While it's great news that Roman Reigns' Leukemia is in remission and that he's received a clean bill of health, the way things are going in the WWE has already forced the creation of the 'Wildcard Rule.' In essence, it mandates that a few superstars from either show are 'allowed' to show up on the other show that they are not technically members of.
It was a desperately random act performed by Mr. McMahon on Raw last week in order to somehow put a band-aid on the ratings wound of late 2018 and most of 2019. Although it would provide the opportunity to see potential dream matches on any given episode of Raw or SmackDown each week, it also does just as much harm as it does good.
The roster is already the deepest it has ever been. Many superstars already found it difficult to get TV time on either show and some were understandably upset with that. The Superstar Shake-up was meant to switch around the rosters but also give more chances to superstars who might not have been getting them over the last couple of years.
With the new rule in place, however, those three or four random superstars that will crash the rival brand will actually take away opportunities from those below the main-event scene. The mid-card scene is where WWE can potentially target stars that could one day be main-event staples. If some superstars fail to get those opportunities because WWE wants to book some top stars on both shows weekly, then those wrestlers get left behind again.
One thing that the 'Wildcard Rule' does is give Creative an excuse to put Roman Reigns on both shows. He's the biggest star in the company because he is booked that way but it doesn't mean that he is the most popular or the most gifted superstar in the company. He might be the favored star by management (a la John Cena), but there are other people like AJ Styles, Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch who get the reaction McMahon has always wanted for Reigns.
By 'featuring Reigns heavily' on both shows - as a report from Cageside Seats has revealed - WWE may think it is an easy fix to greatly ameliorate the ratings situation. The reality is, however, that it will actually shorten the time it takes for more fans to grow tired of Reigns and his never-ending pushes.
His return was a feel-good story, but WWE had to know that the honeymoon wouldn't last forever. By giving him TV time on both shows, it might make fans tire of him faster than had they kept him on one show. Keeping him on a single show would also keep the Fox network happy because he's a member of SmackDown, which is slated to be on Fox later this year.
WWE fans have a tendency to let real life affect whom they cheer for, but it isn't everlasting. Today's fans will tell you when they hate something or love a particular superstar. A big portion of the WWE Universe is those fans who were booing loudly for Reigns before his diagnosis.
If he is pushed on both shows at the expense of a big chunk of the roster, it might actually backfire on WWE and make fans boo him sooner than it would have otherwise happened. He needs to be placed carefully against opponents that the fans aren't enamored with. If he isn't, then the booing that WWE experienced for the better part of three years due to constant pushing of 'The Big Dog' will return before we know it.Published 13 May 2019, 09:35 IST