Last night on WWE Raw, SmackDown Live Superstars Roman Reigns, Daniel Bryan, and WWE Champion Kofi Kingston all appeared at the top of the show.
Seeing the three blue brand members in the ring with him, Vince McMahon had an epiphany – The Wildcard Rule.
Initially, Vince said if three Raw Superstars want to appear on SmackDown Live, and vice versa, on any given week they can do so.
However, later in the night Elias and Lars Sullivan also appeared, with The Freak’s threatening look forcing Vince to up the allocation of brand-switching stars to four.
Vince bringing in the Wildcard Rule is reportedly a response to pressure from NBCUniversal (USA Network) and Fox regarding WWE’s recent ratings decline – that’s according to Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio.
It’s said that Vince didn’t want to give up the exclusive brands of Raw and SmackDown Live, but pressure from NBCU and Fox to bring the ratings up saw the Wildcard Rule change come in. Fox and NBCU are said to be worried about the lack of bonafide stars in WWE ahead of SmackDown’s move in the autumn.
It was also noted on WOR that Fox wants Raw and SmackDown Live storylines on the blue brand show when it eventually makes the move – seeing WWE’s top stars work both shows.