2021 WWE Draft
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|2021 WWE Draft|
|Date(s)||October 1–4, 2021|
NXT (outgoing only)
The 2021 WWE Draft was the 16th WWE Draft produced by the American professional wrestling promotion WWE between their Raw and SmackDown brand divisions. The two-night event began with the October 1 episode of Friday Night SmackDown (in Baltimore, Maryland) and concluded with the October 4 episode of Monday Night Raw (in Nashville, Tennessee), with SmackDown airing on Fox and Raw on the USA Network. Unlike previous drafts, in which results took effect immediately, the results of the 2021 draft did not go into effect until the October 22 episode of SmackDown.
The WWE Draft is an annual process used by the American professional wrestling promotion WWE while a brand extension, or brand split, is in effect. The original brand extension occurred from 2002 to 2011, while the second and current brand split began in 2016. During a brand extension, the company divides its roster into brands where the wrestlers exclusively perform for each brand's respective television show, and the draft is used to refresh the rosters of the brand divisions, typically between the Raw and SmackDown brands. The 2021 draft was WWE's 16th draft and was officially announced during the September 13 episode of Raw. It was scheduled to occur during the October 1 and October 4 episodes of SmackDown and Raw, respectively, with SmackDown airing on Fox and Raw on the USA Network.
2021 draft rules
The rules of the 2021 draft were revealed by WWE correspondent Megan Morant on Twitter during the day before the first night of the draft on October 1. Over 60 wrestlers (including tag teams) were eligible to be drafted across the two nights, with half being eligible the first night and the other half eligible the second night; however, no draft pools were revealed for which wrestlers were eligible for each night. Tag teams were counted as one pick unless Fox or USA Network officials (who were promoted as draft decision makers)[a] specifically only wanted one member of the team. Wrestlers from NXT were also eligible to be drafted to either Raw or SmackDown, while any non-NXT wrestlers who were not drafted became (kayfabe) free agents and could sign with the brand of their choice. Unlike previous drafts, in which results took effect immediately, results of the 2021 draft did not become effective until the October 22 episode of SmackDown, the night after the Crown Jewel pay-per-view.
Night 1: SmackDown (October 1)
There were four rounds of draft picks during night 1 of the 2021 draft. Unlike previous drafts in which Raw received three picks and SmackDown only received two, both brands had two picks each round. WWE officials Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville announced the draft picks.
- One stable was split up as a result of the first night: Austin Theory was drafted to Raw while his Way stablemates, Johnny Gargano, Dexter Lumis, Candice LeRae, and Indi Hartwell, remained on NXT.
Night 1 supplemental picks (October 1–2)
These picks were announced on October 1 via WWE's social media accounts and on the October 2 episode of Talking Smack.
|Wrestler(s)||Pre-draft brand||Post-draft brand||Role|
|Akira Tozawa||Raw||Raw||Male wrestler, former WWE 24/7 Champion|
|Alpha Academy |
(Chad Gable and Otis)
|SmackDown||Raw||Male tag team|
|Apollo Crews and Commander Azeez||SmackDown||Raw||Male tag team|
|Drake Maverick[d]||NXT||Raw||Male wrestler, former WWE 24/7 Champion|
|Drew Gulak||Raw||SmackDown||Male wrestler, former WWE 24/7 Champion|
|John Morrison||Raw||Raw (was later released)||Male wrestler|
|Mustafa Ali||Raw||SmackDown||Male wrestler|
|Nia Jax||Raw||Raw (was later released)||Female wrestler, former WWE Raw Women's Champion|
|R-Truth||Raw||Raw||Male wrestler, former WWE 24/7 Champion|
|Toni Storm||SmackDown||SmackDown (left WWE due to requesting release)||Female wrestler|
|Zelina Vega||SmackDown||Raw||Female wrestler|
- One tag team was split up as a result of the supplemental draft: Mace was drafted to SmackDown while his tag team partner T-Bar remained on Raw.
