Partial Source: The Wrestling Observer Newsletter
According to sources, there is some backstage speculation that WWE may once again be ending their brand split in 2019 in order to keep their new deal with FOX. WWE officials are reportedly concerned that FOX could back out of the deal due to ratings.
As previously reported here on eWrestlingNews.com, WWE and FOX agreed to a five-year deal back in May that is worth $1.025 billion for SmackDown! to air live on the FOX Network beginning in October 2019. WWE officials, including Vince McMahon, are reportedly worried that FOX could back out of a long-term deal due to the ratings for SmackDown! Live. If this were to happen, WWE would more than likely panic and end the brand split.
It should be noted that the exact details of the FOX-WWE contract are unknown and it’s said that FOX likely couldn’t back out of a deal worth that much so easily. The worst case scenario is that WWE SmackDown! Live would be moved to FS1 if it can’t compete live on Friday night’s.