10 WWE Draft Afterthoughts Who Became Gems
It's been 19 years since the first WWE brand extension and subsequent draft...
On this day 19 years ago, WWE held their first-ever draft.
Vince McMahon and Ric Flair took it in turns to choose superstars for their respective Smackdown and Raw brands, beginning a near annual tradition in WWE.
Though these sorts of reconfigurations do freshen up the TV product, the Draft process itself really hasn't changed all that much, since WWE first went to the brand extension well.
You know how it goes: marquee names go first, dependable names and to-be-pushed rising stars in the next tier, and the "whoevers" follow from there.
Fans have long taken umbrage with that "whoevers" class, as it's WWE explicitly telling its audience who they don't see as worth spotlighting during the main portion of its Drafts. It can be frustrating to realize the genuine talents that occupy that group, many of them only having their names called during the barely-acknowledged "supplemental" portion of the Draft proceedings.
And yet, once in a while, one of those "left for dead" performers manages to makes good in their immediate future, despite their less-than-desirable draft position.
NFL fans and analysts often bring up Tom Brady's "afterthought" status when the New England Patriots selected him back in 2000, so who have been WWE's comparative Bradys? The following list might surprise you, especially when you realize who WWE wasn't so quick to push at one time.
10. Dolph Ziggler (2009 Supplemental Pick)
It should come as no surprise to WWE's loyal audience that "The Show Off" has been a roster regular for what feels like an eternity, as evidenced by the fact that that he was an eligible pick in the 2009 Draft.
But at the time, he wasn't "The Show Off" yet - in fact, he was still a largely unproven commodity.
In the spring of 2009, Ziggler was a blue chip talent with obvious athleticism and a pretty good look, but hadn't exactly developed a definitive hook. To put it another way, his "forced introduction" gimmick wasn't exactly rocketing him into the WWE stratosphere.
His move from Raw to SmackDown began opening eyes toward his capabilities, particularly his series of matches with Rey Mysterio over the IC title. Ziggler's exuberant bump-taking at times felt like an homage to Shawn Michaels' comical spite toward Hulk Hogan, but fans *were* taking notice of his slinky-like movements.
In time, Ziggler began displaying personality, especially when he entered into a May-December romance with Vickie Guerrero that was essentially a more business-like take on Shawn and Sherri.
Ziggler had truly arrived as a player on SmackDown, a tenure that began when he was just some arbitrary selection during a mid-afternoon rearranging of forgotten furniture.