Columnist Rob Pasbani catches you up on all the wrestling news heading into the weekend,
The WWE Draft is back tonight for the first time in two years. The last time WWE did the draft was in October of 2021. With all the backstage changes last year, WWE decided to not do the draft. In past years, the Draft would confusingly happen right before WWE Survivor Series, which would then have brand vs. brand matches, with wrestlers who were just on the opposite brand a month ago.
This time, WWE wisely chose to start the draft after WrestleMania, which seems more logical. Still, because WWE has two masters to serve in Fox and USA Network, they will once again be splitting the draft over two nights on Smackdown tonight and Raw this Monday. Expect a surprise as well: former General Manager Teddy Long is expected to appear in front of the camera.
While we don’t know which NXT superstars are eligible for the draft, WWE has made public which superstars will be eligible to be drafted tonight and which will only be eligible to be drafted on Monday.
Here is the list:
Night One: Friday on SmackDown
Night Two: This Monday on Raw
The most interesting note about this list is that Roman Reigns and Solo Sikoa are listed together on Friday and the Usos are listed together on Monday. Could we see a split in the Bloodline? All of the other factions seem to be paired together. I can see Judgment Day moving over to Smackdown permanently to continue their feud with the LWO. Perhaps Imperium will come to Raw and Austin Theory will be drafted to Smackdown to switch the secondary belts.
PWInsider is reporting that AJ Styles is backstage at Smackdown tonight, so expect him to make an appearance in front of the crowd.
Either way, it will be a fun and noteworthy weekend for WWE.
Last week, I reported the news that CM Punk is scheduled to make his AEW return on June 17th for a new two-hour block of primetime programming on Saturday nights on TNT, likely called AEW Collision. But, it looks like he won’t be the only big name making a comeback.
Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports that June 17th at the United Center will not just see CM Punk show up, but “what is expected to be either another major name debut or return.”
Major stars to return would be Andrade el Idolo or Paul Wight. Both seem like a bit of a let down for the “major” moniker. Could this be where we see the debut of Kota Ibushi in AEW? Omega has been very very subtly dropping hints about reaching out to Ibushi and Ibushi himself has publicly said he really wants to work in AEW and that is his likely destination, especially with the big All In show at Wembley Stadium.
It’s expected that CM Punk and FTR will be the headliners of the Saturday show with The Elite and the Blackpool Combat Club headlining the Wednesday show. The working plan is for CM Punk’s first feud to be with Chris Jericho and the Jericho Appreciation Society. Jericho and Punk met earlier this week and the meeting went well. Jericho was not at Dynamite this week, as his segment was taped ahead of time.
Dave Meltzer reports that the show will be on TNT, which will also continue to carry Rampage on Friday nights.
We have about two months to wait until we get answers.
AEW Rampage on Friday airs at an early time, 6:30pm eastern on TNT
WWE Smackdown next Friday at 8pm on Fox announced:
WWE RAW on Monday at 8pm announced:
Rumors have surfaced that one of the possible main events for WrestleMania 40 in Philly next year would be the rematch between Cody Rhodes and Roman Reigns. It’s still very early, and plans change!
CBS Minneapolis is reporting that the city is being considered as a finalist for WrestleMania 41 in 2025.
Look for an angle tonight to set up a cage match between Jon Moxley and Kenny Omega in the next few weeks based on these promos posted to social media.
Roderick Strong made his surprise debut in AEW on Dynamite on Wednesday. Many people backstage in both AEW and WWE were shocked his WWE contract had expired (or that he was released.) Roddy even came out to Killswitch Engage’s “The End of Heartache.”
Madcap Moss has reverted his name back to Riddick Moss, according to WWE.com
A wrestling fan on Reddit noted they went to an indie Lucha show last night and Kommander appeared to injure his knee. “He limped his way up the entranceway and was checked on. A few minutes later, he tried coming back to the ring but didn’t make it. He was limping pretty badly and an audible was called and he was no longer in the match.”
Will Ospreay hinted he will most likely work out a deal with New Japan when his contract is up early next year.
Braun Strowman suffered a concussion on Smackdown last week.
AEW’s Owen Hart Cup will kick off next month at the Double or Nothing PPV. It will be a men’s and women’s single elimination tournament. The brackets will likely be revealed during the PPV with the matches occurring during the AEW Canada tour in June.
A one-night tournament to determine the New Japan STRONG Women’s Champion was announced for the NJPW event in Long Beach next month, and will feature Mercedes Mone vs. Stephanie Vaquer & Momo Kohgo vs. Willow Nightingale in the semifinals and then the finals later that night. Mone is the favorite to win.
Brandon Thurston reports LWO is the top merch seller on WWE Shop for the third week in a row. With Backlash next weekend in Puerto Rico, its safe to expect that trend to continue.
The ten episodes of season four of Dark Side of the Ring have been announced. The series returns to Vice TV at 10 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday, May 30 featuring these subjects: