Yesterday, folks noticed that Becky Lynch had officially been moved to the Raw roster on WWEcom’s Superstars page. Makes sense, seeing as the red brand’s Women’s title is the only one she holds at this point. And with Ruby Riott & Nia Jax injured, and Sasha Banks & Ronda Rousey not active, that show probably needs her more than SmackDown right now. Plus, it keeps her with her fella as the company seems to be trying to market the heck out of their relationship.
We also learned the company has cancelled/postponed another Monday night blue brand house show next week. Word is the entire concept may be about to be phased out, a decision which might have come when SmackDown moves to Fridays in a few months anyway, but that the “Wild Card Rule” has accelerated.
Today, PWInsider notes Raw Superstar Drew McIntyre is being advertised for five SmackDown house shows in early June. A few of them are opposite Raw telecasts, so they may be cancelled/postponed anyway. But he’s feuding with Roman Reigns, a SmackDown talent – who I think has appeared on every Raw since the “Wild Card Rule” was announced.
They’re all just more signs the roster split which returned in 2016 is on its last legs. And rather than driving fans batty by making us try to remember who is technically assigned to which show, or how many Wild Cards have been used in any given episode, or which wrestlers don’t count as a Wild Card because Shane McMahon said so or whatever… WWE should just pull the plug on the whole thing.
Each brand can keep their distinct championships, I suppose. But when the main challengers for the SmackDown Tag titles are technically Raw Superstars, and the most recent #1 contender for the Raw Women’s belt “Wild Card-ed” over to SmackDown last week to advance their feud, and the guy Kofi Kingston’s facing at Super ShowDown was last listed on Raw, and the two newest straps are open to being contested by everyone, including NXT wrestlers… even that feels like an arbitrary construct.
Which, let’s face it, the roster split/brand extension always has been. It’s helped a few acts get on television that WWE might otherwise not made time for, but everyone always knew the Superstars were assigned to whatever show Vince McMahon wanted them on. Daniel Bryan tried to provide some kayfabe justification for the first draft, but no one else did. And the past three years have replaced the draft with the “Superstar Shake-up”, which this year reached a “cause we say so” peak when it was conducted with the same people supposedly in charge on both brands.
So just scrap it. We were only ever excited for it because (a) it was different after six years of “Supershows”, and (b) because we convinced ourselves it would lead to better stories. Well, it was different, and we did get a few stories we probably wouldn’t have gotten without it.
But things like Kingston’s run to the top can probably be accomplished as long as there are separate titles. Otherwise, it’s not different any more, and Vince & company seem to have lost interest in it. The “Wild Card Rule” is just a distraction, and a reminder that nothing matters.
Let’s ditch it and devote whatever energy is spent by creative thinking about it to just telling better freaking stories.