SmackDown reminded us of how pointless the brand split is

Apr 2, 2023; Inglewood, CA, USA; Cody Rhodes during Wrestlemania Night 2 at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 2, 2023; Inglewood, CA, USA; Cody Rhodes during Wrestlemania Night 2 at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports /

At this point, fans should expect WWE’s adherence to the brand split to end with the company relenting once it needs some star power for a particular show. It’s like going into a University of Maryland football season and expecting them to win more than 7-8 games; ultimately, you know how things will go. For WWE, this becomes especially apparent when SmackDown star Roman Reigns takes his semi-regular sabbaticals.

With Reigns not on TV, it forces WWE to find other ways to add some big names to shows like SmackDown, and that often means ignoring their self-imposed rules.

We saw another instance of this on Friday’s episode.

Why did Cody Rhodes and Becky Lynch show up on SmackDown?

To be fair, the appearances of Becky Lynch and Cody Rhodes gave the show a needed boost. The Evansville, Ind. crowd erupted when Rhodes helped LA Knight fend off The Bloodline (Rhodes also gained a measure of revenge on Jimmy Uso for Jimmy costing him and Jey Uso the Undisputed Tag Team Championship). They did the same when Becky Lynch joined Bianca Belair, Charlotte Flair, and Shotzi to brawl with Damage CTRL.

In both cases, the fans likely didn’t care that Rhodes and Lynch weren’t part of the SmackDown roster. Still, it makes the storyline handwringing over splitting up Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn by trading Owens to SmackDown and the burgeoning rivalry between Nick Aldis and Adam Pearce.

Of course, neither of those stories is nearly as important as teasing more issues between Rhodes and the Bloodline nor the women’s WarGames match, so it makes you wonder why WWE even bothers dividing the rosters in half if the promotion prefers using its full allotment of stars when it needs to.

That’s not to say that roster splits are inherently ineffective. If done well, they can help a promotion create new stars and help build anticipation for dream matches by keeping those stars separated on different shows.

But as mentioned before, that requires a level of patience that WWE rarely exhibits, and Friday’s SmackDown showed that even this new creative regime is willing to abandon the concept at the first sign of inconvenience.

It’s an inconvenience that WWE doesn’t need to consign itself to, though. It knows that any show that has Cody Rhodes and Becky Lynch on it is better than one that doesn’t, so it should set up more shows to feature them and other stars more regularly.

Next. WarGames and Four Other Major Matches for Randy Orton. dark

Otherwise, it will need to find better ways to explain why these wrestlers jump from show to show.