WWE is gearing up for a big move to FOX networks starting next month when SmackDown Live premiers on Friday nights on FOX. The move has become the talk of the industry, and the debut episode on October 4 will be a celebration of SmackDown’s 20-year anniversary.
The Wild Card Rule was rumored to be ‘phased-out slowly’ before SmackDown moves to FOX, and no major changes would be made to either roster. However, according to the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, WWE is planning to conduct a fresh draft to create separate rosters.
“Right now there is a concept of another draft type of thing to build permanent Raw and Smackdown rosters. What we were originally told is that they wouldn’t be making major changes, but some changes, but this is Vince. Everything is being kept quiet and USA and FOX will be the first to know when the concept is decided.”
WWE conducted a draft in 2016 when the brand split was brought back. A proper brand-split was in effect until April this year, when the Wild Card Rule was introduced by WWE to boost the falling ratings.
The much-criticized Wild-Card Rule allowed superstars to switch brands, which led to the same stories being played out on RAW as well as SmackDown. However, FOX and USA won’t be willing to share their superstars with one another, and hence, a ‘hard’ brand split will make a return to WWE television in a month’s time.
WWE’s draft episodes have always been interesting and have drawn huge numbers, which makes the possibility of another draft episode exciting. The WWE Universe will be curious to see where the top superstars like Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar, and Becky Lynch end up on.
Will Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff take the podium during the Draft Day? Only time will tell!