We're just under one week away from perhaps the biggest episode in SmackDown history, and perhaps even the biggest WWE draft in history. We have everything you need to know in this article to be ready for it.

SmackDown going live

WWE's blue brand SmackDown is going live every Tuesday night starting at 8/7ct July 19th. For the first time in its over 17 year history, the show will run live each week.

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It will air live on USA Network, which is also home to WWE's flagship program Monday Night Raw. The announcers for SmackDown will be newly hired Mauro Ranallo, Jerry Lawler, and Byron Saxton. With SmackDown going live, WWE will be producing over 8 hours of live content each week, which is up from their normal 5 hours plus a week. Shane McMahon will be Commissioner of SmackDown while Stephanie McMahon will be Commissioner of Raw.

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WWE brand split returning

The original brand split took place in 2002 as a way to showcase their enormous roster of talent, after the fall of both World Championship Wrestling, and Extreme Championship Wrestling. During this brand split, we saw everything from brand specific pay-per-views to bringing multiple world titles in the picture for each show. Speaking of brand specific pay-per-views, WWE is bringing that concept back.

They have already trademarked some former names like Clash of Champions an old WCW classic.

By 2011, though, the brand split faded out when both rosters would be appearing on both shows, and Raw moving to 3 hours. One of the most intriguing aspects of the draft for many fans was the annual draft picks. Everything from superstars competing on shows for the chance of a draft pick or the shows respective GM's choosing a random name off the roster.

For the return of the draft this year, WWE is doing something special. The first live SmackDown will be hosting it, and WWE will do a simulcast live on the WWE Network covering the whole event with special comments and interviews. A second screen experience so to say.

Competition

With SmackDown going live and competing with Raw it only makes sense for both shows to have live pre-shows. But what about post shows?

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At this time they're both scheduled to have live pre-shows, and a post show is scheduled for the first live Smackdown only for that night. As seen on July 11th's episode of Raw, Vince McMahon emphasized that both shows will need to out do each other with matches, storylines, and of course ratings.

Rumors

  • Daniel Bryan's rumored to be the new SmackDown GM
  • New Day potentially being broken up
  • New SmackDown logo
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