Update: Since this blog published, Bryan dropped this heartbreaking announcement:
It’s been a month since the brand split and there’s been more good than bad. We got a first class match between Sasha and Charlotte on Raw. We saw Ziggler and Ambrose step up to the plate on Smackdown. The addition of Corey Graves to Raw has been delightful. The rivalry between Cena & Styles has been a highlight on Raw. However, not everything is peachy in the world of the WWE.
Raw introduced the much maligned WWE Universal Championship, crowned Finn Balor their champion then promptly lost him to injury. Smackdown has problems of its own, the biggest of which is what to do about their women and tag divisions with no title to battle for. They can’t introduce a new women’s title. They just can’t. Not enough depth and too much of a risk with the negative reaction to the Universal title’s design.
In traditional sports when one team has too much of one thing but not enough of something else, they seek out a trade partner who has a similar but opposite issue. In this case, Smackdown could use another singles title but it really shouldn’t be another women’s belt. (For the time being, I’m ok with the Smackdown tag division getting an extra set of straps…or not. Either is ok with me). So I propose that Daniel Bryan calls his Raw counterpart to make a deal. Here’s the proposed trade:
Raw would bolster its women’s division, allowing for multiple meaningful storylines to happen simultaneously and the reunion of the four horsewomen. Stephanie and Foley have both been extremely vocal in their support for the women’s revolution, so it’s a natural fit. Meanwhile, Smackdown would be able to add a 3rd singles title without diluting the importance of another belt (2 women’s titles would make both feel unimportant.) Plus Daniel Bryan and Mauro Ranallo are already intrinsically linked with the Cruiserweight Division. It just makes sense to keep them all together.
And Cesaro is just a kicker. After all, you’re trading away the longest reigning Diva’s champ of all time, your top female pick in the draft and a host of young talent. You have to get a proven entity in return. If the WWE were to go in this direction, it’s hard to say if it’d be an admission of a mistake they made just a month ago or a carefully planned story to highlight another fascinating aspect of the brand split (blockbuster trades!).
With the CWC more than halfway over and the division’s debut on Raw about a month away, we’ll probably know the future of an extra women’s title or a change in plans sooner rather than later. 9 championships with a field of 2-4 serious contenders for 5 hours of programming for 52 weeks just doesn’t feel like a viable option. Hopefully WWE and their respective brands get this one right.