The Wildcard Rule has just been a trip, hasn't it? Brought in because the networks for each show weren't happy with AJ moving away and Roman doing the same forcing WWE to create some sort of loose membrane between the shows for wrestlers to move between regardless of roster allegiance, it's been a complete disaster! Except for one outstanding (and we use that both in its literal sense and as a rating) episode of Raw the shows have been duller and more repetitive than ever. Flashing back to late last year when the McMahon Clan stood in the ring and named the fans the New Authority, it seems we're either terrible at it or they've reneged hard on that deal. We pray they don't alter it any further.
We can boil many of the problems down into separate issues right here, so that's what we're going to do. Hopefully back at WWE, they're compiling a similar list so that when Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff take proper control they have some instant fixes they can apply to get their respective show balls rolling.
10 Disappearing Champions
As Raw and Smackdown trade their top stars to the point of inundation they're actively causing their reigning champions to disappear! Samoa Joe's United States title runs passed in the blink-and-you'll-miss-it sense. Finn Balor's Intercontinental Championship reign is a thing of myth.
Either Tag Team Championship is liable to go weeks without representation. In short, the intermingling between shows has already damaged the key prizes everyone is fighting over. This could be fixed in a 10-second re-write of a show and should be first thing in the priorities list.
9 Death Of The Midcard
Along with disappearing champions goes the majority of wrestlers who would be chasing them. Rusev has all but evaporated along with Lana. All tag teams who aren't directly challenging for either tag title have ceased to exist or been split up.
The AOP should be somewhere in that mix, right? Now, the best they can hope for is to be included in the conga-line of guys chasing the 24/7 Champion through the halls and while that's entertaining it's not helping.
8 Shane O(verload)'Mac
Everybody is saying it. What's the deal with having Shane McMahon all over everything! The formerly palatable Smackdown GM has become everything Baron Corbin was being criticized for last year. Endless repetitive promos. Pulling guys who should have better things to do into his orbit like Drew McIntyre and The Revival.
Feuding with multiple guys on both shows until even a glimpse of his lockerroom sign is enough to make an arena of people reflexively groan. The flood of Shane needs to end. Especially because he still brings it when the time for a match comes, meaning he's worth the investment. Just not this much.
7 Rematches Galore
It was a problem before the Wildcard Rule came into effect, but it's only gotten worse. They were struggling not to double up while guys were on a single show and you can see how they're incapable of avoiding it when the same guys and girls are on every show.
Kofi Kingston is in a never-ending series on both shows and Heavy Machinery has faced The Planet's Champions in every conceivable configuration. If Drew McIntyre faces off with one of Shane's enemies again, it'll cause an inescapable time-loop!
With the differences between the shows diluted so badly the problems before the brand split are returning like clockwork. Before 2016, Smackdown was reduced to a place where Raw recaps and lesser rematches made it feel almost pointless.
While it's not that bad yet, the Raw recaps and bleed-over need to be nipped in the bud. Especially with the incoming move to FOX. You can be sure they didn't buy Smackdown to get Raw's scraps and leavings. Almost certainly should be Eric's priority.
5 RIP The Brand Split 2016-19
The initial brand splits (in 2002 and 2016) did great things for Smackdown and thus offered Raw a chance to refresh or later cherry-pick those Smackdown savants for itself. With separate PPVs, storylines, champions, rosters, and everything else it meant that WWE was much more likely to have something you'd like somewhere.
Once again they've misunderstood those benefits and the Wild Card rule might just be the final nail in the coffin of this version of the brand split. With Smackdown's identity more precarious than ever now, ending any Wildcard shenanigans would be the surest way to begin the healing.
4 More Like Guideline Than An Actual "Rule"
This one is for the sticklers and 'Comic Book Guys' among the wrestling fandom. What started as a potentially interesting concept with a lot of flaws was revealed to be completely unsustainable mere weeks into it.
First, it was 3 wrestlers can jump to the other show. Then Lars Sullivan glared at Vince and got it to 4. Then some weeks we didn't know if Shane and his entourage counted, muddying the numbers further. Now there have been near a dozen or more jumping shows every week and it's clear that any 'Rule' has about as much consistency as who is the reigning 24/7 champion.
Considering WWE recently abolished the automatic rematch rule for champions it's amazing the number of rematches that are happening PPV after PPV. Dolph Ziggler against Kofi Kingston, Roman Reigns Vs Drew McIntyre, Shane McMahon Vs The Miz, Becky Lynch Vs Lacey Evans, there's got to be a better way.
Yes, they have to tell their stories but the Wildcard Rule has enabled them to continue stories that should have naturally ended! It's making every PPV less of an event and more of a chore to watch.
2 Double Of Nothing
WWE has for a long time been beset by written promos that don't suit the wrestlers giving them. What the Wildcard Rule has done is forcing them to find ways to say the same things in different ways over and over, like a kid trying to artificially lengthen his essay for class.
Thus we're being given the same thing on Tuesday as we got on Monday, dressed slightly differently but not really. When you can fast-forward every Shane McMahon promo and guess what he said with 90% accuracy, you're daring your audience to leave.
1 Whoa, Man. Reigns?
It seems they've figured this out more recently but at the beginning of The Wildcard Rule, Roman Reigns was freaking everywhere. Not only was he on both shows like a rash he was opening Raw as if nobody on that show wanted to be there so a Smackdown wrestler could just take it over.
He's appeared on Raw more times than he has his new home brand since the Superstar Shakeup and that's just about the biggest joke of the entire thing. Whatever goodwill Roman has is burning quickly as he gets overexposed by this 'Rule'.