10 Lessons WWE Can Learn From The First Brand Extension
9. No More Branded Pay Per Views
When WWE announced Raw-only and Smackdown-only Pay Per Views, it sounded like a good idea at the time. It put greater importance on the "Big Four" (Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, Summerslam, and Survivor Series), and it would give the full rosters the chance to shine on Pay Per View. And for a while, it worked. Some of the best Pay Per Views of all time were brand-only Pay Per Views, such as Unforgiven 2006, No Way Out 2004, and Vengeance 2003.
Unfortunately, as time went on, it became obvious that Smackdown's Pay Per Views were lacking, and the "B" Pay Per Views were really exposed as being just that, and buyrates were incredibly low. With the show raided of its top talent to feed Raw (more on that later), their Pay Per Views were incredibly top-heavy. And toward the end of the brand-only Pay Per Views, Smackdown had to rely on Raw talent for their main events at Armageddon 2006 and No Way Out 2007. By the time the next "B" Pay Per View took place (Backlash 2007), all three brands (including ECW) were represented.
This time around, every Pay Per View should include both brands, even though buyrates don't mean as much these days due to the WWE Network. Pay Per Views also have relied on gimmicks, so it makes no sense for a "B" show like Money in the Bank to be relegated to a single brand. In fact, all of the brand-only Pay Per Views (No Way Out, Backlash, Judgment Day, Vengeance, Great American Bash, Unforgiven, No Mercy, and Armageddon) aren't even around anymore.
Perhaps WWE could have only one or two brand-only Pay Per Views per year. Shows like Fastlane, Payback, and Battleground do not have any gimmicks attached to them, and could potentially be brand-only. However, that should be on a very limited basis.