When WWE first implemented the brand split back in 2002, it brought locker rooms together and instilled a sense of camaraderie. Veterans like The Undertaker and John Bradshaw Layfield acted as captains for the Smackdown locker, and they wanted to make sure that they outperformed their coworkers on Raw. It was a very competitive environment; Matt Striker was nearly pulled into “Wrestler’s Court” when he accidentally said that the Raw roster was better than the Smackdown one.
As the brand split quietly dissolved, this sense of tribal warfare slowly went away as well. When WWE reinstated the split in 2016 and effectively divided the roster, many wondered if the same attitude would return. Others claimed that such an attitude was left behind in the “Ruthless Aggression” era of WWE. Now that it’s been half a year since the draft, it’s safe to say that the rosters have gotten to know each other.
Dean Ambrose was interviewed, and he shared his thoughts on the rest of the boys in the locker room.
He says that everyone is really proud of the great feedback that they have been getting from both the audience and from management backstage.
“I think SmackDown has proven that – I’ve certainly never looked at it like I want to beat RAW or a competition thing. You have to take a certain pride in your work. I think that SmackDown, and knowing that we’ve gotten so much great feedback from the company saying ‘You guys are doing real good, you guys are becoming – we see the audience grow, we see it every week at the live events the crowd is really into the feuds and the rivalries.’ As a locker room we may beat each other up every night but I think there’s been a big swell of pride in the SmackDown locker room.”
While he himself is not too competitive or serious about the brand rivalry, Ambrose claims that the locker room is “one of the best he’s been a part of.” He also states that they should be proud of what they are doing because they are “creating something good”.
“Just a really good group of guys, it’s one of the best locker rooms I’ve ever been a part of, it may be the best locker room I’ve ever been a part of. Even guys that are out there punching each other in the face every night we’re kind of on the same team in some ways because we all take great pride that the show started as a new show, on a new night, and it’s a live show. We take a lot of pride that we really created something good, I think we all take a little bit of ownership in that.”
Ambrose has been a major player for Smackdown. He was the first draft pick for the blue brand, and he was in the main event of three different Smackdown pay-per-views: Backlash, Tables, Ladders and Chairs, and Elimination Chamber. He spent the latter part of the year in a high-profile feud with AJ Styles, and together many claim that the duo carried Smackdown’s main event scene.
Later on, Ambrose won the Intercontinental championship and is currently in a program with rookie Baron Corbin. Ambrose will be the biggest name that Corbin has worked with, and the pairing shows that WWE has faith in the former WWE champion. The duo seem to be getting ready for a showdown at Wrestlemania 33, and it looks like it is shaping up to be a gimmick match, potentially a “No Holds Barred” match, “Last Man Standing” match, or a “Falls Count Anywhere” match.
[Featured Image by WWE]