The 2016 Brand Split was a watershed moment for WWE, a chance to blow the company’s increasingly stale roster open and nurture new champions, new storylines, and new rivalries. While there were some teething problems at first, the split has once again created two wrestling shows worth watching, rescuing SmackDown! from its five year slump as a WWE’s resident B-show.
Still, each roster has its own unique perks and pitfalls, and both are guilty of misusing or under-utilising certain subsets of their talent pools. RAW's stagnant mid-card is still a fairly lifeless and directionless place, a land where gimmicks go to die, momentum fizzles out, and title belts are all but forgotten about. Smackdown LIVE isn't exactly without fault either; Shane O'Mac's tag team division is barren, while his mid-card and main event scenes are in dire need of some big name talent.
While it’s fair to say that the majority of superstars are now better off than they were pre-Draft, this isn't the case for everyone. With another Draft likely to be on the cards come summer time, certain names should be looking to jump ship, before they begin to sink...
Emma’s re-debut as Emmalina is already one of 2017's most baffling wrestling-related moments. Hyped for months in advance, and often missing her scheduled appearance due to lingering injuries, Emma was to be repackaged as a ‘throwback’ to glamorous characters like Sable and The Kat. It really doesn’t need explaining that this is a woeful misuse of Emma’s talents, who has the potential to be one of the company’s top heels. Ultimately, the 'Emmalina' gimmick was dead on arrival, as Emma all but announced she would be returning to her previous character.
Having already been repackaged once (from fun-loving party-person to sneering, aviator-wearing jerk), Emma doesn’t need a new character or gimmick, she needs feuds, stories, and a creative team that can really get behind her.
SmackDown LIVE’s team has shown that they’re committed to experimenting with the blue brand’s women’s division, and Emma would benefit immensely from a push to the top, facing off against talents like Mickie James and Becky Lynch. She could even see herself traded alongside Dana Brooke, a similarly directionless character whose NXT pairing with Emma still ranks as the highlight of her WWE career.