There's still a lot of mystery as to what the brand split will entail on WWE programming, but that mystery also leaves us with a lot of excitement. The draft will take place in mid-July which leaves us to speculate on who will be on what show. Rosters have already leaked but nothing is set in stone. We're still not sure whether there will be one or two world champions, whether there will be multiple tag team champions or if there will be two women's champions. We don't even know if the WWE will take the approach of one authority figure running each show or if Shane and Stephanie will split everything.
This will be the second time WWE implements a brand split, the first one being back in 2002. There were a lot of aspects about the original brand split that were beneficial for the company, but over time the WWE seemed to lose sight of why they did it. A thinner roster ultimately caused WWE to revert to one brand, but things had already lost steam. WWE had lost sight of what made the brand split so successful in the first place.
This list will be all about learning from past mistakes and finding a balance that will work in today's era. WWE has to make sure this brand split is successful. It's going to be more difficult to pull off. While WWE has plenty of talented in-ring workers, they don't have the established stars they did back in the early to mid 2000s. The brand split should help the cream rise to the top, as every wrestler should get more exposure on television.
This list will take you back, but also to the future at the same time. It's about learning from the past and trying to make it work today. To make sure the brand split is a success, here are 8 things WWE needs to do and 8 things they need to avoid.
16 Do: Put Competing Authority Figures
It's a very real possibility that Stephanie McMahon will be the main authority figure on one show and Shane on the other. It could also be possible that Shane and Stephanie take a backseat to being onscreen and appoint a GM to run each show. This formula worked well in the past, with Eric Bischoff being a phenomenal on-screen figure, while SmackDown saw Stephanie, Paul Heyman and Theodore Long run things. Could you imagine Heyman resuming a GM position? Brock Lesnar's not there all the time and this would put Heyman on our screens every week.
Whoever plays these roles, WWE should have this concept.
15 Don't: Split Up Tag Teams
Remember what happened in 2002 when The Dudley Boyz were split up? D-Von went to SmackDown where he became Reverend D-Von and while the gimmick was entertaining, it was a dead end for D-Von. Bubba couldn't find much success either on RAW.
With the WWE having just revived their tag team division, there's absolutley no way they can split anybody up. Enzo Amore and Big Cass have to be a package deal, as do the Dudleys, The New Day, etc... Don't mess with what's working.
14 Do: Provide Talents More Opportunities
This should go without saying, but sometimes WWE has to be reminded of certain things. With the roster being divided in half, many wrestlers who are typically left off TV should find themselves in more storylines, big matches and more freedom regarding their character.
With the writing teams being split up, it's time that wrestlers start getting more of a say with writers on how to develop their characters. If even one of the two shows adopts this formula, it's be a great way to give their brand a different feel.
13 Don't: Have Crossovers Too Often
What essentially rendered the brand split meaningless in the first place was that there were simply too many instances of wrestlers crossing over to the other show. Any big SmackDown star soon found themselves on RAW every week, leaving viewers confused as to what brand they were actually on. RAW essentially got the whole roster every week, while SmackDown was stuck with whoever they had.
Any type of crossover should be saved for WrestleMania angles, much like the company did when RAW's Shawn Michaels faced SmackDown's Kurt Angle at WrestleMania 21.
12 Do: Give Triple H Control of One Show
If you were to ask the most hardcore wrestling fans, they would say their favorite WWE show is NXT. Triple H has done a phenomenal job running the show, as he's brought in talent from all around the world and given them an opportunity to shine. Triple H is ready to take what he's learned to a main roster brand.
While Vince McMahon seems to insist on controlling every show, it'd be a great idea to let Triple H handle one brand as a test for the future. If one side sees the other show pulling away, there are lessons both could learn; McMahon to evolve and Triple H to see what old habits still work.
11 Don't: Bring Back Bragging Rights
Please, dear God, no. Bragging Rights was a half assed attempt by WWE to make it seem like the brands had a real rivalry, but isn't bragging rights essentially what every non-title match is? It was a stupid concept for a PPV and one that WWE shouldn't bring back with this brand split. This event felt like such a chore to get through in the WWE calendar. Nobody cares about two teams fighting for a trophy.
10 Do: Balance Each Roster With Vets and Rookies
The early days of the brand split saw each brand get a good mixture of established names and performers who were just getting off the ground. For every Undertaker on a show, there was an up and coming John Cena. For every Triple H, there was a Rob Van Dam to balance it out.
