WWE decided earlier this year that they would default back to the original Brand Split that the company decided to end in August 2011.
It was thought that WWE had gone as far as they could as two separate rosters and now it was time for the roster to be joined together. Many superstars were then released from the company because they were no longer needed.
Shockingly this joint roster lasted less than five years and now WWE has made the decision to bring back the split, but this time they have given SmackDown a fighting chance by allowing their show to be live as well.
The Brand Split only came into effect at the beginning of July and so far it seems WWE has been having trouble with ratings as well as the fact that there is now a WWE Pay-Per-View every two weeks.
If the Brand Split failed when it was tried before, then why have WWE decided to bring it back for a second attempt? It was all done rather quickly since it was announced on Monday Night Raw that it would be happening only weeks before it was planned to take place.
It feels as though all the roster decisions were rushed and Raw ended up with the best Superstars, which means SmackDown is forced to attempt to compete once again. It may have only been a few months, but WWE have already made some big mistakes. Here are just 15 of them.
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15 Roster Invasion
It was definitely not the perfect start to life as two separate brands, but when Randy Orton invaded Monday Night Raw to hit Brock Lesnar with an RKO ahead of their match at SummerSlam, it proved that WWE was not ready for the Brand Split format.
It was only weeks after the split came into force and the following week Brock decided to return the favour by invading SmackDown Live to hit an F5 on Randy Orton in the middle of the ring, which showed that WWE was not ready to show the divide between the two brands permanently. Usually, if there is an invasion angle then there is a lot of build up before hand, but the lack of build before this match could have been what forced these invasions to occur in the first place.
14 Not Enough Talent
This one isn't even open to debate. It is obvious that there isn't enough talent in WWE right now to be able to pull off an effective Brand Split (This isn't 2002 when WWE welcomed wrestlers from both WCW and ECW to their roster). SmackDown will be the main roster to suffer because they didn't land as many heavy hitters as Raw during the draft.
John Cena has left the company now for a few months and Dean Ambrose is set to follow which will leave no one for AJ Styles to defend his Championship against heading into Survivor Series. Lack of talent means that feuds are forced to be stretched out and some Superstars are being put in spots they aren't used to and some that they don't deserve.
13 Dependency On Past Superstars
WWE has brought back some of their old faces since the Brand Split. These include Curt Hawkins on SmackDown and Jinder Mahal on Raw but they have also been building towards a huge marquee match between Golberg and Brock Lesnar over the past few months.
The company is aware that they don't have enough talent on split rosters to sell tickets in the numbers that they would be happy with. This is why they are approaching the likes of Shelton Benjamin and Kurt Angle to return to the company in the hopes that this will not only boost ratings, but it will improve their ticket sales as well. Brock Lesnar and Goldberg will meet at Survivor Series in a rematch from WrestleMania XX. Twelve years later, does anybody really care?
12 General Managers/Commissioners Take Too Much Focus
While it was a fantastic idea to bring Daniel Bryan back to WWE in a non-wrestling role, it seems he is the kind of Superstar who has to pull focus whenever he is in the ring. Bryan doesn't know how to be part of WWE when all eyes are not on him and that's one of the main problems.
Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley are exactly the same. They seem to enjoy the spotlight a little bit too much and there seems to be too much focus on promos concerning the so-called authority figures rather than focusing on the wrestling and bettering the storylines of their main event rivalries. The General Managers and Commissioners should not be the biggest Superstars on the roster. They are just figureheads.
11 How many Titles Do We Really Need?
This is a definite pet peeve of mine, but the Brand Split had only been in effect for a few weeks and WWE had already announced that they were adding three new titles to the rosters. Then there was also the Cruiserweight Championship that came into the picture at Raw's first exclusive event.
There was no need for all these titles to be added. There could have easily been one Tag Team and Women's Championship. The more titles that are added, the less prestige they actually have, and it seems that WWE just adds titles for fun now. The new titles are nowhere near as creative as the old ones either. It's sad that the company doesn't believe in their stars enough that they have to unveil new belts because they can't come up with rivalries that are compelling enough for them to not need titles to fight over.
10 Adding A Division To Raw
While the Cruiserweight Division is quite obviously not the problem here. The fact that WWE has given the entire division over to Raw and have given nothing to SmackDown in return, that's the problem.
Raw already has an extra hour and now there is a reason for many fans to tune into Monday Night Raw, given the success of the Cruiserweight Classic this summerr. It is unfair for WWE to give Raw a much bigger advantage over SmackDown when both brands are apparently competing for ratings as Stephanie McMahon and Shane fight it out to find out who the superior brand really is. So far there is no news on SmackDown gaining a division either which is unfair to the likes of Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon who were working so hard to push SmackDown forward.
9 Universal Champion?
Why did WWE decide to add the Universal Championship and why does the company insist on referring to both Championships as 'World' titles? There can only be one World Championship and one WWE Championship. The old Brand Split saw the WWE Championship contested on Raw and the World Heavyweight Championship fought for on SmackDown but it seems WWE has not decided that there should be two World Championships.
It makes it much harder when there are dual Pay-Per-View events like Survivor Series in a few weeks, but the thought is that WWE will probably once again favour Raw over SmackDown and give them the much higher slot on the card. Once again, one Championship could have worked here with the WWE World Champion competing on both programs.
