WWE has announced that the SmackDown Tag Team Champions will be defending the titles under Freebird Rule. Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton won the Tag Titles at TLC on Sunday on behalf of The Wyatt Family, and in the future Luke Harper will be able to replace one of them in title defense matches.
Over on RAW, The New Day defends their Tag Team Titles under the same rule.
Here is WWE’s full statement:
The Wyatt Family to defend SmackDown Tag Team Titles under the Freebird Rule
The Wyatt Family is evoking a rarely-used custom during their reign as SmackDown Tag Team Champions, WWE.com has learned.
While Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton captured the titles for the Family at WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs, SmackDown LIVE Commissioner Shane McMahon and General Manager Daniel Bryan have sanctioned Luke Harper as champion as well, making him eligible to defend the titles alongside Wyatt or Orton under the Freebird Rule.
Named for WWE Hall of Famers The Fabulous Freebirds, the rule stipulates that a faction that holds a championship can assign any of its members to defend the title at any given time. The reigning Raw Tag Team Champions, The New Day, have used the Freebird Rule to great success. Xavier Woods has defended the titles several times alongside either Kofi Kingston or Big E, who won them at SummerSlam 2015.
The Wyatts’ challengers might have rested easier knowing they wouldn’t have to contend with the enigmatic Harper on top of Wyatt himself and The Viper. No more.