The return of the Brand Extension was announced on May 25th, 2016 and generated excitement with many fans. We were predicting what titles would come back, what Superstars would be eligible for the draft, and whether Raw would revert back to being a two-hour show. The many rumors and reports helped to create a nice little buzz for the WWE. After weeks and weeks of anticipation, the Brand Extension has occurred and with it has come the reveal of several General Managers and the rest of the perspective rosters, as well as some other big news that would change up the WWE. And after the dust has settled, it doesn’t seem to have come across as many fans would’ve liked.
Monday Night Raw remained a three-hour show, got the first pick and got three picks for every two that SmackDown got; not the greatest of news. This clearly set the stage for Raw to take a great bulk of the talent from the main roster and NXT, but the revelation of a certain division coming back to the WWE made it even worse for SmackDown. With the actual results of the draft occurring this past Tuesday, the show revealed anything but balanced rosters as well as one big unfortunate truth about SmackDown.
And to sum it all up, this article will be looking at the 15 Things We’ve Learned from the WWE this week; both from Raw and SmackDown Live.
15 The Cruiserweight Division Is Back
When the WWE announced the Cruiserweight Classic was taking place, many wrestling fans were hoping that this would lead to the return of the Cruiserweight division within the WWE. And this past Monday, the WWE made the shocking announcement that the Cruiserweight division would return to the WWE as an exclusive part of the Monday Night Raw brand.
14 The New Day Are Here To Stay
As stated in a previous article, the rules of the brand extension made it abundantly clear that a tag team could be kept together or separated at the whim of the GMs and Commissioners. There was speculation before the draft that The New Day would possibly be split up, but the second round of the draft revealed the trio would remain a cohesive unit.
13 Daniel Bryan Is SmackDown's General Manager
The rumors surrounding the GMs of Raw and SmackDown were swirling for the past couple of weeks as the draft drew closer. And on Monday Night Raw, Shane McMahon countered the announcement of Mick Foley as Raw’s GM by announcing that the SmackDown GM would be Daniel Bryan.
12 WWE Is Committed To Darren Young
For the past few months, the WWE has been doing vignettes for Darren Young with Hall of Famer Bob Backlund as his life coach. The segments were widely disliked by the fans and it got the point where some probably would’ve been fine had the WWE dropped the idea altogether. But as usual, the company ignored the backlash from the fans and pressed on with the push of Young.
11 There Will Be NO Heel GMs
On this past edition of Monday Night Raw, both Stephanie McMahon and Shane McMahon revealed their GMs for their perspective brands. Many fans were expecting a babyface pick for SmackDown and a heel pick for Raw, so that the shows could truly feel like polar opposites.
10 The Usos And Reigns Will Be On Separate Shows
Following the feud with The Club after WrestleMania, Roman Reigns and The Usos seemed like a team that was going to last through the Brand extension. With the emphasis of family in the WWE for Reigns, separating the Samoan bloodline in WWE sounded like a move that wouldn’t make much sense. And in typical WWE fashion, the choice they probably shouldn’t make was the one they made as Reigns was drafted to Raw while Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso were drafted to SmackDown.
9 The Wyatt Family Is Done With Strowman
The WWE draft saw many strange choices, decisions, and separations made in the name of causing controversy and shaking things up, but one of the more notable decisions was the separation of The Wyatt Family. While Bray Wyatt and Erick Rowan will more than likely continue their cult-like stable on SmackDown, Braun Strowman will now be an exclusive member of the Raw roster. This probably come as a surprise to many seeing how Strowman made his debut as a member of the Wyatt's about a year ago, so to separate him from them so soon seems strange.
8 The Zayn-Owens Feud Is Far From Over
The feud between Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens has been going on for years on the independent circuit, but it began in the WWE two years ago near the end of 2014 on NXT. Fast forward to the present and both Superstars are on the main roster and have been attacking each other and interfering in each other’s matches nonstop. The story for their match at Battleground was that the draft would more than likely see both men on separate brands, so they should settle their affairs once and for all before that time comes.
7 Ambrose Is Headed To SmackDown
Since the breakup of The Shield, the WWE has been behind Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins way more than they have been behind Dean Ambrose. While Reigns and Rollins have been the WWE Champion at least twice in the last two years, Ambrose just won the title back at Money in the Bank. And with the news of the brand extension, it has become abundantly clear that the WWE was going to put the former members of The Shield on separate shows.
