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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

2853 - Random Thoughts On... The New WWE Brand Split

So WWE recently announced that starting July 19th, Smackdown will be going live on Tuesdays. Not only that, but they are re-introducing the brand split so that each show - RAW and Smackdown - will have their own rosters, their own creative teams, their own storylines, and that sort of thing. I'm skeptical that they'll be able to pull this off. It's no secret that Smackdown has been relegated to a fourth-fiddle show that occasionally has stuff worth watching, but is generally skippable fare. Even with the talented Mauro Ranallo and a refreshed Jerry Lawler providing commentary, it feels like Smackdown is just something to fill time rather than anything worthwhile.

With the new brand split, maybe things will be shaken up and more folks will be showcased. It's no secret that the brand split of 2002 set the stage for some folks to showcase their skills and even become big stars in their own right. Guys like Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Randy Orton, Batista, Edge, and others were able to make a name for themselves during this era and for a time, both shows felt like different properties. If you were more into sports entertainment, you'd watch RAW. If you prefered a purer wrestling product, you'd watch Smackdown. And I'll tell you what; during those initial years, Smackdown was the better show as it had great talent, great matches, and generally better stories while RAW, on the other hand, had HHH as world champion and nobody gave a shit.

Now how the split will unfold, when will the draft take place, how will the titles be distributed, will they split the World title into two (god, I hope not - I like having one World title as it makes it feel special) - the details haven't been leaked, but I'm more concerned on whether they'll actually make a genuine effort in trying to make Smackdown its own thing with its own feel rather than just second-rate RAW with another bunch of people. Ideally, I'd like for them give Smackdown a far different dynamic from RAW, similar to how NXT has a far different dynamic to the main WWE product... but that's just speculation. Right now, there's a split, Smackdown goes live in July, airing on Tuesdays on USA... that's all we know. So as more gets revealed, if I feel like talking about it, it'll be on the blog... or maybe wait till next episode; either way works for me.

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