Man, has this brand split ever got wrestling fans talking again. The company desperately needed to give its audience something new and we are finally getting it as of now. The company continued to use the word “New Era”, and despite the claim that we were in it, it still didn’t seem right. Storylines proceeded to take a typical route, while Raw remained complacent week after week.
The announcement of a draft finally gave fans something to get legitimately excited about. This ensured change was finally on the way. With a spectacular first edition of Raw, it’s safe to say the start looks promising and refreshing, to say the least. The outdated set is finally changed, the commentators are new and the in-story shows are finally being used to their full potential. It’s been a great start thus far.
With this in mind, the company set some guidelines before the draft internally to ensure that certain stars were kept apart; for the most part, this was done to cement the well being of both the show and the talent. This article will document 15 of those cases. Enjoy!
15 The Club
Some hated the idea, while others understood what the WWE was doing by intentionally splitting the two up. We'll look at both sides of the coin, starting with the negative aspect which was based on the WWE just giving up on a story. It seemed like the three were just starting to develop some chemistry and then all of a sudden, Vince pulls the plug on them. In that aspect, I understood some of the displeasures.
Though, looking at the big scheme of things the decision did make sense in a long term aspect for both sides. Look, it’s obvious; AJ doesn’t need to The Club to thrive, as the guy's a stud on his own. As for the duo of Gallows and Anderson, we still haven’t gotten to know them months into their debut, as they’ve basically been a shadow of AJ. This finally gives the high profile duo a chance to blossom on their own, basically a fresh start to really show us what they're all about. The WWE confirmed this by making them go after the New Day on the first New Era episode of Raw. We finally got to see the ruthless side of the two on their own. At the end of the day, more good will come out of this for the three.
14 The Shield
The impact of The Shield is still profound to this day, with all three wrestlers being labelled as WWE megastars. With this in mind, the company made it a priority to separate the goods, with Ambrose on one show and Reigns and Rollins involved in separate storylines on the other.
As much as we enjoyed all three together battling it out, it was certainly time for the Superstars to move on. We’ve seen countless matches involving the three, and the WWE made the correct decision to allow these men to move on with individual and fresh new storylines.
Rollins is set to embark in a mouth watering feud with Finn Balor; Ambrose awaits his next opponent as the face of SmackDown Live, and Roman is currently being rebuilt after a couple of back to back losses. Just hearing these new developments we can all admit that it was time for the three to finally move on. The decision is already looking like it’s paying off only days later.
13 Alberto Del Rio & Paige
The situation surprisingly runs far deeper than the relationship; according to sources, Del Rio and the WWE’s creative department have not been seeing eye to eye as of late. Triple H is apparently not a fan of Del Rio, he instead has a thirst for young new talents which has caused Alberto to get lost in the mix as of late with Hunter apparently telling the creative team to back off any Del Rio storylines.
He’s now off to SmackDown and is now even more incensed after he was moved away from his new girlfriend, Paige. Some believe the company was trying to send a message to the two by putting them on separate shows. No matter how you look at it, the split is probably for the best especially when you consider the in-ring careers the two are currently enduring with nothing at all percolating at the moment. A fresh start might be exactly what they needed. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out for the couple on and off screen.
12 Enzo/Cass & American Alpha
Years ago, it seemed like a dream to think about the possibility of the most sought after young acts being a pair of Tag Teams. Following the recent PPV of Battleground, it became even more apparent, Big Cass and Enzo Amore are absolute studs offering the program some unique entertainment on the microphone, an art that’s been lost as it seems in the PG Era.
American Alpha on the other hand, offer something totally different; they are gifted amateur wrestlers who put on breathtaking matches night in and night out. We got a glimpse of them in NXT and it became a reality rather quickly that they were more than “ready, willing and Gable” to make the main roster. The drafting of the two on SmackDown was met with a thunderous roar, as the fresh duo give Tuesday Nights an opportunity to showcase something new, just like Raw does with Amore and Cass.
With this in mind, splitting these mega teams was absolutely essential for the duos to blossom on separate shows. It’s only a matter of time before they become upper-card players on their respective shows.
