What Ever Happened to Brand Separation?

Quinn GammonCorrespondent INovember 30, 2009

After careful review of my last article, I seem to have found a pattern in my writing.

I write, and you answer. It's a beautiful relationship that I'm grateful to have, especially as a writer who was overlooked not once, but twice, by WrestleZone.com's writing staff.

But enough about that! Before I get to the topic of today's article, I feel like acknowledging the feedback from my previous piece. All of you devoted readers were much more generous with your feedback in regards to my second bit of writing.

I'm going to be posting my responses to that feedback elsewhere, but I mustn't get off topic, seeing as how some of you, very appropriately, let me have it for my ranting before. 

Brand separation! It's a term that should ring some bells, because it was a term that, for at least a year, was taken seriously.

Rewind to the original WWE Draft concept. Splitting the roster into two halves. SmackDown! and RAW . I'll admit, it was a very good idea, as it delivered an opportunity for two distinct identities and a chance for double the amount of talent to shine.

As Adam Copeland (Edge) so elegantly stated in his autobiography, "If I am Number Ten on the totem pole and the five guys in front of me are suddenly gone, I am Number Five."

There is a method to that style of thinking. The brand separation used to be taken seriously. It was a big deal if someone showed up on a show they didn't belong on.

Once again, rewind to Triple H's violent beating of the Undertaker on RAW, the night after Backlash 2002. Triple H was no longer champion and, as part of SmackDown!, violated some sort of clause in his contract by showing up on RAW to assault 'Taker.

Let's snap back to present day. What does the brand separation mean anymore? The tag titles have diminished to such a meager level that the belts were unified because there aren't enough tag teams left in the organization to have two sets of championships.

Anyone who damn well pleases can go on whatever show he wants, with no repercussions.

Anytime someone gets stale, we hear the "sudden trade" or "expired contract" excuses for the abrupt move to a different program.

It would appear that WWE has completely given up on the "different shows, different identities" gimmick, leaving us with two separate brands that aren't really treated as such.

Chances are, you can turn on RAW and expect to see at least one of your favorite SmackDown! superstars there in some capacity.

Exactly what point am I trying to make here, dear readers (I know featured columnist Shane H. who is a huge fan of my work by the way, will love my points)?

The point I want to stress is that WWE either needs to take the brand separation thing seriously again, or get rid of it altogether. Here's what it boils down to:

Monday Night RAW, flagship show of the WWE, has been reduced to a weekly horror show that, more often than not, showcases the ineptitude of these "guest hosts" and exactly how little most of them know or care about professional wrestling (Yes, I still refuse to just call it "entertainment").

Friday Night SmackDown!, which has always been labeled as the "B" Show, has been producing more consistent content, both in-ring wrestling and in storyline, than RAW but is still unable to differentiate between its Monday night counterpart other than having a consistent figurehead as opposed to the inane guest-host concept.

ECW...who cares (Just kidding ECW fans)?

ECW has long since lost whatever dignity it had when it was revived and virtually all remnants of its former glory have been swept away. With the exception of Tommy Jobber, I mean Dreamer, there is not one single ECW original left on the show. Not even Joey Styles.

Instead, the "extreme" brand (yes, mock quotes were necessary), has become the WWE's televised developmental territory, where newbies debut and beat up on established stars that are either too old to be big time players, or that have been given up on by WWE Creative (See Shelton Benjamin).

With the notable exception of Christian, of course, (one of my favorite wrestlers, by the way), ECW has little to no value. So little, in fact, that they were not even given representation at Bragging Rights, which was an important PPV concept as one of my readers so kindly reminded me.

To illustrate a point, I'll use Bragging Rights as an example. The concept of the show was decent on paper. It brought to light the idea of cross branded battles for supremacy.

And, that brawl between the two teams on RAW was put together well, but there is a good reason why this PPV concept is not going to see the light of day again.


Why showcase cross-branded feuds between two shows that don't honor the concept?

Case in point, if WWE would treat the Brand Separation as more than just a slight inconvenience amongst its roster, perhaps the Bragging Rights PPV would have played out better than a fart in church.

And perhaps, we wouldn't all be signing in to B/R to complain about the lack of main-event players in the title picture today.


Opinions stated in this article reflect the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Bleacher Report or any of its affiliates. Feedback may be left here, or may be emailed to Quinn Gammon at KidMikaze2007@aim.com