Monday, February 20, 2012

Time to end the brand split

I've long been a defender of the brand split and multiple World Championships. I always thought merging the belts and unifying the rosters would lead to too many guys losing their gig and their card placement, but after watching the last two WWE PPVs, I just don't see the need for it anymore.

During last night's Elimination Chamber, we saw a Raw Superstar defend the US Title against a Smackdown guy and Santino Marella challenge for the World Championship... in a match that also had to feature the Great Khali. And the Royal Rumble, while incredibly fun, struggled to fill the ring with 30 big name Superstars. When Epico, Primo and an Uso made it in, on top of the fact they had several gimmicky entries like Road Dogg, Hacksaw and Kharma, you know the roster isn't as loaded as it was ten years ago.

And that's okay! WWE's been getting back to basics and we no longer have the star overload that the remnants of the Attitude Era left us with. Right now, the only true HUGE name WWE has is John Cena; Triple H is part-time at best, Undertaker works once a year, Jericho is in Roddy Piper mode, and Rey Mysterio is shelved at least three months out of the year. The Rock could pop in and out now and then, Batista might return and who knows, we may still get one last Stone Cold match, but let's face facts: the 1998-2005 WWE is long gone.

In its place, we have CM Punk, who is on the cusp of something big and then a bunch of guys who are kinda big, but not really. And that's all they'll ever be as long as WWE oversaturates their programming with too many titles and too many brands. It worked when the Attitude Era overlapped the Cena era, but we're in the beginning of something new now and there has never been a better opportunity to get back to basics.

Yes, it may mean some guys will get shunted down the card, but what difference does it make when the World Championship match is the fourth most important match at WrestleMania? And that's assuming they don't come up with some kind of big special attraction like the rumored Big Show vs. Shaquille O'Neal match. Simply keeping the World Title around and Smackdown as a separate show doesn't make Sheamus and Bryan bigger deals, it just makes the World Title and Smackdown look lesser. Bryan and Sheamus will no doubt tear it up at Mania, but do you think the Miami crowd is going to be as into it as Rock vs. Cena, Triple H vs. Undertaker or even Punk vs. Jericho? Of course not, and that's okay, let's just stop pretending it needs to have a World Title involved to make it a great match.

So let's just get on with it and merge the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships and US and Intercontinental Championships. I don't care when they do it, Night of Champions, SummerSlam, or WrestleMania 29, let's just make it happen. It'll instantly increase the value of the WWE and IC Championships, guys in contention for them will seem like bigger deals and WWE will have to come up with new reasons and stories for guys to feud other than "it's my turn to get a shot at the title."

I can't think of a better way to shake up the program, get people talking and make wrestlers feel like Superstars again.


  1. I agree. I think it is time to end the brand split. Both RAW and Smackdown people are on both shows. You can still have a small roster exclusive to the shows, but there is no longer a need for two of each title. There is only one Diva and Tag Team belts currently. Time for a unification tournament (after Wrestlemania). Could you imagine how much you could get out of Jericho if he were a 2 time 2 time unified champion?

  2. They (smartly) did this with the tag team belts back a few years ago. It would be great to unify them, because then, from a simply style standpoint, the title names would mesh better.
    Right now, you have WWE Champion, World Heavyweight Champion, Intercontinental Champion, and United States Champion. If US & Intercontinental merged, they would be the new "World championship (because The US + The rest of the world = the world) the WHC would absorb into the WWE championship, and nobody would ever have to spend 5 minutes explaining the semantics behind them to their friend who's watching wrestling for the first time.