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WWE Rumors: Fox Wants 'Exclusivity' on Superstars Who Appear on SmackDown

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVMay 7, 2022

AMER HILABI/AFP via Getty Images

Roman Reigns defeated Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 38 to unify the WWE and Universal championships, but don't expect the complete elimination of Raw and SmackDown brand identification in the near future.

Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported Friday (via Colby Faria of Wresting Inc.) that both Fox (SmackDown) and the USA Network (Raw) want Superstars who only appear regularly on their respective shows.

"Both networks kind of want unique rosters. You can do some of that back-and-forth, but Fox in particular really wants, kind of, exclusivity on their guys," Meltzer said.

It's fair to wonder whether those concerns from the networks had an impact on Sunday's 2022 WrestleMania Backlash card.

Originally, a unification match for the Tag Team titles was scheduled between Raw champions RK-Bro (Randy Orton and Riddle) and SmackDown champions The Usos, who are part of The Bloodline with Reigns.

Between Reigns' triumph at WrestleMania and that scheduled showdown, it was starting to feel like WWE was trending toward the possible end of the brand split.

Instead, the match was altered to become a six-man tag match also featuring Reigns and Drew McIntyre with no titles on the line.

Another sign the brand split is likely to continue came Monday when H. Jenkins of Ringside News reported the WWE draft remains on the tentative schedule for September.

If the company was going to remove the borders between Raw and SmackDown, a draft creating two separate rosters wouldn't be necessary.

So, while some fans within the WWE Universe would have likely enjoyed more freedom of Superstar movement between the shows, it sounds like the networks prefer keeping the more exclusive style in place.

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