The WWE has been notorious for dragging on storylines to make them seem more exciting to the audience and make the end result that much more spectacular. The head writers and producers plan every little thing out, so little things that may go under the radar at first may be the stepping stone of a bigger outcome.
This year, WWE has made their Pay-Per-View schedule way larger than it has been in the past, and many fans have pointed out that when this happened a couple years ago, it signaled the end of the original brand split. Let me explain what that means.
The WWE brand extension, or split, is a division of the company into three distinct branches. WWE has promoted its core business through two major television shows called "Raw" and "SmackDown Live," and their developmental show, "NXT." The first brand extension began in March 2002 and ended in August 2011. Another brand existed between 2006 and 2010 for their television show "ECW," which was a revived version of the former promotion. The first brand split ended on the August 29, 2011, episode of "Raw," when "SmackDown" stars began to regularly appear on "Raw." However, due to a great influx of talent from NXT, the brand extension was brought back on the July 19, 2016 episode of "SmackDown," when "SmackDown" began broadcasting live on Tuesdays. Wrestlers are allocated to a brand via an annual draft after WrestleMania is April. Each show has its own story-lines, own roster of wrestlers, feuds, General Managers, and Commissioners among other things.
There are some other clues that fans have been noticing that may be leading up to a unification of "Raw" and "SmackDown" again. First, SmackDown Live’s Commissioner, Shane McMahon, has stepped down from his position recently, based on his idea that he was interfering with matches (all for TV don’t worry). Secondly, the General Manager of the show, Daniel Bryan, has finally been cleared to wrestle in the ring after 3 years of battling his health and injuries. Since both of these two are now gone from management, that leaves two options for the show. They either have to find a new GM and commissioner, or this may be a subtle signal that WWE may be getting ready to go back to one brand.
One problem with the brand split is that WWE is not capitalizing on so many of the feuds and story-lines that they could be. With talent only on one show, they have to wait for pay-per-view matched for the two to meet (and half the time they don’t...). If the company went back to just one roster, they could give fans so many more of the ‘dream matches’ that the WWE Universe wants to see. Removing the wall between "Raw" and "SmackDown" would allow WWE to be a lot more creative matches that they can book, and they wouldn't have to wait until after another draft to have people finally interact, they can just interact on both shows.