If the 2023 WWE Draft is going to be a success, WWE has to keep the brands separate and build new stars on each show.
Another edition of the WWE Draft is coming in a few short weeks. The utilization of the draft frequently ping pong between an important moment for the year, to another throwaway tactic to make up for lackadaisical creative. 2023 is an important year for WWE thanks to the turmoil of the last nine to ten months. With Vince McMahon forcing his way back in control and initiating a sale to Endeavor, there are several questions about the creative direction of on-air programming. Many things need to improve, but with the 2023 edition of the WWE Draft, it is imperative to keep the brand split in place.
SmackDown and Monday Night Raw must be separate brands when this draft is complete. That means all the “Brand-to-Brand Invitationals” and “surprise” appearances on the other show each week must come to an end. WWE has a robust roster and keeping the shows separate creates the space for more individuals to get time on television and breakthrough with fans. Instead, WWE has focused on putting out the same, boring creative which has impacted the product in multiple ways.
Think back to the times when WWE was focused on the brand split. In 2002 the split between both shows was clearly defined. It was during that time the “SmackDown Six” emerged and helped create some of the biggest stars in the company. Edge, Kurt Angle, and Rey Mysterio are still enjoying strong runs with the company 21 years later thanks to the focus that was put on their development during that time. Eddie Guerrero became one of the company’s biggest stars before his untimely death. Putting this type of focus into the 2023 brand split could have the same effects.
The big shadow looming over everything is Roman Reigns holding the WWE Undisputed Championship. That leaves Monday Night Raw without a top title to battle for, limiting the entire men’s division. Post-draft, making it clear that the brands are split will help build up stars that could eventually face him. WWE drastically needs to create separation to build new stars and now is the time to make sure that occurs.
The WWE Draft will be an interesting series of events for WWE. Fans are paying close attention to see if this is a sign that creative will improve or if more of the same is coming. There seems to be an internal tug-of-war over the creative product and if there’s any hope of it improving, the 2023 WWE Draft will be a starting point.