USA Insider Exclusive

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive show news, updates, and more!

Sign Up For Free to View
USA Insider WWE Monday Night Raw

These Are The Rules of the 2024 WWE Draft And Some May Surprise You

The annual WWE Draft can be confusing, so here are the essential rules every fan needs to know.

By Chris Phelan
WWE Draft stadium graphics

The 2024 WWE Draft is just a few hours away, beginning on SmackDown and culminating in what is sure to be a memorable April 29 episode of Monday Night Raw. We here at USA Insider have already walked fans through what to expect during the Draft this year, but one pressing question remains:

How to Watch

Watch Monday Night RAW every Monday evening at 8/7c on USA Network. Stream more exciting WWE series on Peacock.

What are the rules?

For more from WWE:
'You Can’t See Me': The Story Behind John Cena's Iconic, Mocking Hand Gesture
Rhea Ripley Breaks the Hearts of the WWE Universe, Announces Engagement
Here is Every Inductee of the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2024

What Are the Rules of the 2024 WWE Draft?

Stephanie McMahon at the 2020 RAW/SmackDown draft

Over the last few weeks of television, WWE has been surprisingly reticent concerning the rules of the 2024 WWE Draft. While not entirely dissimilar to the NFL Draft – also taking place this weekend – the WWE's version plays by its own rules. It will be a monumental week for every WWE Superstar as each man and woman in the locker room will use the Draft as a springboard for future success. As The Miz once eloquently said, the Draft can make or break you.

But don't take our word for it (or The Miz's) – Karrion Kross seems more focused than ever ahead of the 2024 Draft:

While curiously, WWE has not announced any of the Draft rules on television, they have released all the official rules on We aim to present these rules concisely while giving the WWE Universe a crystal-clear vision of what will happen during the upcoming SmackDown and Monday Night Raw episodes.

So, let's dive in. Here are the essential rules of the 2024 WWE Draft that every fan should know.

Can Current Champions Be Drafted to Another WWE Brand?

Cody Rhodes standing on the top rope of the ring.

Unlike in previous years when champions could be freely drafted from one brand to another, that won't be the case in 2024.

Current champions are not eligible to be drafted, meaning they will stay exclusive to the brand they are currently competing on. That means the Undisputed WWE Champion, Cody Rhodes, will stay on SmackDown, Damian Priest will continue to compete on Monday Night Raw, and the longest-reigning current champion in all of WWE, Logan Paul, will continue to be exclusive to the blue brand. In other words, the WWE Universe can rest easy knowing The American Nightmare will not be drafted to NXT anytime soon. After all, there are plenty of new stories to be told on Friday nights for Cody Rhodes.

There is, however, one exception: the current WWE Women's Tag Team champions, The Kabuki Warriors. Kairi Sane and Asuka have been floating from brand to brand – including NXT – for the past few months, defending their titles wherever they see fit. They will be the only current champions eligible to be drafted, which may not seem like a big deal since they hop from brand to brand already as it is. However, WWE has announced that if they lose their titles, they will be assigned to the brand they were drafted to.

Just something for fans to keep in mind.

Raw and SmackDown Have a Differing Number of Draft Picks Depending on the Night

Arena view of a SmackDown event

This rule sounds confusing, so we're deferring to the official WWE language here:

Friday's SmackDown will feature four rounds of draft picks being announced. Each round will consist of the brands making two picks apiece for a total of 16 picks being announced (8 for SmackDown and 8 for Raw).

Monday's Raw will feature six rounds of draft picks being announced. Each round will consist of the brands making two picks apiece for a total of 24 picks (12 for Raw and 12 for SmackDown).

While on paper, it may seem unfair that Raw gets more draft picks than SmackDown, the roster size of each brand has always been reflective of the number of hours of television they are featured on. Monday Night Raw has been a three-hour show on USA Network since July 2012, while SmackDown has been firmly locked into "only" a two-hour time slot.

(Who knows, maybe SmackDown will add a third hour when it joins USA Network in October 2024!)

Curiously, there is no official rule concerning NXT's draft picks, which is strange considering they also have a valuable two-hour time slot on USA Network. Regardless, NXT's draft status is just another reason to tune into Raw on April 29 for the exciting conclusion of the 2024 WWE Draft!

