Vavel's perspective on WWE's Brand Extension
Get Vavel's take on the Brand Spliit (image: Joel Lampkin)

Vavel's perspective on WWE's Brand Extension

The announcement of two separate rosters for Raw and SmackDown has got the VAVEL Wrestling team talking.

joel-lampkin
Joel Lampkin

"It lost its spark!" "They made the other champion look weak!" "The other roster was boring!" Just some of the comments made before the two separate rosters became one.

In the beginning pre 2002; there existed just one roster full of stars that displayed their skills on two weekly television shows called Raw and SmackDown - not to be confused with the roster full of stars on today's television that perform weekly on Raw and SmackDown; this was a whole different time; The start of the Ruthless Aggression era.

In March 2002, Vince McMahon announced that there would now exist two separate shows with two separate groups of superstars, in what back then was considered major news. The idea behind it was that 'competition brings out the best in people' and with WCW dead and buried and TNA not even existing yet, so competition had to be formed from within. 

So the Brand Extension was born and lasted up until 2011 when it essentially dissolved but after a five-year absence, the WWE have decided to 'shake things up' and believe that with their current array talent at their disposal they can create an exciting show to fill both Raw and SmackDown with entertainment. 

Positives: 

From an overview perspective, when anything 'new' happens it creates a talking point and an overwhelming essence of excitement and with the talk of Brand Extension; that is just what has happened. 

Casual wrestling fans are reminiscing of their times watching the SmackDown - Raw pay per views, while the die-hard enthusiasts are wondering who will be the new face of the show, but what do the VAVEL team believe are the plosives of the brand split?

Joel Lampkin: "It creates a new look and a new feel that you could already feel within the show itself, the new style that is being produced is nothing like 10 years ago and with NXT producing superstar after superstar they have a great filter system to create great performers if one show requires one. 

Certainly, the WWE are in a much steadier ship than they were 15 or so years ago when the original split occurred and with the pull they have, surely they will be able to produce great new storylines that the fans can get behind and give more screen time to stars that maybe have not received as much as they deserve."

Matthew Wilkinson: "I think it's an excellent idea and the right time to do it. This is the only way to make SmackDown relevant again and give fans a reason to watch the show, even though people complain about depth with the returning stars There should be enough talent to split the roster.

It provides chances to the likes of Bray Wyatt and Kevin Owens to potentially prove themselves as top guys in a similar way that CM Punk and Jeff Hardy did. The likes of Randy Orton and John Cena can provide the veteran big names that Triple H and Edge once did and the potential for storylines is something that fans should be excited about.

With the sheer amount of talent available in NXT it now provides double the opportunities for them also and whilst it could go wrong it is time for the WWE to take a risk and if they are able to pull it off it could create something very special for wrestling fans."

Connor Bennett: "The brand split is definitely a positive move which a huge number of possibilities. Back when it was SmackDown - RAW, pay-per-views like Royal Rumble and Survivor Series had a big feel around them about which brand would come out on top. Slowly it petered off with matches such as separate Money in the Bank matches and a Brand supremacy match at WrestleMania.

Business wise it makes great sense for the WWE because SmackDown will no longer be spoiled and they’ll make more advertising money as people are not fast forwarding through them on a delayed recording.

Superstars should get more opportunities with the distinct rosters but they do really need to sell the differences between the rosters. The WWE have done a really good job in promoting NXT as an underground wrestling show and they need to do that here. Selling RAW as the main show with top superstars like Roman Reigns while SmackDown is trying to keep up with internet stars like AJ Styles and Cesaro, or vice versa, should give a different feel to the show. In the past, fans chose a side and it would be really entertaining to see that play out again."

Negatives

With postives come negatives, it is often the roundabout way of the world. For those of whom that cheer Roman Reigns, there are others that call for his head; this is wrestling at its finest and you cannot please everybody.

So following on from the positives of the above, what do our VAVEL team think are the negatives of the Brand Extension?

JL: "It is almost like a jinx, the amount of injuries that key wrestlers have sustained over the past year was incredible, it nearly ruined WrestleMania 32 and now tasking themselves the challenge of creating, even more, superstars to fill two separate shows within a matter of months is going to be one hell of a challenge. 

How many top guys (full time) can you currently think off could be at the top of the tree of either show, John Cena, Randy Orton, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, not many others have received 'that push'. There are a few high mid-carders such as Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Bray Wyatt, Cesaro and Dean Ambrose but dividing all these great performers up into two teams, draws the question: do they have the depth they really require?.

The overall question that needs addressing is "did the product need changing?" before WrestleMania, yes, it did, it was stagnant, bland, stale and just plain boring. But since then,the entertainment value has really picked up, AJ Styles has shown he is phenomenal, the Intercontinental Title is more exciting  than it has been the past seven years and the overall product has slowly but surely become a more intriguing show to view; will this extend across two shows? Unlikely."

James Rutherford: "Even with no brand split, the three hours of Raw can be hard to fill. If you divide the roster in two, it is going to be almost impossible to produce three hours of entertaining content. If the brand split is meant to make us view both Raw and Smackdown as equal products, then they both have to be of equal length, and that does not mean making SmackDown three hours too!

One other issue is the strength of the roster. The WWE does currently have a range of stars and main event caliber superstars, with many on the cusp of breaking that glass ceiling. Many superstars are going to have to be fast-tracked to the main event to ensure that both Raw and SmackDown are strong enough to stand on their own. Both shows will need their own world title, but the person holding the title must still be a viable champion so that it does not lose its prestige."

Review

Reflecting back on the article and the outlook of social media, it looks as if the Brand Split is viewed by the WWE Universe as a positive decision. Despite some relevant points regarding the depth of the roster and whether the amount of TV time will cause the product to become focused too much on one brand while the other suffers.

Regardless of this, the decision is that of Vince McMahon and co. and competition for Mr. McMahon has seen some of the best years of wrestling take place, with WCW washed up and TNA not really an obstacle these days it seems the creator of WWE has decided to create competition from within, in order to breathe new life into World Wrestling Entertainment.

VAVEL Logo