WWE Brand Extension to Return?
Amid speculation following the return of Shane McMahon to the WWE on Monday Night RAW on 22nd February, this has added fuel to the fire amid rumors of the WWE Brand Extension to Return. With a wealth of talent amid their roster which has thankfully gained much depth in the past year, partially through the aiding of NXT but also additional signings including AJ Styles now seems to be the time for the WWE Brand Extension to Return to WWE Programming. But what will this mean to both RAW and SmackDown shows but more importantly the WWE Roster…we take a look right here!
The original Brand Extension was a prominent feature of the WWE Programming between 2002 and 2011, which featured the WWE Roster being split between originally two, but later three shows with the addition of the ECW Brand. Despite originally featuring joint pay-per-view events featuring talents from both shows, they later ventured into brand exclusive pay-per-views with the first being Badd Blood 2003. Originally, the WWE and Women’s Champions featured on both shows, but this was later dissolved with the addition of the World Heavyweight Championship at No Mercy 2002. This then bought us brand exclusive championships, with the infamous SmackDown Six being a notable part of SmackDown programming.
With the resurgence of the ECW name in 2006, this saw it added to the WWE Programming as a third brand and an emergence of new WWE stars but also several veteran ECW alumni. The brand remained a prominent part of programming until 2011, when it was dissolved in an effort to “allow content to flow more”. In reality, the lines and boundaries of the Brand Extension had become increasingly blurred by this point it was difficult to ascertain whether the Brand Extension was actually still in place. But what did they Brand Extension originally achieve, well that is fundamentally obvious. It allowed the WWE to create a wealth of new stars from the massive pool of superstars. How did they get this massive pool, easy…they got this from the infamous Invasion angle in 2001. It gave a whole variety of superstars the exposure they needed to succeed and become noticeable assets for the WWE. If it hadn’t being for the Brand Extension, we wouldn’t have seen the rise of Edge, Randy Orton, Batista, CM Punk to name but a few.
The return of the Brand Extension can only mean good things for the WWE Roster, because it will ultimately give various WWE Superstars the desperate exposure needed to take their careers the next level. Superstars like The Miz or Dolph Ziggler or Cesaro or Wade Barrett (if he stays) can only benefit from this. This will be the perfect opportunity for them to showcase their talent to the WWE Universe and become the Stars of Tomorrow. But should the Brand Extension return, how would this logistically work in 2016?
Whilst the WWE made very few mistakes in their original Brand Extension, they can easily learn from the lessons of their mistakes but with a potential Shane McMahon at the head of RAW, surely this puts Stephanie in line to be the head of SmackDown. Now SmackDown has returned to the USA Network, this will be an opportunity for the show to become a relevant and prominent feature of the programming once again and be a contributory factor in WWE Storylines. But the champions (WWE World Heavyweight and Diva’s) shouldn’t become Brand Exclusive once again, because this limits the possibilities once again considering the WWE have literally just finished tidying up the end of the last Brand Extension.
Something really needs to happen creatively for the WWE Roster and the WWE Universe, and the Brand Extension to Return could quite possibly be the option for this. The next few weeks on The Road to WrestleMania 32 could certainly be interesting!
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