Hey Bleachers, I wanted to do something a little different for an article on Bleacher Report—an either/or for WWE.
Should the WWE end the brand extension, to allow all wrestlers to be on both shows (not the RAW SuperShow, but a complete stop)?
Or, should the WWE continue with the brand extension and make pay-per-views exclusive to each show (to make this work, the WWE would have to cut pay-per-views and have a lineup for the calendar, like they did in 2002 and 2006-07)?
So, let's start with ending the brand extension. After the Alliance storyline, the WWE picked up several superstars in 2001, which they answered with the first-ever draft in 2002, making WWE stars exclusive to their respective brands (i.e., The Rock was drafted to SmackDown, meaning he would only wrestle on the SmackDown brand).
It has now been almost 10 years since that moment, so do we really need the brand extension? There are both positive and negative effects for this course, such as: Big stars would be on each show, younger stars could possibly get more screen time (if done right) and it could cause ratings to go up on the B-Show.
The negative effects would be: Bigger stars would be in the main event of both shows (giving mid-upper cards less main event matches on the cards), there would be two world championships and they would have to give one of the titles to a face superstar (give the WWE title to Punk or Cena so they'd face Henry for an undisputed title) and some stars could get cut.
Now, ending the brand extension could obviously be a good thing, but it can also be a bad thing, and there are several more reasons for both sides to end the extension or leave it the same.
Which is the better option?
Let's picture this: Imagine if they left the brand extension alone.
So, let's say the WWE finishes this year with cross-brand pay-per-views, and at the start of the new year, the WWE finds out the buy rates for pay-per-views are down. They then decide to first cut down on PPVs (which is unlikely, because the WWE would like to make a quick buck).
Shortly after that, they make the WWE pay-per-views exclusive to WWE brands, with the exception being the big four (Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, Summerslam, Survivor Series).
So how should the WWE divide up pay-per-views? First, they need to cut gimmicky pay-per-views and bring back the regular shows (i.e., get rid of Elimination Chamber to bring back No Way Out, or end TLC for Armageddon, etc.).
This would be my list (*NOTE: We will add Night of Champions to the list of big four PPVs, because all titles are defended.)
January - New Year's Revolution (Raw) Royal Rumble (both shows)
February - No Way Out (SmackDown!)
February/April/May - WrestleMania (both shows)
Late April/May - (Depending of date of Wrestlemaina) Backlash (Raw)
End of May - Judgement Day/Over the Limit (SmackDown!)
Mid/End June - Vengeance (Raw) Night of Champions (both shows)
July 4th (or weekend of the Holiday) - The Great American Bash (SmackDown!)
Early/Mid August - SummerSlam
First weekend of September - Unforgiven (Raw)
Last Sunday of September, Cyber Sunday - (Fans vote matches)
Second Week of October - No Mercy (SmackDown!)
End of October - Survivor Series (both shows)
November - King of the Ring (both shows)
December - Armageddon (SmackDown!)
If you look at this list, Cyber Sunday, Night Of Champions and King of The Ring PPVs for both shows bring the number of cross-brand PPVs up to seven. This is a total of 16 PPVs in a year, RAW gets five exclusive PPVs and SmackDown would get four.
Now, what is the advantage of this, you might ask? Well, we would get build-up for storylines on both shows, titles would mean more for the brands, making prestige for U.S. and Intercontinental titles go up.
WWE would have some sort of competition. If WWE made the brands want to beat each other in ratings, it could work (sort of like the GM mode in the older games). This would also mean that certain stars wouldn't be on certain PPVs.
For example, John Cena is in the main event of every PPV, and we hate it, but casual fans pay to see the star-powers like him, Punk, Orton, etc. It would have to be completely fair and balanced to keep buy rates around the same number.
So tell me, should the WWE end the brand extension or should they make PPVs exclusive?