When the information broke that WWE could be returning the model cut up at round Might or June of final 12 months, I truthfully didn’t know what to assume. I perceive why WWE determined to maneuver ahead with the plan to separate the manufacturers as soon as once more. When combining the expertise of each the principle roster and NXT, the pool of expertise and our bodies was as deep because it ever had been, and I can’t blame WWE for not less than desirous to discover sure areas. Whereas we’re just a bit over one week away from WrestleMania, being the tip of 1 season and the dawning of a brand new one for WWE, let’s see how WWE has fared with the model cut up, beginning with the positives.
1. Sense of Competitors
Once I first began to look at WWE, I solely got here throughout random movies from YouTube, however the match that basically acquired me hooked on WWE tv and video video games was the 2005 Survivor Sequence. Randy Orton, JBL, Bobby Lashley, Rey Mysterio and the World Heavyweight Champion Batista took on Shawn Michaels, Carlito, Chris Masters and the World Tag Workforce Champions, Kane and The Large Present. RAW and Smackdown invaded their very own exhibits, there was large brawls left and proper, and whereas WWE tv is “pretend”, it appeared as if the celebrities from every model actually needed to go on the market and show they have been the higher model.
I felt like we acquired a little bit little bit of that on the construct to final 12 months’s Survivor Sequence. This 12 months, WWE Champion AJ Kinds, Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose and Shane McMahon represented Smackdown and took on Common Champion Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, United States Champion Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman and Seth Rollins. The match was an all-out battle that includes brutal spots, nice storytelling and the facilitation of present and future feuds. The ladies and tag staff division was additionally concerned on this feud, and additional incentives such because the Intercontinental Championship and all the Cruiserweight Division was up for grabs. I’ve cherished this sense of competitors and desirous to see which one is best. It was a staple (no pun supposed) of the Smackdown vs. RAW video games I grew up watching with, and seeing it come again was one thing that might have in any other case not been completed with out the model cut up.
2. Smackdown has grow to be vital
The manufacturers united for good at round 2012, and stars from RAW and Smackdown would come to each manufacturers. For some time, it appeared to work, however over time, it was clear that WWE made RAW their flagship present, and Smackdown needed to take a backseat. Ultimately, I’d say at round 2014, Smackdown now not turned important to WWE programming. It was basically Major Occasion 2.zero. Certain, often you’ll get a mid-card title match or a excessive profile tag staff fundamental occasion, however there actually was no actual storyline construct in direction of it, and a whole lot of followers I knew would simply learn the spoilers and decide whether or not or not Smackdown was price watching. Now, with the model cut up, Smackdown not solely has grow to be a vital a part of WWE programming, it has been, for essentially the most half, a extra constant and simpler watch than RAW. Led by AJ Kinds, who carried the blue model for almost all of the model cut up as WWE Champion, adopted by the likes of The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, John Cena, Randy Orton and Dean Ambrose has made Smackdown a present that provides you numerous in two hours.
RAW was clearly given extra expertise to fill extra time for his or her three-hour exhibits (that in addition they typically go over the 11:00-time body whereas Smackdown has to finish by 10), they’ve offered, for essentially the most half, easy storytelling, high quality matches and time to develop expertise on the roster. Except for the tag groups, Smackdown has achieved little mistaken because the model cut up and has dominated RAW in lots of sides of the model rivalry. Let’s not overlook how nice Smackdown’s unique PPV’s have been as nicely. They delivered an important opening impression at Backlash, had two stellar matches at No Mercy (AJ Kinds vs. John Cena vs. Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz), TLC was a strong outing, and Elimination Chamber, whereas missing depth, delivered one of many higher Elimination Chamber matches in its historical past.
three. Extra expertise featured
Earlier than the model cut up, regardless of having two exhibits, there was actually a restricted set variety of folks that might have been featured. You’d have the established fundamental eventers, females and tag groups, and if time permits, you’ll have time for fluff and filler. Now, nevertheless, this model cut up has made the vast majority of skills on the roster (or not less than these concerned within the draft) have a persona and have time to inform their story that wouldn’t be obtainable with out it. Heath Slater wasn’t even part of the draft, and he turned a distinguished storyline for Smackdown till he ultimately acquired his contract with SD. This additionally led to his tag staff with Rhyno and him turning into the primary Smackdown tag staff champions. You even have females resembling Nia Jax, Carmella and even Eva Marie earlier than her suspension get featured. Earlier than, the highest of the feminine pecking order would merely be Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and some other associates. Nevertheless, now, there are distinctive figures on every model, irrespective of their character flaws, and this has allowed for the maximization of all of the expertise the roster has to supply.
The very fact of the matter is RAW and Smackdown earlier than the model cut up was far too high heavy. We’d see the identical faces a number of occasions every week, and now on the very least, there’s a set crew for every model and extra expertise has been uncovered as a by-product. WWE is best off for it.
