The brand split has been one of the most talked about and significant changes in WWE this year. Thanks to NXT and the numbers on the roster, it made it possible to make Smackdown go live for the first time, and also rehash the brand split after five years.
In a recent conference call with the investors, Vince McMahon addressed why he felt Smackdown Live was now successful.
"As far as television ratings are concerned, our brand extension we think continues to work very well.
As far as SmackDown is, as you know we went to a live format, its live format is about twice the ratings that were in the same time slot a year ago and is about 16% above what we were doing with SmackDown on a taped basis on Thursday nights on the USA Network"
Raw may be the flagship show, and the ratings have been higher than Smackdown Live, but in terms of enjoyability, several fans are of the opinion that Smackdown Live has consistently been the better show.
The fact of the matter is, it is an easier show to watch simply because it is 2 hours, while Raw is 3 hours. It leaves more room for talent utilisation and also doesn’t give the chance to overexpose talent.
Speaking of talent utilisation, while many felt that Smackdown Live had initially been “robbed” in the women’s division and otherwise, the talent utilisation in the show has managed to put that belief to rest.
For many weeks since the brand split, Smackdown Live has been creeping up on Raw in terms of ratings. It wouldn’t be surprising if the blue brand eventually catches up.
Here were the first 5 draft picks from this year:
Here were the second round picks
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