5 signs that the WWE brand split has ended

Lars Sullivan intimated Vince McMahon into giving him what he wanted
Lars Sullivan intimated Vince McMahon into giving him what he wanted
Rohit Nath

WWE went in a rather unconventional route on the latest episode of RAW and that's just one of a few indicators that the brand split may be coming to an end.

Also read: 4 RAW superstars who can appear on SmackDown after the "Wildcard" rule announcement

In case you didn't know, the brand split was re-introduced to WWE in the summer of 2016, with the roster being split two ways the same way it did the first time, over a decade and a half ago.

The issue with that brand split was that it lasted for a good number of years, but WWE slowly gave up on it and it made SmackDown a neglected show for a good part of five years. Then the brand split was re-introduced and SmackDown Live basically became the better show, one that it has been for every year since except for 2017.

But we believe that WWE has already given up on the brand split and is quickly going to merge the two rosters again. Though it's not official on paper, it might as well be. Here are five signs to prove it.

#5. No General Managers

Paige had a great but brief stint as SmackDown GM
Paige had a great but brief stint as SmackDown GM

This actually began a while back (but more than one thing has, we'll get back to that). Towards the end of 2018, the entire McMahon family announced that they were fully in control of WWE again as on-screen figures and Paige was then removed as SmackDown General Manager, before Kurt Angle and Baron Corbin too, ended their stints as GM.

General Managers have been an essential part of every brand split, not for being a part of stories themselves, but for being key figures in furthering other storylines.

What WWE has made crystal clear is that General Managers won't be returning on-screen anytime soon and that is a clear indication that they've done away with the brand split, in their minds atleast.

#4. Wildcard rule

A controversial idea
A controversial idea

On the 6th May edition of Monday Night RAW, Vince McMahon came out, followed by Roman Reigns (who announced he would be there). A returning Daniel Bryan followed and behind him was WWE Champion Kofi Kingston.

McMahon then decided that he would introduce something called a "Wildcard" rule, where three superstars from a given brand would be allowed to appear on the opposing brand. From the look of things, it'll be a weekly thing. This is basically the biggest indicator that WWE is planning to transition out of the brand split.

Lars Sullivan's confrontation with McMahon backstage led to the latter then changing the rule to four superstars instead of 3. Despite that, Elias too, appeared on RAW.

Every week, it looks like we'll be seeing a rotation of superstars appear on the other brands. It's a very unnecessary idea and it isn't going to benefit anyone.

#3. Superstars freely appearing between brands

Lars Sullivan caused havoc on RAW
Lars Sullivan caused havoc on RAW

As mentioned, the original idea was for three superstars to appear on the opposing brand. Instead, we got five on the first night. Elias was the fourth and Lars Sullivan, the fifth. But this isn't the only case recently of superstars freely appearing between brands.

Michael Cole explained the extra appearances as the Wildcard Rule "still being in effect", the same way superstars traded brands even after the shake-up. In that case, Cole mentioned that the Superstar Shake-Up was "still in effect".

What's clear is that WWE is going to give far less emphasis on superstars going between brands and this has been the case for a while. John Cena was originally the only superstar labelled as a "Free agent", where he had the privilege of appearing on both brands. It added novelty to it and no one opposed, it, because it was John Cena.

Hopefully we're wrong and WWE goes back to brand exclusivity soon.

#2. FOX Deal

A big money deal
A big money deal

The FOX deal that WWE has for SmackDown from October 2019 made most people believe that they're going to give far more emphasis on SmackDown's exclusive roster, but we couldn't be more wrong!

WWE has secured the deal and if you aren't aware, it's a five-year, $1 billion deal. Moving Roman Reigns to SmackDown Live seemed to be the move to make so that he can get ratings for FOX, but more likely than not, we're going to see more and more RAW superstars appear on SmackDown.

The logic from WWE may be that since they have the deal in the bag, they don't need the brand split and they can have far more stars appear on the show. With that said, there's also a high chance that they won't go the same route with SmackDown that they did 8 years ago, because this time, they may put far more emphasis on furthering storylines on the blue brand.

#1. Dual-branded PPVs

Brand-exclusive PPVs ended quickly
Brand-exclusive PPVs ended quickly

This is something that happened a year ago, but it was actually the first major sign of the brand split ending. The last brand split, WWE committed to brand-exclusive PPVs for quite a few years, making sure that only the big 4 PPVs - Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam and Survivor Series would be dual-branded.

This edition of the brand split, WWE was much quicker in ending the brand-exclusive PPVs. While we do agree that two PPVs a month was somewhat an overkill, they shouldn't have ended it so quickly.

The brand-exclusive PPVs gave the spotlight to several more superstars and gave them a spot on the card constantly. It really is no surprise that WWE gave up on them so quickly and at the time, many had predicted that it was only the first of many steps that would eventually see the end of the brand split again. Turns out, they were right.

Edited by Nishant Jayaram
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