8 A Pay-Per-View Every Two Weeks
This is absolutely fantastic for most wrestling fans. There isn't much else to do on a Sunday other than watch wrestling anyway, but in places other than America, WWE is shown in the early hours of the morning and most children would have school the next day.
On some occasions, WWE Pay-Per-Views do fall on the weekend of holidays but now that it's every two weeks, it is slightly unfair to school children to expect them to stay awake until 4am. Add this to the fact that there isn't enough build up from each brand to argue that there is a need for a Pay-Per-View every two weeks. The Brand Split back in the early 2000s had just one Pay-Per-View each month as the show would alternate. That should have been the way WWE planned for this split.
7 NXT Have Very Little Talent Left
Finn Balor was finally called up to the main roster as part of the WWE Draft, but as mentioned above with the amount that the roster was stretched the company were forced to take many of NXT's best talents and leave NXT a shell of its former self.
Nia Jax, Alexa Bliss, Carmella, The VaudeVillians, Mojo Rawley, and American Alpha were all chosen along with Finn and then Bayley back in July. WWE then left NXT to try and scrape together what they had left after all these stars then made their way to the main roster. The Women's Division is definitely not the same but hopefully, The Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic will help to revitalize the Tag Team Division while Shinsuke Nakamura and Samoa Joe continue to tear it up in the main event picture.
6 Not Much Exclusivity On Each Brand
The original Brand Split allowed the Women's Division and the Women's Championship to be on Raw, the Cruiserweight Division to be on SmackDown, and the Tag Team Division to then be divided between rosters.
This meant that the WWE Universe could choose what they wanted to watch and then watch either show for that exclusivity. This hasn't happened this time around. The Cruiserweight Division is on Raw but every other division has a title and has competition on both rosters. This is why there is no need for so many Championships and this is why fans often can't decide which show to watch because they are both exactly the same except for the added hour on Raw. In the long run, SmackDown appears to be a watered-down version of Raw.
5 No Loyalty To A Certain Roster
John Cena and Triple H were once two of the biggest stars on the Raw roster. They headlined WrestleMania 22 for the WWE Championship for Raw and fought it out at Bragging Rights and Survivor Series for their brand as well. Randy Orton was also a part of the Raw roster and now, along with John Cena, he has been transferred to SmackDown.
It is hard for these Superstars to have loyalty to the roster when they have been drafted from a brand away from a brand where they had previously spent almost a decade of their career. It is early days, but Survivor Series is around the corner and right now it doesn't seem as though any Superstar really has any allegiance to the brand that they have been drafted onto.
4 Being Able To Transfer From Roster To Roster
This continues on from the entry above. How can Shane, Stephanie, Mick, and Daniel teach their group of Superstars to be loyal to their brand when it has now come to light that they will be able to transfer over to the opposite brand when their 'contract' runs out.
Jack Swagger was the first person to do this in the history of WWE. In the original Brand Split Superstars had to be drafted from brand to brand, no one was allowed to jump ship because there was nothing for them on one brand. Superstars were also traded back then. Where are the trade talks now with this current split? This has now started speculation that Superstars can just switch whenever they like which would leave the annual WWE Draft redundant.
3 Giving Raw Obvious Favouritism
It would be easy to overlook this if it was just the Cruiserweight Division and the extra hour, but Raw was also given the best Superstars during the WWE Draft and now that John Cena has left the company for a few months, poor SmackDown is now left with very few Superstars who can step into his shoes.
Vince McMahon himself said that there was going to be no favouritism between the two brands because he wants it to be a fair fight between Stephanie and Shane but it's obvious that Raw has the edge. Triple H made his return on Raw, and it was a huge shock and a big rating's increase for the Red Brand. SmackDown can't compete with that star power and now Goldberg is returning to fight Brock Lesnar. It will be Raw who cashes in on this as well.
2 Copying Ideas From Each Other
If both shows are exactly the same, then why bother watching them both? Then why are WWE hell bent on trying to make their storylines pretty much the same? A good example of this was on Raw when Stephanie said that she enjoyed the Triple Threat match for the WWE World Championship at No Mercy so she thought it would be a good idea to make her main event for Hell in a Cell a Triple Threat as well.
Thankfully, Seth Rollins defeated Chris Jericho in the main event which means that it remains a one-on-one match inside the steel. But if Raw is the dominant brand with so much talent and so many options, why do they feel the need to copy SmackDown? It doesn't make any sense.
1 Pushing The Wrong Superstars/Crazy Storylines
This could be the biggest problem for WWE since their history began. I'm not even going to touch the Roman Reigns situation, but Cesaro and Sheamus? What is Monday Night Raw doing with them? Eight matches couldn't separate them so now we are being subjected to them as a team and they have a Tag Team Championship shot. Why?
Why is Brian Kendrick being allowed a second Cruiserweight Championship shot? Perhaps the same reason Seth Rollins is being given a fourth chance to win the Universal Championship in as many months? There hasn't been a match for the Universal Championship that hasn't included Rollins since the title was unveiled. Over on SmackDown, they seem to be having a problem with Bray Wyatt and not knowing what to do with him. Now he can't win without outside interference. I really feel for Bray. What does he have to do to show WWE that he can be taken seriously?
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