There’s a popular theory going around at the moment that because RAW is generally awful and Smackdown Live has been mostly consistent and fun, it means that Vince McMahon is in control of Monday Nights, and Triple H and former-NXT writer Ryan Ward are booking Tuesdays. Because, you know, it’s easier to blame Vince for everything that goes wrong.
Well, if Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer is to be believed – which he almost always is – we’ve also got to credit Vince for everything that goes right.
According to Meltzer, “Vince is hands on and in 100% control of both shows.” Big Dave reckons the real reason there’s such a quality gap between the brands is because Raw being three hours is too long for a wrestling show, and that Smackdown have lucked into AJ Styles turning into the Champ that Runs the Camp, Dean Ambrose, The Miz and Daniel Bryan being very strong promos, and James Ellsworth becoming an internet darling. Raw only really has Team Kevin and Chris to carry three whole hours.
So because Vince is 100% behind everything, we have him specifically to thank for Seth Rollins’ ‘sparklecrotch’ line to Jericho from the other week. Apparently Mr McMahon was “laughing like a maniac every time Rollins said it, which is why he had Rollins say it over and over again.” Just another example of how WWE treats its top babyfaces like Marvel treats its movie superheroes – not everyone needs to be a wise-cracker, because not everyone has the comedic talents of The Rock and Robert Downey Jr.
Raw commentator Corey Graves has given his opinion on Vince McMahon’s grand brand split project during an interview on USA Today, calling it “still a work in progress…it’s going to take longer than 4 months.”
The brand split happened back in July, with the company running two separate tours for Raw and Smackdown ever since. A large portion of the fanbase saw the brand split as the perfect way to freshen up WWE’s stagnant product coming out of Wrestlemania 32. Instead, arguably, Raw got a little bit worse, and Smackdown got a little bit better. So overall, it’s the same. Which is reflected in the slowly declining television ratings.
Sasha Banks – who Vince apparently blames for her Hell in a Cell match against Charlotte not getting over properly – has one suggestion that could improve Raw’s TV. Speaking on the Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast, The Boss said:
“I think it’s good that we’re split and more opportunities can happen for women, but we really don’t have enough women. Like, I wrestle the same people every single week, Dana Brooke or Charlotte, Charlotte, Dana Brooke. There [are] only six of us and I think that’s the hardest part… we need more faces on RAW.”
At least the brand split is an effective way to deal with naughty wrestlers. After his reported backstage altercation with Chris Jericho on this week’s international tour, Sin Cara has been exiled to the Smackdown brand for the rest of the dates.
PWInsider are reporting that at one point WWE officials were considering pulling Sin Cara completely from the tour. Instead, at the last second, officials decided to send Sin Cara to the rest of Smackdown dates rather than let him go.
And the brand split is almost worth it when you get exchanges like this between each brand’s respective champions over Twitter…
AJ Styles: YOUR #SDLive team captain will lead the blue brand to victory at #SurvivorSeries, even if I’ve gotta pin every member of team #Raw myself.
Kevin Owens: Start by figuring out how to pin that Elmsorth guy first.
How would you improve WWE’s brand split? Don’t you dare tell us how we need more pay-per-views in the comments below.