By RJ Marceau
In July, the WWE decided to institute a new brand split between Raw and SmackDown Live.
It has been about 5 months and the brand extension has helped a few superstars while others have been lost in the shuffle.
Honorable Mention: Cesaro
When it comes to the Swiss Superman I wouldn’t say he has thrived or fallen because he is being utilized with this tag team with Sheamus but if he was on SmackDown Live I believe he would be a main focal point on the show. I don’t hate the pairing between Sheamus and Cesaro if they actually have an end game for these two. If they just paired them to just split up then it was a total waste.
Thrived: Alexa Bliss & Carmella
Wow, have these two women made the most of their opportunities since they were called up. They both are great heels and are easily #1 and #2 heels in SmackDown’s Women’s division. I don’t want to take credit away from either woman but I honestly think that since they had a limited singles role in NXT it helped them on the main roster. They didn’t really have a set identity so once they came to the main roster they cemented their own gimmick that hadn’t been seen before. Bayley in NXT is identical to Bayley on Raw. Bliss and Carmella were valets that didn’t really have single runs.
Now on their own they have found their strides and have great characters. Bliss has a title match at TLC vs. Becky Lynch and Carmella will face Nikki Bella in a No DQ match. These women may not have seen similar success on Raw since it’s only focused around Charlotte and Sasha Banks. These two have made the most of being drafted to SmackDown Live, with improved mic work as well as in-ring ability. The future looks bright for both Bliss and Carmella and I'm excited for both women.
Fallen: Neville & Apollo Crews
When Neville got called up he was good but he was a constant loser. He was the biggest loser on my WrestleRant countdown for like 10 weeks going. He had the flips and flashy moves but never won. He was drafted in the 6th round to Raw and I couldn’t even tell you the last time I saw him on Raw. They even have the Cruiserweight Championship and 205 Live and he hasn’t been on TV. I don’t even know if he is on Superstars or Main Event because I forgot he was still employed.
When it comes to Apollo Crews he was called up way too soon. No one was begging for Apollo Crews to get called up because he had plenty to do down in NXT. His push so far on SmackDown Live proves this with the guy barely being on TV and when he is, he loses to jobbers. I understand he has a good look but he has a small fan following and I don’t think he was really needed that soon on the main roster. Both guys are damaged goods and in the WWE once you’re a weekly competitor on Main Event and Superstars it’s hard to be taken seriously again.
I know the WWE needs jobbers or enhancement talent but these two had a future to be midcarders and now are regulated to shows that only the real hardcore fans will watch.
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