For this edition of Cheap Pop and Cheap Heat, I will focus on the best and worst aspects of the upcoming WWE brand split.
One of the most obvious benefits of a brand split is less injuries. Working an intensive pay-per-view match, and then working Monday Night Raw, and then working SmackDown is a huge amount of strain on the body. By reducing the amount the amount of times a wrestler competes, they have a little more recovery time, a lesser chance of an injury, and even a longer career in the long run.
One of the best recent examples of this would be the likes of AJ Styles. With his Roman Reigns program drawing to an end and failing to secure a place in the Money in the Bank ladder match, it looked like AJ's time in the main event was coming to a close (at least for now). However, should SmackDown contain exclusive storylines, suddenly, the chance to showcase him in a main event story becomes an easier and obvious option once again.
The following is a sample of a typical weekly match program for Raw and SmackDown at present:
Raw: The Club vs. The Usos
SmackDown: The Usos vs. The Club
The week after will be the obligatory set of singles matches between the pair.
But by having the same wrestlers appear only once a week, they will not overexposure them, which will lead to making it more exciting to see your favorites each time.
While there are plenty of benefits to the idea of a second brand split, the idea is not without possible problems.
Is Big Gold coming back? I really pray to God it is not. I know that many people think we need this so that the likes of Cesaro can be champion, but it really waters down the importance and prestige of the title. I was not that interested in the main title scene when there were two main championship belts as it just did not feel special to me. Being a champion of 50 people is impressive, but being the Champion of 25? Less so. In addition, it will also make midcard titles matter far less once again.
Is it too soon? We only merged the belts all of two years ago. Splitting them again seems daft.
So, what is the solution to this? Everyone is going to have their own thoughts on what is best for business here, but I think that the main male champion should be able to transcend the brands and appear on either show. This would give it an old school territory feel and retain the prestige of the title. We can then have one midcard title per show (United States on Raw and Intercontinental on SmackDown or vice versa).
I also think that one show should have the women's title as a major focus, and the other can house the tag team division, because the roster is far smaller for the women, so they should all be placed on the same show. Why? Well, WWE tells us that the brands will have a distinctive feel. Having two sets of tag titles and women's titles is not going to help make this so.
Stick With It
When WWE first did a brand split, they stuck to it. Then, slowly but surely, they let it slip. The unified tag champions could appear on any show, "Super Shows" where both sets of stars appeared became a regular part of the schedule, and wrestlers frequently invaded the other shows to the point it became commonplace. What show you were on just did not matter towards the end. If WWE wants to do this, then they need to make sure they do not get lax on it. All the way or not at all, please.
So there you have it, my two choices for the week. What do YOU think are the best and worst potential problems of the split? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!