The WWE Draft, or Superstar Shake-up as it has been called in recent years, has been WWE's way of switching wrestlers from one roster to another ever since the initial brand split back in 2002. However when Vince McMahon introduced the Wild Card Rule back in April that allowed certain wrestlers to jump back and forth each it, it all but destroyed the brand split between Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live that had been maintained since 2016.
With SmackDown on its way to FOX in October, reports have been popping up for months that WWE plans on reinforcing the brand split in the near future. POST Wrestling's John Pollock and Wrestling Observer Newsletter's Dave Meltzer both reported on Wednesday that WWE tentatively has a draft scheduled for the Oct. 11 episode of SmackDown and the Oct. 14 episode of Raw.
SmackDown will make its premiere on FOX the week prior on Oct. 4. The episode will also serve as the SmackDown 20th Anniversary special, and will feature returning legends such as Hulk Hogan, Sting, Goldberg, Mick Foley, Ric Flair, Kurt Angle, Trish Stratus, Lita, Booker T and Jerry Lawler.
There's no word yet if NXT will be invovled in the draft this time around. The Yellow Brand is moving to the USA Network on Sept. 18, and NXT Champion Adam Cole said in a recent interview with ComicBook.com that the concept of "call-ups" to the main roster is essentially going away.
"I think what this does is this solidifies NXT to what a lot of us have been saying for a long time, and that's that NXT is the third brand, I mean, a legitimate third brand," Cole said. "And we've been saying that time and time again, but now, the proof is right there. You have, Raw, SmackDown, and NXT, all three shows on major television networks, and this just furthers the development of the brand that NXT is growing into. At this point, I would look at it as a move to Raw or SmackDown, not so much a call up with NXT getting this giant move to the USA Network."
Numerous wrestlers have commented on the Wild Card Rule since it was first introduced, including reigning Universal Champion Seth Rollins.
"The Wild Card really muddled things up, to be honest with you," Rollins said in an interview with Newsweek. "Now you're seeing those guys every single week. It used to feel special when I see the New Day but now they're eating pancakes backstage every chance they get on Monday and I'm not a fan of that. But no, it's great that there's so much talent across both brands. I think once you see the move to Fox it's really going to tighten down as far as best Wild Card options and stuff like. It's really cool to see things come together now and get these cool match ups you might not get in October or November."