Night 2: Raw (October 4)
There were six rounds of draft picks during night 2 of the 2021 draft. Like the first night, both brands had two picks each round. WWE officials Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville again announced the draft picks.
|Rnd.||Pick #||Wrestler(s)||Pre-draft brand||Post-draft brand||Role||Brand pick #|
|1||1||Becky Lynch||SmackDown||Raw||Female wrestler |
SmackDown Women's Champion
|1||2||The Usos |
(Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso)
|SmackDown||SmackDown||Male tag team |
SmackDown Tag Team Champions
|1||3||The Hurt Business |
(Bobby Lashley with MVP)[e]
|Raw||Raw||Male wrestler and manager||2|
|1||4||Sasha Banks||SmackDown||SmackDown||Female wrestler||2|
|2||5||Seth Rollins||SmackDown||Raw||Male wrestler||3|
|2||6||King Nakamura and Rick Boogs||SmackDown[f]||SmackDown||Male tag team |
Intercontinental Champion (Nakamura)
|2||7||Damian Priest||Raw||Raw||Male wrestler |
United States Champion
|3||9||AJ Styles and Omos||Raw||Raw||Male tag team, former WWE Raw Tag Team Champions||5|
|3||10||Shayna Baszler||Raw||SmackDown||Female Wrestler|
|3||11||Kevin Owens||SmackDown||Raw||Male wrestler||6|
|3||12||Xia Li||NXT||SmackDown||Female wrestler||6|
|4||13||The Street Profits |
(Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford)
|SmackDown||Raw||Male tag team||7|
|4||14||The Viking Raiders |
(Erik and Ivar)
|Raw||SmackDown||Male tag team||7|
|4||15||Finn Bálor||SmackDown||Raw||Male wrestler, first-ever WWE Universal Champion||8|
|5||17||Karrion Kross||Raw||Raw (was later released)||Male wrestler||9|
|5||18||Angel Garza and Humberto Carrillo||Raw||SmackDown||Male tag team||9|
|5||19||Alexa Bliss||Raw||Raw||Female wrestler, former WWE Raw Women's Champion||10|
|6||22||Ridge Holland||NXT||SmackDown||Male wrestler||11|
|6||23||Gable Steveson||Free agent||Raw||Male wrestler||12|
|6||24||Sami Zayn||SmackDown||SmackDown||Male wrestler, former WWE Intercontinental Champion||12|
- One stable was split up as a result of the second night: Xia Li was drafted to SmackDown while her Tian Sha stablemates, Boa and Mei Ying, remained on NXT.
- One tag team was split up as a result of the second night: Ridge Holland was drafted to SmackDown while his tag team partner Pete Dunne remained on NXT.
Night 2 supplemental picks (October 4)
These picks were announced on the October 4 episode of Raw Talk.
|Wrestler(s)||Pre-draft brand||Post-draft brand||Role|
|Dana Brooke||Raw||Raw||Female wrestler|
|The Dirty Dawgs |
(Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode)
|SmackDown||Raw||Male tag team, former WWE Raw Tag Team Champions|
|The Hurt Business |
(Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin)
|Raw||Raw||Male tag team|
|Jaxson Ryker||Raw||Raw (was later released)||Male wrestler|
|Jinder Mahal and Shanky||Raw||SmackDown||Male tag team, former WWE Champion(Jinder Mahal)|
|Liv Morgan||SmackDown||Raw||Female wrestler|
|Mia Yim||Raw||Raw||Female wrestler|
|The Miz||Raw||Raw||Male wrestler, former WWE Champion|
|Natalya||SmackDown||SmackDown||Female wrestler, former WWE Women's Tag Team Champions|
|Tamina||SmackDown||Raw||Female wrestler, former WWE Women's Tag Team Champions|
|Tegan Nox||SmackDown||Raw (was later released)||Female wrestler|
- One stable was split up as a result of the supplemental draft: Veer remained on Raw while his stablemates, Jinder Mahal and Shanky, were drafted to SmackDown.
