On the back of the announcement that Smackdown will go live on July 16th (this is great news) the WWE also announced there will be a draft held to determine a unique roster for both shows. But is this really good news, or does it impose limitations? Well here are my thoughts on the announcement.
The WWE has needed to shake-up its programming for a while, as this seems like a great way to do it- the roster split should provide plenty of new opportunities for the current roster, to try new things and ultimately freshen up some of the product. I’ve not been shy in saying for a while that the roster needs to be split across the two shows, so this is welcome news for me however at the same time I can already foresee some of the issues that this will cause for the company as whole- but lets get into breaking this thing down.
The brand split is the ideal opportunity for the WWE to make their midcard championships meaningful again- the Intercontinental has not been treated like the championship held by the second best (technically) wrestler in the company as it was in years gone by and it really should be. If one of these title is to make each show, it should be held by one of the top talents and be the title that almost everyone associates with that brand. Personally I would keep the IC title on Raw and have the US title taken to Smackdown and showcased each week to help it regain some of the former glory. And heres an idea that has been stolen from TNA (yes they occasionally do have a good idea) but why not make a lengthy title reign mean something with these belts and allow anyone who holds the title for 6months to instantly cash it in for a match at the next PPV for the WWE World Championship?! This adds a huge reason for people to be chasing the titles and makes each and every defence mean something as if you can hold it long enough you could become ‘The Guy’. This also means that if a title is vacated for this shot, it gives you a nice tournament style bracket to crown the next champion- instantly providing some good match-ups and television for the next few weeks.
This is also an opportunity for the WWE to make wins and loses meaningful again, as back in the day they had a top10 list why not reintroduce this now and make it a top 10contenders list for each of the titles. The show specific titles only contain those from their respective show but the WWE World title contains the top 5from each that move around with wins and loses. This allows for a natural story progression of challenges, as the number1 slot at the end of each month gets to compete for the title and challenge in the next month. Surely more logic to the title challengers than the old school ‘I upset you so I get a shot’ would be a welcome change.
Wile this split gives the roster changes to flourish with more TV time, the split also means that there will be more time on each show with less talent to fill it which inevitably means we will see more television time for the likes of Big Show, Kane and Mark Henry amongst others that if were being honest we don’t want to see on television. It also means acts like The Shining Stars will get more television time and that could really suck. Another down side to the extended TV time will inevitably be the raiding of the NXT roster- making this roster much thinner than it currently is with top tier talent as I would fully expect Balor, Samoa Joe, Nakamura and Aries amongst others to be taken into the draft and taken onto the main roster. While this will give the likes of Dillenger and Samson time to shine more it will definitely take some of the allure away from NXT that it currently holds.
The split should also allow the WWE to give each division some focus and really allow time for the stories to develop and the talent to shine. For example keeping the WWE world Championship above the two shows gives you the opportunity for unique feuds with all stars, but moving the Women’s division to Smackdown and keeping the Tag team division on Raw would allow for both divisions to grow a following and really get the time they need to shine. The Women’s division is growing quickly and putting on great matches when given the time, and a roster specific time slot would allow for this be a feature part of the show and allow the talent longer matches and more focus. Imagine seeing Sasha, Charlotte, Emma, Dana and Paige to name a few all in action on the same show in separate matches- this would be well worth a watch. The tag team division is the same- it feels now like there are a lot of teams and not enough time and a roster of tag teams on Raw would give them the opportunity alongside the Intercontinental title to truly make a division that matters. And Tag Team wrestling should and does matter- just look at ROH and NJPW there tag team wrestling is superb and often steals the show, why would WWE not want this on their cards. Then we have the potential Crusierweight division that could be built following this summers Classic series- they could crown a champion here and then move the roster across the two shows to add some high flying and fast paced excitement to each of the shows with a champion that works both (just not every week). Think of this like the WWE’s version of the X-Division title back in 2004. This would not only add a unique element to the company, that has been missing for years now but also allows for the company to add some more brilliantly talented names to each roster and bulk out there shows.
Here’s a real bonus- less time in the ring for each star (an estimated 50days less a year) should mean less major stars getting injured through over working and not enough down time. This means that main PPV’s such as WreslteMania and Survivor series shouldn’t be devoid of huge stars like this Mania was and should be able to go all out with their roster mixing. This has to be a good thing for everyone involved, as working this many dates has to be preferable to the almost everyday of the year they have now!
Speaking of PPV’s I would in all honesty keep the shows separate apart from the big 4- Mania, Survivor Series, Royal Rumble and SummerSlam. Could you imagine if the first time Rollins and Nakamura met was on opposite sides of the roster teams at Survivor series? That would be amazing or if the first time AJ and Samoa Joe re-met was in the Royal Rumble- this gives some great opportunities to not have to burn through the big encounters until they can mean something. Keeping the PPV alternating between Raw an Smackdown also allows for stories to develop properly and makes Night of Champions meaningful as it will be one of the only times we see all the champions on the same PPV. This could lead to a few more ‘ughh’ style matches to open PPV’s, however if WWE develop all their talent correctly and make each division meaningful they have more than enough talent to avoid this and create unique viewing experiences each and every month.
Well there you have it- that’s my thoughts and my plans for the matter! This is certainly an exciting time and I cant wait to see what happens, but in my opinion this should be a positive for the WWE- but please god don’t make two world titles again!!!!!!
Let me know your thoughts on the brand split and what you’d like to see.