The WWE Draft is one of the more exciting times of the year, as it gives the company time to truly shake things up and freshen up the rosters for RAW and SmackDown.
Wrestlers may be drafted (promoted) from NXT to either RAW or SmackDown. We may also see tag teams and factions split up. The results can be either very good or bad.
Currently, there's no word on when the 2022 Draft will take place, but as for today's list, we will look at five draft moves that WWE got wrong.
This list is based on the 2021 Draft and how these picks turned out a year later.
#5. Hit Row (Drafted from NXT to WWE SmackDown)
The faction known as Hit Row at that time consisted of: Isiah “Swerve” Scott Strickland, B-Fab, Top Dolla, and Ashanti “Thee” Adonis. This move was initially one of the better draft moves by WWE, as the group had gotten over well in NXT, and it seemed as though they would make a big splash on the main roster.
However, less than a month later, in November 2021, another series of releases took place due to budget cuts stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Among those released was B-Fab, who never appeared on SmackDown before being let go by the company. Two weeks later, the remaining members of Hit Row were released by WWE.
Hit Row re-signed with the company in August 2022 and were assigned to the SmackDown brand, minus Isiah “Swerve” Scott, who is currently a part of the AEW roster.
#4. Keith Lee (Stayed with RAW Brand)
Keith Lee was one of the most promising stars that was promoted from NXT to the RAW Brand less than a year prior to the 2021 WWE Draft.
Lee was drafted by the RAW brand after his gimmick was changed to “Bearcat” Keith Lee, which was a tribute to wrestling legend Bearcat Wright. Many fans remained hopeful that despite the character change, Lee would find a way to get the gimmick off the ground and become successful.
Unfortunately for Keith Lee, he was released by the company on November 4th, 2021, due to budget cuts. Currently, Lee is a member of the AEW roster and is one half of the AEW Tag Team Champions alongside Swerve Strickland.
#3. Jeff Hardy (Drafted from RAW to SmackDown)
“The Charismatic Enigma” Jeff Hardy was drafted from the RAW brand over to SmackDown. Hardy was mainly used as a lower-to-mid-card performer who just came off a rivalry involving Sheamus and Damian Priest over the United States Championship, which he failed to capture.
Jeff Hardy’s last significant run with the company came after the draft when he helped Drew McIntyre during his feud with Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss. Hardy wrestled in a tag match during a Live Event and walked out of the match through the crowd.
This would be Hardy’s last WWE appearance to date, as he was released from the company days later.
Jeff Hardy signed a contract with AEW in May 2022. He was suspended indefinitely following D.U.I. charges and sent to rehab less than a month later.
#2. Gable Steveson (Free Agent to SmackDown)
The second Olympic Gold Medalist (aside from Kurt Angle) in WWE history. Gable Steveson was drafted to the RAW brand to a mixed reception from wrestling fans. He would appear at WrestleMania 38 and have a confrontation with Chad Gable, dropping him with a Belly-to-Belly Suplex.
Steveson was heavily teased to be making his official RAW debut at some point following WrestleMania, but his debut was held off as his training wasn’t going as well as the company had hoped for.
The company had high expectations for Steveson to make a big splash on the RAW brand, but those plans seem to be placed on hold as he is currently being trained by former WWE Superstar, Mr. Kennedy.
#1. Cesaro (Drafted from RAW to SmackDown)
Cesaro was drafted to the SmackDown brand and had very little success, much to the dismay of his fanbase. The only noteworthy feud Cesaro had was with Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss.
He wrestled Happy Corbin in February 2022 on SmackDown in his last match with the company. Shortly afterwards, Cesaro quietly left WWE when his contract expired, ending his 11-year tenure in the Stamford-based company.
Cesaro signed a contract with AEW in June 2022, going by his real name, “Claudio Castagnoli”. The Swiss Superman is the current reigning and defending ROH World Champion.