There hasn’t been a brand split since 2011. Given the influx of new talent from NXT, this should come as a surprise to no one. It’s the logical choice. The original Brand Split, which lasted from 2004 to 2011 had a different roster for each show and a General Manager at the helm for each show.
The existing titles were split between the two brands. You probably remember the WWE World Heavyweight Championship? It was originally the WWE Championship (Smachdown) an the World Heavyweight Championship (Raw). When the brands merged into 2011, the names were merged. Randy Orton would become the first Superstar to hold the newly united championship. The Intercontenental Championship went to RAW while the US Title went to Smackdown.
The tag team division and Women’s Division (formerly Divas) was also split but the Tag Team title was shared between the brands and could only change hands between brands at a Pay Per View Event. There were bi-annual drafts in which superstars could be swapped between the shows. There were also cross-promotion matches, usually at Wrestlemania, the Royal Rumble, Money in the Bank and Summer Slam.
The first clue that a brand split was likely in the works was the announcement at WWE Payback both Shane and Stephanie would be in charge of RAW. Two GMs for one show makes no sense obviously. As for how the roster could be split, I will post my predictions in a separare post.
The other big news on a related subject is Smacksdown will be going both Live and moving to Tuesday nights. Smackdown is taped Tuesdays and airs on Thursdays. I can see the move being done mainly to eliminate spoilers being posted online ahead of the airing: Not just making the show Live but specifically moving it to Tuesday, which is when the show is normally taped.
A smart move overall though you also can’t help but ask this question: Will WWE introduce a THIRD show to the mix? Main Event, which hasn’t aired since the brand split ended could be brought back as a cross-promotion show since the brands are splitting again. It could air in Smackdown’s current Thursday slot for two hours. That’s assuming of course USA Network doesn’t have plans to put a different show in that time slot.
Cody Rhodes released a statement via social media sometime yesterday explaining in detail why he left WWE. To make a long story short, he wanted to drop the Stardust character and go back to being Cody but he was given the run-around by the creative team. He had some choice words for a few of them in particular which I will not repeat. As some publications covering the story noted he’s not doing himself any favors badmouthing specific folks like that, more so given he left the door open to returning to WWE down the road.
It was also revealed Tuesday his wife Eden Rhodes left the company as well. She apparently removed all mentions of WWE from her social media handles ahead of her release, likely in support of her husband. She wouldn’t have done this if she didn’t have another job to jump into and apparently she did ahead of her husband leaving. Speaking of, Cody ended his statement with the words “I’m a wrestler so that’s what I’ll do…wrestle.” obviously, he’s going to work for another promotion.
WWE clearly has a problem they aren’t doing much to fix with their midcards. Losing Cody is a wake-up call to that. I’ll get into possible solutions in a separate post.