Columnist Rob Pasbani recaps the full WWE draft for 2023 and analyzes which show came out on top.
The WWE Draft has concluded for 2023 and the rosters have been shaken up, relatively speaking. It seems like the middle of the card is relatively unchanged but the top of the lineups have been shuffled.
RAW Roster for 2023
SmackDown 2023 Roster
Brock Lesnar negotiated to be a free agent and to be able to go to whichever show he wants.
Meanwhile the following wrestlers are free agents available to be signed by either brand: Dolph Ziggler, Mustafa Ali, Von Wagner, Omos & MVP, Baron Corbin, Elias, Cedric Alexander, Shelton Benjamin, and NXT’s Xyon Quinn. Each of these stars will eventually land exclusively on one of the shows.
The ring announcers for both shows are also switching. Samantha Irvin will now be the ring announcer for Raw, while Mike Rome is moving to SmackDown.
It looks like the top of the RAW card will be Cody Rhodes, Drew McIntyre, Seth Rollins and Gunther, along with Becky Lynch and Rhea Ripley as the top women. On the Smackdown side, Roman is on top, along with Lashley, and the Usos. Arguably Rey Mysterio and Edge are also main eventers. It will be interesting to see how the shows will be affected by the roster changes and who ends up getting opportunities and who just ends up lost at sea.
Some questions need to be answered. What happens to the tag team titles? Are they only defended on Raw? Or will Zayn and Owens be allowed to go to Smackdown to do defenses against their teams? What about the women’s tag team titles? Also, will they do a weird belt swap again with Rhea and Bianca? I certainly hope not.
The big main event on this week’s episode of Nitro is Hulk Hogan defending the WCW World Title against Lex Luger. Tensions between Sting, Macho and Hulk rise as Fall Brawl: War Games is right around the corner.
Colin Young and Rob Pasbani are lifelong wrestling fans, and Jordan Olds is a newer fan who has never seen one episode of WCW Monday Nitro. Join the trio as we chronologically watch the entire series, week-by-week on our new show, Knotfest KNITRO. Listen to this episode here.
WWE NXT is tonight at 8pm on USA and it’s the last episode before the draft takes into effect next Monday.
AEW Dynamite has a big show on Wednesday at 8pm on TBS:
Impact Wrestling on Thursday at 8pm on AXS announced:
Smackdown is the final show before Backlash this Saturday, and has advertised:
WWE Backlash on Saturday at 8pm on Peacock announced:
We’ll have a full preview of Backlash on Squared Circle Pit later this week.
According to Dave Meltzer, tickets for AEW’s massive Wembley Stadium show All In went on pre-sale today and already sold 35,000 tickets. That has to be considered a great start for a show with no lineup yet.
CM Punk made headlines by showing up at the Impact tapings this weekend.
Congrats are in order for Carmella and Corey Graves, who announced Carmella is expecting their first child together. Carmella went on record last year saying she suffered a miscarriage and was off TV for a while as a result, so this is a very happy miracle for the couple.
“The Librarian” Leva Bates revealed her four-year contract with AEW expired. Expect to see some other long-time names in AEW have their contracts expire as their four-year deals come up.
Chris Jericho is announced to star in the new UPtv original film Country Hearts, according to Variety.