The WWE 2023 draft has been announced for April 28th. Across Raw, SmackDown, and NXT, several superstars need the 2023 WWE draft to reset their characters or send them to the next level. Without any call-ups to Raw or Smackdown the week after WrestleMania, the draft day could be a turning point for WWE programming. Additionally, with the major changes coming to the business and industry after WWE’s massive deal with Endeavor, fans online will likely look for clues as to how WWE sees its future this year.
Although searching for business clues via WWE programming is probably a fool’s errand, tracking who WWE moves around and where they go is still important. Additionally, it will give fans new matches to revive the product and a better idea of who will be presented as a star and who has a long year ahead. Also, it could help separate some titles and reestablish a more consequential brand split. Let’s look at who could benefit from a shake-up in the 2023 WWE draft.
Who Needs to Move in the 2023 WWE Draft?
Read More: WWE Main Event Points to NXT Draft Call Ups
Grayson Waller to SmackDown
Leading into WrestleMania weekend, many people openly discussed some stars who could get called to the main roster. After NXT Stand and Deliver, the previously unmentioned Grayson Waller became the most apparent call-up on the roster. Waller will be in an NXT title match the Tuesday before the draft, the first of new champion Carmelo Hayes’s reign. His chances of winning are slim, but his stock as a superstar that needs the WWE draft for a change on Friday is exceptionally high.
With Bron Breakker turning heel on Hayes, one more match appears to be in the future for those two to let Bron build this new heel persona. Grayson Waller will be spinning his wheels as long as he is on NXT. He is not slated to win the NXT title anytime soon but is lightyears above the NXT North American Championship. Apart from paying off his feud with Shawn Micheals, he has nothing left on Tuesday nights. Calling him up and letting the main roster see him get his win back on Johnny Gargano is the only call that makes sense. With Miz TV already on Raw and an obnoxious yet charismatic heel potentially leaving Smackdown after the draft, Waller would likely find the most room to run on the blue brand.
Drew McIntyre to Raw
A lot has been made of Drew McIntyre since WrestleMania 39. Not because of his stellar match with Gunther and Sheamus, though. Instead, it is because his contract status has been revealed, along with rumors he’s unhappy with how negotiations are going. The idea of Drew going to AEW to become yet another Black Pool Combat Club member does very little for me, though many fans will disagree. Instead, Drew McIntyre should leave Sheamus and the Brutes behind for Monday nights.
After Triple H’s big announcement on Raw, the draft will create a new world title, with Roman Reigns’ Undisputed WWE Universal Championship becoming brand exclusive. Drew should head to Raw to be the inaugural champion for the new World Heavyweight Title. Drew’s run against the Bloodline has already ended so it won’t ruin any potential top stories for Roman Reigns. Drew was part of a select few names that came close to beating Reigns in years, bolstering his credibility. Also, his penchant for producing banger after banger will help establish any new division as must-see television while giving McIntrye a reason to stick around. Having McInture as a World Champion can help him recapture his former glory, something no other company could do.
Alexa Bliss to NXT
WWE has done nothing with Alexa Bliss in literally months. That is why Alexa Bliss is the perfect example of a superstar that needs the 2023 WWE draft. She was paired with Asuka for a while in 2022, and after failing to capture the Raw Women’s Championship at the Royal Rumble, she essentially disappeared. Bliss has made sporadic appearances outside the ring, including on the Masked Singer this season. Additionally, she has had some medical procedures done, which may explain part of the absence. However, before her departure, everything pointed to a Bray Wyatt reunion that may no longer be on the table.
When Bliss returns, it is unlikely they will have anything substantially different on the books from when she left. Bianca Belair is still the top woman in the division, and Bray Wyatt has still not revealed his “Wyatt Six” faction. Instead of waiting around with nothing to do, Bliss should head back to NXT for a run as champion. Bliss was still best known as Wesley Blake and Buddy Murphy’s valet when she left NXT. The character that launched her into superstardom had just been created and was really a main roster gimmick. Giving her a run as champion will be invaluable to the NXT division. Also, it lets her fans see her wrestle again in a gimmick she perfected. For WWE’s trouble, they free her up to continue her work outside of the ring in other walks of entertainment.
