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The WWE draft is a process used by professional wrestling promotion WWE to provide new brand competition and to refresh its rosters. The draft was first used during the brand extension of 2002, though it was officially incepted and used in 2004. Since the inception of the process, it has been referred to as the WWE draft lottery (2004–05) and later simplified to the "draft" (2007–2011). Starting in 2005, the draft took place during the month of June; it was held in April between 2009 and 2011. After that, WWE terminated the brand split and promotion of interbrand competition from 2011 to 2016.

On May 25, 2016, due to SmackDown moving to Tuesdays and to a live broadcast starting July 19, necessitating a brand extension, WWE announced that the draft would be returning. It would later be announced that the 2016 WWE draft will be taking place on July 19 on the USA Network, during SmackDown's first live episode which will also be the first time that the WWE draft has taken place on SmackDown Live