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AEW Mock Draft: What Might A Brand Split Look Like?

Ever since the announcement of AEW Collision, there’s been a lot of talk about a brand split. Will it be a hard split? A soft split? A rotation?

Well all we can say for certain is that with CM Punk’s appearance on the June 21 Dynamite, we know there isn’t a hard split, yet. But with all of this talk about, it seemed worthwhile to have a discussion about what a hard brand split might look like. So we appointed two GMs in Saul Kiloh and Dirk Elevation and went ahead with the draft process.

Draft Rules:

- This is a fifteen round draft. Each show will draft one wrestler, tag team, or faction per round.

- The assumed contract period is 12 months, July 1, 2023 - June 30, 2024. No reason to worry about longevity or potential down the road, only what would make the show the best as possible for the next year.

- AEW Champions Are Not Eligible To Be Drafted And Will Be Assumed To Work Both Shows:

  • MJF

  • Luchasaurus

  • Orange Cassidy

  • FTR

  • House Of Black

  • Toni Storm

  • Kris Statlander

(For the sake of storyline simplicity, we will also make their common cohorts undraftable and assumed to work both shows. Meaning Christian Cage, Best Friends, Julia Hart, and The Outcasts are also undraftable.)

- ROH Champions are eligible to be drafted.

- Without dwelling on the reasons why the hard brand split is being speculated in the first place, we will assume that both sides will start out with a few pre-drafted roster members.

Dynamite - Represented by @DarkElevation

Kenny Omega

Hangman Page

The Young Bucks

Collision - Represented by @SaulKiloh

CM Punk


Thunder Rosa

- Dynamite is still the A show, so it gets the first draft pick.

And now… onto the draft!

— The Draft Results —-

Round 1:

Dynamite Pick: Blackpool Combat Club Collision Pick: Eddie Kingston

Dirk’s Thoughts: An easy first pick for me. You get a GOAT contender, the 3 time champ, the current ROH champ, a scrappy up and comer, and you get to prolong the current biggest feud on Dynamite with the Elite.

Saul’s Thoughts: This isn’t just a draft pick, this is a statement of intent. If Collision is meant to be the brand to showcase underutilised talent, no one fits that bill more than the Mad King. Kingston has an ability to infuse emotion into wrestling that few others in the industry have. That is why he’s my first selection and why I would make him into one of the cornerstones of my brand.

Round 2:

Dynamite Pick: Britt Baker/Jamie Hayter Collision Pick: Death Triangle

Dirk’s Thoughts: Since Collision already had Rosa, I had to ensure that I got some high profile women’s division talent, and being able to get 2 of the biggest stars in one go is too good to pass up (and maybe Rebel? I'm not sure what happened to her.) Considering the run on women’s talent didn’t come for a few more rounds, I probably should’ve taken Death Triangle. Also as a semi-regular reminder, this group of women has no faction name, but should probably be called “The Tooth Commission.”

Saul’s Thoughts: The Lucha Brothers are one of the best tag teams in AEW. PAC is one of the best and most underrated singles wrestlers in AEW. Together, they can also form a fantastic trios team. You know, sometimes this draft stuff is pretty damn simple. Seriously though, PAC’s excellence cannot be overstated and the Lucha Brothers have been involved in many of the companies best tag team matches. I have ‘zero miedo’ that these three men won’t live up to this high draft spot.

Round 3:

Dynamite Pick: Mogul Embassy Collision Pick: La Faccion Ingobernables

Dirk’s Thoughts: I like this round because these are similar choices. Both are valuable collections of believable heels. LFI probably has more experience and utility, but I think Swerve Strickland has the highest ceiling among all 8 wrestlers effectively chosen.

Saul’s Thoughts: I have to admit that I love Swerve and was looking to draft him at some point (the rest of the faction I could really take or leave.) However, where me and my opponent differ is that I think RUSH and Andrade have just as much potential. RUSH has proven to wrestle with a simmering intensity that makes his matches truly thrilling and I must implore everybody to not forget just how great Andrade is. Dralistico and Perro Peligroso also provide my roster depth, and the faction as a whole provides that all important (say it with me folks) UTILITY!

