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Brand Extension To Flop?, Clash Of Champions, Goldberg Returning, UFC-WWE Exchange

What are your thoughts on WWE bringing back the brand extension; do you think it will work?

While I always like to remain optimistic, I think WWE is making a mistake by bringing back the brand extension. Taking Smackdown live should help things but the product already suffers from over saturation. Now they’re going to be increasing their content even more with more pay-per-views, spreading a roster that’s already thin, even more thin. Some will argue it’s the perfect opportunity to “clear the cabinets” in NXT and while this does present that opportunity, talent do not always transition cleanly from NXT to the main roster. For every Kevin Owens or Seth Rollins we have to think about talent that were over like rover in NXT only to flop big time on the main roster (Tyler Breeze, The Ascension, Bo Dallas, Neville, etc.).

I truly believe WWE would be better suited to hyper-focus on their current roster, trying to figure out a way to engage their audience with what they already have. WWE is hoping with the increase in pay-per-views the shows will fuel new WWE Network subscriptions but that will only happen if the shows are worth watching. Again, I like to remain optimistic, but this has train wreck written all over it. Let’s also not forget WWE did this a decade ago — including brand-specific pay-per-views — and it did not work.

Is WWE really bringing back the Clash of Champions pay-per-view?

The current plan is for WWE Clash of Champions to take place on Sunday, September 25, 2016 from the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN. This is currently scheduled to be a Raw branded pay-per-view. WWE hasn't confirmed so we'll stop short of confirming it for them but the Ticketmaster listing is live and online.

We’ve seen the 2KSports deals with The Ultimate Warrior and Sting amount to much more, with each returning to WWE. Will the same happen with Bill Goldberg, who has struck a deal with the video game maker?

We’ve heavily followed this in our Members Content but there is a chance that Bill Goldberg returns to the ring for WWE. The financials are the hangup, as they’ve always been with Goldberg. The video game deal played a key role in WWE mending fences with The Ultimate Warrior and getting Sting in their ring. The same could hold true for a Goldberg return but if it happens, we’re expecting it for Wrestlemania 33 and not something immediate for the brand extension.

What do you think about the talent exchange between WWE and UFC with Brock Lesnar competing at next month’s UFC 200?

I am more excited for UFC 200 than I have been for any WWE event in at least five years. I’m not an avid UFC fan but I embrace the hatred aimed at Brock Lesnar for being a “fake pro wrestler.” Sure, there is risk involved as Mark Hunt could run right through him but so far, Brock has proved all of the doubters wrong. The only thing that has slowed Lesnar in the octagon has been diverticulitis and that seems to be in the past.

As for WWE agreeing to let Brock fight, I’m not one bit surprised and think it’s win-win for them. For one, they have one of their top stars on possibly the biggest UFC show ever a month before one of their biggest shows of the year in SummerSlam. Even if Brock loses, WWE can manage that in storylines and will still likely draw some of the UFC audience over to the WWE Network for at least a couple of months for followup. WWE has always been willing to let Brock fight but wanted a say in the opponent; something I can’t confirm they had with the selection of Mark Hunt, but I would be shocked if they didn’t get to sign off.

We’re also expecting a top UFC name involved at SummerSlam, which WWE is hoping will cross the UFC audience over even if Brock loses. If Brock wins, it will make them look even better.

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  • Patrick

    I’m not a fan of the brand split and think it was a terrible idea the first time years ago…and still is a bad idea right now.

  • Guillermo Urena

    I don’t believe things will work out for the worst Richard. Storylines and rivalries were way more solid with brand extension, talent had more opportunities, and something we are not thinking about is that for the first time both shows will be running live. Competition is part of the human nature, it brings the best out of each and every one of us, it did for WWE back in the Monday Night Wars, it also did work for the development of new stars during the first part of the brand extension, and I believe it will also work now.

    Its something new and fresh. and no, it hasn’t been done before. Wrestlers deserve a lighter schedule, wrestlers deserve longer storylines, wrestlers deserve a platform which they can escalate to reach the top, and I believe the new structure of Smackdown vs Raw will provide all that and more.

    • Xavier

      Agreed

  • Gary Robert

    I’m fine with the brand split as it forces a lot of underused guys to get deserved air-time. I do however think they need to change RAW back to two hours. And on an unrelated side note, Dana Brooke needs to get some muscles if she’s going to keep posing like what she does each week.

