4 Better Ideas Than the Wild Card Rule to Shake-Up WWE Raw and SmackDown

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistMay 29, 2020

4 Better Ideas Than the Wild Card Rule to Shake-Up WWE Raw and SmackDown

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    WWE has decided to dip back into its creative well and find a way to get matches between Superstars on Raw and Smackdown going again via the new "brand invitational" rule. 

    Unfortunately for the company, logical as such a rule might seem given current circumstances, all the arrival of such a shakeup does is provide bad memories from the terrible "wild-card rule" that ran rampant last year. 

    That rule was a jumbled mess and blatantly served as a way to get stars like Roman Reigns on both brands instead of one during a ratings slump. By the end of it, it was hard to discern if a brand split even existed and if WWE even remembered the rules (only so many per show, who counts, etc.) it created. 

    Translation: WWE has to win back the trust of its viewers when it comes to ignoring the current brand split for special reasons. It's not off to a great start, not with the big match being...Drew McIntyre vs. King Corbin. 

    Here's a look at better ideas WWE could come up with to make something like this work. 

An Earned Wild Card

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    Instead of just randomly having WWE Superstars show up on other programs or needing an invitation, why not have them earn the right to make a special appearance elsewhere?

    It's incredibly fun when Superstars are invested in something and have to earn it. The best example is probably the Money in the Bank briefcase. Imagine if a star with a vendetta against another on a different program had to win a match in order for the right to go over and settle it? 

    Take it a step further. What if one of the ways WWE helped fill the exhausting three-hour Raw was a mini-tournament to see who could go over to SmackDown later in the week? Maybe winning the invitation means getting a shot at another brand's titleholder too. 

    These are just spitballed ideas, of course. But having two or more stars fighting over the right to appear on another program could not only make an otherwise "just because" match feel more important with something at stake but also build anticipation for the next brand's show just to see what the winner wants to do. 

Crossover Matches with Serious Consequences

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    Let's stick with the theme of making these crossover appearances mean something

    When King Corbin goes over to fight Drew McIntyre, fans already know the result or expect a weird finish at best because WWE isn't going to have one brand's top titleholder go down on a random episode of Raw to a member of a different roster. 


    What if an invited Superstar loses his match on the other brand and therefore forfeits his or her right to ever go on a different brand again? Maybe even better: What if, say, an NXT star puts their spot in NXT on the line against a Raw or SmackDown Superstar and has to leave the brand if they lose? 

    Remember AJ Styles' run as the "face that runs the place" on SmackDown? What if he put his entire status as a blue-brand Superstar on the line against someone from the Raw roster? 

    WWE could still use this backdrop as a way to manipulate rosters in the way it wants. But it would be loads more entertaining for viewers to see high-stakes crossover matches with things hanging in the balance. 

Crossover Pay-Per-Views with Big Ramifications

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    WWE already does plenty in the way of crossover events for pay-per-views, whether it's the two big brands sharing a spectacle or even having crossover matches. 

    But the company could do so much more in this area. Recent efforts have made it clear WWE wants to achieve a more sports-like feel, both in presentation and execution. 

    So rather than a random wild-card rule, why not make crossover events on PPV have major implications? Some all-star games in other sports can or have dictated things like home-field advantage. A marquee crossover match at the top of the card in WWE could feature, say, WrestleMania card order—the winner there puts their brand in the "main event" at The Show of Shows. 

    Or, with those same stakes in mind, the win-loss tally between brands by the end of a PPV gives the 'Mania main event to that brand. 

    That's just one idea that loops in a real-sports angle, but clearly there are ways to make crossover matches and events work much better than they have. 

    And there is also the following to consider...

Another (better) Draft

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    Speaking of drawing inspiration from other sports, maybe the best option is to simply do another draft again. 

    Drafting rosters for each brand again would provide a fresh reset and keep the integrity of the brand split intact. 

    And WWE could learn a few lessons from its last draft. 

    The last draft (2019) was, in a word, "meh." WWE tried to emulate the NFL, piling people in suits into conference rooms and having them celebrate pre-determined draft picks. Besides the draft results apparently leaking beforehand, the shakeup just felt weird and pretaped with those draft rooms oddly celebrating the pick they had just put in with the company. 

    But there is always room to try again and get it right. Give viewers some actual interaction with the draft rooms. Have Superstars come out and don their brand's attire just like they do at the NFL draft. Do anything different, really, while mixing up the rosters. 

    If done right, it'd sure beat the tar out of a surely ill-fated crossover match rule again. And really, it'd be perfect for the current audience-less format of the show and draw in more viewers than usual. 


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