As WWE gears up for SmackDown’s highly anticipated move to FOX this October, the company is reportedly looking to keep both brands split.
Dave Meltzer noted in the latest edition of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, “The plan right now is to go back to split rosters in October. There may be some minor crossover, but at least the idea is that it won’t be like it is now.”
The reason to move back to split rosters is due to RAW behind under Paul Heyman, and SmackDown being under Eric Bischoff. This will play out on television with storylines remaining on one show, and not crossing over on both programs like it is now.
“Nothing is decided but the belief is that the current rosters will largely stay in place.” Meltzer states. “There may be a few minor changes right before the move of guys switching brands, but there is thought there will only be a few and the current rosters will be largely what Raw and Smackdown will each have.”
Back in May, WWE instituted a “Wild Card Rule” in which a limited number of Superstars from Raw or SmackDown would be invited to cross brand lines for one-night-only appearances. WWE failed to follow its own rules, and did not remain consistent in only allowing four wrestlers to appear on opposite brands. Penalties for unauthorized jumps were announced as fines or even potential firings. This was not enforced, and WWE quietly stopped mentioning the rule all together.