WWE Hall Of Famer Eric Bischoff is a true veteran in the pro wrestling business and his mind for the industry is second to none right now. He has seen the industry change in numerous ways over the course of several years and now it appears Bischoff believes a brand split is necessary in WWE.
WWE first introduced a brand split in 2002, making the Raw and SmackDown rosters exclusive. After ECW was made part of WWE, there were three brands but the brand split ended in 2011.
It made its return back in 2016, but it has not really been enforced much in the past few years as RAW and Smackdown Superstars make their way to each other’s brands whenever they want to.
While speaking on Strictly Business, Eric Bischoff was asked about the conversations about the WWE Draft from a network standpoint during his run as the Executive Director of Friday Night SmackDown. Bischoff would then make it clear that he believes the brand splits are necessary.
“In 2019, I really didn’t communicate much to FOX. I was overseeing the SmackDown brand for a cup of coffee, and as a result, all of my conversations were kind of focused on the brand. I didn’t really have a lot of communication with the network. A little bit, when it came to the brand. More as it related to promotions and things that we wanted to do leading up to the brand split, or the draft at that point. But it’s interesting to say what’s the value of the brand split. I don’t think there’s a value in a brand split. I think it’s a necessity.
I guess the value, you could argue that the value is that you have two distinct brands. Therefore, you have two distinct television licensing opportunities. As in any television show, wrestling is no different, the quality of that show is oftentimes linked directly to the star power on it. In order to have two successful brands when you have two major media companies vying for the rights, bidding for the rights for those brands, the value has to be there. But the networks look at the rosters, and that’s the challenge. So it’s not so much immediate value, beyond the fact that you do have two separate brands that you can license. But it’s a necessity in order to keep your television parties happy, and that’s where it gets tricky because not all talent is created equal.
You can have your roster set and feel really good about it, but if you have somebody emerge as the biggest star in the company, who gets that star? Both networks are gonna want that star, and that’s when it becomes tricky because you’ve got to keep your television partners happy. If you’ve got one star, star A, who’s perceived to be and is, a bigger star that gets better ratings perhaps or by any other metric, is just considered to be the star in WWE at that particular moment, if that star is not on your network, you’re not happy about that. So that’s the challenge, is keeping your network partners happy. That’s the biggest challenge..”
This year’s edition of the WWE Draft concluded last week and will now be in full effect from this week’s episode of Monday Night RAW. We’ll have to see how effective the results of the brand split will be in the coming weeks.
What do you think of what Eric Bischoff said? Do you believe the brand splits are necessary? Let us know in the comments!