Last week the WWE gave us the “superstar shake up”, which was meant to refresh the rosters. In actuality, something like this is necessary, or else the feuds become to stale (which Raw managed to do in less than a year). Considering how there’s been two brand splits in WWE history, the company is no stranger to moving superstars around. Sometimes they’ve made good decisions, and other times they made bad ones.
With us now being a week removed from the first “shake up” of the new brand split, the WWE has created a bit of a clutter. Not only do certain stories feel like a mess, but the overall idea of the brand split has been slightly compromised.
Bray Wyatt vs Randy Orton
So Bray Wyatt was moved to Raw, yet he’s still feuding with the champion from Smackdown. Is there any logic behind that? If Wyatt wins, does he switch spots with Orton? Or does the title come to Raw? In that case, it’s fairly obvious Bray will take another big L at Payback. After a terribly executed match at Wrestlemania, the WWE would’ve been better off not continuing this feud, but it’s too late now.
Now that the two have been separated, everything they do is done with split focus. Bray Wyatt initially interuppted Finn Balor on Raw, but now his focus is back on Orton, which doesn’t give any of these characters a set motive. Keeping them on separate shows doesn’t help either, because it only makes their promos one sided and meaningless.
With Jinder Mahal picking up a surprise win on Smackdown, he won’t be able to feel like a big deal until this Orton-Wyatt feud is finally over. That alone is ridiculous, because the point of number one contender match is to immdietely build towards the the title bout.
Kevin Owens vs Chris Jericho/US Title Picture
Don’t get me wrong, this KO-AJ feud is off to a great start. The two have competed in one off singles matches, but they never got a chance to build a feud until now. However, Owens’ new focus completely takes away from his program with Jericho, the one that’s being advertised for the next PPV. On Raw, that’s left Y2J with nothing to do. In the Jericho’s match on Raw against Samoa Joe it was the announce team that had to keep the US title program relevant.
Similar to the WWE championship feud, crowning a new number one contender has created a split focus for Kevin Owens. While his feud with AJ has been fun so far, nothing that he’s doing is giving me a reason to be excited for his Payback match.
Many people believe Jericho will be off of TV after this program (to tour with Fozzy), so why not make it something of importance? As a veteran, he could have given so much more, but with the way things are shaping out, his last contest with KO will be nothing more than a obligatory rematch.
The Miz vs Dean Ambrose
Out of everything done in last week’s shake up, this was the feud I was most skeptical about. There was a good chance this would feel like recycled Smackdown material, as the two just finished feuding back in January. So far, I was wrong about that. Based on the promo these two were involved with on this week’s episode of Raw, this feud is heading in a different direction than their previous one. The lack of Rene Young will certainly allow for Ambrose to be the character he plays best. Seeing the lunatic fringe stick up for his girlfriend didn’t exactly suit him.
In terms of refreshing the red brand, the Miz and Ambrose have done exactly that.
Obviously, a lot of these issues will be cleared up after Payback, so thankfully none of them will be permanent. For now, the shake up has done more harm to the WWE’s short term booking.