It’s been awhile now since Vince and the WWE introduced the “Wild Card Rule” and while the details of how it works have frequently been vague at best, it presents the WWE with a unique opportunity to turn around their current ratings woes. They can continue to maintain separate brands while allowing specific talent to appear on multiple shows. By doing this they build up their lesser known NXT and 205 Live talent to make them more legitimate superstars before they ever make it to Raw or Smackdown. The WWE can make new stars and bring in new viewers for their lesser watched shows all because of the new Wild Card Rule. (More like guidelines that actual rules!)
The Wild Care rule has mostly been a joke to allow talent like Roman Reigns, Kofi Kingston, Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch to appear on both shows to help ratings while keeping the so-called “brands” separate but it can be used to elevate other stars while keep the aforementioned stars on their own shows. To start, Raw and Smackdown shouldn’t be the only brands to have the Wild Card rule. What if Seth Rollins showed up on NXT? Rey Mysterio showed up on 205 Live? Imagine one of the greatest Cruiserweights of all time, the little big man, showing up on 205 to challenge for the Cruiserweight title? What if the Undisputed Era showed up on Smackdown to challenge the New Day? The possibilities could lead to numerous dream matches that diehard marks have been dreaming about for years or matches that haven’t been seen on such a large platform as the WWE. However, rules need to be enforced.
Next it should be that champions remain on their show unless a “champion trade” is established. Kofi is going to be on Raw next week so then Seth needs to be on Smackdown. For this to work clear General Managers should be reestablished. While Paul Heyman is now part of RAWs creative team and Eric Bischoff may or may not be part of Smackdowns creative, they or someone else should take over as the on screen head of the shows. It’s been months since we had clear heads of the brands and while the “authority figure” role has often been a point of contention between fans it has always known its role (and shut its mouth! Sorry, I had to.) in modern day pro wrestling/sports entertainment. While the role has often been portrayed by heels people like Foley, Angle, Daniel Bryan and Paige have all played the role from the fair good guy perspective and it could bring in some older talent to help boost ratings without resorting to the Austin/McMahon or Bryan/Authority feud we grew tired of. (Truth be told, the Owens/McMahon feud does peak my interest though!) Austin and Bischoff were an entertaining pair as Co-GM’s years ago. Even when the new brands were established, Stephanie and Foley and Shane and D-Bry made the show interesting. Maybe a pair of leaders could make the show more interesting?
Rules have been lax at best for the Wild Card Rule and definite set of rules, instead of “guidelines”, need to be established. For instance, how many superstars from another brand can actually show up on each show? When the rule was introduced we had a number and even after a week it clearly didn’t mean anything. We need a clear cut number of superstars that can appear on another show per episode. Personally, I think it should be three. Three superstars can make the jump per episode per the Wild Card Rule. The only caveat to that would be teams/stables. For example, say the New Day goes to NXT to challenge the Undisputed Era, two other competitors could still be allowed to come to that show. However, only ONE team/stable can move per show. It would also allow certain feuds to cross over between multiple shows without diluting each show. Say Shayna Baszler shows up on Smackdown to challenge Becky Lynch, now Becky shows up on NXT and it brings more eyes to NXT who might not normally watch it. At the same time, it increases Baszler’s status as someone who can go toe to toe with “The Man” while keeping her at the NXT level. Eventually she gets the call up and fans are more familiar with her because of her previous feud with Lynch. Everybody wins!
The Not-So-Indies could come into play. We recently saw WWE heavily promote an Evolve anniversary show and have seen them send their own talent with previous Evolve relations back for their big shows. By continuing to send talent to promotions they were formally involved with and even bringing in talent for shows that aren’t necessarily signed with WWE could draw interest from the die hard indy fans. This one is a bit of a stretch though even though names like Apollo Crews have made appearances for Evolve and other smaller indy promotions, it’s still hard to gauge if this has affected viewers for the actual WWE product. However, it doesn’t hurt to try!
Why do I care so much? Why am I taking this beyond fandom? For one, I want to see Pro Wrestling or Sports Entertainment continue on! I don’t want it to disappear from the world. On the other hand, I’m a WWE Stock Holder. Ok, it may be a single stock that amounts to $60 something bucks, but still!! I want to see my stock rise!!! Will AEW create the new Wrestling Wars that see a rise in both shows? I hope it does since competition always brought out the best in all the wrestling companies. We need the drive and creativity that the Monday Night Wars saw. Can we do it? Yes we can!
While AEWs’ Khans’ have more money than Turner had/has to promote wrestling it may not necessarily restart the Monday Night Wars. However, AEW will be the first real challenge that WWE has had since WCW. Can the Wild Card rule keep them relevant against AEW? We will find out!!
PETE is a life long pro-wrestling fan. He loves a good/corny gimmick and still loves Duke “The Dumpster” Droese. I mean, the guy beat Triple H for crying out loud!