Recap of WWE Draft 2k23: Raw and SmackDown Titles Switch Brands


Recap of WWE Draft 2k23: Raw and SmackDown Titles Switch Brands
Recap of WWE Draft 2k23: Raw and SmackDown Titles Switch Brands

The WWE Draft is underway, marking the annual roster reset for the professional wrestling organization. The draft began on SmackDown with a limited pool of available superstars, ranging from top champions to NXT prospects. The first overall pick went to Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns, who will remain on SmackDown alongside enforcer Solo Sikoa and special counsel Paul Heyman.

Reigns' Undisputed WWE Universal Championship will also stay on Friday nights. Monday Night Raw receives the newly announced WWE World Heavyweight Championship, which will be competed for by Raw superstars. The inaugural champion will be crowned next month at WWE Night of Champions.

The first draft round also saw Raw Women's Champion Bianca Belair selected by SmackDown, indicating that SmackDown Women's Champion Rhea Ripley will likely head to Raw during the second night of the draft. This could repeat what happened in 2021 when then-Raw Women's Champion Charlotte Flair and then-SmackDown Women's Champion Becky Lynch swapped championships after being drafted to opposite brands.

Alternatively, new titles could be introduced, as rumors suggest that WWE is planning to retire the "Raw" and "SmackDown" labels for its titles. This would mean that the women's division prizes could be rebranded as the "WWE Women's World Championship" and the "WWE Women's Universal Championship."

Mid-Card Titles Shuffle Brands in WWE Draft

The trend of championships changing brands continued in the mid-card men's division, as WWE Intercontinental Champion Gunther and Imperium were drafted to Raw, making it highly likely that WWE United States Champion Austin Theory will head to SmackDown on Monday.

This has been common during past drafts and "superstar shake-ups," with WWE frequently flip-flopping the Intercontinental and United States Titles. Even NXT titleholders felt the impact of the draft, as NXT Women's Tag Team Champions Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn were called up to SmackDown.

At the same time, the recently-injured NXT Women's Champion, Indi Hartwell, was selected by Raw. It remains to be seen what will happen to their championships, as they will likely either be stripped of their titles or lose them before heading to the main roster.

The WWE Draft is always exciting for wrestling fans, setting the stage for new storylines and rivalries. With championships changing brands and superstars moving to new homes, the landscape of WWE is sure to look very different in the coming weeks and months.

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