WWE’s current brand split came into action back in the summer of 2016 and so far it has seemingly been successful, but it’s recently been reported that WWE could panic and combine their rosters in 2019 as part of the deal with FOX.
Both RAW and SmackDown start new contracts with The USA Network and FOX in October 2019, and given the most recent ratings, it’s believed that WWE could decide to combine their rosters to ensure that FOX doesn’t pull out of the deal with an early termination clause.
Dave Meltzer recently discussed these new deals on The Wrestling Observer, but he did note that he doesn’t think FOX would pull out of the deal, but WWE could implement a number of new tactics to ensure that FOX is happy with the product that they have signed.
“I can see that as a strong possibility”. He said via RingsideNews. “I don’t know the nature of the contract. My gut is they have to have it if it bombs because it’s prime time network TV. Worst case, they’ll move it to FS1 and I think they’ll do great numbers on FS1.”
SmackDown ratings were through the roof this week as Charlotte made her return to the company, but this is the show that WWE is most worried about since SmackDown ratings are not as consistent as RAW. Obviously, the company’s flagship show will remain on The USA Network at a much higher price, which means that SmackDown could be heavily pushed in the coming year.
Of course, one of the main issues with the move over to FOX is that SmackDown would be moving back to Friday nights, which could cause the company a lot more issues.