Following last week's decision to introduce a 'Brand Invitation' rule I am hoping for some creativity and unpredictability from WWE as opposed to a recycled 'Wildcard' rule.
The Wildcard rule drew huge criticism from the WWE Universe as it was utilised to allow the likes of Shane McMahon and Roman Reigns to appear on both RAW and Smackdown week after week. Feuds that spanned across both shows not only became repetitive and predictable but it also blurred the lines of the brand split and reduced opportunities for up and coming stars.
We got our first taste of the Brand Invitation rule on Monday Night RAW as Drew McIntyre announced he will face Smackdown's King Corbin on next week's show. The King of The Ring winner may not be a popular choice however WWE's newfound willingness to think outside the box means I will reserve judgement until I see what creative manufacture.
In the amidst of a pandemic and with ratings plummeting this is a logical move that I am willing to embrace. So, how can WWE repackage the old ruling to ensure the Brand Invitation injects some intrigue, excitement and unpredictability that will see that ratings rise once again?
Firstly to avoid a plethora of random crossovers WWE should run a draft to assemble their roster by design so that each brand begins this period at the best possible starting point. While this would require the creative team to plan ahead, keeping the crossover to a minimum and making each Brand Invitation impactful will ensure the new rule doesn't become just a glorified Wildcard rule.
The Draft itself could have a positive effect on ratings short term as fans would not want to miss an event which could see potential returns, debuts and call-ups. If executed well enough and WWE can project their vision for the future as well as creating a feeling of excitement and unpredictability this could also result in long term improvements.
Tag Team Unification
In recent months I have banged the drum persistently on the proposal of unifying the mens tag team division, this would create real competition and bring back prestige to a division that is almost an afterthought. You can read my thoughts in detail in a recent article I published at Wrestling News World by clicking here.
The tag team divisions, particularly on Friday night Smackdown have shown signs of improvement in recent weeks so this rule could be the perfect opportunity to build on this momentum. My best case scenario is a tag team tournament to unify the division however just to see some fresh tag team match-ups and rivalries could work wonders, especially for Monday Night RAW.
Assuming that all brands are eligible for the Brand Invitation rule there are so many dream matches that have 'Match of the Year' written all over them, I just hope these dreams can become reality.
Drew McIntyre vs WALTER
Not sure if circumstance and logistics would allow this match to happen at present however if they could find a way, WHAT A MATCH-UP!
WWE Champion versus United Kingdom Champion, the Scottish Psychopath versus the Austrian Anomaly, this could be a match for the ages and I have goosebumps just thinking about it.
Adam Cole vs Kevin Owens
I'm a huge fan of the Undisputed Era and I envisage a call up to the main roster in the near future for Adam Cole (Bay Bay), Roderick Strong, Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly.
But as long as they remain on NXT who better to play foil to the foursomes dominance than former NXT Champion Kevin Owens. Similar to his recent rivalry with Seth Rollins and his disciples, Owens feuding with the dominant faction culminating in an NXT Championship match with Cole would be epic.
Andrade vs Keith Lee
Never mind 'Match of the Year', this could be a 'Match of the Century' candidate. Keith Lee truly is 'Limitless' with unbelievable ability for such a colossus and Andrade has been one of the best, most consistent performers since his NXT Championship run a couple of years ago.
It's a match between two champions where you would likely run out of superlatives for what was being witnessed. The fantastic Zelina Vega would also play her part, I can just see it now as she attempts to hit Lee with a Diving Hurricanrana only for the North American Champ to be unmoved and hit her with the Spirit Bomb.
Matt Riddle vs Goldberg
Matt Riddle is an absolute star in the making and I could have selected a member of Smackdown's catering staff as his Brand Invitation opponent yet the charismatic superstar would still turn it into a special moment. Whatever 'IT' is the King of Bro's has it and I can't wait to see what the future holds.
But picture this, Riddle continues his well publicised spat with Goldberg by challenging 'Willie G' to a match on NXT, if the Hall of Famer accepts the Wednesday night War ratings that week would certainly make for interesting reading.
Asuka vs Io Shirai
Not forgetting the women's division who wouldn't want to see 'The Empress of Tomorrow' lock horns with 'The Genius of the Sky'?
In the absence of 'The Man' Becky Lynch, Asuka looks set to become the new face RAW and the newly crowned WWE Women's Champion is looking for some worthy challengers. Heel Io Shirai could be a perfect opponent to not only build Asuka as a face but to put herself on the main roster map by doing what she does regardless of the match outcome.
The brand split creates division within the WWE roster and in some instances draft movements have ended feuds prematurely which has stolen certain superstars' opportunities for revenge.
The stand out example is Smackdown's Bray Wyatt and RAW's Randy Orton after the Viper defeated Wyatt for his WWE Championship back at Wrestlemania 33. Despite inflicting payback in a House of Horrors, non-title match Bray may feel like there is unfinished business with the man who took his title and burned down the Wyatt Family compound.
Overexposure of The Fiend during the early days almost saw his repackaged character wasted as what made him special soon became the norm. Credit to WWE however who in recent months have show restraint which hasn't seen a single Fiend attack during the build of his feuds with John Cena and Braun Strowman.
So the stage is set for The Fiend to emerge from the darkness on Monday Night RAW, attack former foe Randy Orton and give him an invitation to the Firefly Fun House.
The Brand Invitation rule gives WWE an opportunity to run an invasion angle similar to that you would see in the build up to Survivor Series.
I'm certainly not saying go full invasion as that would be excessive but just enough sneak attacks, pranks and surprise appearances to create some interesting angles and rivalry between each brand. This would also help create a bit more atmosphere during this empty arena era.
Hopefully WWE have learned their lesson following the poor implementation of the Wildcard rule that was unpopular among the WWE Universe. Fingers crossed the Brand Invitation rule is just what the doctor ordered to create a positive impact on both the product and the ratings.
Would love to hear your thoughts on the article and what you would like to see from the Brand Invitation rule? Please get in touch @CresswellDJ and @wnwnews on Twitter.
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