Wednesday, May 25, 2016, will go down as one of the most significant days in the history of the WWE. It was announced that the company would be once again implementing a brand split, dividing the roster in half, with one performing exclusively on Monday Night RAW, and the other half on Smackdown, the latter of which will begin airing live again Tuesday nights beginning on July 19. But how the brand split is executed will be crucial to the future of the industry.
New details emerged later Wednesday afternoon in regard to the brand split in general. According to the latest edition of Wrestling Observer Radio, another draft will take place and that draft will happen Monday, July 11, on RAW. This comes a week before the new era of Smackdown is slated to begin, so we’ll find out if the roster is divided immediately after the draft concludes, or if those headed for the Tuesday night show will appear Monday one more time. The other significant aspect about the July 11 date is that RAW will emanate from Detroit, Michigan, that night. The Joe Louis Arena was the site of Shane McMahon’s shocking return to WWE earlier this year, and there’s a good chance Shane could be running the Smackdown brand when this all plays out.
Shane’s father, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, is reportedly buzzing with ideas ever since they started spit-balling. The brand split had been rumored for months, but the final decision to move forward with it happened within the last few weeks. Some WWE officials and superstars were informed of the plan on Sunday at Extreme Rules with the rest of those within WWE finding out this week. The biggest source of discussion has become what they plan to do about the World Championship, with many believing that there will be two World Titles again, though that has yet to be confirmed.
Among those many ideas floating inside Vince’s head include the plans for the other WWE championships. The report indicates that the Intercontinental Championship will be on one show, while the United States Championship will be on the other. As of now it appears the WWE Tag Team Championships will be defended on both shows with no plans of bringing in a second set of tag titles. Also, many WWE officials are under the impression that the entire Women’s division will be on one show, still competing for their lone title. Most of the talent that reacted via social media Wednesday did so positively, though a large majority of them are still unclear of what the exact plans will be and what night they’ll be performing on.
Vince noted on the WWE First Quarter Earnings report conference call earlier this month that very soon we’d bear witness to the biggest roster in the company’s history. He obviously had a brand split in mind and adding talent is still a priority despite the recent releases. More cuts are expected by the end of the month, but the plan is to add fresh faces, many of which will come from NXT, in order to fill out two full, separate rosters. As noted earlier Wednesday, those two rosters will have their own writing and creative staff dedicated solely to that brand. NXT will need to be replenished as well, meaning WWE will continue to scour overseas and the independents for top talent.
WWE’s ‘Smackdown’ Will Move To Live Broadcast On USA (EXCLUSIVE) https://t.co/uLsdjWiFCJ— Variety (@Variety) May 25, 2016
Vince is reportedly “pumped up” about the plan and hopes the WWE Universe is, too. The last time they went with a brand split, it started off with a bang but fizzled out in the end. Hopefully they’ve learned from their mistakes and this new era can legitimately make a mark.
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