WWE is gearing up for big changes in the coming month, with several major updations to their weekly programming. NXT will move to USA Network in a two-hour block on Wednesday nights, while SmackDown will air on Friday nights on FOX.
It was recently reported that WWE is also planning to introduce a ‘hard’ brand split once again when SmackDown starts airing on FOX, and it seems like the wheels for those are already in motion. John Pollock from POST Wrestling reported earlier today that WWE is indeed planning on conducting a draft after SmackDown begins airing on FOX.
According to the report, WWE will be conducting a draft on the October 11 episode of SmackDown Live and the October 14 episode of Monday Night RAW. The SDL airing takes place from Las Vegas while the draft continues in Denver, Colorado the following week.
WWE initially held a draft in July 2016, before RAW and SmackDown Live went in separate directions with different rosters, championships, PPVs, etc. Brand Exclusive PPVs were eventually dropped, and WWE introduced the Wild Card Rule earlier this year, which effectively killed the separate rosters.
The widely criticized Wild Card Rule allowed the wrestlers to appear on different brands, which hampered the product overall. Superstars like Roman Reigns, Shane McMahon, etc. appeared on both shows to promote the same storyline, which was quite disappointing. WWE has dropped the mention of Wild Card Rule recently, but it still remains a fixture in WWE programming.
It is believed that USA Network and FOX won’t be willing to share their superstars with one another, which led to WWE deciding on a proper brand split once again. It will be interesting to see which shows the current top stars like Roman Reigns, Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins end up on.
SmackDown Live debuts on FOX on October 4, which will be the 20th Anniversary Special Episode of the blue brand.