On Monday, WWE sent out a press release announcing that their much-anticipated roster draft for the upcoming brand split will be held on the first live SmackDown, which will air on Tuesday, July 19.
The destiny of all WWE Superstars will be determined on the first-ever live SmackDown on Tuesday, July 19 from 8-10 p.m. ET/PT on USA Network. A draft will be conducted by respective General Managers as to which talent will be chosen exclusively for Monday Night Raw® or SmackDown.
For the first time in history on back-to-back nights, these two distinctive brands (Monday Night Raw and Tuesday’s SmackDown) will compete with each other for television ratings, live events, and pay-per-views.
“This is an exciting new era for WWE in which we will yet again reinvent ourselves by creating a second night of compelling live television,” said Kevin Dunn, executive producer of WWE.
“We’re already hearing the excitement among WWE fans for SmackDown’s new live format, and our audiences are eagerly anticipating the live draft and what it means for their favorite Superstars,” said Chris McCumber, president of Entertainment Networks, NBC Universal Cable Entertainment.
Reports and rumors (mostly from the Wrestling Observer) have indicated that, just like during the drafts during the previous brand extension that lasted from 2002 to 2011, only the very top names in the company will be alerted ahead of time as to which show they will be on.
So mark your calendars and set your DVRs, everyone. The “new era” of WWE is officially arriving in just under one month. Start making careless bets with your good friends now.