The First WWE Draft Picks Will Be Exclusive to the Respective Brand

Wwe Raw Moments4

Compared to rule #2, this one is easy for even the most casual fan to follow. On Friday, SmackDown gets the first pick of the Draft. On Monday, Raw has the privilege of drafting first.

It makes sense. Call it home court advantage if you wish, but it opens up a world of possibilities – will SmackDown make the obvious choice of selecting The Bloodline with the first selection of the 2024 WWE Draft? Or will the faction's current internal strife serve as a deterrent? Will the blue brand roll the dice on someone like Seth Rollins, who will undoubtedly be looking to compete for the Undisputed WWE Championship after losing the World Heavyweight Title at WrestleMania 40?

The possibilities are endless.

When do New WWE Rosters Go Into Effect?

Wwe Seth Rollins Mitb Matchup2

This rule is straightforward: newly-drafted Superstars won't report to their new rosters until after Backlash France on May 4.

Of course, this rule makes the aftermath of Backlash France even more interesting. We could see Cody Rhodes' title reign come to a shocking early end at the hands of AJ Styles, who could be drafted to Monday Night Raw before Backlash France even takes place. This specific scenario makes even the most savvy fan's head spin, but nonetheless, it's something everyone in the WWE Universe should be aware of.

In the end, the Undisputed WWE Champion has a full say on where and when he appears – just ask Roman Reigns, who spent the better part of three years showing up whenever he wanted while defending his title only a handful of times. 

Only Certain WWE Superstars Can Be Drafted on Each Night

Nxt Fan Voting9

There will be individual pools of WWE Superstars to select from during the upcoming SmackDown and Raw Draft episodes. A brand cannot draft a wrestler unless they're part of the eligible WWE Superstar talent pool for that evening.

According to WWE, these are the official draft pools for each night.

Friday's WWE Superstar Draft Pool

AJ Styles

Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn

Alpha Academy (Chad Gable, Otis, Akira Tozawa, and Maxxine Dupri)


Bianca Belair

Bron Breakker

Cedric Alexander and Ashante "Thee" Adonis


Jey Uso

LA Knight

Liv Morgan

Nia Jax

Randy Orton


Seth Rollins

Shayna Baszler


The Bloodline (Roman Reigns, Solo Sikoa, "MFT" Tama Tonga, and Paul Heyman)

The O.C. (Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, and Michin)

Zoey Stark

Monday's WWE Superstar Draft Pool


Apollo Crews

Braun Strowman

Bronson Reed

Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell

Chelsea Green and Piper Niven

CM Punk

The Creed Brothers (Julius Creed, Brutus Creed and Ivy Nile)

Damage CTRL (IYO SKY, Dakota Kai, and Kabuki Warriors)

Drew McIntyre

Final Testament (Karrion Kross, AOP, Scarlett and Paul Ellering)

Giovanni Vinci

Imperium (Gunther and Ludwig Kaiser)

Jade Cargill

Judgment Day (Finn BálorDominik Mysterio, and JD McDonagh)

Kayden Carter and Katana Chance

Kevin Owens

Legado del Fantasma (Santos Escobar, Angel, Berto, and Elektra Lopez)

LWO (Rey Mysterio, Carlito, Dragon Lee, Cruz Del Toro, Joaquin Wilde, and Zelina Vega)



New Catch Republic (Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate)

New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods)

Odyssey Jones

Pretty Deadly (Elton Prince and Kit Wilson)

Shinsuke Nakamura

Tegan Nox

The Pride (Bobby Lashley, Street Profits, and B-Fab)

Tiffany Stratton

(It's important to note that all NXT talent can be drafted on both nights.)

Now that the draft pools have been set, it's simple to understand. For example, Drew McIntyre won't be available to be drafted to either brand until the April 29 edition of Monday Night Raw because he is part of Monday's draft pool. In other words, nobody from Monday's draft pool is eligible to be drafted during the April 26 episode of SmackDown.

All in all, the WWE Draft is one of the most unpredictable events of the year – and although the rules may be a little hard to follow, our best advice is to sit back and enjoy the ride. Once the formality of the 2024 WWE Draft is behind us, your favorite WWE Superstars will return to doing what they do best – entertaining the WWE Universe.

You can tune in to Peacock to watch Backlash France on May 4. In the meantime, catch up on all things WWE Universe on Peacock.

Read more about: