Night 1 of the 2023 WWE Draft is in the books. The SmackDown leg of the two-night event had some predictable picks, such as Roman Reigns being drafted as #1. It also brought its fair share of surprises, such as the NXT women’s singles and tag team champions being drafted to RAW and SmackDown respectively.
The WWE Universe was left buzzing at the new possibilities opened up by the events of Night 1. Fans were also left with a bunch of questions in the aftermath, some of which may be answered on Monday, and others in the coming weeks.
Here are five of the biggest questions after Night 1 of the 2023 WWE Draft, and their likely answers
#5: Will Bobby Lashley challenge Roman Reigns at Night of Champions 2023?
Bobby Lashley was drafted to WWE Smackdown as the 8th overall pick. This excited many fans because Lashley will be on the same brand as the 971-day reigning Undisputed Universal champion, Roman Reigns. The All Mighty is one of the few true main event talents in the company yet to challenge The Tribal Chief in the latter’s historic reign.
This raises the question: Will Bobby Lashley be Reigns’ challenger at Night of Champions 2023? It would be a fresh feud, one fit to headline any premium live event! However, the company is likely to reserve this feud for a bigger traditional premium live event like Summerslam.
For the Night of Champions, someone like AJ Styles, who has entered the veteran stage of his career and has a stable to oppose The Bloodline, could be the answer.
#4: How will WWE handle the Bianca Belair and Rhea Ripley swap?
On Night 1 of the 2023 Draft, WWE SmackDown shockingly drafted RAW Women’s champion, Bianca Belair. This means the red brand is almost guaranteed to draft SmackDown Women’s champion Rhea Ripley as its top women’s champion.
This brought back memories of the last draft, when then-RAW and SmackDown women’s champions Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch switched brands. This led to their infamous title swap segment, the latest in a series of poorly received ones.
It was thus surprising to see a brand-specific champion get drafted to a different show again. Fans are wondering how the company will navigate this hurdle this time round, and what they will do differently. The likely answer? The company might do the usual swap, this time with no off-script shenanigans.
#3: Will the drafted NXT champions relinquish their titles?
In one of the more shocking picks of Night 1, NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn were drafted to WWE SmackDown in the third round. Immediately after that, newly crowned NXT Women’s champion Indi Hartwell was drafted to RAW, much to Shawn Michaels’ heartbreak (no pun intended). This leaves the Heartbreak Kid without any of his women’s champions.
How will the third brand handle this swerve? Will the champions pull double duty until they lose their titles? Will they defend the championships on the main roster? The most likely answer here is that the champions will be forced to vacate their titles to keep them strong in their transition to the main roster.
#2: Which legends will show up on WWE RAW to conduct the draft?
Night 1 of the 2023 WWE Draft added a new twist to the event. Instead of being conducted by authority figures like in years past, this edition was conducted by legends. The draft opened with Triple H, who announced the first round of picks. RVD and Michael Hayes announced the second round before JBL and Teddy Long conducted the third.
Shawn Michaels, together with Road Dogg, conducted the final round, finishing off the first night of the draft. Fans were left wondering which legends will show up to conduct Monday’s leg of the draft. Will it be The Rock? Stone Cold Steve Austin? Cyndi Lauper? Donald Trump? Probably none of this, but it will be interesting to see who it is, for sure!
#1: Will The Bloodline break up?
Apart from Night 1 of the draft, WWE SmackDown also featured a WrestleMania rematch between The Usos and Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. After weeks of assuring the WWE Universe that they would reclaim their gold in honor of Roman Reigns, the eight-time champions fell short. This left fans wondering how The Tribal Chief will react, and what Usos’ fate will be.
The first sign of trouble is the fact that Jimmy and Jey will be drafted on Night 2 while the rest of The Bloodline was drafted on Night 1. Night 2 could see the record-breaking former tag team champions drafted to RAW as punishment for their failure at The Tribal Chief’s request. This would be a huge event in The Bloodline story, and would definitely make for interesting viewing going forward.