Backstage Note On Why So Few WWE Talents Switched Brands During First Draft Night

The first portion of the 2024 WWE Draft has officially concluded, and it seems that there are some people who were left disappointed. The April 26 "WWE SmackDown" featured both brands picking stars for their respective rosters, and despite the anticipation of a lot of chopping and changing between "WWE Raw" and "SmackDown," out of the 16 draft picks that were made on TV, only six actually saw a wrestler or team switch brands. Not only that, but during the supplemental draft that took place on social media, only two of the six picks that were made saw a brand switch.


This was reportedly all by design, as Fightful Select has reported that the notion of retaining familiar talent was important for the first night of drafting. However, when it comes to the April 29 "Raw" (the second part of the draft), there will be a lot more switches between brands, with a lot more "WWE NXT" talent expected to be integrated into the program. Of the 22 picks made on April 26, both on TV and on social media, only three picks involved "NXT." Those were Carmelo Hayes and Baron Corbin moving to "SmackDown," while Kiana James moved to "Raw."

The April 29 "Raw" is set to have more picks for both brands given that "Raw" is three hours long while "SmackDown" is only two, and there will also be a completely fresh pool of performers to choose from. The pool includes the likes of CM Punk, The Judgment Day, and Drew McIntyre from "Raw," Kevin Owens, Jade Cargill, and Damage CTRL from "SmackDown," and the entire "NXT" roster. The final rosters will be locked in after the Backlash Premium Live Event in Lyon, France on May 4, meaning the first night of finalized rosters will be the May 6 "Raw" in Hartford, Connecticut.