Change Coming? It looks like RAW and SmackDown’s continued ratings woes have led to a decision to bring back a variation on the WWE’s infamous “Wild Card Rule” from last year. POST Wrestling is reporting that:
WWE is set to introduce a ruling that will allow for some crossover between Raw and SmackDown, which comes at a time when numbers have significantly declined on both shows.
POST Wrestling was informed that the ruling will be introduced on tonight’s episode of Raw with the hope that it will be a simpler version of last year’s ill-fated Wild Card rule.
Pressure from Above? POST notes the idea may have come from the USA Network and FOX, given the WWE’s ratings for RAW and SmackDown hitting the skids. According to POST, “Last week, Raw hit its lowest mark in modern history with 1,686,000 viewers while Friday Night SmackDown has recorded its three lowest figures since launching on Fox over the past three weeks.“
The Wild Card Rule Flops. The rule last year allowed Superstars from one roster to show up on another roster but like many ideas and rules in the WWE, things quickly were mired in confusion. For some fans, the rule seemed like little more than an excuse for Shane McMahon to show up on both RAW and SmackDown, boring fans on both shows rather than just one. How the WWE intends on modifying the rule so it doesn’t become another disaster remains to be seen.
The Problem with Crossovers: The problem with having the top stars of RAW and SmackDown jumping back and forth reduces the chances for younger talent to get over unless the WWE gives them wins over veterans. However, the WWE has rarely been good at long-term planning and if the networks are prodding the promotion to do something to boost its ratings, you can expect hot-shot booking like this modified wild card rule.
Will This Help? Interestingly, SmackDown has been putting on far superior shows to RAW, with the blue brand focusing on a variety of talent, but always keeping upper card and main event stars at the forefront. RAW by comparison, has focused on mid-card acts and enhancement talent rather than using upper card and main event acts in addition to the mid-carders. It’s no wonder RAW’s audience has been so poor as RAW often seems like an episode of Main Event rather than what was once the WWE’s flagship program.