Dire times in WWE!
Have you enjoyed the Brand Extension thus far? Perhaps you are one of the many jaded fans who needs to hate this idea. Regardless, the Brand Split has yet to live up to all the hype that surrounded the concept.
There are numerous factors at play here but overall, the current split feels nothing like the original back in 2002. Does Seth Rollins - the first overall pick - really match-up to the first of 2002, The Rock?
How about the second overall pick, Dean Ambrose? Does "The Lunatic" compare to the man who went second fourteen years ago, The Undertaker? Times have changed in WWE and this draft reflects that.
While it remains early in the Brand Extension, there is reason to believe that it won't last. Is that pessimism? No. Simply a plain sense of realism which most fans experience. That said, let's take a grim look at the current Brand Extension.
Here are 15 reasons WWE should abandon the Brand Split:
15 SmackDown Live Hasn't Delivered
Shane McMahon promised that SmackDown Live would deliver the action but in reality, it remains the same show with tow main differences: John Cena appears and it is broadcast live on Tuesday nights.
Daniel Bryan has been positioned as the General Manager of SmackDown Live as a sentimental ploy. The hope here is that the WWE Universe's love of Bryan will transfer over to the Blue Brand.
Tuesday nights do not feel like must-see television and there's no way to avoid that fate. Monday nights are for the wrestling channel, Tuesday nights are for any other any other sports station on your TV.
14 Monday Night Raw Hasn't Delivered Either
Let's not place all the blame on SmackDown Live. For the most part, Monday Night Raw has failed to live up to its own expectations. This is after all, the "flagship program" of WWE, so the red Brand needs to deliver.
The three-hour long Monday Night Raw has not produced in the manner that it should. Throughout the recap-filled program, a cluster of meaningless matches and segments are presented as "flagship" entertainment.
What is obvious about Monday Night Raw is the pain the program is feeling due to the Brand Split. With more time to fill than SmackDown Live, the Red Brand is left in vain to string together its "best" form of programming.
13 Fans Are Not Invested
With anything of this nature, the key component to success comes from the fans and their support. And yes, the people stood behind this Brand Extension but the ultimately the chase was better than the catch.
In all honesty, putting together fantasy rosters for Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live in the weeks leading up to the draft provided more excitement than the actual results and subsequent programming.
Perhaps we have become too desensitized to internet results to fully appreciated watching wrestling live anymore. Perhaps we don't care enough about the current WWE Superstars. Perhaps the product is terrible. You decide.
12 Talent Pool
If one were to take a dip in the current WWE talent pool, one would not run the risk of drowning. With the biggest mainstay name being John Cena, the part-time runner-up would be Brock Lesnar.
Seth Rollins may be positioned as "The Man" but there was and will forever be only one Man of the industry: Ric Flair. Rollins may be twice the wrestler Flair ever was but "The Architect" cannot draw like "The Nature Boy."
Not to discredit Seth Rollins who taken his role and made it count. Rollins was a fantastic dirtbag WWE World Heavyweight Champion throughout his reign. It's just a mater of timing. Wrong era, Seth. Wrong era.
11 Unnecessary Time
The reason the 2002 Brand Extension worked so well what due an influx of talent. Performers who were already well-established wrestlers within the industry. In fact, some had already reached legendary status.
Duplicating the success of '02 was not an entirely unreasonable vision. However, the current roster lacks these well-established stars. A.J. Styles made a name for himself outside of WWE but do casual fans really care?
In 2002, most wrestling fans were hungover from the Monday Night War. Even those who remained loyal to WWE knew who the WCW talent were; a direct result of some shameful, Nitro one night stand.
10 Pay-Per-Views Won't Work
Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live are set to present their own, unique, individual Pay-Per-View events. With this direction comes the great "bust' probability. Can either brand really handle their own Pay-Per-View?
Once again we must call attention to the talent pool and how each Pay-Per-View will require around seven matches to constitute a full card. Can Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live deliver in this area?
While both brands will manage to fill their event cards, there will be a great amount of filler on Sunday nights. These filler matches will be unappealing to the fans and serve as the obligatory bathroom/beer break.
9 Monday Night Viewers
For the most part, wrestling fans are Monday night viewers. While die-hards will tune in on Monday for Raw, Tuesday for SmackDown, and Wednesday for NXT, these fans are not the targeted, general audience.
