As has been noted weekly during programming, we are currently in the WWE’s New Era, and no, I’m not talking about those caps people who sit at the back of the bus wear, I’m talking about a new contingent of talent in the WWE main roster.
I prefer to call the current era the “Indy Era” as most of the wrestlers who are stealing the show as we speak are from the independent circuit, and while WWE used to look down on the smaller promotions and laugh, in recent years they’ve had to sit up and take note that not all WWE superstars have to be 6”6 and 260lbs of pure muscle. Obviously the WWE will never call it the Indy Era as that would be acknowledging other promotions, and pretty much the only time that is allowed is during the Edge and Christian Show on the WWE Network. But what of WWE’s new era?
It’s a strange time to be a member of the WWE Universe, as with Triple H leading the way in bringing new, bright talent into our homes, we’re seeing less and less of the bigger guys who once made this brand of entertainment so popular. Granted that might be because they’re a lot older than they once were, but if you told me five years ago that Samoa Joe would be NXT Champion and AJ Styles would be competing for the top prize in the company, I would have laughed in your face.
Granted, Styles didn’t win the big one against Roman Reigns, but he made the Samoan look strong, and while Vince is around, that’s what matters. In all seriousness, Styles provided a fresh feud for the current WWE Champion, and definitely put himself in the main event picture, especially with the inclusion of The Club into the storyline. Anderson and Festus, sorry, I mean Gallows, have shown part of what they can do to devastating effect, and the two have such a partnership in the ring that it seems effortless. The two can definitely bring a new feud into the tag team division.
The other major addition to the tag team roster is Enzo and Cass, and they’re so over right now, it’s almost unexplainable. The fact they’re so popular among the audience goes to show that many are now watching NXT, which means fans are watching at least four hours of wrestling a week, or six hours if they tune into Smackdown too, which with the new writers and Mauro Ranallo on board, is better than ever.
Also announced as a part of this new era, is the return of the brand split. There has been some speculation that Smackdown would be reserved for most new talent, but that’s probably utter nonsense. WWE are trying to market Smackdown as a rival to Raw in terms of brand strength, so for that to work, and to get a respectable audience to the second show, the bosses will have to split people who they think are on par.
For example, another popular theory is that Reigns will be the top guy on Raw, while Cena will head to Smackdown a couple of months after his return from injury. But will WWE split members of the new era? Could we see Zayn on Smackdown and Owens on Raw? I think that would be a good way to go for the two new superstars, as while their encounters are always a sight to behold, keeping their rivalry fresh would lead to even more heat between the two.
Will the brand split affect tag teams? Could one member of The New Day be drafted to a different show to the other two? Will Vince split up Lana and Rusev again?
The brand split is actually quite an exciting way to go about things, and with a roster so deep in talent, more opportunities will arise for each superstar, particularly those staying on the three-hour Raw show. If the WWE brought back the World Heavyweight Championship, sent the Intercontinental Champion to Smackdown, along with the Women’s Champion, then we could see an exciting amount of TV time for the ladies of the locker room.
Will that be a given though? With a brand split, it would be strange seeing all members of one gender heading to one show. Could another Women’s Championship be created? If that was the case, then each set of women would be cut down to a tiny amount, so it’s highly doubtful. However, with the Cruiserweight Classic just around the corner, it’s highly likely the Women’s division will be on one show, with the Cruiserweight on another.
Think about how crazy it would be to see Reigns vs. Orton at the top of the card, with Samoa Joe vs. Kevin Owens for the United States Title in the middle, and supplemented by Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Kalisto.
With a combination of the brand split and the new era in WWE, it’s probably the most exciting time the company has seen since the late 1990s/early 2000s and the Attitude Era.