WWE Brand Extension: Predicting Potential Headliners for Raw and SmackDown
WWE could finally bring back the splitting of two brands, Raw and SmackDown, due to the influx of young, up-and-coming Superstars on their way. With that brand split, the question of who would headline Raw and SmackDown, respectively, presents itself.
In terms of who would run each brand, there is a more simple answer. After reading Eric Gargiulo’s Camel Clutch Blog today, it seems obvious that the McMahons and Triple H will return as authority figures on WWE TV. Vince or Mr. McMahon would certainly run Raw as he is the No. 1 guy in charge. Plus, he was the best authority figure and heel during the Attitude Era.
Triple H could run SmackDown as a babyface or heel. His wife and Vince’s daughter, Stephanie, could go either way. Perhaps she spends time on Raw with her father, only to turn on her father in favor of Triple H, another instance that occurred during the Attitude Era.
With the McMahons and Triple H leading the way, which current or future WWE Superstars should headline each brand?
On Raw, John Cena would remain the No. 1 babyface, as I don’t think anyone expects that to change anytime soon, if ever. The other faces on Raw would include Alberto Del Rio, the Miz and the Usos. It’s hard to choose a second top babyface to go along with Cena, though. Sheamus is an option, but two “Superheroes” may be too much for one show.
The top heels are Raw would be The Shield—Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins—as well as Ryback. However, the only way Ryback remains a top heel is with a manager. Justin LaBar discussed this recently and I couldn’t help but agree. Other heels on Raw would include Fandango and Antonio Cesaro. Although the Swiss Superstar isn’t featured much on the winning end, the future could still be bright for Cesaro.
Over on the blue brand, CM Punk would be the top babyface, which Gargiulo alluded to in that same article discussed earlier. Along with Punk on the good side would be one of the most entertaining and popular Superstars today, Daniel Bryan.
It does seem as though Punk’s upcoming match with Chris Jericho at WWE Payback will lead to a babyface turn for the Straight Edge Superstar. Heyman accepting on his behalf makes the whole situation a little questionable, though.
Bryan needs the opportunity to rise to the top and that would be more difficult to do on Raw with Cena there.
Other babyfaces on SmackDown would include Kofi Kingston, Kane (if he remains face) and Sheamus (if he doesn’t join Raw).
In terms of the top heels of the blue brand, Dolph Ziggler would have to be considered the No. 1 option. As World Heavyweight champion, he is already considered a top heel.
Joining Ziggler at the top could be Randy Orton. While a heel turn may be too predictable, it may still happen. If not Orton, Wade Barrett is another option as the No. 2 heel on SmackDown. If he drops the Intercontinental title to Fandango and wins the Money in the Bank briefcase in July, it could happen. The other heels on SmackDown would include Curtis Axel and Big E Langston.
These predictions did not include Superstars rarely seen on WWE TV or are considered jobbers, other than maybe Cesaro. With this version of a WWE brand split, Raw and SmackDown would be equally balanced with top faces and heels. Raw would sell with Cena, Ryback and The Shield. SmackDown would look watchable again with Punk, Bryan and Ziggler.
Plus, when the time comes, a WWE draft could switch Superstars to create new feuds, face or heel turns and interesting storylines.
What are your thoughts on this possible WWE brand split? Who would you choose to headline Raw and SmackDown? Please share your opinion in the comment section below.
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