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WWE Announces End of Brand-Exclusive Pay-Per-View Shows

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 17, 2018

FILE- In this Sunday, April 6, 2014 file photo, John Cena celebrates his win during Wrestlemania XXX at the Mercedes-Benz Super Dome in New Orleans. World-famous WWE wrestlers such as John Cena, Shaemus and champion Randy Orton are in Saudi Arabia for three days of matches in the capital Riyadh. (Jonathan Bachman/AP Images for WWE, File)
Jonathan Bachman/Associated Press

The WWE confirmed Saturday its pay-per-view events for the rest of the 2018 schedule following WrestleMania 34 in April will no longer carry Raw or SmackDown exclusive branding.

Angel Rodriguez of WrestlingNews.co noted the company made the announcement in an email to mailing-list subscribers after rumors about the potential change in recent weeks.

This month's Elimination Chamber is going to remain a Raw-only show, while the Fastlane event in March will only feature SmackDown Superstars, per Joshua Gagnon of Wrestling Inc. After that, all PPVs will include wrestlers from both weekly programs.

The WWE also announced the updated schedule for the dual-branded events:

WrestleMania 34 (April 8)

Backlash (May 6)

Money in the Bank (June 17)

Extreme Rules (July 15)

SummerSlam (Aug. 19)

Hell in a Cell (Sept. 16)

TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs (Oct. 21)

Survivor Series (Nov. 18)

Clash of Champions (Dec. 16)

The change was necessitated by a lack of depth, both on the Raw and SmackDown rosters and in terms of storytelling, which often left the Raw and SmackDown pay-per-views lacking points of interest.

While the WWE attempted to work around the issues with ideas like keeping John Cena as a free agent, allowing him to appear on either show, it wasn't enough to save the brand-exclusive approach.

In addition, the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (via Wrestling Inc.) noted the addition of more shows to accommodate both brands "added costs without a lot of new revenue" since the smaller PPVs didn't generate a major uptick in WWE Network subscriptions.

Payback and Battleground were removed from the schedule as part of the overhaul.

  

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