The WWE Draft will take place on Tuesday’s debut episode of SmackDown Live. The draft marks the first WWE brand split since 2011, when the SmackDown roster re-joined Monday Night Raw.
There are many unanswered questions entering the draft, including what will happen with the women’s division. We do know that every female superstar will be eligible for the draft, including Women’s Champion Charlotte. So will the champion work both shows?
There’s speculation that there will be separate male world champions on each show, but there hasn’t even been a rumor of either show adding a second women’s title. That’s not surprising given that the main female roster is already thin in depth.
Then again, it seems like WWE has actually put effort into booking superstars other than Charlotte and whoever the No. 1 contender is in recent weeks. Becky Lynch and Natalya are currently involved in a feud that will be showcased separately from Charlotte and Dana Brooke’s tag-team match against Sasha Banks and her mystery partner.
Perhaps WWE is capable of having a separate feud on each show every week. But the problem of having limited participants needs to be addressed.
Fortunately, the company announced that six NXT superstars will be eligible for the draft. The two most obvious choices are former NXT Women’s Champion Bayley and current champion Asuka. Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss are two other names that many fans are throwing out as well.
But let’s assume Bayley and Asuka fill a spot on Raw and SmackDown, while the other four go to the likes of Finn Balor, American Alpha, Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura — or other male superstars on the cusp of being called up. The two women will likely be added to separate shows, perhaps with Shane or Stephanie McMahon drafting one as retaliation for their sibling drafting the other.
My guess is that WWE will want to have at least two of the Four Horsewomen on each show. So perhaps Banks and Charlotte are on Raw while Lynch and Bayley are on SmackDown. Or Banks and Bayley on SmackDown and Charlotte and Lynch on Raw. Or any other split combination involving the four competitors.
In that scenario, WWE has at least two capable female competitors on each show. It can then insert Asuka on one brand and Natalya on the other.
Nikki Bella is also expected to be cleared to return from her spinal injury soon. If nothing else, Bella brings name recognition and experience back to the division. Let’s also not forget that Paige is still employed by WWE and can compete on other show once the company decides to use her as well.
The brand split could create a stronger presence for women’s wrestling in WWE if handled properly. There is a chance that WWE can have four women consistently booked on each show and, given that the rosters will be smaller, would be able to book multiple segments each week.
Even if the split has the Women’s Champion working both shows, it still creates more opportunities for the others to get consistent on-screen time while adding some depth to the main roster.