Full disclosure, but I am writing this before we even see the SmackDown shakeup.
But after the RAW Superstar Shakeup went down, even knowing that the report card is incomplete, it made me think something I had not expected to think.
Namely, that I miss the unified roster. Honestly, I do. As much as I like seeing some stars get opportunities that they otherwise might not have gotten, or that might have taken them forever and a day to get, seeing a more loaded roster on Monday Night, if only for the one night because SmackDown had yet to claim it’s new talent, brought back the good feelings from the days of old, pre-most-recent-draft. Now, I say the good feelings, because a loaded roster can also be a cluttered and stale roster, which is bad. And we saw plenty of bad. But a show like that, well it just hit on a lot of high points.
For one thing, we got fresh talent. So, for at least an evening, we got to sort of dream about what matchups might be, because again, we don’t yet officially know who is leaving RAW. Or, if you read this after SmackDown, we didn’t yet know who was leaving RAW. So we can dream of all sorts of matches we haven’t been able to see, really, since last summer. And in some instances, we haven’t seen in ever on the main roster (like, Finn Balor versus anyone who went to SmackDown).
And, yes, there were some really notable programs in play too. We are apparently going to get a WWE Championship match, a SmackDown title, defended on a RAW exclusive PPV. We saw Braun Strowman, and who knows what else, flip over an ambulance with Roman Reigns in it, and fans cheered. For at least a night, both the Intercontinental and United States Champions were on RAW-and that might not get resolved until Payback. And, Nia Jax looks poised to be a big thing.
There were, of course, some more confusing points-like the titles and cross-branding of a brand exclusive PPV. Curt Hawkins has a new place to job, and apparently may get some competition, as Elias Samson was seen wandering the RAW set at times. So, not all was perfect with the world, but there were a lot more good things than bad. And, perhaps only for parts of the three hour show, I yearned for a unified roster again. So what does it all mean? In the grand scheme, not much. I doubt they would unify, and I really don’t want them to. But, I think if they were smart, they’d come up with some cross-branded matches that happen on RAW/SmackDown, not just on one of a few PPV every year. Things like a King of the Ring tournament, or some random SmackDown versus RAW best of seven series. It should not happen often, else the charm would be lost…but if they do it sporadically, a few times a year? I think those shows could do quite well. Especially when you consider that it was, I think, a really good show, and notice who wasn’t on it: No world champions from either brand. No Stephanie, No Hunter. No huge nostalgia act. Sometimes you don’t need the gimmicks and trips down Memory Lane to get the interest up.