- Two tag teams were split up as a result of the supplemental draft: Tegan Nox was drafted to Raw while her tag team partner Shotzi remained on SmackDown, and Tamina was drafted to Raw while her tag team partner Natalya remained on SmackDown.
Several wrestlers were made free agents due to injury, inactivity, or simply not being drafted despite being an active member of the rosters. Free agents can (kayfabe) sign with the brand of their choosing. The chart is organized by date.
|Wrestler(s)||Pre-draft brand||Reason for not being drafted |
|Brock Lesnar||Raw[g]||Contractual provision||Free agent||October 1, 2021||During night 1 of the draft, Lesnar announced that he was a free agent (implying it was due to a deal arranged by Paul Heyman), thus is eligible to appear on any brand.|
|Lucha House Party |
(Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado)
|Raw||Were not drafted on either night||Released||November 4, 2021||Last appeared on the September 13, 2021, episode of Main Event. On November 4, both Dorado and Metalik were released from their WWE contracts.|
|Eva Marie||Raw||Was not drafted on either night||Released||November 4, 2021||Last appeared on the September 27, 2021, episode of Raw. On November 4, Marie was released from her WWE contract.|
|Shane Thorne||SmackDown||Was not drafted on either night||Released||November 18, 2021||Last wrestled a dark match on the September 24, 2021, episode of SmackDown. On November 18, Thorne was released from his WWE contract.|
|Maryse||Raw||Was not drafted on either night||Raw||November 29, 2021||Last appeared on the April 12, 2021, episode of Raw. Returned alongside her husband, The Miz, who was also returning after participating in Dancing with the Stars.|
|Asuka||Raw||Inactive due to a hand injury|
|Bayley||SmackDown||Inactive due to torn ACL|
|Elias||Raw||Was not drafted on either night||Last appeared in a pre-taped vignette on the August 23, 2021, episode of Raw.|
|Lacey Evans||Raw||Inactive due to maternity leave|
|Titus O'Neil||Raw||Was not drafted on either night||Last appeared at the 2021 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony on April 6, 2021, where he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as the Warrior Award recipient.|
During the draft, Raw drafted SmackDown Women's Champion Becky Lynch while SmackDown drafted Raw Women's Champion Charlotte Flair. Neither lost their respective championship before the October 22 episode of SmackDown, the night that the draft results went into effect. The day of the show, WWE announced that Flair and Lynch would exchange titles to keep the championships on their respective brands. In turn, Lynch became the Raw Women's Champion while Flair became the SmackDown Women's Champion.
Also during the draft, SmackDown drafted NXT North American Champion Isaiah "Swerve" Scott as part of his stable, Hit Row. Swerve claimed he would be taking the title to SmackDown, however, on the October 12 episode of NXT 2.0, Swerve lost the championship to Carmelo Hayes, thus keeping the North American Championship on NXT before the draft results went into effect on October 22.
On November 4, 2021, WWE released several wrestlers due to budget cuts. Mia Yim, Hit Row's B-Fab, Nia Jax, Karrion Kross, and Keith Lee were among those who were released, without a single appearance post-draft. Among those not drafted who were released included Eva Marie and Lucha House Party (Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado). Several NXT wrestlers were also released, including Franky Monet, Oney Lorcan, Ember Moon, Jeet Rama, Katrina Cortez, Trey Baxter, Zayda Ramier, Jessi Kamea, Harry Smith, and Kross' real-life fiancé, Scarlett, who served as Kross' on-screen manager when Kross was still in NXT and she was expected to eventually join Kross on Raw. On November 18, the remainder of Hit Row, John Morrison, Tegan Nox, Shane Thorne, Drake Maverick, and Jaxson Ryker were also released. Not long after, Jeff Hardy would be released on December 9 after being sent home from a live event tour and refusing rehab.  On December 29, Toni Storm requested and was immediately granted a release from her contract. 
