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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Brand Split: Good or Bad for the History of the WWE
June 20, 2005 by Nick Currier


Ever since the shocking night when Mr. McMahon announced the brand split in 2002 my friends and I have debated whether or not the brand split is good or bad for the WWE. In my opinion I think that it has its good points and its bad points. I think it was devised just for the sake of adding to the story lines and to build up a single wrestlers profile without having to deal with being in the shadow of all of the other wrestlers. On the other hand, I remember when there was only Monday Night RAW and all the wrestlers would compete and you never new what shocking match would witness that night. When you tuned in you knew that any of the WWE superstars could fight any other superstar. In my opinion it gets a little old seeing Kurt Angle fight Booker-T every Thursday night. When the WWE was one show it added to the story lines because factions and stables were more easily made. I can't think of one Stable that is as memorable as D-X, Nation of Domination, or the Ministry of Darkness. With the superstars split up into two brands there are fewer superstars and less opportunities for stables to form. Next I will look at how each brand is doing.

Raw is home to some of the most dominant superstars in the business today such as Batista and Triple-H, which have brought us some memorable matches. To me RAW is the better of the two shows which gets more ratings because it usually has the best storylines and most popular superstars. Raw also has the most well known announcers Good Ol' JR and Jerry the King Lawler. That's why in my opinion RAW is the better show due to storylines, Superstars, and announcers.

SmackDown as of late, I feel, has been suffering due to pointless storylines and not so popular superstars, save a few. To make an example the recent Kurt Angle and Sharmell fiasco did little to interest me in SmackDown. and with the loss of there champion John Cena I just don't see how SmackDown can pull itself out of this hump unless we see a brand combination in the near future. I know that SmackDown is home to cruiserweights but I liked it a lot better when the cruiser weights were thrown into the mix with the heavyweights. like Crash Holly's Super Heavyweight gimmick that was truly funny. I think if we combined the two branches then that would easily make for a better product and make the grand slam championship option possible again seeing that only one person has had it and that being Shawn Michaels it would be good for a dominant force Such as The Undertaker or someone else that has been pushed out of the storyline to be the grand slam champion.

The Brand extension was one of the least productive things I have seen the WWE do in a long time. I would love to see the WWE bring the two brands back together because I don't want to wait anymore for a joint-brand pay-per-view to see some of my favorite wrestlers in a fight just because there on a different brand. I think an easy way to bring the brands together is to create a real life SmackDown vs. RAW with the winning brand goes the name of the single WWE program that could happen twice a week. Another thing is I hate seeing a conflict happen on RAW and then having to wait a week to see it unfold. The same goes for SmackDown. I grew up with wrestling and I miss the days where I could potentially see any wrestler on any given show. I just recently went to the live event WWE BACKLASH and I have to say I really enjoyed myself but I have to say it would be more fun if SmackDown was incorporated into the mix. This being the first Backlash that the Undertaker wasn't in.

Those are my reasons for the much needed brand combining that needs to take place. This being my first article I would hope I can receive some constructive criticism. I would also like to know who agrees with me and who thinks I am wrong.

by Nick Currier ..


Junior Lizard King Ryan Ward wrote:
first of all I applaud the brand extension. And the point is so that you have to wait a week and u tune in. And when was the last time you watched WWE. HBK is not the only Grand Slam champ. Kurt, Y2J, Eddie, Trips have all won them too. And where was Taker at Backlash in 2004" I dont recall him being there Get your facts straight
Erkka Järvinen wrote:
One word: Money ---- They didnt split the brands because they wanted to get more people out for opportunities. It was only because of money. Lets say your favourite wrestlers are Batista and Undertaker. Well before the brand split, you could pay only once to see both stars but now when Batista is on RAW and Undertaker on SD! you my friend have to pay twice if you wanna see both stars. This of course includes only if you go to live events.
Vicki Marteslo wrote:
This was a good read.......but you mentioned that only Shawn Michaels has won the grand slam......didn't Triple H win the grand slam also""""
Huthaifas wrote:
The split was the best thing the WWE has ever done. Its has created champions. JBL,Eddie Guerrero,Batista, and probably Orton would never have been champions without it. New stars like Carlito,Hassan,Daivari,Eugene, and possibly Shelton Benjamin would have got lost in the shuffle.

The only thing that the split has failed at is de emphasing of the midcard titles. There are so many guys in line for world title shots, that these titles have been almost abandoned. Guys like Cena and Batista dont even have significant mid card reigns before becoming champs. In this politically tensed enviroment, the US title is completely misused. In wartime, this title should be a prime time belt, not a Velocity championship.
Julian wrote:
First of all, I want to say that I really enjoyed reading this article, as I have also questioned whether the brand split was good or bad idea. I remember when it first happened, I did not agree with it at all. I guess I got used to it as the weeks went on. Even thought the brand split was able to give some of the stars their well-deserved time as champion(i.e. Benoit, Guererro), I agree with Nick in that we need to have the 2 brands combine. The brand split would have been good if it were done correctly, which i feel some of it was not done correctly at all. Yeah, it pushed some potential top stars into the lime-light, like Shelton Benjamin, Mohammad Hassan, and Calito Carribean Cool, but some wrestlers were held back to nothing more than Velocity or dark matches, which I feel defeats the whole purpose of the split. A perfect example of that is the Cruserweight division, or the dying tag-team division.

