Despite WWE’s insistence on sticking to the “Wild Card Rule” and allowing several superstars to appear on the opposite brand’s programming in an attempt to boost ratings, it appears that the company will soon be returning to a strict brand split for Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live as the latter show prepares to move to Fox. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that WWE won’t be making significant changes to both brands’ rosters before the split is firmly enforced once again, a new report suggests.
On Wednesday, Post Wrestling‘s John Pollock reported that WWE will be holding its next brand draft in October, with the event spanning two episodes. The first part of draft is “tentatively” scheduled to take place on the Friday, October 11, episode of SmackDown, and is expected to be followed up by the second part, which will be held during the Monday, October 14, edition of Raw.
As further noted by Post Wrestling, SmackDown is scheduled to move from the USA Network to Fox on Friday, October 4. This premiere episode on Fox will focus on the show’s 20th anniversary, with “numerous names from the past” scheduled to make guest appearances to celebrate the occasion. As the show will also be changing time slots from Tuesday to Friday, it also appears that it will be going by the slightly tweaked name Friday Night SmackDown upon its move to Fox, per The Wrap.
WWE will reportedly hold another draft next month following their debut on Fox. https://t.co/rQnWRrWLAe
— Pro Wrestling Sheet (@WrestlingSheet) September 4, 2019
At the moment, it’s still far too early to speculate on the roster changes that might take place during next month’s supposed WWE brand draft. However, WrestlingNews.co noted how the lines between Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live had blurred as a result of the Wild Card Rule, which has seen many top wrestlers “switch back-and-forth” between both brands. This, according to Sportskeeda, has resulted in lots of confusion among fans, who often aren’t sure whether a certain superstar officially represents Raw or SmackDown.
In addition to the aforementioned confusion with regard to wrestlers’ brands, the Wild Card Rule had also sparked rumors suggesting that WWE could soon be putting an end to the brand split three years after it was most recently instituted. However, Sportskeeda‘s Tom Colohue reported toward the end of July that WWE was planning to “quietly” put an end to the Wild Card Rule, not only because of the recent hiring of Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff as Raw and SmackDown‘s respective executive directors, but also because of the rule’s apparent unpopularity with WWE employees and sponsors.