As it was reported they would by Pro Wrestling Sheet back in November, WWE and Facebook today announced a new series for the social media service’s Watch feature – Mixed Match Challenge.
One of the options being considered was said to be a mixed tag format, and that appears to be what they’re going with. According to the write-up on WWE.com, teams featuring one male and one female Superstar will compete in the 12-week series. It will be a single-elimination tournament featuring Raw and SmackDown talent, with the winners receiving $100,000 for the charity of their choice.
No word on the teams, but the announcement focuses heavily on this being an innovation in how sports entertainment is produced and consumed. Without getting into too many specifics, they’re teasing that interactivity will be a big factor – influencing match-ups and possibly more.
Dan Reed, Facebook Head of Global Sports Partnerships, is quoted as saying: “Fans will be able to directly influence and interact with the in-ring action, follow the rivalries and storylines in between events, and connect with one another as the drama unfolds.”
The fan influence will start with votes to determine the final participant from Raw and which member of New Day joins from SmackDown. Teams will be revealed on January 4, from these line-ups:
-Raw – Alexa Bliss, Alicia Fox, Asuka, Bayley, Braun Strowman, Enzo Amore, Finn Bálor, Goldust, Nia Jax, Sasha Banks, The Miz, and a fan selected final Superstar
-SmackDown – Becky Lynch, Bobby Roode, Carmella, Charlotte Flair, Jimmy Uso, Lana, Naomi, Natalya, Rusev, Sami Zayn, Shinsuke Nakamura, and the winner of a fan vote between Big E, Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods
The other noteworthy element is confirmation the series will air, starting on Tuesday, Jan. 16, at 10 PM Eastern, immediately following SmackDown LIVE on USA Network. That is, of course, where another show with “Live” in its name, 205 Live, has been filmed and aired on WWE Network. The future of that series has been the subject of much speculation, and this announcement doesn’t mention it at all – so we’ll await word on if it’s moving, not airing live, going on hiatus or something more final.
In the meantime, thoughts on the announcement, and the concept in general? Start fantasy booking your dream teams, because you may be able to “Like” them to victory next year!