WWE can't have one show be full of its established stars and one that is full of NXT callups and midcarders. That's the best way to guarantee fresh matchups while still having your aces on the card.
9 Don't: Include Everybody In Future Drafts
I'm sorry, but nobody tunes into a draft to see which announcers, timekeepers or referees may change brands. It was ridiculous when WWE drafted Jim Ross to SmackDown and Michael Cole to RAW, not just because it was a clear demotion for JR, but that drafts should be reserved for wrestlers. You don't see NFL teams in their war room debating whether to take an equipment manager or water boy from a college.
With this brand split, there will presumably be an annual draft. WWE should keep it to wrestlers.
8 Do: Give Each Show A Different Feel
The problem with WWE shows today, including PPVs, is that every show feels kind of the same. Often times pay per views just feel like a slightly longer episode of RAW (oh wait, they're both three hours). The sets are basically the same, the formula is similar and there's not that special feel that's supposed to make a monthly event stand out.
One thing WWE has to start doing again is incorporate unique sets for both RAW and SmackDown. That was part of what made each show in the original brand split feel different. This is just a superficial change though. We'll get to another one soon.
7 Don't: Let Women's And Tag Division Suffer
The WWE eventually brought a second women's title into the mix and thus we got the pink butterfly in the Divas Championship. A second tag team championship was introduced fairly quickly, but WWE's division was a lot deeper back then. The tag division suffered anyway, as we soon had champions like Rico and Rikishi holding gold. To avoid devaluing these two divisions, the WWE shouldn't rush into adding a second belt. Either split the tag and women's divisions on each show or have the champions appear on both shows.
6 Do: Brand Exclusive PPVs
The big PPVs in WWE felt a lot bigger when most events were brand exclusive. Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam and Survivor Series were the only times the entire WWE roster was on one show and this is a concept that should be brought back.
The big four would feel a lot bigger and each PPV would get months of build on one show, rather than weeks. Instead of getting rematches on separate shows within a three week span, feuds will be able to slowly develop with split PPVs.
This could also open up the possibility of names like TLC and Hell in a Cell being scrapped. Instead, we could bring back some names we love like No Mercy, Judgment Day or Armageddon.
5 Don't: Have Two MITB Winners
The Money in the Bank concept is fun and always provides an entertaining ladder match, but it got tiring seeing a guy with a red briefcase and a guy with a blue briefcase every week. A better concept would be to have a Women's MITB match. That way, at least the women's championship would get the same treatment as the world title. In order to avoid diluting a great concept, the WWE should make sure they have a worthy briefcase holder, not just because they need the spot filled.
4 Do: One World Champion
This one will be heavily debated, but I don't think WWE is capable of building up two world titles. Why add another when you're having trouble bringing prestige to one? Having one world champion was the initial concept in the brand split and I think that works better. The champion is all the more valuable that way and it prevents rematches every other PPV.
This concept keeps the champion strong and it keeps things fresh in the main event scene. It also makes sure one world title never looks inferior to another.
3 Don't: Add More Titles
This goes along the same lines of not devaluing a division. The WWE should simply divide the titles they have on both shows and keep one world champion. Have a U.S. champion on one show and the Intercontinental title on another. Maybe a cruiserweight division can be introduced at some point, but WWE can't mess with too much off the bat. Let the divisions grow and the need for more titles will eventually come up. Don't force it if it's not there.
2 Do: Create A Competitive Environment
Paul Heyman is a very competitive person. He was so competitive that he found a way to listen in on a RAW creative meeting while he was in charge of SmackDown. Was it underhanded? Sure, but it also showed a competitive nature and that's what WWE needs to bring. The whole point of the initial brand split was to fill the void of competition once WCW was no longer around. Vince should love having two shows that want to cut each other's throats. The wrestling business thrives on competition and that's something WWE has to recreate.
1 Don't: Devalue SmackDown
This is perhaps the most obvious one, as WWE needs to have two A-shows but it's a pattern that they've followed before so it's worth mentioning again. As it stands now, it looks like RAW is going to remain a three hour show, which will automatically move SmackDown down a peg. Mind you, it could work to their advantage. I don't know about you but if I only have a certain amount of time to watch wrestling, I'd be more likely to watch a two hour show than a three hour one.
Either way, this is the number one rule that WWE has to keep in mind. We don't have to worry about them ever devaluing RAW, but SmackDown must always be kept on the same level. This was the number one sin that killed the brand extension last time out.
It looks like keeping both shows equal is what their goal is, so hopefully the follow through.
Leave A Comment
Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?Get Your Free Access Now!