Bless their hearts.
WWE is trying to make sense of the new “Wild Card Rule” which Vince McMahon instituted at the start of Raw last night (May 6). That started as a way to... deal with Roman Reigns trying to make Vince stick to proclamation from the end of last year that the fans are in charge of both the red and blue brands now, I think? And give the semblance of appearing in control when more SmackDown Superstars showed up shortly after the Big Dog?
As initially laid out by Mr. McMahon, three wrestlers from the one show could appear on the other. It wasn’t clear how the three would be decided or how long their “Wild Card” status would last. But by the end of the night, Lars Sullivan made if four anyway, and Elias an unofficial fifth, and who knows what brand Shane McMahon is assigned to, and...
Enter WWE.com staff writer Anthony Benigno, who got the assignment of writing about the new rule. I’m still cynical - mostly because I’m skeptical they’ll adhere to this any more strictly than anything else. But I do give them credit for creating an in-story mechanism to explain their standard “we’ll do whatever we want/need to, whenever we want/need to” approach to things.
Here are the rules of the “Wild Card Rule”:
- A limited number of Superstars from Raw or SmackDown can be invited to cross brand lines for one-night-only appearances.
- Unauthorized jumps will be penalized by fines or even potential firing.
- The Women’s Tag Team champions are exempt because that title if “free-floating”.
- Becky Lynch is exempt as long as she holds both the Raw and SmackDown Women’s championships.
Still unclear are how these invitations are issued/accepted and by whom. Or what the fines will be for “unauthorized jumps”, and who decides when one is egregious enough to warrant termination. And who enforces any of this since we’re the authority? But I’m probably overthinking things or asking too much.
Benigno’s article says the split is still in place: “this isn’t to say we’re about to go back to the days of Raw SuperShows or do away with the Brand Extension”. It does seem unlikely NBCUniversal and Fox will want to be promoting the same stars come SmackDown’s move to Fox Friday’s this fall, but if WWE can make the case it will result in better ratings, who knows?
They’ll probably do whatever they think they need to do, just like before. But now there are more rules to break/ignore. Maybe that’s progress?