The 2 brands combining would be good in the sense that that their would be some more excitment within the upper-mid card level wrestlers. That included the likes of Y2J, Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guererro, Edge, Christian, Kane, RVD, Booker T, and the Big Show (of course, when they werent involved with the World Title). It would make for more exciting feuds and storylines, and unpredictablilty. When these guys did get world title shots, they would be the "underdogs" and have the crowd behind them 100%. (Remember in 2000 with Y2J vs HHH, or 2001 with Benoit vs heel Stone Cold in Edmonton"). I feel as if these guys had their best matches for the IC title or the European title (RIP). With John Cena and Randy Orton getting pushed over the past year, they can add to make more exciting storylines with the listed wrestlers above, as they already have. We wouldnt have to resort to seeing wedding angles, or lowering the integerity of great characters (Angle-Booker T-Sharmell saga). I still long for the days of classic IC title ladder matches, or King of The Ring.
jerry sturm wrote:
as much as I feel that you have good opinions, there would be a major flaw with merging both brands into 1 major show. WWE would have way too many wrestlers & not enough airtime to give out......at least, under current time restrictions. so, there's only a few options available. either WWE finds a way of getting more airtime or they'd have to fire a lot of people. firing people would be the easiest solution, as getting more airtime wouldn't likely happen. the problem becomes "who to fire"" I can be certain that everyone would have different opinions on who should be fired or who should be kept around. unfortunately, I see people in the Cruiserweight Division being effected hard, as WWE has a history of not doing enough with them. many of the lowcard wrestlers would also get the ax. many of the people who'd be fired probably wouldn't deserve it, as most of them are probably enjoyed, by the fans. of course, the problem with the brand split is that we have people that are clearly useless. we get Diva Search rejects getting better airtime then someone like Stevie Richards, for example.
Antonio Figueroa wrote:
After reading your column (which was very good, by the way), I have some things I would like to point out. First, I think the brand extension was a great idea, one of the best in wrestling history. The brand extension has brought so many good things to WWE, with only a small handful of drawbacks. Just a few of the positive points are:

1) New stars. Without the brand extension, where would John Cena, Batista, Randy Orton, JBL, Booker T, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Rey Mysterio, and Paul London be" The answer: nowhere. In a company with just one roster, all of these stars would be nothing more than mid-carders or jobbers, buried by the all-powerful Triple H. Without separate brands, the main event spots would be totally dominated by a select few, namely Triple H, Undertaker, Kurt Angle, and...well I guess that's about it. Splitting the brands gave all the aforementioned stars a chance to really shine.

2) More Championships. With each show having a heavyweight champion, a #2 champion, tag team champions, and a specialty champion, we have a total of 8 championships floating around WWE. With the company's original world title, the WWE Championship, and the old WCW belt renames as the World title, fans of both WCW and WWE can argue over which title has more significance. For me, it will always be the WWE Championship, but I have fans who believe the World Championship has more prestige. With the addition of this new Smackdown! Heavyweight Championship coming next week, who knows what kind of storylines they're going to pull off after the draft" now, As far as I am concerned, the only drawback to the brand extension is the fact that fans have to buy twice as many Pay-Per-Views. Now, personally, I do not. As a Smackdown! fan, I buy only the Smackdown! or joint brand PPVs, as I could really care less what happens on RAW. This brings me to my next point.

In the body of your column, you pointed out several reasons why you believe RAW to be the superior brand, and I would just like to say that while we COULD argue back and forth over which show has the better roster (which would be pointless anyway, since the draft isn't over yet), I will instead say this. I am honestly offended by your insinuation that JR and King are a better announcing team than Tazz and Michael Cole. Granted, they have the edge in experience, but JR hardly ever calls a match right, and King's on-air character has gotten very, VERY annoying. On the other hand, Cole and Tazz call matches correctly (unlike JR, who, not too long ago, on an edition of RAW, referred to Batista's spine buster as a "modified powerslam". I don't know what match he was watching, but it apparently bore little resemblance to the one actually going on.) Now, I know Cole and Tazz make mistakes too (like at WM21, where Cole referred to the Clothesline from Hell as a "stiff forearm), but their RARE errors do not take away from a match the way JR's never-ending blunders do.

Lastly, I would like to point out one small error in your article. You stated that you attended this year's Backlash, the "first one in which the Undertaker did not appear", which is a false statement. The Undertaker was not at Backlash 2003 or 2004, as he missed backlash '03 with an injury, and Backlash '04 was a RAW PPV. Overall, though, a very good article. Keep up the good work! (Oh, and start watching both RAW and Smackdown! a little more closely, just to catch blunders like the ones I referred to)
michael nader wrote:
Good article Nick. The shows definetly should come back together. There would be more buildup behind every pay per view, more interaction between superstars, and more possible feuds. The sad truth needs to be faced however that there are too many people to be on one show. Now Vince, he could fix this. He has been firing people. Just not the right people (with the exception of those with injuries that can't wrestle anymore). He's been giving more air time to the wrong people (something Jerry Sturm called out) and he's been bringing all these new BORING people in. If he'd stop doing that, eventually the number of wrestlers would decrease and the shows could be one.

Ive got a feeling that wont happen though. So the other alternative is to make both shows interesting, which they are NOT DOING. A couple of years ago the wwf and alliance fought over there jobs and as smackdown went of the air everyone wondered who would leave and who would stay. A couple of months ago kurt angle threw paint on ONE OF eddies lowriders as smackdown went of the air everone wondered how much will it cost to have that fixed"

Another problem is that the writers are totally doing something terrible with hhh and jbl. (I'm not trying to bash these two so anyone taking offence to it just calm down) They are making all the main events about them now and it totally defeats the purpose of having "new feuds" when all we are seeing is "HHH vs. this guy" or "JBL vs. that guy"

Hopefully they'll bring the shows back together one day, but i wouldn't bet my life savings on it.
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