Will the 2016 Brand-Split take us back in time?
We've all had a couple of days to let the draft digest. The surprises and shocks have worn off, the dust has settled and now it's time to get to work. Raw and Smackdown each have their own rosters, their own leadership figures and their own weekly live shows.
With that said, the playing field is even and we are ready to move into the future, right? Not so fast....
At the time of this year's draft, pro wrestling in general, not just WWE, but the entire industry was in need of change. Change can be a nerve-rattling endeavor; it can be intimidating and it can be uncomfortable.
But change is also necessary at times, including this year.
The wrestling scene, while as popular as ever, has been fairly stale lately and one of the key contributors to the recent lagging in entertainment is the TV PG.
Look, I get it. Today's product is geared more towards children and generating revenue via family family entertainment. Unfortunately, we have seen a sacrifice in overall quality, just for the sake of remaining inside the federal mandated box of PG programming.
Moving forward, even with the excitement of the draft, is going to be a difficult feat, due to the stranglehold of TVPG.
In 2002, WWE underwent their first brand extension draft, but that particular era was privy to a much deeper talent pool. Well, at least as far as the top tier talent is concerned. For instance, the first four picks in the 2002 draft included: 1. The Rock went to Smackdown, 2. The Undertaker went to Raw, 3. Kurt Angle went to Smackdown and with the 4th pick, Raw took the nWo.
So, when you look back at the 2002 brand-split, it was a successful venture, at least for the short term.
Both Raw and Smackdown held their own, in regards to ratings. Each program was churning out quality programming on a consistent basis, week in and week out. With that said, should we look at that years success as a model hope the WWE powers that be should try in every way to mimic the 2002 brand extension?
The year now is 2016, it's a totally different era and the entire way fans view the sport has changed completely. Fans today expect more and of they don't get it, they voice their frustrations in a major way. This year's brand-split needs to be taken completely different.
Mick Foley spoke of the Attitude Era being long gone, yet the talent needs to carry some of that type of attitude with them, as they move forward into this new era. Going back in time cannot be an option whatsoever. Every week needs to be a step forward, not backwards in hopes of replicating years gone by.
In order to move forward and not have the failures of the past repeat itself, there are a few things that need to be addressed.