As noted, this past episode on Raw, Michael Cole referred to the crowd as “WWE Fans” and not “WWE Universe” after Rusev kicked United States Champion Roman Reigns over the ringside barrier. According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, this was very much an intentional change.
It is not known as of yet whether the term “fans” will be used permanently or not, but it looks like there are some more, minor changes that will be coming up. According to Meltzer:
"They've taken stock of things. Last week's rating, believe it or not, after all the ratings, last week's rating made them... I don't know exactly everything but the verbiage isn't supposed to be as bad now."
He also noted that WWE are really trying to improve Raw, which can be seen with the change in entrance ramp and the bigger screen. The use of the titantron video packages for entrances seems to have come to an end.
This is an extremely interesting move as WWE looks to be completely rebranding several things this year. For example, the introduction of new Women’s and Cruiserweight titles. While the Women’s and Cruiserweight Championships have historical lineages, WWE chose to go another route and instead create championships with a brand new lineage.
The stage that was used for Summerslam is now one that is permanently used for Raw and Smackdown Live. Post-draft is when things really started to speed up. Both Raw and Smackdown Live got brand new theme songs as well to go with their fresh rosters.
The rosters were divided more in the 60%-40% line, with Raw getting the larger portion. This is primarily due to the fact that Raw is 3 hours while Smackdown Live is 2. However, despite the fact that Smackdown Live has been considered the superior show quality-wise for about 8 out of the 11 weeks post-draft, it has yet to beat Raw in the ratings.
The superior ratings really show the strength of the term “Flagship Show” that Raw bears. However, time and again, Smackdown Live has been sneaking up on Raw in the ratings, just barely getting lower than the red brand.
However, with the way things are currently headed, it would not be surprising to see the blue brand eventually take over in the ratings like it did in the first rendition of the brand split.
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