WWE went back to the Brand Split in 2016, and created two separate rosters for RAW and SmackDown with each having their own set of championships. The brand split fared well until earlier this year, when Vince McMahon introduced the Wild Card Rule on RAW. Superstars from RAW and SmackDown were allowed to appear on both the shows, which effectively killed the brand split.
However, after tremendous fan backlash, WWE is slowly returning to the original split with very few wrestlers appearing on different brands every week. However, the Wild Card Rule is still in force, with Alexa Bliss, Sami Zayn, Drew McIntyre and Andrade among some of the wrestlers who appeared on both the shows this week.
According to Wrestling Observer Newsletter, WWE is going to go back to a harder brand split once the new deal with FOX kicks is. The new executive directors of RAW and SmackDown Live have requested for separate rosters with different storylines on both the shows.
There maybe few exceptions such as Roman Reigns and the Women’s Tag Team Champions, but overall the brand split is expected to return in full force quite soon.
WWE’s decision to move away from the Brand Split was disastrous, which resulted in same stories being played out on both the shows. RAW and SmackDown will be presented on different networks starting October, and both the channels will look to keep the wrestlers exclusive to themselves, instead of sharing it with each other.
WWE has made sure the top guys of the company remain free-agents and are allowed to appear on both the shows. Stone Cold and John Cena are past examples of the free-agent rule, which could see a return for current superstar Roman Reigns.
Reigns and Shane McMahon were pivotal to the Wild Card Rule, as their storylines appeared on both the shows every week! Will they be made free-agents or kept exclusive? Only time will tell.