When WWE SmackDown goes live on July 19, it will also be the same night that each member of the roster will find out their future moving forward.
The WWE announced in a press release this morning that a draft will take place on the inaugural live SmackDown on USA Network this July 19. On that night, two general managers — one assigned to each to each show — will pluck names from the WWE roster to create a unique show comprised of its own superstars each week.
It’s expected but not confirmed that Shane and Stephanie McMahon will be the two people who run SmackDown and RAW.
“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,” WWE Executive Producer Kevin Dunn said in the press release.
— WWE (@WWE) June 20, 2016
There has been a lot of speculation regarding which names will end up on RAW and SmackDown moving forward. With each show requiring an adequate amount of superstars to fill out rosters, there have been discussions that performers from NXT, the WWE’s developmental brand, will be promoted to the main roster
“I suppose anything is possible,” current NXT superstar Austin Aries said about a potential main roster call-up during a recent appearance on the Wrestling Compadres Slamcast. “I’d never rule out anything in this industry. I haven’t heard anything. I think, just like everybody else, you read speculation and conjecture and you just kind of wait till you hear something definitive. So, I’m ready for whatever they put in front of me.”
Also, as reported yesterday by the Inquisitr, the WWE has contacted several veterans about potential returns to the company. The big four names were revealed to be Kurt Angle, WWE 2K17 pre-order special Bill Goldberg, Jeff Hardy, and Rey Mysterio. Other names such as MVP, Carlito, Mr. Kennedy (Anderson), and Stevie Richards have also reportedly been contacted.
While Hardy (TNA) and Mysterio (Lucha Underground) are currently with other promotions, Angle and Goldberg are currently free agents. Angle has spoken about wanting to retire in WWE, and the most recent reports have suggested that WWE is considering a three-man unit — similar to Team Angle — with Angle and former NXT Tag Team champions American Alpha (Chad Gable and Jason Jordan).
— Kurt Angle (@RealKurtAngle) June 15, 2016
As for Goldberg, the recent announcement that the former WCW champion will be in WWE 2K17 has created a lot of buzz about a return. In recent years, guys like Brock Lesnar, Sting, and Ultimate Warrior ended up coming back to WWE after initially agreeing to be a part of a WWE video game. Speculation is that Goldberg, if he returned, would be utilized in a special one-off appearance or match. However, in a recent interview with WWE.com, Goldberg said his body could handle a lot more than one match.
“I’ve got 50 more [matches] in me. It just depends on the ability to keep it up to my standards. I love everybody to death and I greatly appreciate their opinions, but none of it matters except for mine, because I hold myself to such high standards.”
Regardless of how this upcoming brand split is examined, the WWE will see an infusion of new blood, new matches, and unique content as the two shows look to carve out their own niche.
“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,” Chris McCumber, President, Entertainment Networks, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment said in the aforementioned press release.
[Image via WWE]