Seth Rollins to SmackDown
Seth Rollins is still really popular among WWE fans, even though he hasn’t done much over the past year. He managed to keep the company grounded while Roman Reigns was away and had people interested in Austin Theory as United States Champion for a short time. After a big win against Logan Paul, the only thing that Rollins has left is a rematch against the celebrity superstar on the Raw side. On SmackDown, though, he has fresh matchups and a main event story ready whenever he wants it.
Roman Reigns has only lost one single match in over a year. That match was a DQ loss to Seth Rollins at the 2022 Royal Rumble. While Cody Rhodes, another Rollins rival, is likely the man to end Roman’s reign, Seth and Roman need one more match before that happens. Rollins on SmackDown also gives WWE a ton of new matches for the IC title. However, the prospect of having a real threat to Reigns and a story where Roman is the true underdog is most intriguing, and why Monday Night Rollins needs to change full-time to Friday.
LA Knight to Raw
WWE seemingly doesn’t know this yet but people really like LA Knight. He has an unreal amount of charisma and is plenty talented in the ring. LA Knight is so beloved that his WrestleMania absence was immediately questioned by fans online. Some people are already speculating about a Money in the Bank or King of the Ring win for Knight. That the 43-year-old independent wrestling stand-out is finally getting his shot on Raw and SmackDown makes the arrogant heel a little likable. Knight has been great at maximizing his minutes on SmackDown. If Knight is a superstar that needs the WWE draft to move to Raw, he can showcase his talent more consistently on the flagship show.
With the creation of a new title, Knight has a much better shot at reaching the main event on Raw. Austin Theory losing to LA Knight makes a lot more sense than ending Gunther’s historic reign, and if the new title does debut on Raw, WWE will need popular characters to chase it. Having Knight in the mix will give fans a reason to care about a new championship. This is extra important, with all the usual suspects likely fighting Reigns on SmackDown. Also, the draft builds momentum, which Knight could use now, given he was left off the WrestleMania card.
Karrion Kross to NXT
What happened to Karrion Kross? He was re-debuted as a legitimate threat to Roman Reigns on Smackdown and has done nothing of merit since. That Kross wasn’t even able to get a match with Reigns, who has been world champion for multiple years, is an indictment of his current spot on the SmackDown roster. At one point, Kross and Scarlett were one of the more unique acts in WWE. Unfortunately, the main roster has yet to give him time or creative support. However, they got those opportunities as a member of the NXT roster.
Current NXT Champion Carmelo Hayes and his buddy Trick Williams are both cool characters lacking any credible heel challenger outside of Bron Breakker. While there are certainly some on NXT’s roster who could put the always level-headed NXT champion in some jeopardy, Kross might be the best option. Moving him to NXT gives that brand another bulky brawler, which is in short supply on that brand currently. Scarlett going with Kross can also help address the Trick Williams problem without splitting that duo up so soon. Also, NXT has been a better show for more fantastical gimmicks lately. This gives Kross a chance to revert to his first gimmick again. Of the superstars that need the WWE draft, Kross can benefit the most.
Why WWE and its Superstars Need the 2023 Draft
The draft could end up pointless. WWE can decide to book whomever they want whenever they need them across all three brands, making the process moot. However, at its best, the draft is a golden opportunity. It makes little crossovers feel special and helps WWE organize itself. A strict brand split gives different stars TV time and gives the top talent an occasional break.
The audience is roughly the same, so it only sometimes introduces the performers to a few new fans. Still, it provides a narrative reset. The draft can function as a season premiere with new characters and stories. This is especially important because the Raw after WrestleMania didn’t. What ultimately happens will depend on how WWE, and potentially who in WWE, is responsible for the “big picture” booking of wrestling programs.
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on WWE SmackDown and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. You can check out an almost unlimited array of WWE content on the WWE Network and Peacock.