In July 2016, WWE separated the roster between RAW and SmackDown for the first time in five years. Slater was not selected by either brand, so he started appearing on both RAW and SmackDown in an attempt to earn a contract.
Speaking in a Title Match Wrestling video, the former 3MB member said he rejected WWE’s initial idea to draft him to SmackDown later that night.
“They were literally just gonna have a little haha thing,” Slater said. “Lights go out on me… ‘Oh, I didn’t get picked,’ and then later on that night they were gonna put me on the internet saying, ‘Oh, SmackDown let the little cry puppy in,’ but I was just like, ‘Hell no.’”
Heath Slater eventually joined the SmackDown roster in September 2016 after winning the newly introduced SmackDown Tag Team Championship with Rhyno at WWE Backlash.
Heath Slater asked to work on two WWE shows
Stephanie McMahon (RAW) and Shane McMahon (SmackDown) worked as on-screen Commissioners for their respective brands at the time of the 2016 WWE Draft.
After becoming a free agent, Heath Slater said he came up with the idea of fighting to earn a contract on either show.
“I said, ‘Right here we’ve got a damn good storyline. I’m a free agent. Let me go to RAW and SmackDown, try to get a job, try to go and impress Shane, impress Stephanie, to where at the end they are trying to get me, both, where I’m like… where should I go? We could have months of entertaining stuff with this,’” Slater added.
Heath Slater’s free agent storyline led to his 83-day SmackDown Tag Team Championship reign with Rhyno. The two men continued to team together for almost three years before Rhyno left WWE in 2019. Slater and Rhyno now both work for IMPACT Wrestling.
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