WWE: Wild Card Rule Introduced Amidst Network Concerns

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The Wild Card Rule is a new one for wrestling fans. However, here is what it is and why it came about.

Vince McMahon opened RAW to announce the Wild Card Rule.  Smackdown Live superstar, Roman Reigns, made his way to the ring followed by Kofi and Daniel Bryan.  Later in the show Lars Sullivan came over as well.

Wild Card Rule Explained

The new rule states four superstars from RAW will “invade” Smackdown Live each week and four from Smackdown Live will jump over to RAW.

RAW superstars Sami Zayn and AJ Styles came over and challenged Kofi for his WWE Championship.  The Miz came to Smackdown Live to exact his revenge on Shane McMahon later.

Courtesy of WWE

Why Is The Wild Card Rule A Thing?

Ratings and attendance has continued to decline and it made NBC Universal and Fox very nervous.  They are afraid each show lacks the “star power” individually and this is a way to fix the issue.  A retirement of the brand split would have fixed the issue, but Vince was not ready to end the split yet.  The Wild Card Rule was an plan B to appease NBC Universal and Fox while keeping the brand split.

NBC Universal and Fox also wanted the storylines to crossover from brand to brand.  In this way RAW and Smackdown Live will have closer to equal ratings. The fear is one will have much higher ratings than the other.  

A rivalry between NBC Universal and Fox has also lead to the Wild Card Rule.  NBC Universal owns USA Network which airs RAW and Fox will air Smackdown Live come October.  The biggest star in the WWE is by far Roman Reigns and both NBC Universal and Fox want him on their show.  Wild Card Rule allows him and other big name stars like possibly Ronda Rousey to appear on both shows.

Courtesy of WWE

WWE’s Second Attempt Is Better

This is WWE’s second go around for the brand split.  The first was an utter disaster, but this time it was done better.  However, it still failed to capitalize of the opportunity of splitting the roster in half.

Let’s say for the top tier title there are at all times 10 guys in title contention.  If that roster is split in half and put five and five on each show that opens up five new spots for middle tier guys.  This sounds like a great way to push superstars to the next level. However, WWE decided to do it more like seven on one brand on one and three on the other.  This is made even worse when the same seven or the same three keep wrestling each other.

However, because of the brand split Becky Lynch was made one of the top females on the roster instead of lingering on the mid-card.  Kofi is another superstar who would never have had the title if the roster was not split in half. The thing these two superstars have in common is they are both from Smackdown Live.  This illustrates NBC Universal and Fox’s concerns about star power when Kofi would have never won the Universal Title on RAW.

The brand split has been done better this time, but its days are numbered.  Hopefully in 10 years when they bring it back they can learn from their mistakes.  

Sources:

ProWrestling.com

WrestlingInc.com

Fatherly.com

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