The resurgence of professional wrestling
A resurgence in professional wrestling being "cool" again is looming as the sport is being seen all over the world in different outlets like ESPN with their weekly interviews. The women are making a splash into both reality TV via Total Divas, while other Superstars likes Seth Rollins, John Cena, and Roman Reigns have featured in mainstream media like the Today Show.
More wrestlers are becoming household names and that was never more apparent than this year as legions of fans dressed up as current wrestlers like The Shield, Braun Strowman, Chris Jericho, and Kevin Owens among other performers of the past for Halloween.
Unlike during the last brand split in 2002, the 2016 one was not done simply because of a lack of competition for WWE. It was done for several reasons. One of them is to help the talent with travel expenses and time off as this schedule affords just about everyone an additional day off ideally.
Secondly, it was done to help create new stars similar to how the previous brand split did by limiting their exposure to one show per week and making fans want to tune in every week to see certain wrestlers. Thirdly, it helps give TV time to wrestlers who were struggling for TV time. Lastly, it helps with trying to establish Smackdown as a premier brand of television, similar to the days of 2002-2005.
The fact that this schedule allows for an additional day off per week for everyone, it helps take away from the main stigma for future WWE wrestlers and the main complaint from most former WWE wrestlers, which is the unbearable schedule. WWE now has a headquarters in Connecticut and Florida, which gives another option for wrestlers to live near if they so choose.
Most importantly, morale should improve throughout the company at least with the wrestlers due to the extra time off.
The stars that can be created are of an astounding level. In 2002, it was relatively obvious that Rey Mysterio, Chris Benoit, Kurt Angle, and Los Guerreros were going to be the stand-outs. This time around, the entire Smackdown roster is immensely talented and any handful of them would make for a great draw if given the correct exposure. This takes away WWE’s perpetual enemy -- predictability and makes for an even more interesting potential future.
Just like how NXT and all of the other superfluous shows on the WWE Network, having the brand split gives the opportunity for people that would never normally be seen on RAW or the PPV’s on television and possibly even in a story that makes enough of an impact for them to be traded to RAW or at the very least noticed and given a strong run on television.
If all of the above happens, the stars align with the planets, the cards fall right, maybe, just maybe, professional wrestling can cross that threshold and be in the mainstream again. It is on the cusp of becoming a draw again. It is just that it needs to be wholly understood that it is one of the last versions of live action theatre, and athletic exhibition, and that it is a SHOW, not a FIGHT.
It is not FAKE. It is CHOREOGRAPHED. It is guaranteed entertainment because something meaningful happens on every show if not every single match. Once enough people catch on to that idea, live shows will hopefully become the most popular trend just like with the music industry’s live concert growth and the recent burgeoning of live comedy shows.