WWE Releases Rules for WWE Draft 2021

The 2021 WWE Draft officially begins on tonight's episode of Friday Night SmackDown. The company's social media team released a video ahead of the episode explaining the rules for this year's event, which are similar to the past two installments. Only half of the active roster will be eligible for selection on tonight's SmackDown, while the other half will be up for grabs on next week's Raw (WWE has yet to disclose which wrestlers are on which half, stay tuned). It was also confirmed that any wrestler not picked on either night will be declared a free agent and can freely sign with whichever roster they choose. 

Finally, as a bit of a twist this year, the results of the Draft will not go into effect until Oct. 22, the day after this year's Crown Jewel pay-per-view in Saudi Arabia. This opens the door for feuds like Becky Lynch vs. Bianca Belair vs. Sasha Banks and Big E vs. Drew McIntyre to continue up through that event without forcing people to jump back and forth between shows each week. 

There was no mention of NXT 2.0 in the announcement video, though reports popped up earlier this week stating quite a few members of the developmental roster are expected to be called up. Despite being positioned as the company's third brand for several years, NXT has never played an active role in the Draft since the WWE Brand Split was reintroduced back in 2016. 

WWE president Nick Khan discussed WWE's plans for NXT's revamp as NXT 2.0 during SummerSlam weekend while speaking with Ariel Helwani. 

"We are doing a complete revamp on NXT, led by Triple H, who is really one of the architects of the original NXT. What we found — it's part of why we did the tryout yesterday — what we want to make sure is easy for folks who want to be WWE Superstars, is figuring out how to become WWE Superstars," Khan said.

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"In terms of an NXT re-brand, look for it in the next couple of weeks. It's going to have a whole new look, it's going to have a whole new feel — and we believe — because of a lot of the indie wrestlers, if you will, have come through our system and are in our system with SmackDown and Raw now. We don't want to just keep doing that same thing, we want to look elsewhere for great, young talent," he continued.