It was announced today by World Wrestling Entertainment that the WWE Draft will take place on July 19, which will be the first live edition of Smackdown when it moves to the USA Network. Smackdown will air live that Tuesday night at 8pm EST / 7pm CST. The Draft will be conducted by respective General Managers to determine which Superstars will end up on which brand. The article on WWE.com did not state whether or not Shane McMahon or Stephanie McMahon will be a General Manager, though. We have already seen on-air personalities make their return in order to lobby for the position so there is no telling whether or not they will proceed with Shane and Stephanie with their current on-air roles.
The live broadcast of Smackdown will also kick off a new initiative to where WWE will be holding special Pay-Per-View events for each brand, each month. So Monday Night Raw and Smackdown will each have their own special event. The only time where there will NOT be two Pay-Per-Views per month will be in January for the Royal Rumble, March/April for Wrestlemania, August for Summerslam and November for Survivor Series.
Kevin Dunn, WWE’s Executive Producer, had the following to say:
“This is an exciting mew era for WWE in which we will yet again reinvent ourselves by creating a second night of compelling live television.”
Chris McCumber, President of Entertainment Networks for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment also added:
“We’re already hearing the excitement among WWE fans for Smackdown’s new live format and our audiences are eagerly anticipating the live Draft and what it means for their favorite Superstars.”
There are no additional details on whether or not the title belts will be split again (i.e. WWE Title and the World Heavyweight Title) or if champions will appear on both shows. We would expect that information to be released during the live broadcast of Smackdown on July 19.