “Beast Incarnate” first. Last week, however, it was revealed that Lesnar had a drug test flagged by the USADA for a potential Anti-Doping violation for apparently using an estrogen blocker, according to the LA Times. Instead, former WWE champion Seth Rollins was selected first overall.
— Seth Rollins (@WWERollins) July 20, 2016
After Lesnar, it was reportedly planned that current WWE Champion, Dean Ambrose would be Smackdown Live’s first pick — then Raw would nab Seth Rollins with Smackdown Live taking John Cena with their second pick. The final results were vastly different with WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte going third overall to Raw and AJ Styles being selected by Smackdown Live after her.
Mike’s Analysis: I was surprised Brock Lesnar “fell” so far in the draft, but knew it had to do with the fallout stemming from his potential Anti-Doping violation. WWE is caught in a very awkward and tricky place with Lesnar potentially getting hammered by the USADA and UFC — they’ll look pretty bad in the public eye if he gets off scot-free while disciplined elsewhere.
Drug testing, appeals, debates, etc. all can take quite a while to firmly finish when it comes to athletes. WWE must be hoping SummerSlam comes and goes before anything major happens so Lesnar’s match with a returning Randy Orton isn’t overshadowed or altered.
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