After the brand split I’ve been asking for a long time to occur, I take a look at the current status. What has worked and what has not.
What has worked
As we’ve seen week after week, Smackdown has been the top beneficiary of the split. Some argue is due to it being a shrter show than RAW, but I disagree. Smackdown is just a better product overall. You could even argue it doesn’t have the same star power RAW does and still RAW has to borrow stars like Undertaker in dispair to see if something gets brewing.
The difference? Storylines. Smackdown has a lot of fresh storylines. It also manages to have multiple super stars on a leveled playing field so it is easier to swap a challenger with another after a feud without working too much. Granted, they have been working a lot on Dolph, but that was caused long time ago. Bray would have never reached the gold if the split didn’t happen, at least not at this point.
Although I still believe Dean Ambrose is overrated and didn’t deserved his title run, he was a huge beneficiary of the split. The Miz had a chance to shine again. The push Baron Corbin is getting right now was just impossible before the split.
The one that got the most benefit? Chris Jericho without a doubt. He reinvented himself and turned everything into gold. He is Hall of Fame material for sure, not that he wasn’t already, but ths ability to reinvent and out perform himself at this stage on his career is just impressive.
It’s a shame he’ll leave after Wrestlemania to tour with Fozzy.
Another big winner is Alexa Bliss, Naomi and the rest of the females.
She surprised many, not me as I was a big fan since NxT, with her performance. I’m still shocked when she did the broken arm spot against Becky Lynch. That was amazing.
Not a big fan of her, but without a doubt, she wouldn’t have held gold without the split.
Neville improved a lot from his repackaging and arrival at 205.
Midle Card Titles
This belts have become worthless. They are barely defended and we saw a few times their holders being on the main event picture for the major title (i.e. Roman Reigns and Miz).
There’s still plenty of talent that could take some benefit of this belts if used properly.
Injuries took some big stars out early after the split. Some migh say this is part of the reason of why RAW isn’t doing so well, but I disagree. They got themselves cornered into the same corner after a full year getting out of it. Instead of doing like Smackdown and trying new stuff, they fell back on the same trap and relying too much on the same starts.
Tag Team Division
This is a mix of the state it was prior to the split (too many teams reduced to a joke) and lack of attention. RAW has done a bit better work on this department but haven’t been consistent.
Although it’s a great idea giving the cruiser weights their own space it has been done awfully. To most fans they only know what they see on RAW, (When is WWE going to learn that most of the fans are not watching WWE Network 24/7) so it looks like a really random filler matches.
They need to have their own day on cable TV or other “free” means of watching it. Same occurs with NxT and was obvious when the crickets could be heard when some NxT people jumped to the main roster and almost no one knew them.
After the draft, injuries and recent call up of Samoa Joe NxT is basically a void without any big names to draw fans. Having it live is a good adition, but not enough. There are good talents down there, but still a long way from prime time.
All this Emmalina has been a waste of time and effort. Hopefully they are converting back to the last gimmick which was great IMO.
Overall, and specially on 2017, the brand gave us a higher level of wrestling. RAW has been able to get to Smackdown’s same level lately and I’m enjoying the ride. Still a few kinks to fix, but we are for a huge 2017 in the wrestling world!