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With a chance to establish a unique identity on FOX, this year's draft was a missed opportunity for WWE.
The draft was an early indication of what WWE will look like on FOX. Following up on a loaded premiere episode, it gave SmackDown an opportunity to define itself as a FOX property. WWE had the full weight of the network behind them, complete with pre-taped appearances by FOX's biggest sports personalities. But instead of leaning in to that identity, WWE gave mixed messages.
Ever since WWE struck their deal with FOX, there's been some question about how SmackDown would fit into the network's portfolio. It's categorized as part of FOX Sports, with WWE Backstage even airing weekly on FS1. SmackDown gives FOX the benefit of having live programming on Fridays for 52 weeks out of the year, but it's really more of a hybrid between sports and a weekly television show.