1. No Selection
Whereas WWE has two crews for 2 separate exhibits, this additionally means we shall be seeing the identical folks on every present, and WWE has achieved a poor job (not less than till lately) in offering us selection. On RAW, what number of variations of Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho going through Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins have we seen? Or what number of occasions have we seen Sasha Banks face Charlotte? Hell, as a matter of truth, the RAW Girls’s Championship modified palms thrice on RAW that includes the identical girls. On Smackdown, earlier than hand, AJ Kinds and James Ellsworth turned a factor, in addition to Dean Ambrose.
Now, admittedly, this was far more prevalent on RAW than Smackdown, which is type of ironic contemplating that RAW has extra our bodies to fill in three hours of content material, and Smackdown can solely fill two and maybe we’d get 4 matches at most. Now that there are new champions and new feud heading into WrestleMania, we’ve lastly seen completely different matches, however who’s to say that this received’t be a recurring difficulty post-WrestleMania? There can solely be so lengthy the place it’s a must to revert to having related variations of the identical match after you introduce new guys. Perhaps the subsequent draft will alleviate a few of that, however lazy reserving has been a virus that has plagued WWE for thus lengthy, and it has proven itself to be profound on this regard.
2. Content material Overload
Once more, with the model cut up, comes together with it, extra programming we now HAVE to look at if we wish to sustain with what’s occurring in the principle roster. Smackdown earlier than was only a large recap of what occurred on RAW and a few further issues sprinkled on to it. Now, Smackdown is an unbiased model with distinctive skills, reserving groups, stay occasions, but in addition, PPV’s. Within the current period the place the manufacturers have been united, from 2012-2015, WWE solely had 12 PPVs (1 for each month), with 13 in 2015. In 2016, we had 15 PPVs. For 2017, we have already got 11 confirmed PPV’s, and the present PPV schedule doesn’t embody seemingly PPV’s to be added resembling TLC, Hell In A Cell, Clash of Champions and different potential brand-exclusive exhibits resembling No Mercy.
Along with that, should you truly get pleasure from watching the CW’s, then you definitely’d even have to stay round for an hour after Smackdown LIVE on the WWE Community for a mixed six hours of WWE programming from Monday to Tuesday. On the finish of the day, this can be a drawback that was needlessly created with the model cut up, as a result of despite splitting the manufacturers, if WWE have been to simply name up the NXT expertise and have all the roster featured throughout RAW and Smackdown, there’d be no want for separate manufacturers. However now, with the creation of separate girls’s titles, tag titles and the Universal Title, we’re again into the identical sample as with the primary model cut up. How lengthy earlier than WWE decides to unify the titles as soon as once more?
three. The Tag Groups
I extremely imagine WWE would have been higher off simply having one set of titles.
When the manufacturers have been cut up as soon as once more, so have been tag groups. RAW would get all the large identify tag groups resembling Enzo and Cass, The New Day (who have been the tag champs on the time) and The Membership. Who did Smackdown get? Apart from American Alpha, which all of us knew was coming, who else? The Vaudevillians? Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder? The Ascension? Breezango? I guarantee you there’s a minority group of individuals on the market take any of these tag groups significantly, however that’s inappropriate. For RAW’s facet, whereas the tag staff scenario hasn’t been abysmal, it has proven why I didn’t need the tag groups to be model particular. There’s little selection on the tag staff roster. Proper now, the RAW Tag Workforce Title match at WrestleMania will function Cesaro and Sheamus, The Membership and Enzo and Cass with The New Day internet hosting WrestleMania. There has but to be an official Smackdown Tag Title match for WrestleMania (although, current rumors have prompt that The Hardy Boyz might make a return for WrestleMania to problem the Usos for these titles.
I truthfully imagine that if the tag groups from Smackdown and RAW have been mixed competing for ONE pair of tag staff titles (keep in mind, the unique RAW Tag Titles after the model cut up have been the identical design used to explain them because the unified tag titles), the scenario could be significantly better as a result of we might have extra selection, and that may be stated to a better extent for the Smackdown tag groups. I, for one, assume American Alpha, taking over Cesaro and Sheamus could be an important matchup. The Usos and American Alpha had about the perfect match that includes the tag groups from Smackdown because the cut up this previous Tuesday. Nevertheless, it’s missing star energy badly. Have distinctive combos with the tag groups, have all of them chase one tag title versus two, and you may have extra selection in that regard.
Now, some might say that might defeat the aim of getting a model cut up, however I don’t actually see a problem with making the tag groups the one division that isn’t model particular. Let’s be sincere right here. Does anybody REALLY care concerning the Smackdown tag titles? Until the Hardy Boyz return (and I’m truly starting to doubt how lengthy their star energy would final with out credible opponents), the SD tag titles are a whole waste and basically a filler title to fill out extra matches for Smackdown unique PPV’s. If there’s one side WWE has failed massively in with the model cut up, it’s this. You may learn extra about this in my current piece, known as “The Unhappy State of the Smackdown Tag Workforce Division”.
What have you considered the model cut up? What have you ever preferred and disliked about it? Are there any particular elements that you’ve seen that I haven’t? Let me know. Till subsequent time.