Round 4:

Dynamite Pick: Sting & Darby Collision Pick: Bullet Club Gold

Dirk’s Thoughts: Sting has all but said he will be retired by the end of this year. But if I get to have Sting’s retirement angle run on my show, I’m taking it. Sure that means I’m wasting half a year of that draft pick, but I still think even if he stood alone it would only bump Darby back a handful of rounds considering the effort he puts into every televised match.

Saul’s Thoughts: All those people claiming that Jay White hasn’t been used prominently enough on AEW television will have to find something else to complain about, because I will make sure he is treated like the main event level talent he is. Juice Robinson also brings a crazed charisma that is captivating and the pair are currently the most consistently entertaining tag act in the company. Saturday Night Collision, welcome to the switchblade era!

Round 5:

Dynamite Pick: The Acclaimed & Daddy Ass Collision Pick: Samoa Joe

Dirk’s Thoughts: It would’ve been a reach to take The Acclaimed here even a year ago, but the former tag champs and their soon-to-be sexagenarian accomplice are one of the easiest ways to generate a pop in wrestling right now. Along with CM Punk and MJF, they are on a short list of folks who you can pencil in for a segment where they talk to the crowd without a clear objective and the fans will be happier for it having happened.

Saul’s Thoughts: We’ve seen in Joe’s AEW run so far that he still has it. The magic that helped him become one of the best and most defining wrestlers of the 21st century. He still delivers an enjoyable brutality in his matches and remains one of the best talkers in the professional wrestling landscape. I am glad to be able to select Joe for what is sure to be a LEGACY CEMENTING run.

Round 6:

Dynamite Pick: Jericho Appreciation Society Collision Pick: Naturally Limitless

Dirk’s Thoughts: It’s just practical to take the JAS. You get rising stars in Daniel Garcia and Sammy Guevara. You get believable losers in singles, tag and trios with Jake Hager and 2.0. You get women’s division help in Anna Jay and senior division leadership in Chris Jericho (kidding! jokes!)

Saul’s Thoughts: Considering that my opponent is focusing on factions and tag teams, I have to amend my draft strategy a bit to ensure I don’t miss out and end up lacking depth in my roster. With that being said, what exactly is happening with Keith Lee? Unless there’s something we aren’t aware of, this is tantamount to booking malpractice. Keith Lee is one of the best and most unique wrestlers in the world, which has not been reflected in his booking (aside from a fun tag run with Swerve). No longer, I am here to help Lee shine like the star he is. Dustin Rhodes is also a great veteran to have on my roster and while I made this pick mostly for Keith Lee, his value should not be overlooked.

Round 7:

Dynamite Pick: Ricky Starks Collision Pick: Undisputed Elite (Cole, Strong, O’Reilly)

Dirk’s Thoughts: A lot of my early picks were value picks. Picks that gave me the most valuable wrestlers in one go, which allowed me to avoid making too many bold decisions. This here is a called shot. Put me in the middle of the “that guy” camp when it comes to Ricky Starks. I didn’t see it until about a year ago, but I for sure see it now. I think he’s in his summer era where they cool down the next guy before he heats up in the fall to keep the show from feeling inevitable (see also: Hangman in 2021, MJF in 2022). If we were drafting six months from now I think Round 7 for Ricky could feel late.

Saul’s Thoughts: Is this a bit devious considering that these three men have never appeared together on AEW television? Undoubtedly. However, if I’ve learned anything from my days watching wrestling, it’s that sometimes a GM needs to play dirty to get the job done. What’s to be said, they are three fantastic wrestlers who were one of the best acts in the glory days of NXT. I’m hopeful that O’Reilly will recover from injury soon and then we can have the group together in its full glory. Of course, you know it’s all about that UTILITY bay bay! Getting them at this spot might be the best value in the whole draft. I mean folks, where’s the lie???

Round 8:

Dynamite Pick: Hikaru Shida Collision Pick: Athena

Dirk’s Thoughts: Another round of parallel thinking where we both took women’s division workhorses. I think Shida has slightly more pedigree as the longest reigning women’s champ in company history, but it’s impossible to deny the work Athena is doing right now. Like this round for both of us.

