WWE is teaming up with Facebook to create a new live interactive series that will stream on the social network's Watch platform. The show - entitled Mixed Match Challenge - will focus on a match-type that WWE really doesn't use that often, the mixed tag-team match. Superstars from both the Raw and SmackDown brands will be included on the show, which will be presented as a single-elimination mixed tag-team tournament. Along the way, fans will be able to vote on match stipulations and do other as yet unspecified interactive things.
12 competitors from Raw and 12 from SmackDown will participate in Mixed Match Challenge, with each team consisting of one male wrestler and one female. The series as a whole will run 12 episodes in length, and each installment will be 20 minutes long. The winning team will receive $100,000 to give to the charity of their choice, although one wonders how exactly that'll work given WWE's scripted nature. The charity will surely get the money, but the winner will also be predetermined, which seems like an odd setup for awarding such a prize.
WWE's Mixed Match Challenge will stream on Facebook Watch beginning Tuesday, January 16 at 10pm EST. The following WWE superstars have been announced for the tournament. Representing Raw's men's division will be Braun Strowman, Enzo Amore, Finn Balor, Goldust, The Miz, and the winner of a fan vote, while their women's division will be represented by Alexa Bliss, Alicia Fox, Asuka, Bayley, Nia Jax, and Sasha Banks. On the SmackDown side, the men will include Bobby Roode, Jimmy Uso, Rusev, Sami Zayn, Shinsuke Nakamura, and a member of The New Day who will be voted in by fans, while the women will include Becky Lynch, Carmella, Charlotte Flair, Lana, Naomi, and Natalya. The exact pairings will be revealed at a later date.
While the reveal of a new show is certainly an exciting development for WWE fans, there are also a few other questions that result from the Mixed Match Challenge announcement. For one, there are only 12 teams, so that will result in uneven tournament brackets. This could theoretically be solved by having the winners in the second round face each other in a triple threat final, but there is no indication yet what WWE has planned. Also worth noting is that Tuesdays at 10pm is when 205 Live airs on the WWE Network. What will happen to 205 Live while Mixed Match Challenge is on the air? WWE has yet to offer an answer.
Perhaps the oddest question arising from the Mixed Match Challenge announcement is why on Earth WWE has seemingly opted to spoil this Sunday's Clash of Champions pay-per-view by including Sami Zayn as a participant. Zayn and his partner Kevin Owens are set to face Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura at Clash, and if they lose, Shane McMahon says they'll be fired. If Zayn is confirmed for a show beginning in January, clearly he won't be fired on Sunday. One wonders if WWE will attempt to explain that apparent plot hole.
WWE's Mixed Match Challenge debuts on Facebook Watch on January 16.