WWE has confirmed that Smackdown! will be changing to Tuesday nights LIVE for the first time in 17 years. Alongside that news, the WWE announced that both brands, Raw and Smackdown, will both have their distinctive rosters.
As a longtime wrestling fan, I cannot tell you how excited I was reading the latter news. Here are my top reasons why the split is best for business.
The return of a classic
An exclusive belt to Smackdown! for many years, has potential of making its return to the brand. Originally, a WCW Belt but after the purchase of WCW in 2001 and the dismantling of The Alliance during The Invasion, the title was renamed the WWF Light Heayweight Championship. The belt saw many exciting high flyers around its waist, such as; Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Jericho and Billy Kidman. The title was abandoned in 2008 seeing its last champion in Hornswoggle. I’d like to see this belt return, giving more options to upcoming stars, and to watch some high flying wrestling once again. Furthermore, most wrestlers are all fighting for a Heavyweight championship, it’s about time we saw more diversity in the roster.
Less Roman Reigns
Yes, I said it. This is not an attack on a guy who clearly has a following in some respects, but he is certainly force fed down our throats by WWE at present. He constantly reminds us we are now living in the era of the ‘Roman Empire’, sorry mate but that happened thousands of years ago and the Empire collapsed. Roman Reigns is a hard worker you can see that, but his charisma and all round personality is nothing when compared to his famous, eyebrow raising cousin. At least The Rock had time to develop his character, with Roman already being 31 can it happen? Something needs to give with this guy, but for now I would like to see attention given to more deserving, charismatic wrestlers.
More NXT call ups
NXT is hot right now, and rightly so. The brand split will see more scope for these talented individuals to make their rise to the big time. At the moment, it feels that even when the call up is made they make a good start but then are completely forgotten about, take Tyler Breeze for example. In the next few weeks, post-split of the brands, I would like to see Finn Balor make his way up and I want some Bayley.
More time for stars to develop
Following on from my Roman Reigns point above, the split will give more time for stars to develop. Stars like, Owens, Cesaro, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks. The aforementioned stars have made their mark so far, but some get pushed, then forgotten about and then pushed again. The more these stars develop, the more variety we will see in rivalries and story lines, the latter of which needs a serious injection of creativity. Brock Lesnar and his sidekick Heyman is always a good watch, but let Brock dip in and out between WWE and UFC and give others a chance. Quite frankly, keep Brock as an intimidating character. Brock can be utilised every time he returns, to scare the crap out of cocky new champions, because ultimately, Brock has done all he can do in terms of accolades in the WWE.
Potential Smackdown! v Raw games return
Who didn’t love these games! The current set up of the WWE 2K games are pretty in sync with the annual regurgitation of FIFA and other branded 2K sports games. Sports games can be tediously boring if not developed correctly, but wrestling games were an absolute blast circa early 2000s. A little later down the line we saw the beginning of the Smackdown! vs Raw titles which ran between 2004 – 2011. One feature these games have which we don’t see today is the General Manager mode. What WWE fan wouldn’t want to manage their own roster of stars! For those who didn’t have the opportunity the play this mode back in the day, trust me, if it returns you’ll be a happy fan.
Less Authority more corporate rivalries
The Authority has seen it’s day in my opinion, a little like the Corporation back in the attitude era. However, with the recent return of Shane O’Mac there is scope for an intense rivalry between he and sibling, Stephanie. We have already seen glimpses of it since his return, but nothing that really grasped my attention. When the rosters are split, I would like see both respectively, as GMs fighting it out week after week and spitting at each other with absolute poisonous promos!
Smackdown stops being a Raw repeat show
Oh, look it’s Reigns again. Smackdown! at some point in its TV life was a massive rivalry show to the long-standing Raw. Hence, the creation of Smackdown! vs Raw for all those years. Since, the rosters were re-united Smackdown! has become a the lesser known, step-cousin of Raw. Most frequently, it boasts the same sort of show to Raw and doesn’t offer the universe much else in terms of matches or story line development. It feels like a filler with no filling to give. What’s the point, presently, having Raw and Smackdown! air the same week when they air the same show? What has also added to Smackdown’s! demise is the intense popularity of NXT, which has only been a bad thing for Smackdown!
A hopeful mention – The WWE World Heavyweight Championship to be split?
Ok, this is a long shot but I would like to see the belt split apart for the same reasons I set out above regarding bringing the Cruiserweight belt back – options. Obviously, it’s unlikely it will happen but if not it will be exciting anyway to watch GMs fight over where the coveted belt will rest its glory on which brand!
Overall, there is plenty to look forward to when the roster split returns! Here’s hoping that the WWE ties all this in nicely and we see the breakthrough of mega-star wrestlers, intense rivalries and amazing story lines, like so many years ago. What are your thoughts on the split? Let us know in the comments section below.