In what will come as a surprise to very few, rumours began circulating on Monday that WWE had decided to compromise their brand split rules once again starting this week.
The first rumblings of this idea were posted by John Pollock in an article on Post Wrestling suggesting that cross brand moves were likely to be incoming.
So it proved on Raw when WWE Champion Drew McIntyre announced that on next week’s show he would face double murderer and Smackdown superstar, King Corbin with the title on the line.
In addition, blue brand tag team The Iconics made their return on Raw and it was announced that Raw superstar and NXT Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair would be appearing on Smackdown Live on Friday.
WWE have a very poor record of keeping to their own internal brand split rules since their initial draft all the way back in 2002.
It has been given various branding and justification over the years but in one form or fashion, WWE has always given in to temptation to erode the hard brand split lines.
To be fair, it feels this time that it is a move with significant justification. Ratings are in freefall on all three televised shows, surely largely due to the fact that the shows produced without crowds at the Performance Center in Orlando are odd beasts and hard for all but the most hardcore of fans to stomach. WWE are unquestionably doing their best to put on a show at all, but audiences are telling them with their remote controls that it just isn’t the same.
In addition, many current stars are missing from regular programming with Roman Reigns and Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn among those exercising their right not to travel to work amidst the ongoing crisis and record-setting Raw Women’s Champion this week announcing her pregnancy that may mark the end of her days as a full time performer. WWE need all the star power and fresh matches they can get so this ‘brand to brand invitation actually seems like a canny move to make.