Bengaluru, September 1: The pro-wrestling industry is up for a big change in 2019 fall with Smackdown moving to FOX Sports from its home territory of USA Network. An imminent change is expected around WWE programming as the hosts will be presenting the show in a way to cater to the mainstream audience. But that’s not the only big change happening in the upcoming months.
NXT will be airing on the USA Network live each week for 2 hours in prime time removing its 'developmental' tag and thereby becoming the third brand representing WWE. It will leave the WWE Network’s Wednesday slot to go into a war with the All Elite Wrestling rival brand who’s also launching their debut show on TNT Network on the same weekday. Wrestling fandom can expect a packed TV rating war between these two programs.
WWE is likely to go all-out to garner attention from the fanbase as the talks are back to host a second WWE Draft in due course. A 'hard brand split’ is being nurtured ahead of Smackdown moving to FOX and NXT moving to USA Network. Most probably, this could take place around the Clash of Champions PPV event to make WWE programming more interesting. According to the latest reports from Wrestling Observer Newsletter, September will be the month that the brand extension should find its way back.
The last time WWE hosted a Draft was in the form of the Superstar Shakeup that took place on April 2019. Just after a week, the Wild Card Rule was introduced by Vince McMahon that allowed superstars to make cross-brand appearances which made a complete joke out of the roster split. So the prime reason to bring back WWE Draft should be to wipe out the bitter taste of this rule.
Additionally, the upcoming WWE Draft may help the NXT brand, as well which will be in a direct war with All Elite Wrestling on Wednesday nights. WWE might allow more main roster names to enjoy their times on the third brand to bring more competitions, there. There have been recent talks to allow the unutilized superstars back to the NXT that could make the show even more interesting. So, the Draft may witness reverse process where Raw and Smackdown superstars go back to the show run by Triple H. More news on this should be available in due course as we wait for official statements from WWE.