The fantasy booking aspect of the upcoming brand split in WWE is the best thing associated with it. Everyone is buzzing about the potential of new ideas and cool concepts coming to the company with two separate brands needing plenty of help to work well on its own. The drafting and specific storylines unique to each brand provides great potential for wrestling fans. At the end of the day, diehard fans love to forecast and predict what will happen. The fantasy fun associated with the rosters being split in half gives us extra inspiration and incentive to work on our educated guesses.
WWE’s past brand split flopped due to a lack of creativity. They didn’t think outside of the box for interesting ways to change things up and it just felt like the same old shows with watered down rosters. The brand split taking place in July should see better results due to both a richer roster depth and the company being a little more in tune with the audience. WWE has started to bolster up the talent depth with the signings of A.J. Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura and even Mauro Ranallo giving them an embarrassment of riches. The potential here is spectacular and everyone is thinking of ideas that could make sense.
We’re going to put out some of the ways WWE can provide an entertaining brand split with both shows succeeding in being compelling and unique. The roster depth, WWE Network and ability to take risks put the company in a great spot to think of creative ways to make it work this time around. The point of the brand split should be to have both shows excel with their own identities in a way where fans can respect both as being on the same playing field. These ideas should do that as we break down fifteen possible scenarios that could benefit both Raw and SmackDown as we fantasy book the brand split.
15 Live Draft Special On The WWE Network
The talks of the upcoming draft between Raw and SmackDown have been heavily rumored to see the two rosters being formed during a live edition of Raw. WWE needs to work hard to ensure both shows are viewed as equals and that can start to be achieved by having the draft on a neutral field like WWE Network rather than on one of the two shows. The WWE Network also doesn’t have a time restriction and they could theoretically have a three or four hour special with both sides picking their entire rosters. The draft special is the most exciting part of the brand split and WWE putting it on the Network would attract more fans to signing up.
14 Have The Balor Club Form On The First Show After The Draft
Both shows will need to develop their own identities with noteworthy shows on their first episodes following the draft. We are all waiting on Finn Balor finally making his debut from NXT to the main roster and it’s more than likely he will do so with The Balor Club. The reforming of NJPW’s Bullet Club with Balor, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows is a no-brainer considering their chemistry. A.J. Styles vs. Finn Balor is a top level feud that is definitely being saved and there’s a major reason we haven’t seen Balor debut yet. The brand split should create new stars and new feuds. This is the perfect time to strike.
13 Develop New Announce Teams
The commentary in WWE is often criticized by wrestling fans. The team of Michael Cole, Byron Saxton and JBL make up the broadcasting trio for Raw and PPVs. WWE sometimes has the announcers argue and debate topics during matches as if it was a sports talk radio show rather than an actual wrestling program. That will be fine for one of the shows if things are drastically different for the other. We need different identities for each brand and a more serious approach with a new team that would help SmackDown. Mauro Ranallo is the ideal play-by-play commentator to treat the show as a true sport and Corey Graves has the perfect personality to add humor without taking away from the matches. His inclusion does seem like a real possibility...
One of these days Mauro, you'll realize that I'm a genius....How does Tuesday sound? https://t.co/HVQDT1WTEv— Corey Graves (@WWEGraves) May 27, 2016
They belong on SmackDown giving a new voice for the newly revamped show.
12 Have Contracts Expire With Brand Negotiations
A top positive for the brand split is the ability to have two competing brands always creating a ready-made overall storyline for the company. While both shows should be separate worlds with their own atmospheres, there should be some stories that crossover. The main goal of a brand split is to create competition in the eyes of the fans since WWE has no true competition in the wrestling industry. Much like the sports world, wrestlers work on contracts for a specific amount of time. That should play out on television in a fictitious way, with both brands trying to steal talent from the other. Segments of Shane McMahon trying to convince Kevin Owens to ditch Raw for SmackDown or whatever the alignment will be would provide entertaining results.
11 General Managers Scout Unsigned Talent/Foreign Stars
The buzz around the recent signing of Shinsuke Nakamura to NXT showed just how global the pro wrestling business has become. Word of mouth spreads the reputations of various global stars for fans to check them out. WWE is apparently scouting talent from all over the world in hopes of bolstering up the rosters with two respectable talent depths needed for this to work. If signing an international talent, one of the GMs missing an episode of Raw or SmackDown to scout or negotiate with the unsigned wrestler in a video segment would help give the feel of a true competition and introduce new talent as well. This could also work for the top independent wrestling stars being brought into the WWE like Bobby Roode.
10 Contender Power Rankings
The shows will each need original and unique concepts implemented to stand out once the brand split starts. General Managers will have to introduce new things for the shows in an effort to get the new rosters going in the right direction. The use of power rankings to determine contenders for the World Title could be beneficial in creating a successful show. A World Championship is the most important prize on a show and everyone on the roster trying to get into the top five of the power rankings is an idea that could create new stars. The top five stars being involved in matches against each other also add great matchup possibilities.
