It has been just over 3 months since the WWE returned to the brand split formula. Since the split we have seen new titles developed, brand specific Pay Per Views, new General Managers, injuries to major stars and some big names that have left the company. So far, ratings for both brands have been surprisingly very similar, with many internet critics giving Smackdown the slight advantage in matches and stories since the split. The split has given the WWE a sense of freshness it has needed, and given the opportunity for many wrestlers to have more air and match time. The split has seen the return of a cruiserweight division, and an increased focus, on both brands, of the tag team and women’s division. Even the US and intercontinental titles have seemed more important and have had some great air time, bringing them back to the prestige they should always have had. This last 3 months of the brand split, there have been some definite and unexpected winners but unfortunately there have still been many wrestlers who have struggled.
Winner: Cruiserweight’s division, after a very successful Cruiserweight classic on the WWE network, RAW created the Cruiserweight championship as part of the reward for the winner of the classic T.J. Perkins. Since then the Cruiserweight matches have been a regular on RAW, headed up by T.J. Perkins and a returning Brian Kendrick. This division brings something different to WWE, and RAW, and has already produced some great matches and moments.
Loser: The Universal Title, (design) with a whole team of creative people working behind the scenes, surely the WWE could have come up with a better looking and better name for its major championship.
Winner: Kevin Owens, with an unfortunate injury to Finn Balor, Kevin Owens was given the opportunity to become the main face of RAW, and its major champion. “You deserve it” chants rang out when he won the title, even though he is currently a major RAW heel. Since his win he has held his own in and out of the ring, and has not looked out of place as the major champion on RAW. His toughness, power and skill in the ring, make him the ideal man to lead RAW.
Loser: Mick Foley, this hurts to write as I am a big Mick Foley fan, however his role as general manager of RAW has so far been a bit of a fizzer. This has mainly to do with the fact that Stephanie McMahon cast a big authority shadow that Mick has become lost in. Some personal major mistakes (promoting the wrong company) hasn’t helped either. Hopefully he is given a story line he can work with, and move out of the McMahon shadow.
Winner: Charlotte/Sasha Banks, a tie for these 2 wrestlers who joined Trish Stratus and Lita, as the only women wrestlers to main event RAW and will become the first WWE women to battle inside the ‘Hell in a Cell’. Not only did they main event RAW, but produced the high quality match a main event needs. Their feud over the past months has continued the rise of the women’s division, and we can only hope to see more of these two in the ring.
Other notable winners have been Chris Jericho, Rusuv, Bruan Strownman and Bo Dallas
Other notable Losers have been Finn Balor (injury), Roman Reigns and Emma
Winner: The Miz, from being lost in the midcard division for many years, The Miz in the space of the 3 month brand split has become one of the main event wrestlers on Smackdown. A (excuse the pun) awesome promo where he ripped into Daniel Bryan, was not wasted, as he has used that intensity and momentum in and out of the ring. Some great matches including a show stealer with Dolph Ziggler, has The Miz battling the likes of AJ Styles, John Cena, Dean Ambrose, and Bray Wyatt for the top man on Smackdown.
Losers: Randy Orton, returned from injury to be decimated by Brock Lesnar and now be the fall guy for a Bray Wyatt push. While these loses do not hurt Randy Orton’s standing, he is quickly becoming the go to man to push other main event stars, a position that is hard to shake, just ask Christian.
Winner : Heath Slater’s story of draft reject, failed auditions, to tag team champion was some great story telling and produced some great moments during the initial couple of weeks of the brand split. Many have known for quite a while the talent Heath possess, but was often the go to person for comic relief and glorified jobber. With the eventually turn on his tag team partner coming, there looks like we will see more of Heath on our screens to come.
Loser: Eric Rowan, has not improved his standing since his quickest ever loss at Wrestlemania to the Rock. He is still the fall guy for Bray Wyatt, and all these loses have now made him more of a jobber, rather than a Wyatt Family enforcer. With the return of the more charismatic Luke Harper, Eric Rowan may need a repackage in NXT
Other notable winners have been Aj Styles, Dolph Ziggler, Alexa Bliss and Carmella
Other notable Losers have been Fandango, Baron Corbin, and Jack Swagger
Hooroo and see you next time