Episodes of Raw and SmackDown Live have been hitting all-time lows for WWE in terms of viewership over the past month. Unfortunately for them, fan interest has dwindled to the point where drastic action has to be taken in order to bring back their audience. It seems that no matter what road WWE choose to go down, they always seem to come up short. Whether it be after putting the WWE Championship on a fan favourite or bringing back a few faces from the past to try and draw bigger numbers, it never works out for them.
Last night on Raw, Vince McMahon brought his latest attempt in reinvigorating the product to life, named the ‘Wild Card rule’. For one night only, superstars from SmackDown Live would be granted freedom to show up and compete on Raw. Granted, those opportunities were limited to only Roman Reigns, Kofi Kingston, Elias and the returning Daniel Bryan, but nevertheless, it was something a bit different.
WWE had been teasing an appearance from Roman Reigns all week long on social media, which ultimately ruined the surprise, as they always do. Vince’s justification for having SmackDown Live’s latest acquisition just jump ship without any real reason could be considered an absolute bomb. Roman barely made his presence felt, appearing in the opening segment to belittle the McMahon patriarch, only to be put into a pointless WrestleMania rematch with Raw’s Drew McIntyre. The match itself wasn’t terrible, but what a waste of a ‘surprise appearance’. Fans had been speculating that maybe Reigns’ appearance was to announce his intentions to challenge Goldberg at the upcoming Saudi Arabia show, although that wasn’t to be.
Kofi and Bryan headlined Raw with their inevitable WrestleMania title rematch. It seems a little odd that they chose to give this away as a main event of Raw. I mean, not only is Kofi/Bryan II a solid choice for a PPV, but considering they’re only being featured on the red brand as some shoddy attempt to drum up some audience interest, it’s insane. Needless to say, it didn’t really work. It came across like an absolute afterthought, being exploited for the sake of getting last minute ratings for their closing hour.
This ‘Wild Card rule’ is set to go both ways, with Raw superstars being allowed a one night only appearance on SmackDown Live. I suspect we’ll see the Universal Champion and maybe AJ Styles make a cameo, but is this really enough to start a wave of momentum? I don’t think so.
Vince’s panic booking has always been hit or miss. Occasionally he can adapt enough to create something game-changing, The Attitude Era for example, but more often that not, it’ll be something so desperate that it just comes across terribly.
As expected, the brand extension is slowly dying a death. This ‘Wild Card’ double bill seems to be the final straw that will undo the exclusivity of being on either brand. It was good while it lasted, but expect Baron Corbin to be main eventing both shows from here on out.
What did you think of last night’s Raw? Let us know in the comments below.