Poll result: Should WWE end the brand extension?

Matt O’Brien writes and maintains the Wrestleview.com poll every two weeks.

It was April of 2002; just months after the WCW/ECW invasion had ended. The World Wrestling Federation had a number of talented performers on its roster, but not enough air time for all of them. They had tried to get WCW on the air as its own brand, but could not reach a desirable agreement. Finally, the company decided to take its two main shows, Raw and Smackdown, and divide the roster between them, thus creating the brand extension. It has been nine years since the brand extension started. For some fans, they do not know what WWE would be like without it because they only know it as such.

After nearly a decade of keeping superstars separated by television brands and running dual house shows, WWE has frequently had Raw and Smackdown super shows. With the roster in a very different place than it as in 2002, and the novelty of a brand split lost on some, Wrestleview asked its readers if WWE should end the brand extension once and for all. The results are as follows:

Should WWE officially end the brand extension?

Right away 53.58% (1,348 votes)
Not yet 21.3% (536 votes)
Never 25.12% (632 votes)

Total votes cast: 2,516

The majority of voters feel that WWE should cease the split right away. The line between Raw and Smackdown is simply imaginary. It’s what WWE makes of it. Many no longer feel that having two separate television shows with different names and faces is necessary. With all the joint shows they have done in the past, there is no longer mush of a difference for new fans, and the split is no longer special for longtime fans. Others feel that a split hinders the potential of the overall product. While the annual draft allows Raw and Smackdown to exchange talent and put wrestlers together you don’t normally see, it’s just not the same as having those same performers on the same program each week.

There are those who worry that ending the roster split would only serve to saturate the product with John Cena, Randy Orton, and a few others, while the guys at the bottom would be future-endeavored. There is the alternative that the shows can be booked to similarly to what they are now by not having all the top guys on every single show. Randy Orton can be on Raw this Monday, but he doesn’t have to be on Smackdown a couple days later, nor the Raw after.

The second place category in the voting was Never. For a lot of fans, the brand extension is not a phase or era for WWE, it’s all they know. Ditching it seems wrong. For others, the roster is just too deep to ever end the brand split. The WWE Universe is a big place, but it’s shows are not big enough for all its stars, and any saturation of the product would only turn viewers off.

The final category in the voting was Not Yet. The extension will need to come to an end someday. Wrestling fans are pretty fortunate to have two major WWE shows on television right now, but that will not always be the case. Raw is a staple of television, but it will not be around forever. For the fans that voted in this category, the brand extension has yet to run its course.

Thank you to all those who voted. Please make sure to cast your vote in the current Wrestleview poll by visiting our homepage!

Matt O’Brien
Columnist, Wrestleview.com