Jabroni Journal: Back To The Brand Split

Smackdown goes live as the company divides...

May 25, 2016

It’s been a pretty insane week in the always outrageous world of pro wrestling. First, this past Saturday, Cody Rhodes (aka Stardust) posted a long-winded manifesto-like goodbye to the WWE universe on his personal Twitter, as the 30-year-old superstar announced he was leaving the company and had personally asked for his release due to being frustrated with the lack of character development, among other things. 

Then there was Sunday. In all honesty, I thought this past week’s WWE Network event “Extreme Rules” was awesome. Without going into TOO MUCH detail, I will say that the four way intercontinental championship match stole the show, with Zayn, Owens, The Miz and Cesaro all performing at an extremely high level. The pop up Canadian destroyer that Zayn landed on Cesaro was downright insanity. 

As much as a good majority of the crowd likes to crap all over whatever Roman Reigns does, he put on a spectacular performance versus AJ Styles in the main event. Those two have a certain kind of chemistry together that will only elevate them both, giving each other a special shine that stands out from the rest of the card. And the response when Seth Rollins came out? That was huge! And so was Seth! It looks like he has been rehabbing with John Cena himself (who is set to return next Monday). 
    Both these things are newsworthy, yes, but neither of these things got my wrestling-nerd mind racing like this morning’s big announcement.  The official WWE Twitter account broke the news today that starting July 19th, SmackDown will move from its usual Thursday night airing of pre-taped episodes, to a live broadcast on Tuesday nights. Furthermore, the company will be hosting a draft, effectively splitting the roster right down the middle, with some talent designated to appear on RAW and some for Smackdown. According to the info WWE released, there will be separate behind-the-scenes writing staff to go along with each brands television show. 
    If you’re a longtime WWE fan, this probably sounds familiar. Back in the early 2000’s the company did the “brand split” deal, and what happened was Smackdown essentially became the more wrestling-match driven show, with superstars like Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit and Eddy Guerrero running the show, while Raw was more of the entertainment-based side of things, all led by stars like Shawn Michaels and Triple H.
    An announcement like this immediately brings so many questions to mind. Will there be two belts? How many NXT stars will they be bringing up? Will this add more monthly special events on the Network? Which show will get the Women’s Title? And most importantly, which show will feature the beauty that is Sasha Banks? I have faith that WWE has learned from the past mistakes of their original brand split and will effectively avoid all the mishaps that made things somewhat rocky and convoluted the first time around. Most of all, this is a taste of something fresh for WWE fans. Fresh is good. I’m starting to really like this, “New Era” that’s beginning to build. It’s an exciting time to be a wrestling nerd.