  • ldb

    I always like richards wnw. Im bias against lesnar but im pretty sure not having a defense against cain and overeem and carwin slowed him down. If carwin hadnt gassed out brock was pummuled into ground beef. Cardio saved him and it wasnt even his cardio. Im looking forward to the extension. Wwe has the talent for sure they just have some terrible creative and booking. They need to address that to make it work.i m just thankful they strapped ambrose even it was over a year over due.

  • The “brand split” was hardly a train wreck. It wasn’t an over-the-top success but it didn’t die on the vine. Also, as was said, “Smackdown” will be LIVE. This changes everything. Live programming will force WWE to make “Smackdown” more compelling and spoilers for the program can’t appear anywhere. That, coupled with the fact that it follows “Raw” the next night, will ensure that they do things differently.

  • Brian Lestworth

    I’m all for the brand extension because it gives talent not being used, or talent near the top a chance to rise and be considered a top guy on their show. It gives more talent a shot at the big stage.

    It kinda irked me a bit when you lumped in Neville, considering he was never put in a storyline that elevated him….

    (Raw: Beat Jericho (DQ),
    SD: with Zayn beat Owens and Miz,
    RAW: Lost to Owens,
    SD: Lost to League of Nations,
    RAW: Lost to New Day,
    RAW: Lost to League of Nations,
    SD: Beat Ascension,
    SD: Lost to Kalisto (US title)
    Hell he wasnt even featured on RAW for 2 weeks, just a bunch of live shows.)

    • Amen. Neville didn’t flop; he just wasn’t put in position to be incredible. Tyler seems to be coming back from his flopping (thank you…Fandango…LOL!).

  • Ben

    I hope Brock gets knocked out with one punch and returns to loud jeers of “You Got Knocked Out,” killing his drawing ability and value so no one else has to job out for him again. Part-timers need to go.

    • ron

      You do realize that by him drawing it helps all of the talent. And from what you said if that is the reaction and its a big one. That would make him a draw. Reactions positive 0r negitive is what makes one a draw

      • Ben

        No, that hurts his credibility as this ass-kicking Beast Incarnate. His drawing power drops.

        I’m pretty sure getting jobbed out didn’t help Ambrose. But in case it wasn’t clear, I want all the part-timers gone. That includes Lesnar.

  • Snap

    I was never a fan of the brand split so I share Richard’s cautiously optimistic viewpoint while keeping rooted in reality remembering that this is WWE, no a company with the best track record of learning from past mistakes or even acknowledging that they make mistakes.

    I also don’t understand how people can think that a brand split will mean underused guys will get a chance in the spotlight when WWE is actively looking to sign MORE talent and even bring past names back when they have contracted talent which they could actually use. What is most likely to happen is WWE will establish the major players for each brand and then those select few will be the ones to get the spotlight each week and MAYBE they’ll throw a bone to an underutilized guy every once in a while. I’m skeptical because I remember people making the same claim when RAW went to three hours and it has become abundantly clear that the hours of programming are not the issue with underutilized talent, it’s the so-called “Creative” team who cannot utilize the talent to DO have at their disposal.

    So, it’s nice to dream but I certainly wouldn’t hold my breath.

  • ClintMurphy

    Why cant they do ppv for each brand only bringing them together for the big 4, that way they can do a raw ppv then next month do a smackdown ppv that way the can give storylines time to build

  • Jbreed Slay

    The brand extension is a bad idea. There’s no need for it because it if you really look at it most of the deserving guys on the roster are in a good spot anyway. The midcard divison is finally relevant again and is stacked with talent who they’re groomeing to become main eventers at some point in the future. The only thing the split does is give us another world champion who’ll be nothing more than a glorified IC champion. Anyway, is it really worth watering down the 2 shows so The Social Outcasts could get more air time? The brand extension might just be a trainwreck.

  • Mike Brailsford

    Not so much the split but if they decide to have belts for each brand, that’s where it falls down. Let the champions work at Raw and Smackdown and once they lose their titles, they join the brand where the new champion(s) were.

  • David F

    WWE are bunch of stupid idoits

  • Mike Brailsford

    We will see in say 5 years when they feel they need the ‘undisputed champion’ again.