There have been rumours circulating for some time now regarding WWE holding another Draft, or ‘Superstar Shake-Up’ if you will (although we’d prefer you didn’t).
It has been quite successful in the past in terms of viewership and social media buzz as it creates a conversation of who will go where and what they will do.
So, with a draft reportedly set to happen sometime this year, here is how I think WWE should book it. There will be a draft on each show so this piece will be split into three parts, mainly due to length.
For starters, I understand Raw is an hour longer, however in terms of space for talent, there isn’t so much more than they need to have three picks for every two Smackdown and NXT get. It makes more sense if you want to have all brands be equal that they get equal picks.
Personally, I liked the idea they used during the last draft of the ‘War Rooms’ of the networks deciding who they want on their show. At the end of the day, most fans know nowadays that the networks do have some influence over these decisions, so I like the idea of having them visibly involved.
I would, however, go back to the old format of one voice on each show announcing the picks. William Regal (or Triple H) for NXT, and then name someone to oversee Smackdown and oversee Raw. Not necessarily a general manager but someone in a position of authority over each show.
Now the last draft, although it had a good premise, felt really clunky. They hadn’t ironed out the fine details of how to organise everything.
How I would do it is, on Raw, announce the draft and have the entire show focused around it. I would start with an elimination match between the three men’s world champions of each brand. First eliminated is last to pick.
Another thing I personally like is the round of drafts. 6 drafts per round, two per brand.
One thing I would establish is that the champions are exempt from being drafted (more on that later). It just makes it obvious where certain people will go, for example, if the Intercontinental Champion gets drafted to Raw, you know the US Champion is getting drafted to Smackdown.
It also avoids the NXT brand-specific champions clearly being excluded as they obviously won’t be going anywhere. For the purposes of this article, I will assume there have been no title changes before the draft so by default you will have:
- Raw – Drew McIntyre, Apollo Crews, Sasha Banks
- Smackdown – Braun Strowman, AJ Styles, Bayley
- NXT – Keith Lee, Io Shirai, and whoever wins the North American title (for this article we’ll say Damian Priest)
You may have noticed that the Tag Team Champions are not here. More on that later.
Another thing is, if you want to treat it as a reset button essentially, each brand will need to draft their own stars back to their brand. As of the start of Raw, everyone is a free agent.
It’s worth noting as well that in terms of tag teams, they will all be drafted individually. It adds a bit of suspense if you draft one before the other and also if you do want to separate a certain team, this allows you to do that.
So, without further ado, on to the first round of picks.
- Raw – Roman Reigns and Asuka
- Smackdown – Adam Cole and Charlotte Flair
- NXT – Johnny Gargano and Candice Le Rae
Now, once the announcements are made, I would have the Superstars be seen going into a meeting with the network that has drafted them. Have the commentators explain that this is to negotiate a deal with the network.
I wouldn’t feature any matches on the show as I feel it just makes things a bit messy. Instead, I would fill the space with stars essentially selling themselves to whichever network they would rather go to with promo packages and interviews backstage.
Second round of drafts go as follows:
- Raw – Seth Rollins and Shayna Baszler
- Smackdown – Aleister Black and Rhea Ripley
- NXT – Karrion Kross (w/ Scarlett) and Mia Yim
It is worth mentioning at this point that non-competing managers (eg. Scarlett, Paul Heyman, and Zelina Vega) do not count as a draft pick.
The final round of draft picks for the night are:
- Raw – Andrade (w/ Zelina Vega) and Bobby Lashley
- Smackdown – Shelton Benjamin and Drew Gulak
- NXT – Mercedes Martinez and Dexter Lumis
Over the next two days (Tuesday and Wednesday) announce some minor picks on social media and keep the buzz going. Smaller names, most of whom staying where they are but the most notable changes I would make are Mustafa Ali to NXT, Sheamus to Raw and Angel Garza to Smackdown.
I think it is time to pull the trigger on an Angel Garza singles run. I would keep Zelina Vega with Andrade as he needs her more than Garza does but I wouldn’t have the ‘fall out’ or anything like that just yet.
That concludes the first lot of drafts. Please stay tuned for the second and third, coming soon.