Brand Split

WWE just announced this morning that Smackdown will be going live on Tuesday nights, and a draft of sorts will be held to divide the roster. The announcement made sure to say that Raw and Smackdown would have different rosters, different crew, and different writers. There’s a LOT to unpack here, but this will just be a quick post of how I would expect to divide the roster.

There are 55 male wrestlers on the roster who are not part time or critically injured (sorry Tyson Kidd). For this first assessment, I’m just looking at the main event caliber wrestlers who will lend each show it’s own unique flavor. I also won’t be counting NXT wrestlers, or else Balor, Nakamura, and Joe would be on here.

Raw Main Event
Roman Reigns
AJ Styles
Seth Rollins
Chris Jericho
Randy Orton
Big E
Kevin Owens

For better or for worse, Roman Reigns is who the WWE wants as their top guy. With Smackdown going live, there’s no more advantages in piping in desired crowd noises, so they might as well throw him in the deep end and make him carry the flagship show. He won’t be alone though. AJ has proven that he can make Roman look good, and Rollins will be jobbing to Reigns for years to come. Jericho is so unlikable right now that Roman might get cheered for once. In other words, expect the Raw roster to revolve around making Reigns look good. But if he falters too badly, Orton is there to be a stop gap, and Big E and KO will pick up the pieces.

Smackdown Main Event
John Cena
Sheamus
Dean Ambrose
Bray Wyatt
Alberto Del Rio
Cesaro
Luke Harper

Pretty simply, Cena needs to be on Smackdown. First, he can’t be on the same show as Roman. Cena is by far the biggest star in the WWE, and while they will eventually need to do Cena vs Roman, putting them on the same show would just show how badly Reigns is outclassed at the moment. Plus, they will want people to watch Smackdown, to develop a new habit of tuning in Tuesday nights, so they need that Big Name. Sheamus and Del Rio will get the main event spots they feel like they deserve, and Ambrose is there to be a main eventer who loses to other main eventers. Bray can be like the Undertaker in the old brand split: a staple of Smackdown for years to come. Then you have Cesaro and Harper as two super talented workhorses who can easily be pushed to the main event at a moments notice.

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