With team Johnny winning the team vs. team match at WrestleMania 28, a question emerges: Will this be the end of the separate SmackDown and Raw brands?
Unfortunately the outcome of this match will not have any impact on whether or not Raw and SmackDown will become merged. Of course there are some things that can now occur on both Raw and SmackDown since John Laurinaitis is in charge, but it is still safe to assume the draft will happen and that Raw and SmackDown will remain two separate brands.
Story Angles Can Be Merged
With John Laurinaitis taking over both brands, story angles surrounding the GM, and what the he does can carry over from one brand to another.
The easy story connection would involve Laurinaitis playing the "heel" GM on both Raw and SmackDown. He could easily become hated by fans as he tries to push his weight around on both shows. Certain heel characters such as David Otunga and others who were on team Johnny can now have roles that can occur on both brands. The face characters that were on team Teddy could also have an increased role, clashing with Laurinaitis and his lackeys on both shows.
If Talent Is Still Separated, Brands Will Also Be Separated
Regardless of if one or two GMs is in control of both brands, it won't fully unite Raw and SmackDown if the WWE is still separating talent based on brands. If superstars like Randy Orton are still associated with SmackDown, and others such as John Cena and CM Punk are still considered Raw superstars how can the brands be merged? Merging them will not only need one GM to control both shows but a combination of talent as well.
Will We Really See the End of Teddy Long?
With John Laurinaitis winning this match, the question needs to be asked if this is the end of Teddy Long. Maybe Long simply wants to retire, and having John Laurinaitis take over both brands could be a way for the WWE to let Teddy Long go while they come up with a way for someone else to take over SmackDown.
This could also be a story angle itself, and we could see Teddy Long eventually return to try to take back SmackDown.
Was This Match Really a Way to Start Brand Merger?
A simple way to look at this match was that it was a Raw (red team) vs. SmackDown (blue team) match and Raw won. It showed Raw dominance since John Laurinaitis was the Raw GM, and sent Teddy Long packing.
But was this match really intended to start a brand merger? As mentioned before, there is not real way to tell this yet as we still have separate rosters. This match could easily go over as a way for Raw to show itself as the dominate brand we all know it is.
It will take a lot more than just allowing one GM to rule both shows. The biggest issue is of course is the separate rosters for both Raw and SmackDown. But was this match the beginning of a brand merger? Sorry, folks—I highly doubt it. We will more than likely get some kind of story out of this match instead of a much-needed merger.
Do you believe this match was a step toward uniting both brands? Or will the WWE continue to keep both brands separate? Comment below and share your opinion!