All Elite Wrestling has been making a lot of headlines recently for signing talent to in-ring and backstage contracts, and it might start affecting WWE soon.
Dean Ambrose is leaving in April, and other Superstars have contracts that expire this year and might be interested in seeing what other opportunities are out there.
The indy wrestling scene used to be a hard way to make a living, but a resurgence in recent years has allowed many wrestlers around the world to support themselves without day jobs.
AEW is trying to have a big launch, and while Cody Rhodes and Co. haven't outright stated a desire to compete directly with WWE, if the promotion wants to be No. 1, it has to.
WWE is running into a problem that has only gotten worse over the past couple of years. Management is hiring and calling up more new talents than it is letting go, which has led to severe overcrowding on Raw and SmackDown.
WWE called up six new Superstars at the end of December but has failed to find a way to use any of them effectively, with EC3 being the only call-up to gain a notable win—incidentally over Ambrose on Raw.
With so many Superstars on the main roster deserving of pushes and many more waiting to be promoted from NXT to the main roster, WWE's only choice is to either make significant cuts or add a third heavyweight division brand to keep people from jumping ship to AEW.
What About 205 Live and NXT?
Some people are probably asking how WWE can have a third brand when it technically has five already. Raw, SmackDown, 205 Live, NXT and NXT UK all air weekly shows on television or WWE Network.
The problem is NXT and NXT UK are developmental brands, not part of the main roster. As for 205 Live, that is just an extension of Raw.
This is why we see Lucha House Party, Lio Rush and Drake Maverick make regular appearances on Mondays and why Mustafa Ali had to be officially moved to the SmackDown roster so he could appear on the blue brand.
Unless WWE makes NXT a full-fledged part of the main roster, which would defeat the purpose of having a developmental system, the promotion has to do something drastic.
When Would It Air?
Raw is the king of Monday nights and SmackDown will be moving to Fridays once the new deal with Fox kicks in on October 4.
There is a way to schedule everything without any of WWE's shows overlapping each other on regular television and WWE Network.
Monday and Friday are spoken for. Tuesdays could be the home of NXT and 205 Live while NXT UK airs on Thursday. This leaves Wednesday open for a third show on USA or Fox.
Another two hours of wrestling might seem like overkill, but there is already so much content being produced by every promotion that adding a little more wouldn't hurt anything.
Who Would Fill the Roster?
Between rookies and people who aren't being pushed, WWE has more than enough Superstars from Raw and SmackDown it could move to a third brand to fill the roster.
This would also be a chance for WWE to bring up some of the people from NXT who are ready for the main roster, such as Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, Shayna Baszler and Kairi Sane.
Stars like Tyler Breeze, The Colons, Sanity, Sin Cara and Mike Kanellis could get screen time every week as opposed to sitting backstage during television tapings.
If WWE is able to feature more of its talent, more fans will be able to find someone to connect with other than the people we see on a weekly basis.
The company has more than enough figures to fill roles at the announce table and backstage, so the only thing stopping it from making a third weekly show is figuring out logistics with regard to touring.
What Titles Would Be Featured?
WWE would have to create another set of championships for a third brand, but that is the easiest part about making a new show.
Instead of the WWE or Universal Championship, the company could use this as an opportunity to bring back the classic big gold belt and continue calling it the World Heavyweight Championship.
The Television Championship could be a midcard title, which just leaves brand-specific women's and tag team titles. Since WWE just color swaps those anyway, it would be easy to make a new set with something like a green strap to represent the third brand.
This might seem like too many belts for one promotion, but that only matters if you want to watch every hour of wrestling WWE produces each week.
Most fans pick and choose what they watch because they don't have the time to see all of the content produced on a weekly basis, and that would stay the same with or without a third show.
Why Would Having a 3rd Brand Help Keep Superstars Happy?
The main goal of this third brand would be to give more Superstars a chance to appear on television and have substantial storylines.
People aren't leaving WWE because the money isn't good enough. They want to be fulfilled in their career, and for some people, working house shows isn't enough.
Having a few more titles to fight for, more storylines to go around and more television time to feature deserving Superstars is WWE's only option next to cutting a significant portion of the roster.
Whether it airs on WWE Network, USA, Fox or some other channel, a third brand might be exactly what WWE needs to keep people from leaving for what could look like greener pastures.