Tomorrow night’s Smackdown on Fox will be the beginning of the new WWE brand draft, which will continue onto Monday Night Raw on USA three days later. The draft will divide up the WWE roster, supposedly once and for all, so that each brand and the network that hosts it will have their own set of WWE Superstars to play with. With it apparently comes the end of the so-called Wild Card Rule, which enabled movement back and forth between the brands for the past five months.
One thing we know for certain about tomorrow night’s Smackdown is that it will open with a match between close friends Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins. Roman will be representing Smackdown, with Seth fighting for Raw, and who wins will determine which brand gets first pick in the draft (which might feel slightly awkward if they don’t pick the guy who just won the match).
BREAKING: @WWERollins (representing #RAW) will face @WWERomanReigns (representing #SmackDown) in the opening match of Friday Night #SmackDown on @FOXTV for the rights to the first overall pick in the #WWEDraft!https://t.co/7ZpBcJzHLB
— WWE (@WWE) October 10, 2019
According to Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio, this year’s draft will be very different from previous WWE drafts, taking more cues from the NFL Draft. Meltzer adds that WWE isn’t interested in onscreen authority figures for Raw and Smackdown right now, which is probably for the best since Shane McMahon is the only one they’ve had on either show for months, and he just lost a loser-leaves-town ladder match.
Since there are no WWE authority figures, representatives of USA and Fox will announce the draft picks (more on that below). Meltzer also notes that all the big decisions regarding who goes where in the draft have already been made, but WWE is keeping it all secret, including from the roster, who apparently won’t know which brand they’ll be on until it’s announced on the show.
UPDATE: WWE and Fox Sports have now put out a press release detailing the celebrities who will be at the draft, and more details about how the whole thing will work:
Star-studded celebrity lineup, including Alex Rodriguez, Michael Che and Colin Jost, to take part in WWE Draft
The stars will be out for the WWE Draft.
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.
The WWE Draft will determine the rosters of Raw and SmackDown. It begins tomorrow on Friday Night SmackDown at 8 ET/5 PT on FOX and continues Monday on Raw at 8/7 C on USA Network.
Additional personalities scheduled to appear include:
- Kevin Burkhardt and Frank Thomas — FOX MLB analysts
- Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Jimmy Johnson and Tony Gonzalez — FOX NFL Sunday
- Ronde Barber, Charles Davis, Chris Spielman and Daryl Johnston — FOX NFL analysts
- Charissa Thompson, Michael Vick and Peter Schrager — FOX NFL Kickoff
- Rob Stone, Brady Quinn, Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart and Urban Meyer — Big Noon Kickoff
- Joel Klatt — FOX College Football analyst
- Dulé Hill of USA’s “Psych” and “Suits”
- James Roday of “Psych”
- Marcus Lemonis of “The Profit”
- Margaret Josephs and Melissa Gorga of “Real Housewives of New Jersey”
- Rodney Harrison and Chris Simms — Football Night in America
- Rebecca Lowe, Robbie Mustoe and Kyle Martino — Premier League Live
Below is the full list of WWE Draft rules:
- Over 70 Superstars, as well as tag teams, are eligible for selection in this year’s WWE Draft
- SmackDown will draft 30 Superstars, and Raw will select another 41 Superstars
- Since SmackDown is a two-hour show and Raw is a three-hour show, for every two picks SmackDown makes, Raw will receive three
- Tag teams will count as one pick unless FOX or USA Network specifically wants to pick only one Superstar from the team
- Any undrafted Superstars will immediately be declared free agents and able to sign with the brand of their choosing