- Although WWE claims the draft picks are conducted by officials of the Fox and USA networks, the results are predetermined by WWE as the draft is a storyline.
- Despite being listed as a free agent on WWE.com, Edge was referred to as a SmackDown wrestler during the Draft broadcast.
- Despite being listed as a member of the Raw roster on WWE.com, Madcap Moss was referred to as a SmackDown wrestler during the Draft broadcast.
- While listed as a member of the NXT roster on WWE.com at the time of the Draft, Drake Maverick had been appearing on the Raw program since September 6, 2021.
- MVP was not announced to have been drafted along with Bobby Lashley on the broadcast, but was officially confirmed on WWE's social media platforms to have been drafted with Lashley.
- Despite being listed as a free agent on WWE.com, Rick Boogs was referred to as a SmackDown wrestler during the Draft broadcast.
- While listed as a member of the Raw roster on WWE.com at the time of the Draft, Brock Lesnar had been appearing exclusively on the SmackDown program without having officially joined that brand after returning at SummerSlam in August 2021.
- Powell, Jason (September 13, 2021). "WWE Draft set for October". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
- WWE [@WWE] (October 1, 2021). ".@MeganMorantWWE breaks down the rules for the #WWEDraft which begins TONIGHT on #SmackDown! 8/7c @FOXTV" (Tweet). Retrieved October 1, 2021 – via Twitter.
- Lambert, Jeremy (October 1, 2021). "WWE Releases Rules For 2021 WWE Draft". Fightful. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
- WWE.com Staff (October 1, 2021). "See all the results from the 2021 Draft". WWE. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
- Powell, Jason (October 1, 2021). "10/1 WWE Friday Night Smackdown results: Powell's review of the first night of the WWE Draft, Belair vs. Sasha Banks, Edge returns, fallout from Extreme Rules". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
- Guzzo, Gisberto (October 2, 2021). "Toni Storm, Apollo Crews, Zelina Vega, And More Selected In 2021 WWE Draft". Fightful. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
- Powell, Jason (October 4, 2021). "10/4 WWE Raw Results: Powell's live review of the WWE Draft night two, Goldberg returns, the build to WWE Crown Jewel continues". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved October 5, 2021.
- Lambert, Jeremy (October 1, 2021). "Brock Lesnar Will Not Be Drafted, Announces He Is A 'Free Agent'". Fightful. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
- WWE [@WWE] (October 22, 2021). "As @MsCharlotteWWE and @BeckyLynchWWE prepare to swap rosters, it appears a WWE Women's Championship Title Exchange will take place TONIGHT on #SmackDown!" (Tweet). Retrieved October 22, 2021 – via Twitter.
- Powell, Jason (October 22, 2021). "10/22 WWE Friday Night Smackdown results: Powell's review of Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair swapping title belts, the coronation of Xavier Woods as King of the Ring". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved October 25, 2021.
- Moore, John (October 12, 2021). "10/12 NXT 2.0 results: Moore's review of Isaiah Scott vs. Santos Escobar for the North American Championship, Tommaso Ciampa vs. Joe Gacy, Kyle O'Reilly and Von Wagner vs. Pete Dunne and Ridge Holland, Ivy Nile's in-ring debut". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved October 25, 2021.
- WWE [@WWE] (November 1, 2021). "VEER MAHAAN COMING TO #WWERaw" (Tweet). Retrieved November 9, 2021 – via Twitter.
- Aguilar, Matthew (November 4, 2021). "WWE Just Released Several Superstars". ComicBook.com. Retrieved November 9, 2021.
- "Eight more WWE stars released, including John Morrison and all three members of Hit Row". Wrestlingnews.co. November 18, 2019. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
- "Report: Jeff Hardy Released by WWE After Being Sent Home | Sports Illustrated".