Saul’s Thoughts: Athena is just too damn good to be on Ring of Honor. I mean no disrespect to the current ROH, but she needs to be on national television. She has a hard hitting in-ring style and demands attention through sheer presence alone. I’m glad to select her and give her the time to truly shine in AEW.

Round 9:

Dynamite Pick: Konosuke Takeshita Collision Pick: Riho

Dirk’s Thoughts: Personally, this felt like my biggest steal of the draft. I had my little draft cheat sheet prepared and was looking through the names and at this point in the draft he stuck out so much he may as well have been highlighted. How many of the picks that came before this one can you truly say are better positioned heels right now in AEW? Not many!

Saul’s Thoughts: AEW’s first Women’s World Champion and for damn good reason. Riho does not miss. She's an unbelievably consistent in-ring performer, and I truly struggle to think of a bad match that she’s had in the company (I’m sure there’s at least one, no need to subtweet me trolls). She also performs the underdog babyface role in such an earnest and effective way that is rare in modern wrestling. With the promise of more consistent TV time, I’m sure she will be convinced to be a more regular member of AEW and prove to be an excellent addition to my women’s division.

Round 10:

Dynamite Pick: Willow Nightingale Collision Pick: Serena Deeb

Dirk’s Thoughts: Willow is another called shot type of pick. You are bringing her in for one reason and that’s to be your most pure babyface. It works for me, because I have full confidence that she can do it. Some would say the positivity and enthusiasm make for a one dimensional character. To hell with that! Her character is that she’s a powerhouse in the ring. The positivity is just a wrinkle to that usually brooding archetype. And it’s a wrinkle that could take her very far.

Saul’s Thoughts: I’m glad to add Serena Deeb to my roster, as her technical excellence brings a unique flavour to my women’s division. Deeb has disappeared from AEW television in recent times, which has been a truly great loss. Her vicious in-ring attitude and entitled character will also help get over any babyface that she goes up against. The women’s roster on Collision better beware, cause Serena Deeb is returning with fury and she will stretch you the f’ out!

Round 11:

Dynamite Pick: Powerhouse Hobbs & QTV Collision Pick: JungleHook

Dirk’s Thoughts: Another parallel round. Both of these drafts are tenuous alliances that are powderkegs stories once a turn happens. JungleHook seems destined for conflict by December, while with Powerhouse and QT it seems like more of a “Break If New Face Is Needed” type of thing and until then they’re more than happy making sure QT brings the boos and Hobbs does the dirty work. Looking back, I think I definitely came out of this with the lower card version of this dynamic. But I have long established myself as a QT Defender, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to break that gimmick now.

Saul’s Thoughts: I love Hook. Everybody loves Hook. He oozes cool quite unlike anyone else in wrestling. His booking the past year has left a lot to be desired, but give him consistently good booking on Collision and the sky's the limit for this kid (I’m calling him kid to evoke what a commentator like JR would say, Hook is older than I am). Jungle Boy is an interesting case. His recent prominence on AEW TV has started to garner him some criticism. I still think he’s a talented performer, however I would accelerate this heel turn to hopefully give his character some much needed dimension. I couldn’t overlook the value of getting two extremely talented up-and-comers at this spot in the draft.

Round 12:

Dynamite Pick: Bandido Collision Pick: Emi Sakura

Dirk’s Thoughts: I’ll cop to this one also being a bit of a reach for Bandido. He has shown he has a low floor but hasn’t shown how high his ceiling is. He’s taken the route a lot of newcomers take in AEW by piling up the losses in his first year. But I can’t help but think there’s a lot here. He’s fast, he’s strong and he can work with anyone. Plus he’s a masked luchador and I don’t have one of those yet. If I see a wrestling roster without a masked luchador I spend the whole time being like “hey where the heck is your masked luchador?”

Saul’s Thoughts: She will, she will rock you! The most underrated and underappreciated wrestler in AEW, BAR NONE! There’s a reason she’s the DPW Women’s World Champion. She can get a great match out of any opponent and that’s an invaluable skill that shouldn’t be overlooked. I would give Emi Sakura the spotlight that her talent demands. All hail her highness!

