News broke on Tuesday that WWE’s Thursday night show, SmackDown, would be moving to Tuesday nights, and that it would be live instead of taped. Of course, WWE has been taping SmackDown on Tuesday nights for quite some time now, and it was reportedly the USA Network’s call to make the show air live.
Following the announced change to SmackDown, it was revealed that WWE would be doing another brand-split, which was rumored to be taking place after Shane McMahon returned to the company back in February. The split will officially begin this coming July.
WWE is still working out the details of the split, but according to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, the company has already decided who the face of Raw and SmackDown will be.
On Thursday’s Wrestling Observer Radio, Meltzer revealed that Roman Reigns will be the face of Raw, while John Cena, who is set to make his return this coming Monday night, will be the face of SmackDown.
“While it hasn’t been announced yet, the star of SmackDown will be John Cena, and the star of Raw will be Roman Reigns.”
Meltzer also revealed that, as of right now, the plan is for both brands to have a World Champion. So, there is a chance that Cena could capture his sixteenth World Title when the brand-split takes place.
When WWE first introduced a second World Title back in 2002, they awarded it to Triple H. If they do end up re-introducing a second World Title, it’s expected that a tournament will take place, and the new World Champion will be crowned at SummerSlam in August.
As of this moment, Cena is scheduled to feud with Alberto Del Rio when he returns to action. But, that feud isn’t expected to be a long-term thing.
There’s a chance that Cena will feud with Rusev over the United States Championship after he’s finished with Del Rio.
It’ll be interesting to see if WWE sticks to their guns with this brand-split, because they certainly didn’t the first time around. Once ratings started taking a dip, SmackDown stars began appearing on Raw, and vice-versa.
John Cena has been WWE’s biggest draw for a decade now, so moving him to SmackDown should give the show a much-needed boost. But, the issue is that WWE views Raw as their most important show, and if Roman Reigns isn’t able to produce as the show’s top guy, there is a strong chance that they would move Reigns to SmackDown, and put Cena back on Raw.
When the original brand-split happened back in 2002, SmackDown, which featured stars such as Kurt Angle, Edge, Chris Jericho, Eddie Guerrero, and Chris Benoit had more viewers than Raw, which featured Triple H, Ric Flair, Rob Van Dam, and Shawn Michaels.
Vince McMahon, for whatever reason, didn’t like that SmackDown was more popular than Raw, and some changes were made in an attempt to boost Raw’s audience.
There’s also been reports that WWE will be doing a draft, similar to the one they did in 2002, where the GM of Raw, which will presumably be Stephanie McMahon, and the GM of SmackDown, which will presumably be Shane McMahon, will make their top 10 or 15 picks, and it’s expected that John Cena and Roman Reigns will be each GM’s respective top pick.
If Shane McMahon does end up running SmackDown, and he makes Cena his top pick, it’ll go against his “new era and new opportunities” slogan that he’s been using ever since he returned. So, it’ll be interesting to see how he makes logical sense out of picking John Cena as his top star.
[Image via WWE]