When USA Network executives went to Vince McMahon and other top WWE officials to demand better ratings out of SmackDown, Vince decided to shake things up by recreating the brand extension and moving SmackDown to Tuesday nights and airing it live. The consensus inside the WWE locker room was that the brand split would offer up more opportunities. But until further changes and additions were made, the company would have to deal with an issue of depth.
Before the brand extension when Vince or Triple H would conduct town hall-style meetings, the entire locker room would empty out onto the stage to heed the directive. It painted a pretty picture for the live audience and the viewers at home. After the brand split, Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley conducted one on RAW, while Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan had their own version on SmackDown Live.
It was clear during those two segments, especially on the blue brand, that the rosters were thin. Additional reinforcements will come in the form of promoted NXT superstars, an entire Cruiserweight Division, and, potentially, the re-signings of former WWE superstars like we’ve already seen with Rhyno and Jinder Mahal.
However, another knock against SmackDown Live came in the form of the analysis of their tag team and women’s divisions. Vince and WWE officials saw to it that RAW would have both championships from those respective divisions coming out of the draft when The New Day and Charlotte were all selected to the flagship show. Apparently, SmackDown Live will be getting their own secondary titles soon, but the lack of depth in those areas on Tuesday night is blatantly obvious.
WWE is temporarily trying to cover up for this weakness by not booking any women or tag teams from SmackDown in a match at SummerSlam, a cross-branded pay-per-view. But they won’t have that luxury in less than a month from now when SmackDown presents it’s first brand-exclusive special, Backlash.
Taking a further look into Tuesday night’s tag team division, we find one other glaring omission since the draft. As noted, Jimmy Uso has been out of action while dealing with an injury, and according to Daily Wrestling News, this has Vince McMahon extremely frustrated in the tag team as a whole.
There were reports earlier in the year that Vince had become frustrated with Sasha Banks because of what he felt was a reckless in-ring style that made her prone to injury. It’s become apparent that similar frustrations are now being aimed towards The Usos in regards to being injury-prone. Vince may have put the top three tag teams on the roster on RAW in The New Day, The Club, and Enzo & Big Cass, but he also needed an established veteran team on SmackDown, and that came in the form of The Usos.
It’s clear that WWE is trying to build the Tuesday night tag division around newcomers American Alpha. That would likely be the case if The Usos were healthy and on TV, but in the few weeks that they haven’t been, Jordan and Gable have had the spotlight all to themselves. It doesn’t necessarily mean Vince would turn The Usos heel, but they would certainly help provide more depth to a division that includes young teams like The Vaudevillains, Hype Bros, The Ascension, and Breezango.
It’s worth noting and interesting that news like this would come out around this time. It’s widely known that The Usos and Roman Reigns are cousins, with Jimmy and Jey getting featured more when Reigns was on top of the card. Reigns has since been knocked down a peg because of his Wellness Policy violation. They may not be related at all, especially considering Roman is on RAW and The Usos are on SmackDown. And maybe that was part of the punishment, but that’s all purely speculation.
The main thing to keep an eye on now is how The Usos are used in light of Vince’s frustrations. Jimmy is expected back on television soon as he did get physical on the WWE tour of New Zealand recently, so we’ll have to see what happens when they come back to SmackDown. Will they be used in the way Vince had hoped, or will their spot go to one of those other teams?
[Image via WWE]