When the WWE announced its intentions to execute another brand extension, WWE superstars saw it as an opportunity at a higher spot on the ladder or a chance to de-clutter the crowded mid card. WWE officials saw it as a much-needed jolt that would hopefully give falling ratings a boost.
Three months shouldn’t be long enough to judge whether the brand split has been a success or failure, but little of consequence has changed regarding how the product is presented. And furthermore, a detail the WWE may have overlooked when they green-lit this concept was how thin some of their divisions might appear coming out of the draft.
Initially, there was talk that both the tag team and women’s divisions would be exclusive to one brand or the other. As we see know, the cruiserweights are the property of the flagship show on Monday nights, and ultimately, the decision was made to have tag teams and female superstars compete on both RAW and SmackDown.
Choose One: SmackDown Tag Teams (Part 2) pic.twitter.com/yZkf1kxyH1— Kelsey (@iAmKelsey91) October 3, 2016
The results have been mixed to this point with a growing sentiment that both would have benefited greatly had they all been put together rather than split apart. There will be three traditional Survivor Series matches next month, one pitting five women from RAW against five women from SmackDown and another featuring five red-branded tag teams against five from the blue brand. The latter of which means that match will include 20 total WWE superstars.
With tag team gold on both brands, any program that doesn’t include the titles has a much less meaningful feel to it. And with so few teams on each show, there are only so many programs that can be done before they’ll either have to start over again or shuffle things up with another draft. That has led to the development of several oddballs, or strange bedfellow tag teams. But to the WWE’s credit, they’ve actually worked.
The pairing of Rhyno and Heath Slater wasn’t meant to draw much, and despite fizzling out a bit over recent weeks, it’s proven to work. While not an actual tag team, Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens have teamed up to create the most compelling television over the last few months. And the latest twosome forced to pair up have been Cesaro and Sheamus.
Former NFL Player Debuts For WWE NXT (Photos), Fans On Goldberg Vs. Brock Lesnar, Sheamus… https://t.co/9KiEMF67Bo— WrestlingINC.com (@WrestlingInc) October 21, 2016
The Swiss Superman and the Celtic Warrior battled to a draw in their best-of-seven series that ended at Clash Of Champions. The winner was set to receive a title shot, though it was never specified which championship they’d be competing for. Instead, Mick Foley granted them an opportunity at tag team gold, and they’ll be facing The New Day at Hell In A Cell this coming Sunday.
As we reported last month, pairing Cesaro with Sheamus was initially done in case Cesaro decided not to re-sign. His contract is scheduled to run out soon, nd it’s no secret he has been frustrated with his position in the company, voicing his complaints following the draft by openly questioning the decision to put him on RAW instead of SmackDown.
The WWE was planning to keep Cesaro paired with Sheamus until he decides what his future will be. If Cesaro wanted to part ways, WWE fans could look for Sheamus to be pushed coming out of the tag team. If Cesaro ends up re-signing, then he’ll emerge going over in a feud that would have spanned several months. In any event, PW Mania is reporting that the two will at least be together for the remainder of the year.
In a peculiar move, the two are scheduled to face The New Day in a non-title match this week on RAW, just six days before their title match at Hell In A Cell. It only makes sense if Cesaro and Sheamus win on Monday, but it’s unlikely they’ll be victorious when the championships are on the line.
The WWE’s plan is to have The New Day break Demolition’s record of 478 days as tag team champions. Big E, Kofi and Xavier are roughly 50 days away from that mark so the chances that Cesaro and Sheamus end their reign are slim.
One team that may be poised to finally take the belts from the current champs is Enzo & Big Cass, despite how they’ve been used since SummerSlam. After debuting on the main roster in April, Enzo and Cass were used in prime spots on the show, but that push has subsided over the last two months. According to Ringside Seats, the WWE is doing this intentionally so they can build them back up for a title opportunity, perhaps at WrestleMania in the spring of 2017.
ENZO AND CASS— báelor club (@withthemmp3) October 18, 2016
• please they are so hilarious
• realest guys in the room ????☕
• i want them to be tag team champs so bad
• real friends tbh pic.twitter.com/WN7ArSr38Q
At the very least, they’ll at least work with the much more over team of Gallows and Anderson as opposed to The Shining Stars, as the program with The Club is expected to last through the rest of 2016. The two teams will face off first at Hell In A Cell, likely combine forces on the same side at Survivor Series and possibly wrap things up in December at Roadblock. It’s unclear how WWE officials will fill in the three months in between then and WrestleMania, but that’s the reason behind the stalled push.
If The New Day are still champions when WrestleMania rolls around, dethroning them would be a monumental rub for Enzo & Big Cass.
[Featured Image by WWE]