Friday’s episode of WWE Friday Night SmackDown featured the first night of this year’s WWE Draft special.
Fightful Select reported that WWE officials had kept all of their talent in the dark regarding their plans and format for this year’s WWE Draft as late as noon of this past Friday. NXT talent who have been stuck “in limbo” between NXT and the main roster reportedly were also not told of the draft plans for them prior to the start of SmackDown. In regards to RAW brand talent, it was reported that most of RAW’s top talent had not been scheduled to travel nor be backstage for Friday’s show.
PWInsider’s Mike Johnson reported that Brock Lesnar’s backstage promo segment that aired during the show was pre-taped and not live. Lesnar reportedly had left the venue to go home after his in-ring segment with Roman Reigns earlier in the show. Johnson also reported that the current expectation by some WWE officials is that Lesnar will be appearing on this Monday’s episode of RAW.
Johnson also reported that NXT talents Aaliyah, Ridge Holland, and Xia Li were all in attendance backstage during Friday’s SmackDown show.