Taking John Cena away from Monday Night Raw was sure to upset a large group of fans who watch specifically for Cena. Sure, they could tune in to SmackDown Live but they probably won't due to Monday night familiarity.
Monday Night Raw is the safe haven of WWE. The fans will continue to come back to the show they have known for so many years. SmackDown Live was not created for the casual fan; the true WWE audience.
8 Tuesday Hangovers
SmackDown Live on Tuesday nights sounded great on paper. However, as the realize of consuming five hours worth of wrestling over two nights set in the concept became less and less attractive.
Tuesdays are for discussing what happened on Monday Night Raw around the water cooler; not preparing for another night of in-ring action. There are not enough fans willing to put in the time.
When SmackDown aired on Friday night, nobody was watching. The drunken masses were out socializing and ignoring their inner wrestling nerd. So, what should WWE do with the brand if it simply can't work on any night of the week? (More on that later.)
7 Championship Cluster
Championships need to matter in WWE. The entire concept of being a wrestling champion is often laughed at anyway so let's make it count. Once again we revert back tot he original Brand Extension (yes, dead horse) when talent was abundant.
Back then, it was much easier to have two major champions. Now, not so much. Not to mention the rumours of a second Women's and Tag Team Championship coming to SmackDown Live ... it's just not there.
The tag team division as a whole looks great so why the split? Placing all the tag team focus on one set of titles will make not only the division but the championship mean that much more to the company's history.
6 Think About The Women
Women's Wrestling is now a movement. However, spreading the female talent thin could hurt the division in the long run. Monday Night Raw possesses the Women's Championship while SmackDown Live has nothing ... yet.
In all likelihood, the Blue Brand will eventually introduce their own version of the Women's Championship; a less superior version. There should be only one WWE Women's Championship.
If the Women of WWE are allowed to all compete for the same championship, it provides the title and more importantly, the Women's Division with a great sense of purpose. Two title will diminish the movement.
5 Main Events
On a recent episode of Monday Night Raw, Rusev would occupy half-an-hour of programming. This thanks to an over-drawn post-wedding segment that of course ended with a cake in the face.
On the following episode of Monday Night Raw, Rusev would challenge Roman Reigns in the main event; not only giving away a Pay-Per-View match six days prior to the event but basically putting the crowd to sleep.
Roman Reigns vs. Rusev as the final match of Monday Night Raw? No. This cannot be the formula moving forward. Something needs to change in a hurry on Monday Night Raw. Perhaps the best solution being to bring back the biggest names of SmackDown Live.
4 WWE Universial Championship
When Eric Bischoff literally handed Triple H the World Heavyweight Championship back in 2002 to represent Monday Night Raw as the brand's top title holder, the gesture meant so much more than simply crowning a champion.
The World Heavyweight Championship was a title held by the likes of Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, and Ricky Steamboat. The belt came along as a piece of history and should have been re-introduced on Monday Night Raw.
The WWE Universal Championship is never going to mean as much as the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Therefore the "A Championship" will remain with the "B Show" while the new "B Championship" will join the "A Show."
3 Monday Night Raw Sucks
This is always difficult to admit - especially as longstanding fans of the program - but as it stand right now, Monday Night Raw sucks. The program has seen better days, there is no denying that fact.
The excitement is gone and the show is too long. Remember the action-packed two hour years of Raw is War? Ah, the good old days. Perhaps we're just a bunch of bitter living on way too much nostalgia.
Regardless, Monday Night Raw is nothing compared to what it once was long ago. Obviously, we cannot expect a duplication of Raw is War but WWE needs to provide something more on Monday nights.
2 SmackDown is Irrelevent
To make this point we must remove the Paul Heyman Era of SmackDown as back then, the program was definitely relevant. However, the relevancy of yesteryear does not apply today to SmackDown Live.
For a number of years, nobody has given a damn about SmackDown and what takes place on the show. And yes, a few new viewers have tuned-in but it's not enough. WWE should consider scrapping SmackDown entirely as a brand.
Place all the focus on Monday Night Raw and make the program feel like can't-miss-television once again. In reality, WWE doesn't need SmackDown Live. Perhaps it is time to put the brand to sleep.
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