11 Enzo/Cass & Carmella
They began as a trio beloved by the underground crowd in NXT. Things however, took a turn when the developmental team decided to call up Enzo and Cass without Carmella by their side. The reason this decision took place was for Carmella to continue her development as a single's star down in NXT. The company is quite high on her, seeing the Massachusetts native as more than just a manager.
The decision to keep her away from the team furthered with her recent call up to SmackDown; at the end of the day the ruling was correct. Enzo and Cass are hotter than ever and simply cannot be touched at the moment, while Carmella needs to continue to thrive on her own. This means putting her as far away as possible from the team. Looking to the future, a reunion will bring the house down, but for now, the trio needs to thrive as is.
10 Sasha/Charlotte & Becky Lynch
The drafting of the women enraged many fans; with the major pool of stars heading to Raw, so much for parody, right? One of the most noticeable splits occurred with three of the Four Horsewomen being split: Sasha and Charlotte on the flagship program, while Becky was shipped off over to SmackDown.
A majority of fans view the decision in two ways: the pessimists believe that Becky is being looked at as an afterthought being forced to fend for herself on a brand that lacks any type of sustainable star value; while the other set of fans believe the exact opposite, with the Tuesday brand looking like a free-for-all when it comes to established female wrestlers.
Becky has a real chance to thrive as the main face of the division while putting the brand on the map for its women’s wrestling class. Splitting them up was essential, now it’s up to Becky to prove the doubters wrong and thrive on SmackDown.
9 Chris Jericho & The Miz
One of the lesser known intentional splits on the list pertains to depth; the WWE needs as much variety as possible, especially when you consider how small the rosters really are. The WWE did an excellent job on Raw this week with the way the show was booked. Matches were given the opportunity to shine, while other segments seemed so new and refreshing. It truly was a breath of fresh air.
Looking to the future, the WWE will need to continue pushing depth, and The Miz and Chris Jericho are two major Superstars that can help in doing so. Jericho has the always entertaining Highlight Reel which proved to be exactly that at Battleground, giving the show an added degree of entertainment. The segment with Randy Orton not only helped to lengthen the show, but it was also very well built. Y2J will more than likely keep this up, while The Miz hopes to create a similar identity on SmackDown with Miz TV.
8 Roman Reigns & The Usos
Rumors ran rampant online claiming that the WWE purposely separated The Usos from Roman as a punishment pertaining to his recent suspension. Sounds a little exaggerated to be quite honest. At the end of the day, the move was desperately needed for both sides. Obviously for Roman, the goal is to rebuild him starting with some significant losses. His road back to the top revolves around him and only him.
Like Reigns, The Usos are desperate for a new start; the once dominant Tag Team has lost their way this year doing nothing of significance asides from teaming with their family member Roman. A new start on SmackDown can resurface them as a credible team, and that can surely start with a feud against American Alpha. A long program between the two could help both sides: reestablishing The Usos to the world, while American Alpha could get something to chew on for the time being.
7 Alexa Bliss & Dana Brooke
Women’s wrestling continues to be a focal point amongst the WWE internally; a plethora of new stars emerging gives the company great hope for a tremendous future. Two huge potential stars landed on separate brands, and it’s no secret, the WWE purposely split them up in order to see them grow away from one another, especially factoring in that they share similar roles as heels.
The greatest upside to these Superstars is their ages: Dana is still 27, while Alexa is yet to turn 25. The two are already performing at a high standard, so now it’s crucial that they further this development consistently on the big shows.
You have to believe that as of right now, both are in a really good situation. Dana is swimming with the biggest sharks on Raw while working side by side Charlotte, while Bliss is set to enter the land of opportunity with SmackDown, a brand waiting and thriving on creating a new star for the future. The stars are certainly aligning for the two, look for things to come in the future.
6 Big Show & Kane
Some found it unfathomable that the Big Show’s name was announced during the SmackDown Live draft. They could have easily waited till after the show, but oh no, the company felt obliged to make that announcement in front of a live audience, which was met with a degree of confusion followed by the inevitable "Boos". Kane’s name was also mentioned, although for him the company waited till after the show. Anyone else think the WWE could have gone the opposite route?