9 Occasional Trades
An important part of the original brand split should have been the art of the trade. The two shows trading wrestlers similar to sports teams would be a tremendous facet of the roster split. WWE’s big presence online via social media could also bring attention to their websites by hinting at trade rumors before it actually happens. Rosters will always require change and the ability to trade wrestlers from one show to another can help make sure things don’t get stale. The trades can’t happen too often or the brand split will lose its integrity, but one taking place every few months is a great way to keep everything fresh. It'll also create further buzz on the rumor mill.
8 24/7 Championship
The Hardcore Championship does not have a place in today’s WWE with the violent use of weapons for a novelty segment failing to acclimate itself in a PG climate. However, the aspect of the 24/7 rule that used to be associated with the Hardcore Championship does provide an interesting role in the WWE landscape. Most of the entertainment in the hardcore division came from the comedy of Crash Holly trying to live his life but wrestlers attacking him in everyday situations. That is a concept WWE should bring back to one of the shows, particularly Raw. Three hour episodes need variety and the 24/7 Title could provide entertainment for the likes of Goldust, R-Truth and Heath Slater.
7 Cruiserweight Division
One of the greatest aspects of the first brand split in 2002 was SmackDown having the Cruiserweight Division exclusively. Smaller wrestlers did appear on Raw but the best of the best resided on SmackDown to make the title relevant. The matches were a guarantee for exciting wrestling during its peak, with the likes of Rey Mysterio, Paul London and Tajiri facing off. WWE’s upcoming Cruiserweight Classic tournament at Full Sail could be added on as a branch to the SmackDown brand with the winner and most impressive talents scoring a roster spot on the show. There have been rumors of a Cruiserweight Championship being the grand prize of the tournament and that would be quite fitting with the timing of the brand split.
6 Put Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn On Different Shows
A great benefit to having two completely different brands is keeping hated rivals away from each other. You can keep the feud going in subtle ways, without giving them the opportunity to engage in physical action against each other until a big event. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn have a natural chemistry and one of the best rivalries in recent pro wrestling history. We can’t possibly see them fight every single show but the brand split could see them poke at each other through the Raw vs. SmackDown storyline. They could even have a rare WrestleMania match pitting a member from each roster against each other for more than just brand pride due to the perfect story there.
5 Paul Heyman For Smackdown GM
The signs of Stephanie McMahon and Shane McMahon competing against each other while running Raw together seemed to be for nothing. Dave Meltzer reported that the General Manager of Smackdown will not be a McMahon. The person to run the Tuesday brand will likely be a surprise and Paul Heyman would be the best choice. Heyman is arguably the best talker in the WWE with a tremendous character but he only appears when Brock Lesnar does. WWE could place him on SmackDown every week and have him serve as worthy adversary to the McMahon kids. Heyman was already the General Manager of SmackDown in 2004 but the new brand split would be a far bigger opportunity than it was back then.
4 Allow Brock Lesnar To Be The Only Person That Works For Both Brands
Brock Lesnar should be viewed as the biggest asset in the WWE. The Beast ended The Undertaker’s undefeated WrestleMania streak, dismantled John Cena and has not cleanly lost a match in years. It is a well-known fact that WWE is overpaying Lesnar big time for his services, so it makes perfect sense to tap into that in making him even more credible. The General Managers on both sides should come to the agreement on having one specific talent wrestle both of their talents. Lesnar will obviously never work another full-time segment but he can go back and forth between brand opponents in his rare PPV matches rotating each time. Brock deserves to be treated as a presence unlike anyone else in WWE and this is the best way.
3 Two Women’s Championship Belts
The recent emphasis on making women’s wrestling credible again will be a very tricky part of the brand split. WWE’s prior draft had the Women’s Championship and division only take place on Raw exclusively. While it holds more value today, it would be a slap in the face to the women if they were only allowed to compete on one show. A brand not having any women’s wrestling present would just destroy everything WWE has been trying to do for the past year. They will need two distinct and credible titles for the women’s division, so the female talent can thrive on both Raw and SmackDown. It will be hard to introduce another new title belt so soon after WrestleMania 32, but it has to be done if they want to spotlight the top female athletes in the company properly.
2 One World Championship
WWE merging both Heavyweight Title Belts a few years ago was a great move. The company has been taking positive steps forward in making the most important prize in the industry once again a respected championship. The only way to go forward in the brand split is to have the champion appear on both shows and have two storylines going on at the same time. It would just make the title holder come off as a bigger star by being the only person allowed to have a presence on both brands. Creating a second World Championship would just add more confusion to the mix and diminish the value of both titles. Roman Reigns feuding with both Seth Rollins and John Cena at the same time, or whatever the combination is, adds to his title reign and the prestige of the belt.
1 Two Live WWE Network Specials Every Month
The luxury of the WWE Network allows the company to do just about anything they please in terms of scheduling. In the past brand split, they had to run 3-hour exclusive PPVs for one of the brands every other month and it led to lackluster results. WWE currently has the ability to air live shows any time they want and that could give us a monthly traditional show wrapping up storylines on the Network for both shows. They can be two hours like the amazing NXT TakeOver specials or three hours so they continue the tradition of the past PPVs. Raw could take over the usual monthly PPVs with Smackdown having a cool, new cutting edge live show on the Network with a unique presentation.