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It’s Time To End The WWE Brand Extension For Good – Inside The Wheelhouse

John Cena SmackDownRAW & SmackDown ratings are down, the roster is thin and the WWE is once again at a tough spot weeks after it was thought that the WWE was making a return to mainstream popularity. Despite having some pretty decent storylines and some even better feuds & matches as of late, the WWE can not catch a break when you look at the ratings and pay-per-view buyrates breakdown. What can be done to help the WWE turn around and continue to hold onto the momentum they had a couple weeks ago?

Plain and simple, it’s time to end/get rid of/abolish, the brand extension.

At the time I was all for it, you had a lot of wrestlers on the roster that were established or in the midst of getting established where the WWE could showcase them on television one night a week. It was still a time in wrestling where results weren’t as predictable as they are now either and like I said before the roster was extremely deep in talent. That is not the case now.

The WWE has seen ratings plummet lately on WWE Friday Night SmackDown in recent months. While I would contribute part of that to the summer months and it being on a Friday night, there is still a cause for concern from the higher ups in Titan Towers in Stamford. While SmackDown is still looked at as the “B-Show” or what some fans may call “the wrestling show” in the WWE, it’s still a show and a show I might add that holds an entire “brand” in the WWE on it.

Fans just aren’t watching Friday Night SmackDown and while the ratings may be great for the SyFy network, they aren’t great in wrestling standards as they are pulling in the best ratings TNA Impact ever had back during the Monday Night Wars II debacle. If people aren’t watching SmackDown, then they certainly aren’t willing to spend money on an Orton/Christian or Sheamus/Henry feud, no matter how well they have panned out on SmackDown television.

Then the news struck this past week that RAW dropped below a 3.0 on the August 22nd edition of the show. This is a RAW two weeks off of Summerslam (the 2nd biggest PPV of the year for the WWE) and during a time where business is currently deemed “hot” due to the stuff CM Punk has mastered the last 8-10 weeks. Clearly that isn’t the case if the RAW rating is below a 3.0.

Sure we can argue that it’s because of the NFL and ESPN having Monday Night Football telecasts again, but let’s be honest, it’s preseason football. I’m a huge Football fan but I don’t tune into a preseason game unless the starters are playing. Besides that I could careless about the practice squad being on the field of an NFL stadium. When Monday Night Football season really kicks off on September 12th, it will be whole different cause for concern in the WWE if they clearly can’t be the preseason schedule in ratings.

On top of all the low ratings from both SmackDown & RAW in recent weeks, there is also one major problem, one that became very clear to me when Rey Mysterio went down with injury last week where he could miss time between anywhere from 8-10 months. The roster is extremely thin.

Yeah it’s pretty clear that the roster has been thin for quite sometime but really think about it when it comes to the Mysterio injury. Usually there would be someone that you could easily pencil in to fill the void left by Mysterio on RAW’s Babyface roster. Who gets that spot now? Many skeptics may say John Morrison but there are also reports out in the internet that he’s in hot water with the WWE brass after the way he handled his real life girlfriend (Melina) getting fired by his current employers. His current contract comes up in a couple months and there is word that the WWE may not even re-sign him, so why would the WWE push him after all with all this backstage stuff going on?

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This would be an entirely different story if the WWE expanded their roster in a way and just abolished the brand extension. John Cena, CM Punk, Randy Orton and Sheamus would be your constant top-tier babyfaces in the WWE, while you had Alberto Del Rio, Christian, Mark Henry, R-Truth and The Miz rounding out the heels. It would bring balance back to the WWE roster and its programming & give wrestlers different opportunities to take advantage of the spotlight.

There is not enough talent depth for the WWE to continue forth with this brand extension because they are quite frankly not making enough new stars in their company today. Whenever they hand a new star the ball (i.e. Sheamus or Wade Barrett), they suddenly take it away from them. Abolishing the brand extension will allow future stars the opportunity to have a little bit more time to develop and the opportunity to be showcased to all the WWE audiences.

While I mentioned my top-tier faces & heels for the WWE should (and hopefully) abolish the brand extension, you can also make list of Future stars/Mid-Carders in that 2nd tier of talent. For babyfaces it would be Daniel Bryan, Alex Riley, Kofi Kingston, Evan Bourne, Sin Cara and Ezekiel Jackson. Then for the heels on the 2nd tier you’d have the Wade Barrett, Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger’s of the world. All those wrestlers, at least on a WWE scale, are fresh to the eyes of their audience and in a couple years could make up, or be part of the current top-tier of talent in the WWE.

It’s as if I’m reinventing the wheel on the booking for the WWE here…oh wait, I am, as they used to do this a long time ago. You know, those eras of wrestling where the ratings where good and the storylines were entertaining?

During the whole abolishing of the Brand Extension this would also trim the fat on the creative team since both shows have their own crews, back in the “glory days” there was just one creative team. It would also put an end to NXT which originally had a cool concept but has been lost in the shuffle over at WWE.com. Make NXT what Superstars is and showcase talent that didn’t make the televised shows, give the fans continuations of storylines on those shows and people will watch.

Sadly this also would bring major cuts to the WWE roster. I don’t like to see anyone lose their job, especially this day in age, but if you’re not being used then why should the WWE still have you under contract? I’m talking about great talents like Curt Hawkins, Trent Baretta and Tyson Kidd. If the company isn’t using during the brand extension, then there is no way they would use you if they abolished it…sadly.

It was originally a concept I was all for because the WWE could pull it off. Even when people a couple years ago were saying to get rid of the brand extension I was still all for it. But has time gone on, the roster has gotten thinner & the ratings have dropped, it’s a sign that this concept just isn’t “with it” for the times anymore and it’s time to go back to when things were successful, one WWE roster, two WWE show’s, no brands.

For more on this topic join Eric Gargiulo & myself for the Thursday September 1st edition of “The Still Real to Us Show” and download the show at www.wheelhouseradio.com or www.wrestlechat.net.

Jeff Peck is the producer for the “Wheelhouse Radio” program that airs every Sunday – Thursday @ 8pm ET/5pm PT at www.blogtalkradio.com/thewheelhouse and at www.errorfm.com @ 2am ET/11pm PT

Jeff also co-hosts “The Still Real to us show” with Eric Gargiulo which can be available at www.wheelhouseradio.com and can be downloaded in the “Real Guy Radio” section of the site..”

If you would like to subscribe to “The Wheelhouse” on iTunes simply subscribe for free at iTunes by typing in “Wheelhouse Radio!”

You can follow “The Champ Jeff Peck” on Twitter at www.twitter.com/therealjeffpeck you can also follow Wheelhouse Radio on twitter at www.twitter.com/thewheelhouse and you can e-mail them @

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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