6 The Club Is No More...With AJ Styles
As discussed earlier, the WWE Draft Rules clearly indicated that teams could be split at the whim of the GMs and Commissioners. And while many people expected The New Day to split, the teams that would actually be breaking up would be The Wyatt Family and The Club. AJ Styles was drafted to SmackDown while Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows were drafted to Monday Night Raw. And while this would probably mean the end of The Club under normal circumstances, a certain first round draft pick may help The Club stay alive.
5 Raw Has Huge Star Power
The rules of the WWE draft clearly indicated that Raw was going to have the advantage in this brand extension, but the way it occurred on SmackDown was way more one sided than any of the fans wanted. Looking at nothing more than the star power of Monday Night Raw, the rosters are so outclassed that it’s almost embarrassing. SmackDown has some really good picks in Randy Orton, John Cena, AJ Styles and the current WWE champion Dean Ambrose, but Raw will have Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Brock Lesnar, Chris Jericho and the former NXT Champion Finn Bálor. From the women’s division, Raw will have Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Nia Jax, Paige, and Summer Rae while SmackDown will get Becky Lynch, Natalya, Naomi, Alicia Fox, Summer Rae, Alexa Bliss, Carmella, and Eva Marie. Even the prominent midcarders like Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, and Cesaro will be on Raw while Bray Wyatt, The Miz, and Kane will be on SmackDown.
4 No Superstars Returned
As the brand extension drew closer, rumors has started to emerge regarding the return of former WWE superstars. With a roster in need of added star power, the WWE was rumored to be seeking some of their past employees to help bolster the roster and make these splits brands matter more.
Many fans were anticipating the return of guys like Shelton Benjamin, Kurt Angle, Carlito, and many other wrestlers that the fans grew to love over the years. However, the draft revealed none of these former Superstars were returning, as of now. While there was a small chance that the WWE was saving this announcement for the actual brand extension, the fact remains that seeing some old faces would’ve been great for the fans and great for TV. But as of now, there will be no former WWE Superstars returning for these split brands.
3 Nakamura, Joe, And Bayley Aren't Going Anywhere
With the Brand extension drawing closer and closer, many fans were predicting that the WWE would call up NXT’s best and brightest stars to join the main roster and help make the shows matter. If most fans were asked, Shinsuke Nakamura, Samoa Joe, Finn Bálor, Bayley, and American Alpha were all undeniable draft picks to be revealed on Tuesday Night SmackDown. And when the draft came to an end, it was revealed that only Bálor and American Alpha were the big NXT standouts to get the call.
2 Triple H Has Not Returned
After the GM for Monday Night Raw was revealed to be Mick Foley on Monday Night Raw, people were speculating what that would mean for the fate of Triple H. He tweeted about the NXT roster picks, but not much of Triple H has been seen since his defeat against Roman Reigns for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania. Since Triple H won’t be the draft pick for Monday Night Raw, this could possibly be seen as an indicator that a storyline involving Stephanie, Shane and Triple H is coming sooner rather than later.
1 SmackDown Is Still The B Show
The Brand Extension has revealed many things about the WWE and what some of the creative minds are thinking. It shows that they never had any intention to reduce Monday Night Raw, that NXT will retain a great bulk of its star power, and many other things of this nature. But the biggest thing the draft revealed about the WWE was that SmackDown will remain the B Show for the rest of its existence.
When fans heard the brand extension was coming back, many of them predicted an ideal scenario where Raw and SmackDown would both be two-hour shows, the World Heavyweight Championship would return, and the roster would have separate rosters, but unique traits that would’ve made the shows better. Instead, the WWE’s actual plans would reveal a Raw that still remains three hours, a roster that completely dwarfs the other in sheer star power, and an exciting cruiserweight division that will be exclusive to Raw. All of this does nothing but stack the deck in the favor of Raw while making SmackDown the same underdog it was before. Now maybe the WWE can get really creative, have some great storylines, and great wrestling to make SmackDown matter again, but if it hasn’t happened till this point, there’s no reason to believe it will happen now.
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