A match on next week’s Monday Night Raw will pit the two main brands of WWE against one another, and there is a big reason behind it. On Raw, WWE introduced the new “Brand-to-Brand Invitation,” which will be similar to last year’s Wild Card Rule but with plenty of differences. Even though the brand separation was to be enforced in a much stricter manner, WWE officials realize this may be the best thing for everyone.
This week on Raw, WWE Champion Drew McIntyre extended a Brand-to-Brand Invitation to Friday Night SmackDown for a match. The blue brand accepted the invitation almost immediately, and they selected King Baron Corbin as their representative for the title bout.
According to Wrestling Observer Radio, by way of Sportskeeda, WWE introduced this new twist as a way to help TV ratings. There is no secret that ratings have plummeted for all weekly TV shows during the coronavirus pandemic, and the brand crossovers could help liven things up a bit.
WWE executives have not said that this is the end of the brand extension, but they feel having more superstars appear on both shows could help matters.
Except for the Survivor Series in November, WWE had kept Raw, SmackDown, and NXT separate from one another. Once SmackDown moved to Fox in October, the network wanted it to become its own entity and separate from shows on the USA Network.
Upon moving last year, Fox officially announced the end of the Wild Card Rule.
When Vince McMahon introduced the rule last summer, fans immediately criticized the idea as they couldn’t understand it. Each week, a select handful of superstars were allowed to jump from one show to another. If any others did so, they would receive a harsh punishment.
The punishments never happened, and each show ended up being a massive mixture of both brands for months. Wrestling Observer did report that ratings typically stop dropping when brand extension enforcement lessens, and that is likely WWE’s aim this time as well.
WWE hasn’t revealed much as to how the Brand-to-Brand Invitation will work, or if it will be something happening each week. Fans are waiting to see if the blue brand offers one of their own to Raw or even NXT.
On Monday, WWE also announced that NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair would appear on this week’s episode of SmackDown. There have been no additional details as to what she will be doing.