We have entered a new era on SmackDown Live. The post brand split era! No, hang on, that’s not right.
I’ve got it. The New Era, where the only authority lies with the people! No wait, that’s old news.
Okay, here it is. It’s the dawn of the post Superstar Shakeup generation. Nope, I actually don’t think that’s ended yet.
Oh, that’s right. Today is the time of the “Wild Card Rule”, an era ushered in by Vince McMahon on Monday night. He’s a genius, you know.
Readers of Raw’s review will know that I am no fan of this Wild Card sham, designed in essence to allow three (or four, or occasionally six) wrestlers to arbitrarily make the jump from one brand to another whenever the impulse strikes. It was a blatant panic move, born from a moment of desperation and designed to lure in as many fans as possible in light of flailing ratings.
I didn’t appreciate the ‘kind of, but not quite’ end to the brand split. It seemed not only slightly premature, but also done in such a halfhearted, non-committal fashion. Beyond that, given the motivation behind it, the Wild Card Rule is simply a vehicle to get the biggest names to appear on both Raw and SmackDown Live each week. An idea that sounds great on paper, but should perhaps trigger some latent concerns. We’ve seen what happens when marginal acts get overexposed each week. Do you really want to see Roman Reigns twice a week for five hours? AJ Styles? Braun Strowman? There’s only so much milage to be drawn from those characters before they become tiresome and stale.
In fairness though, early signs are that it appears to have worked. So perhaps WWE can still salvage this idea from the growing stockpile of trash that’s come out of the writers’ room in recent months. If anyone can do it, it’s Vince McMahon. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but he is a genius.
Thankfully, SmackDown Live did a much better job of handling this brand hopping than its red relative did. So, on that note, let’s get to the best the blue brand had to offer.