Tonight on Friday Night SmackDown and on Monday Night RAW, WWE will hold the 14th draft of its history. In April 2019, the WWE held the Superstar Shake-up, a draft between WWE’s brands with decisions made behind the scenes. Shortly after the Shake-up, Vince McMahon introduced a Wild Card Rule, in which up to 4 wrestlers would be allowed to appear on the opposing brand’s show by invitation for one night only with unsanctioned appearances penalized.
With SmackDown’s move to FOX and RAW remaining on the USA Network, WWE decided to hold a second draft for 2019 to definitively split the 2 brands. No more Wild Card Rule, no more wrestlers appearing on both shows, after Monday Night RAW, every wrestler will have one and only brand. So Red or Blue?
How is going to happen?
This Draft is not going to be a General Manager thing. Fourteen-time MLB All-Star and FOX analyst Alex Rodriguez, “Saturday Night Live’s” Michael Che and Colin Jost of “Weekend Update” segments, “Mr. Robot’s” Christian Slater, “NFL on FOX’s” Joe Buck and Pro Football Hall of Famer Troy Aikman, and “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer are among the celebrities set to take part of the shows. Of course, choices will be made by WWE…
What are the rules of this Draft?
The rules of the draft are the following:
- SmackDown will receive 30 picks, while RAW will receive 41.
- For every two draft picks for SmackDown, Raw will receive three picks (due to SmackDown being a two-hour show, while RAW is three hours).
- Tag teams count as one pick unless FOX or USA specifically only want a single member from the team as their pick.
- Any undrafted wrestlers will immediately be declared free agents and able to sign with the brand of their choosing.
Who is involved in the Draft?
Over 70 wrestlers from the RAW and SmackDown rosters, as well as tag teams, are eligible to be drafted, including all champions (although the WWE 24/7 Champion and WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions are eligible to be drafted, they will still defend their respective titles across the brands). The drafting pool was divided between the broadcasts of SmackDown and RAW, with wrestlers only able to be drafted on the show they are listed for.
Below is the full list of draft-eligible Superstars organized by assigned night:
Friday Night SmackDown – October 11 (draft results of that night available here)
Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross
RAW Women’s Champion Becky Lynch
“The Fiend” Bray Wyatt
Heavy Machinery (Tucker & Otis)
Lucha House Party (Kalisto, Gran Metalik, Lince Dorado)
The B-Team (Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel)
The O.C. (United States Champion AJ Styles, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson)
SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder)
The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins)
The Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar)
RAW – October 14
AOP (Akam & Rezar)
SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley
WWE Champion Brock Lesnar
Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder
Raw Tag Team Champions Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode
Fire & Desire (Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville)
No Way José
Universal Champion Seth Rollins
Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura (with Sami Zayn)
The IIconics (Billie Kay & Peyton Royce)
WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka & Kairi Sane)
The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Big E & Xavier Woods)
What are the matches already announced for the Draft shows?
Seth Rollins (representing RAW) faces Roman Reigns (representing SmackDown) in the opening match of this week’s WWE Draft episode of Friday Night SmackDown on FOX, and the victorious Superstar will earn the first overall pick for the corresponding brand. As Universal Champion, Seth Rollins could be drafted to SmackDown, as well as the title.
Following her defeat over Bayley for the SmackDown Women’s Title this past Sunday at WWE Hell in a Cell, Charlotte Flair will square off with her longtime rival in a rematch tonight on Friday Night SmackDown on FOX. Can Bayley end The Queen’s history-making tenth title reign only five days after Charlotte recaptured the title?
Also on RAW, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks will face off one more time this Monday on RAW to determine which brand gets the first pick to begin Night 2 of the WWE Draft. The Viking Raiders will challenge Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode for the RAW Tag Team Titles. Following a non-title victory over Ziggler & Roode this Monday, Erik & Ivar have received their first opportunity at the Raw Tag Team Championships. As The Viking Raiders are currently on RAW, like Bobby Roode, and Dolph Ziggler is on SmackDown, cards could be shuffled and the fate of the title totally change.
This Draft will once again completely change the face of the 2 rosters. But unlike the April shake-up, this time there will be no more surprises. A few months ago, Seth Rollins pointed out the Wild Card Rule quickly “muddled things up.” After Monday night, a Red wrestler will always compete in the Red show, same for a Blue one. We can expect one brand to have a stronger roster than the other, with some wrestlers being less on the spotlight than others. But, after Monday night, the time of breaking the rules will be over. One wrestler, one brand, no more Wild Card.
All pics and videos courtesy of WWE