Nonetheless, although we hate to admit it, veteran talent is needed and can still serve a purpose putting over new young stars. Their rare appearances will hopefully add to the show and give fans something new, especially when it comes to Big Show, who has flopped a typical heel and face gimmick for the last couple of years. Kane still has some gas left in the tank, the question remains: does Big Show?
5 Bray Wyatt & The Wyatt Family
With Braun Strowman forced to fend for himself on Raw, many believe this is the end for the Wyatt family, although Erick Rowan is on the same brand as Bray. No matter what comes of it, separating the group was an essential split by the WWE and perhaps the most impactful out of all the other teams. Some were upset that the feud between the Wyatts and the New Day came to an abrupt end, while others were happy to see Bray finally go off on his own.
As of now, the company has dropped the ball with Wyatt. Many believe he should have been Champion by now, or at the very least a permanent main event player. A ticket to SmackDown was absolutely ideal for Bray, as he now finally gets the chance to become a main event player on a brand starving for stars to emerge. Now that he’s alone, Bray can finally take that next crucial step. As for Braun, this is nothing but good for him, as we will finally see what the big man is all about away from Bray’s shadow.
4 Cesaro & SmackDown
It seemed like the most obvious pick of the draft; Cesaro was going to rebuild and reinvent his fame by joining forces on the labelled “wrestling” brand in SmackDown. The match made in heaven was not to be, however, enraging hoards of fans. The WWE Universe is constantly demanding the growth of the Swiss Superman, though that will not be taking place on Tuesday Nights.
The decision was heavily criticized, although looking at his New Era debut of Raw, you kind of understand why he was purposely kept. Raw is looking like anything but a “non wrestling” brand with a phenomenal start which promoted in-ring action heavily. Cesaro was a huge part of this being featured in one of the tremendous fatal-four-way matches of the night. Not only was he put into the mix of a possible Universal Championship match, but he also went unpinned and performed tremendously well in the match. His pick to Raw might work out just fine after all.
3 Bray Wyatt & Kevin Owens
Labelled for big futures as prominent heels, the only way for these two to thrive and possibly become future Champions was by having them on separate shows. Although it might not be obvious because of their lack of history (seemingly), the WWE made it a priority to separate the Superstars on different brands. As of late, it seems like the company is in fact listening to the universe. One of the examples was by bringing in Corey Graves who adds such a fresh and new dimension to the telecast. In the process, the WWE got rid of JBL who was regarded as the odd man out when it came to his connection with the audience (although he'll still be on SmackDown).
It’s not as obvious, but the WWE is also listening to the fans by splitting the two; the company knows the fans expect big things from the men and the only way to properly do so is by allowing them to thrive on distinct shows. Look for big things to come from these two in the very near future.
2 AJ Styles & Finn Balor
The idea of these two men going at it is absolutely mind-blowing and has the makings of a WrestleMania type main event written all over it. In terms of natural talent and ability, there isn’t two men better than these guys at the moment.
With this in mind, it was crucial having such draws on separate shows. Both wrestlers are still rather green on the WWE main roster, so being on different brands will get them an opportunity to thrive and further build on their respective legacies (which are already way up in the sky). The more we move along, the greater AJ and Finn will become. Waiting for this blockbuster match will only intensify how much we want to see them against one another. What makes a future match that much more brilliant is the fact that these two have a history, dating way back from their current WWE days. Once they finally meet, this encounter will be a dream for several wrestling fans around the world. For now however, splitting them was a must.
1 Roman Reigns & John Cena
Even though Reigns has lost his way as of late, this still remains the marquee matchup that the WWE will continue to build on till the two mammoth stars cross paths; the company is going for an Austin/Rock type of feel.
Timing is everything when it comes to this type of match; right now, the time is not now. With this being said, putting the two giant stars on separate shows was probably one of the first decisions made by the WWE executives behind the scenes. For now, Cena will continue to be the face that runs the place, while Roman is enduring a massive career overhaul in an attempt to rebuild his brand and become greater than ever.
When the stars do finally align, expect the WWE to pounce on this mega match rather quickly. Today though, there is a lot of work that needs to be done before we can even discuss the possibility of this match.
Sources: inquisitr.com, rollingstone.com
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