WWE Announces 12 Wrestlers Competing In World Heavyweight Championship Tournament

Tournament to get started on Raw Monday night, wrap up on SmackDown.

World Heavyweight Title

The 12 men who will compete in a tournament to become the first WWE World Heavyweight Champion were named on Sunday, with the matches to begin on Raw Monday night.

WWE.com revealed the wrestlers, with six each from Raw and SmackDown:

Raw: Cody Rhodes, Damian Priest, Finn Bálor, Seth Rollins, Shinsuke Nakamura, and The Miz
SmackDown: AJ Styles, Austin Theory, Bobby Lashley, Edge, Rey Mysterio, and Sheamus

That's eight former WWE world champions, if you're counting, and the current United States Champion.

On Raw, there will be two triple threat matches, with the winner of each battling later in the night to determine the winner of that bracket. The same process will repeat itself on SmackDown. The winners of those two brackets will face each other at Night of Champions for the World Heavyweight Championship.


One thing that's a bit baffling: The WHC was billed as being exclusive to Raw because Roman Reigns and his Undisputed WWE Universal Championship are locked down on SmackDown. But six blue brand wrestlers are competing for the title, and half the tournament will take place on SmackDown.


So does that mean that a Raw wrestler could challenge for Roman's title later on? If, say, Styles wins the title, does he then become a Raw superstar, or does he remain contracted to SmackDown and merely defend his title on Raw?

All of that could be moot by the end of the month when the new World Heavyweight Champion is crowned at Night of Champions. But for now, let the speculation about which of the 12 men will be champ begin.


Scott is a former journalist and longtime wrestling fan who was smart enough to abandon WCW during the Monday Night Wars the same time as the Radicalz. He fortunately became a fan in time for WrestleMania III and came back as a fan after a long high school hiatus before WM XIV. Monday nights in the Carlson household are reserved for viewing Raw -- for better or worse.