Round 13:

Dynamite Pick: Jade Cargill Collision Pick: Yuka Sakazaki

Dirk’s Thoughts: Here’s the fact of the matter: we are in round 13 and there is only one capital-D DRAW left on the big board, and that’s Jade Cargill. Sure, she’s taking some time off right now. Take as much time as you want Ms. Cargill. Because once she returns all eyes are on my show and I recoup this late round pick and then some.

Saul’s Thoughts: Collision is getting Joshi baby! The heavy Japanese influence is one of the things that made AEW’s women's division so exciting in its early years, and I’m bringing that back to Saturday nights. Yuka Sakazaki has an infectious charm, a banging theme and can seriously bring it in the ring. What more can you ask for?

Round 14:

Dynamite Pick: Big Bill & Lee Moriarty Collision Pick: Aussie Open

Dirk’s Thoughts: Hey you got your technical wrestler in my seven footer match! You got your seven footer in my technical wrestling match! Two great tastes, together at last! Enjoy Big Bill and Lee Moriarty together, or separate.

Saul’s Thoughts: Steal of the draft? Aussie Open are one of the best tag teams in the world today, so picking them up at this spot is unbelievable value. Of course, I think the only reason they fell is due to Mark Davis currently being injured. However, according to reports, his recovery shouldn’t take too long so I’m not that worried about it. The addition of Aussie Open helps ensure that Collision is the show to watch for quality tag team wrestling.

Round 15:

Dynamite Pick: Dark Order Collision Pick:. Dalton Castle & The Boys

Dirk’s Thoughts: As a Dalton Castle fan I have to acknowledge that’s probably the better overall pick in this round, but at this point in the draft there are a lot of useful hands left and I wanted to go with the one that I think has a built in storyline, because I’m not sure we’re done just yet with Hangman and The Dark Order, and I’d like to see that play out.

Saul’s Thoughts: And for the final selection in the draft, I am taking the most charismatic wrestler left on the board. Dalton Castle carries himself with a flamboyant exuberance that is unique from anyone else on the roster. We have seen in his few appearances in AEW that his distinctive personality can win over any crowd and for the last pick, getting someone this entertaining is an absolute steal. Every damn Saturday is going to be a peacock party!


Abadon, Action Andretti, Anthony Ogogo, AR Fox, The Blonds, Brock Anderson, The Butcher, The Blade & The Bunny, Christopher Daniels, Colt Cabana, Danhausen, Diamante, Ethan Page, The Gunns, The Hardys, Kiera Hogan, Kip Sabian & Penelope Ford, Kommander, Lance Archer, Lee Johnson, Leyla Hirsch, Madison Rayne, Mark Briscoe, Matt Sydal, Mercedes Martinez, Nick Comoroto, Nyla Rose & Marina Shafir, Private Party, Red Velvet, Santana & Ortiz, Scorpio Sky, Shawn Dean, Shawn Spears, Skye Blue, Spanish Announce Project, Top Flight, Triple J, Trustbusters, Taya Valkyrie, The Varsity Athletes, Wardlow, The Wingmen, Zack Clayton

Dirk’s Final Thoughts: Man, poor Wardlow. I mean I wasn’t picking him but he was the champ LAST WEEK. If there’s anyone I think might make us look stupid for letting them go undrafted I would bet on Scorpio Sky returning from injury. Overall though, I’m happy with my draft. There’s enough talent here that it’s hard to end up with a weak show splitting the roster in two, so I’m glad I got a lot of people that I personally like to watch.

Saul’s Final Thoughts: I’m sure for many people analysing our draft picks, I lost as soon as Dirk selected the BCC with the first overall pick and I can understand that. However, I truly believe that my roster would put on a wildly entertaining show. I have great depth across each division, but not too deep that anyone will get lost in the shuffle. In keeping with the seeming ethos behind the new show, my Collision roster includes loads of talented wrestlers who haven’t been showcased prominently in AEW so far for whatever reason. This should make for a fresh feeling show with performers constantly putting in full effort to showcase that they are deserving of these top spots. Saturday night’s alright for fighting, and there’ll be some damn great fighting.


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