The wild card rule, brought in by Vince McMahon shortly after WrestleMania, has not been universally popular. It was brought in to serve a purpose of bringing back flagging ratings by allowing top stars such as Roman Reigns to appear on both Raw and SmackDown Live.
With Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff now in place as Executive Directors, a number of WWE superstars have been told that the Wildcard Rule will be "quietly wrapping up" after SummerSlam.
The time between Survivor Series and WrestleMania is typically a very lucrative time for the WWE. Ratings are high as the storylines begin to come together and their top stars feature, with guest appearances aplenty as the company hypes up their biggest show of the year.
The time between WrestleMania and SummerSlam however is historically a low point. With ratings lower than ever this year, Vince McMahon announced that a small number of Superstars would be free to appear on both RAW and SmackDown.
This rule was continually broken, often nonsensical and extended to pay per views. It undermines the concept of the Superstar Shakeup and in fact the brand split overall.
However, rumors abound that both FOX and USA would prefer a clear brand split. Bischoff and Heyman are both also on record as wanting the same.
With Survivor Series around the corner, a pay per view that in recent years has been built entirely on the premise of RAW versus SmackDown for the only time that year, members of the WWE locker room and production staff have been told that the wild card rule would be coming to an end soon."They're quietly wrapping up the wild card rule. No big announcement or anything.""There's a lot of people who want it to end. Companies, sponsors, management and talent. You don't get another Lynch and Rousey moment without that Survivor Series format."
Sources indicate that there has been no public announcement to the locker room as of yet, but some of the more prominent on air wildcarders are aware as well as production staff for both shows and the creative team who have been working to write cohesive cross brand storylines.
After SummerSlam, ratings typically begin to pick back up, particularly with increased availability for people such as John Cena. Potentially having Trish Stratus in a match at SummerSlam will help, as well as whatever is going on with Ziggler, Goldberg and Shawn Michaels.
The Wildcard rule has apparently served its purpose. We'll see how quickly it gets phased out but there has been a noticeable separation creeping in over the last few weeks for anybody who isn't Roman Reigns.