The 2023 WWE Draft will begin on the 28th April episode of SmackDown and conclude on May 1st on RAW. Across all three televised brands, any superstar could undergo a potentially career-altering change of environment. Champions could be displaced from their kingdoms, developmental talents called up, old rivalries rekindled, and new ones forged.
The draft is a minefield of opportunity, possibility and change, but not all of it is necessarily good. Some picks could result in moves that hamper the talent involved and/or the company at large. It would thus be prudent for Triple H and co. to avoid some missteps that could derail the hype and excitement around the event.
Here are three of the biggest mistakes WWE must avoid as they conduct the 2023 Draft
#3: Depleting the WWE NXT roster:
— Sportskeeda Wrestling (@SKWrestling_) April 26, 2023
NXT has been through some drastic changes since the last WWE draft in October 2021. The developmental brand had just undergone a considerable revamp at the time, ushering a new era. Gone was the gritty, sports-based black-and-gold era, and in was a flashier style more aligned with the main roster, based on larger-than-life characters.
The NXT roster has since come into its own, routinely attracting 500 to 600 thousand viewers, headlined by the likes of Bron Breakker. Stars like Breakker, Carmelo Hayes, and more are a big reason for its success. Fans have connected with and gotten used to their characters. and it would be a mistake, at least in the short term, to draft all these stars at once and leave the roster depleted.
One can argue that the likes of Tony D’Angelo and new future recruits will step up and fill the void, but this isn’t guaranteed. If all the current top star power is drafted, the best solution would be to send some underutilized veterans from the main roster to NXT. Having the likes of Dana Brooke, Tozawa and Aaliyah rebuild their momentum on Tuesday nights would benefit them as well as the brand.
#2: Missing an opportunity to split the WWE Unified Tag Team Titles
Over the past year, WWE’s biggest booking problem has been the dilemma of what to do about its undisputed titles. In the main event scene, the company has been torn between ending Roman Reigns’ generational reign the right way and having a world champion on each brand. This has led to the revival of the World Heavyweight title, whose first holder will be crowned at Night of Champions.
The tag team situation is a bit less complicated since The Usos’ historic reign has already ended at the hands of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Given that they are in possession of a babyface team that stands against everything The Bloodline represents, the company has a unique opportunity to split the titles.
Should they retain against The Usos, Zayn and Owens should vacate the set of titles belonging to the brand to which they will not be drafted. This would set in motion a tournament to crown new champions, possibly culminating in Saudi Arabia. It would not only boost their popularity with the fans but also drive the final nail into The Bloodline’s long-running tyranny over the tag division.
#1: WWE must avoid repeating the mistakes of previous drafts
Becky Lynch confirms the reports about Charlotte going against the script in the title exchange.
Becky was supposed to grab the title off Charlotte and hold both titles up before throwing a title at Charlotte. Charlotte would’ve challenged Becky and Becky would’ve backed away. pic.twitter.com/T6qGIwiwYg
— Andrew (@bigtimeEST) January 28, 2022
“A mistake repeated more than once is a decision” – Paulo Coelho
Of all the mistakes WWE must avoid in the 2023 draft, top priority must be given to avoiding mistakes that have proven costly in the past. The company has made some picks in past that have proven to be unpopular with fans, and must not be repeated. These mishaps have been met with varying levels of disapproval, ranging from mild disappointment to searing derision.
Moves such as splitting up fan-favorite tag teams for no apparent reason and poor star power distribution between brands came off as poorly planned, angering fans. The infamously awkward championship exchange between Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch is another fiasco from the 2021 draft that should be avoided. The company must find a way to make logical and story-driven picks, especially when it comes to champions with brand-specific titles.
The company is unlikely to have this problem with Rhea Ripley and Bianca Belair, who are widely expected to stay on SmackDown and RAW respectively.