In a stunning turn of events this week on WWE SmackDown, Dominik Mysterio confronted Triple H over the Tag Team Championship match, sparking debates over brand exclusivity. Mysterio, a member of The Judgment Day, recently lost at Fastlane, thereby losing his privileges to appear across all three WWE platforms: RAW, SmackDown, and NXT.
While Mysterio still holds the North American Championship, his appearance on SmackDown contradicts the current WWE rules. Triple H has instated separate General Managers—Nick Aldis for SmackDown and Adam Pearce for RAW—as the company looks to reinstate its original brand split strategy.
Mysterio Stunner Consequences
Mysterio was then dealt a punishing Stunner from Kevin Owens, now an official SmackDown recruit, but insiders suggest that more punitive measures could be in store. WWE may enforce a rule that bars stars from appearing on multiple brands, except for the Women’s Tag Team Champions and the Undisputed Tag Team Champions.
Such a rule would consolidate The Judgment Day and The Bloodline's dominance over their respective brands and serve as a precursor to the Survivor Series, an event traditionally focused on brand supremacy. Rumors are swirling that Mysterio's punishment might require him to defend his North American Championship at the highly-anticipated Crown Jewel event.
This wouldn't be an unprecedented move; last year Solo Sikoa won the North American title on NXT, despite being a main roster talent. He was subsequently forced to vacate the title as he was not officially sanctioned to compete for it.
While Mysterio didn't engage in any title matches during his SmackDown appearance, WWE may still decide to make an example out of him to discourage future brand-hopping. Given the company's new emphasis on maintaining separate identities for RAW and SmackDown, the stakes for Mysterio—and any other wrestler considering a similar move—are higher than ever.