You could say that the "brand extension" offered competition between wrestlers from Raw and Smackdown.
You could also say that splitting the rosters made uneven playing fields, with Raw usually fairing better.
You could even say that in the past couple of years, the two separate brands really weren't that at all. Rather they were one big mess since Raw wrestlers regularly came to SD or vice versa in order to set up a new feud or give a spike in ratings.
One thing I think most all of us can agree upon is that we are glad the "brand extension" appears to be ending.
The first sign to me that the "brand extension" would eventually flop was when WWE started having brand exclusive PPVs. How could you really justify me paying a "king's ransom" for a pay-per-view that features only Smackdown wrestlers, when at times they had a bare cupboard of wrestling talent and good storylines.
The WWE Universe agreed and that idea was quickly shelved for "joint" Raw and Smackdown productions. What the brand extension should have been was what we all thought it would be when WWE purchased WCW and announced they would keep it running. I think all of us thought we'd see a super company merge with the two running as separate but equal brands.
Rather, they decided to run the Invasion angle throwing in ECW for flavoring. Then after that ran its course, Raw and Smackdown (made up of both WWE and WCW members) split up.
Now I'm not saying the "brand extension" hasn't brought some good things. I have enjoyed some of the Raw vs. Smackdown matches and fighting between GMs over the two brands. But not enough to make it last as long as it has.
Much like the "guest host" variety show feel WWE tried to pedal, it should have been a one and done scenario.
Now the "powers that be" are trying to fix what was broken. Pairing both together again is logical, but it does create a few obstacles.
First, they will need to unify the major championship belts because it makes no sense to have a Raw champion and a Smackdown champ if they are crossing paths on each others shows.
Next, you will have to trim down rosters in order to have a decent group of talent and not a bunch of jobbers languishing around every week. Yeah, it will hurt a little bit. That's the price for progression. I think if WWE continues with the combined shows; we will see more focused storylines as well as better talent going head-to-head. Now your best writers will be working together to harvest and execute storyline, instead of trying to one up each other
The "brand extension" experiment has run its course. Now thankfully, it appears time to move on to a new era of WWE. Hopefully a better one.