Possible reason why WWE introduced the 'Brand to Brand invitation' revealed
- Could this mark the beginning of the end of WWE's brand extension?
- The 'Brand to Brand Invition' era could lead to some interesting crossovers.
On the most recent edition of RAW, WWE introduced the 'Brand to Brand Invitation' which would allow talents to cross over between brands throughout the year. The new ruling is essentially a revamped version of the 'Wild Card Rule', which was earlier reported by POST Wrestling's John Pollock.
WWE also announced that Drew McIntyre will take on SmackDown's King Corbin on next week's episode of RAW, which will be the first match of the 'Brand to Brand Invitation' era. WWE NXT Women's Champion Charlotte Flair was also announced to appear on the upcoming episode of SmackDown.
Dave Meltzer speculated on the latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Radio that WWE was expected to make a big change due to the recent dip in WWE TV ratings. The MITB go-home show of RAW drew an average of 1.68 million viewers. The ratings did rise this week mainly due to Becky Lynch's pregnancy announcement, however, the average was still lower than the 2 million figure. WWE SmackDown has also witnessed alarming drops in recent weeks.
WWE's history of ending brand splits
Meltzer explained that WWE had to tackle the issue falling ratings and the way to do that was by having more talents appearing on both shows, which would only be possible by ending the brand extension.
The brand split has not been ended completely but WWE has figured out a way to have Superstars appear on both brands just like they did with the heavily-criticised Wild Card Rule.
Meltzer also added that WWE has historically always followed the pattern of ending the brand extension after the viewership figures have fallen and it's not surprising that the company decided to make a change this time as well.
He explained that ratings usually stop dropping after the brand extension is relaxed, however, he wasn't sure that would happen this time considering the unique circumstances.
Meltzer had the following to say on the latest Wrestling Observer Radio:
If you look at it, last week when the ratings came for both SmackDown and RAW, I mean it was like, okay, they are going to make a change. The ratings dropped too hard. I mean when you're at that level, so it's either get rid of whatever, which I thought was a chance and if that was the case, who would you put in the spot and realistically that's not going to change anything because the problem is lack of continuity and long-term pushing and things like that and that's a Vince issue.
So the other one you do, you add more talent to each roster by ending the brand extension or whatever you want to call it and they've done that many times.
Meltzer said that WWE has cancelled the brand split whenever the ratings have gone down, and if history is taken into account, the rollback has always helped in solidifying the ratings. He added that while it didn't always lead to a spike in ratings, it stopped it from going down even further and that was WWE's primary goal.
Will it work this time around? We'll have to wait and watch.