Just over two years after the WWE enacted their second brand split, is it possible that the company could return to just one roster relatively soon?
With WWE set to begin their $1 billion television deal with FOX Sports next fall, there have been rumors that the current WWE brand split will be ended. However, those rumors appear to be inaccurate, at least for now.
The thought was that with FOX investing so heavily in WWE, they may want all of the company's star power on SmackDown when they begin airing it on Friday nights just under one year from now (October 4, 2019). However, the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports that the brand split may actually be something that is a draw for FOX given their rivalry with another network.
RAW will continue to air on NBC-Universal's USA Network, and according to the report, FOX wants nothing to do with cross promoting the same stars on RAW and SmackDown given the different ownership of the networks.
This isn't to say that it can't happen. When it comes to the NFL, games air on several different networks: ESPN, FOX, NBC, and CBS. This doesn't prevent all of the different networks from showing clips from games that aired on their cable rivals.
Along those same lines, FOX reportedly will have some creative say when it comes to the way SmackDown is presented on their network. Executives at FOX have made it known they want the show to be more sports oriented with a heavy emphasis on the athletic nature of pro wrestling versus featuring so many comedy segments and promos.
SmackDown will be presented as part of FOX's new sports block and they are interested in doing some cross-promotion with the other sports programming airing on the network, specifically the NFL's Thursday Night Football. This will force WWE to clean-up some of the wacky comedy segments that Vince McMahon has always been rather fond of.