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Friday, March 4, 2016

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Bring Back The Brand Extension

By @stevesignore 

Talk about an instant shot in the arm! A brand split for the WWE gives the company a chance to be something it hasn’t been in years: unpredictable. There are so many aspects of a brand split that make me excited as a fan. If RAW hosted a talent draft, it could very well be one of the most anticipated RAW episodes in years. Regarding the draft, I wouldn’t single out the selections solely to performers on the main roster. The WWE should have the respective General Managers pluck stars off of the NXT roster who are ready to get the callup. If you allowed the GMs to draft stars such as Samoa Joe or Sami Zayn or Asuka, for instance, that could add another dimension of interest. Plus you can run vignettes or videos of each new star when they’re selected. In my opinion, the WWE should start the draft on RAW, which is their traditional format, then run the remaining picks after RAW on the Network. They used to just post the results for the remaining stars online, but why not take advantage and keep the fans continuously invested in WWE TV for another hour or two. Trust me, you can skip an episode of the Edge and Christian Show!

Due to the fact that Smackdown! only has a two-hour window, I would make this show a fast paced wrestling machine, with more matches and maybe only one in-ring promo. This idea is further enhanced by the fact that Mauro Ranallo will be calling these matches. In my opinion, he’s the best in the business. The split format can also help utilize Ranallo more often, most notably during PPV events.

I would give Monday Night RAW exclusive rights to the IC Title and Smackdown! the same with the U.S. Title. The World Heavyweight Champion, Divas Champion and Tag Team Champions can be the only superstars that can bounce back and forth between both shows. The goal should be for these two “brands” to stay as far apart as possible. Actually make it feel like it’s two separate brands under the WWE umbrella. Even if you want to run video packages with Ranallo promoting Thursday's show. Don't even have Michael Cole touch it!

Assembling the rosters: This is the trickiest part. It’s easy to say RAW would get all of the established stars while Smackdown! would get the guys trying to make a name for themselves. But if you do that then the RAW roster looks old and stale and Smackdown! looks fascinating. So you do have to present balance on both shows. I would give Smackdown this core group: Owens, Orton, Cena, Cesaro, Ziggler, Zayn, Neville, Kalisto, Becky Lynch, Alberto Del Rio. On RAW: Styles, Nakamura, Reigns, Rollins, Samoa Joe, The Wyatts, Balor, Ryback, Ambrose, Sasha Banks. The rosters will be rounded out with complimentary talent, but these are the cores I came up with. But this is clearly a topic that fans can play around with and debate. It makes talking about the WWE fun again! Gets the gears moving in WWE fans brains.

Another aspect that can constantly have fans talking is brand talent trades. It keeps the brands fresh. That could end up being a concern after awhile is a return to stale if the rosters don't change from time to time. And you can also have the two brands competing over hot "free agents." Maybe, if Kharma, for example, was brought into the company, you have both General Managers battle over signing her.

Please make a brand split happen. I'm sure there are negatives to going forward with such a plan, as is with any change this drastic, but in the end, I see nothing but positives.



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