How I’d book week 1 of the WWE brand split

Seeing the huge uptick of views from my last wrestling based blog post, I decided to make it a weekly feature. The draft and Battleground (a fine show btw) are good jumping points to begin fantasy booking plot lines going forward on both Raw and Smackdown. These posts will be based on the previous week or following the “Network Specials” rather than following my own week to week posts. Thus, there may be points where I differ or drop certain story lines if the WWE chooses to go another route. I have to keep this one short as I began writing this with less than an hour before Raw.

Raw vs Smackdown

Shane McMahon had stated he’s looking to make an impact on how the show is shot, how it looks and to place an emphasis on the superstars rather than authority figures. This implied Raw will have the latter; reinforced by the dichotomy of Stephanie McMahon’s on-screen persona and that of Mick Foley. That said, at Battleground Foley parroted the Smackdown mantra. Nevertheless, early on Raw there will be an address from Stephanie and Mick to the locker room. This would be presented as an “earlier today” segment. On Smackdown, it will be an address by Daniel Bryan, Shane and Dean Ambrose to the fans surrounded by the rest of the roster in ring. This frames the differences between the shows (for now).

The theme of Steph’s speech will be that of doing what’s “best for business” and also making Raw better than Smackdown with an underlying insecurity in her tone. She’ll applaud the winners at Battleground, Rusev in particular for his defeat of Smackdown’s Zack Ryder. She’ll admonish Darren Young and Backlund for failing to capture the IC title. As she turns her attention to Rollins and Reigns, Foley will step in and give the “raw raw” (pun intended) pep talk.

On Smackdown, they will be taking the high road acknowledging the other show but saying they will focus on what they can control and building a show everyone on their roster can be proud of. They’ll put over various talents throughout the card; even those who lost at Battleground. Ambrose will then take the mic and position himself as a fighting champion and lay out a challenge for the locker room to come get the title he defended to keep on the show.

Ideally, Smackdown will have the opportunity to gradually change the set in such a way as give it a different look than its Monday counterpart over the next few weeks. This allows experimentation and bad ideas to easily be scaled back.

WWE title fallout

On SD, Dean Ambrose will need a challenger for his title. With AJ Styles and Cena liked position to face off at Summerslam and Orton vs Lesnar, we need to establish a challenger. Unfortunately, no one is ready to take up that mantle quite yet on the SD roster.Bray Wyatt and Alberto Del Rio are potential choices down the road but they need a few high profile wins to position themselves higher on the card. That is why, I reluctantly have to give the shot to Reigns in an inter-brand match.

WAIT! Before you leave, read the rest of the paragraph. Reigns is going to lay down for Ambrose in Brooklyn. The story is going to be one about Reigns getting a one on one rematch after Rollins got two. This will be the road towards the fabled Reigns heel turn. On the coat tails of his substance abuse suspension, it will culminate in Reigns taking short cuts in order to win the title. He’s going to get ruthlessly booed anyways so you might as well embrace it. However, he’ll be foiled by Ambrose in the end.

On the other end, Rollins will rail against the decision and go out to prove he is the best man on the roster, facing the likes of Zayn, Cesaro, Owens, etc to continue to build up his credibility amongst the fans who might still have reservations about his in-ring work and thus gain their respect for an eventual face turn.

Brock vs Orton

Paul Heyman can sell anything, and positioning Brock as a heel under the current circumstances will be a piece of cake for him. The story behind Brock accepting this match is Brock was displeased when Orton beat his record for being the youngest man to hold the championship. However, he did it without the help of his friends in Evolution; specifically Triple H. It will be a fine rebuttal for the “no enhancements needed” line from the Highlight Reel.

On Smackdown, Orton will have his first match, say against Dolph Ziggler, a guy who can bump and make anyone look fantastic. The talk will be about his rehabilitation over 9 months and about his training. This will be important later on.

Styles vs Cena

Instead of the usual Cena coming out to challenge his opponent, it will be Styles initiating the conflict. He’s going to claim the Cena pinfall was a fluke and while he doesn’t have the club anymore, Cena won’t have Enzo and Cass either. He’s challenging Cena for a one on one match to prove who the better man is. Ambrose will be seen backstage watching the exchange before cutting to break. This will tease the winner becoming the next challenger after Reigns.

Banks vs Charlotte

Sasha will come out and challenge Charlotte for the title, replaying video of the champion tapping out to the Banks Statement. Charlotte will come out, giving Banks back handed compliments for her win the previous night. This leads to her accepting. Before ending the segment, she reminds Sasha Bayley is back on NXT and she and Dana Brooke lay a beat down on Sasha to soften her up before Summerslam.

Cesaro & Rusev

Rusev will have a squash match against some local enhancement talent. Cesaro will be on commentary, giving analysis of the match. After the bell, Rusev will not release the Accolade until Cesaro gets pissed and enters the ring. Rusev bolts. After a break, Renee Young will interview the Bulgarian Brute and say Cesaro has issued a challenge for the US Title. Lana and Rusev will reply they will not acknowledge a challenge from a non-american born citizen…

Cruiserweight division

Until the Cruiserweight tournament is completed, the division will be starting off slow. It will be announced the winner of the tournament will be the champion. But their first defense will come up against a member of the main roster, leading to a qualification match for the #1 contendership to take place at Summerslam. A returning Neville will face off and defeat Sin Cara.


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