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An Interesting Column I Found On Prowrestling.com


League Member
Aug 30, 2004
Napanee, Ontario
Here is an interestig column I found on Prowrestling.com. The column is called Gross Thoughts by Brandon Gross. In this particular column he talks about the problem with the WWE since the brand extension and for the most part I agree with his views. Anyway, below is the column, and I am just curious as to what everyone thinks of his thoughts on the WWE.


Welcome to an all-new edition of “Gross Thoughts.”

This Week: Taboo Tuesday preview, trivia, and more!

First, the “and more.”

I was asked a question this week that got me thinking…Should WWE end the brand extension? Has it been successful?

It’s a valid question I suppose…and an argument could be made for both sides, both in favor of ending it and keeping it. I will argue why it should be kept and why I feel it has been a success thus far.

First though, a very interesting statistic:

When the brand extension first took place there was a live draft on Raw between each programs respective GM’s. For Raw it was Ric Flair…for Smackdown it was Vince McMahon. Neither man is still in charge. Here is how the draft worked out:

For Raw, Ric Flair selected:

Undertaker, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Kane, RVD, Booker T, Big Show, Bubba Dudley, Brock Lesnar, William Regal, and Lita.

Let’s look at that for a moment:

Of the 11 superatars initially selected for Raw:
- Only 3 remain on the program: Kane, Regal, and Lita.
- 3 are not in WWE anymore: Nash, Hall, Lesnar
- The remaining 5 are on Smackdown

For Smackdown, Vince McMahon selected:

Rock, Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Hoga, Billy Gunn, Chuck, Edge, Rikishi, Dvon Dudley, Mark Henry, and Maven.

Of the 11 superstars selected for Smackdown:
- Only 2 remain on the program: Kurt Angle and Dvon Dudley
- 3 are not in WWE anymore: Hogan, Billy Gunn, and Rikishi
- Rock is making movies
- Mark Henry is injured and out for a year, though also on Raw when he returns.
- 4 are on Raw: Benoit, Edge, and Maven, and Chuck.

So, of the original 22 superstars drafted:

5/22 are still on the program they were originally selected for.
6/22 are no longer employed by WWE.
9/22 have switched brands.

Essentially, this means that WWE has done a pretty good job, voluntarily or not in some cases, of keeping shows with half the amount of wrestlers on them fresh. And we have seen new stars established. Since the extension we have seen the following wrestlers emerge in one way or another:

Christian (as a singles wrestler)
Randy Orton
Shelton Benjamin
Tyson Tomko

Billy Kidman
Paul London
Carlito Cool
Charlie Haas
John Cena
JBL (as a singles wrestler)
Luther Reigns
Orlando Jordan
Rene Dupree
Shannon Moore (for a little while)
Spike Dudley (as a regular force)

The bottom line is this, as I see it: The brand extension has been a success…the day to day running of WWE, creatively speaking, especially on Smackdown, has been the failure. WWE has a run the gamut of creative choices over the past two years in hopes that something would ignite ratings. They turned to shock value with angles like the HHH/Kane/Katie Vick and Billy/Chuck gay wedding. Then they went completely opposite of shock value and returned to very traditional storylines with focus on slower in ring action. There was not a lot of hardcore attitude that fans from the late 90’s were used to. Look at Wrestlemania 20---not one true gimmick match, something hardly ever seen on WWE PPV’s. Today we are sort of at a crossroads…while WWE is still focussed on slower story-driven wrestling, they are also mixing in a but of the more extreme that fans look for.

The thing is, while more realistic storytelling has its place, wrestling is also a world people go to in order to escape their everyday lives. The McMahon/Austin angle worked so well because the working man had an escape from his boss and his job…he got to see an idealized version of himself cracking his boss’ head open with a steel chair. WWE will always need edge as far as I am concerned…and that’s what their programming, especially Smackdown is currently missing. I am not saying I want Katie Vick or Billy and Chuck…but I do want something to take me out of my daily routine. That’s what makes fictional television so successful…droves of women watch soap operas because they are more exciting versions of the lives they lead…this is the same reason men watch wrestling. We can’t solve our problems in front of 25,000 screaming fans inside a 15 foot high steel cage…that’s what you do for us.

To sum this all up, do not blame the brand extension for WWE’s lack of brilliance over the past two years…in the end, it’s a smart business move for both the company and its fans. But the blame must be places somewhere…

Blame WWE fans for wanting too much too soon…maybe we didn’t need 4 TLC matches, a hardcore division, Mick Foley and Shane McMahon’s death defying falls, and more all in the span of a few years. We got spoiled. There’s only so high one can fall from before they die…and that’s not somewhere this business needs to go.

Blame WWE writers for losing their track more often than not.

Blame WWE superstars. I am not talking about guys like Jericho, Benoit, HHH, Orton, Guerrero, Angle, etc who, nine times out of ten, put on a five star match and give their all. I am talking about guys like Nathan Jones, Jim Heidenreich, Tyson Tomko, Luther Reigns, and others who have shown no technique in the ring other than having size.

Blame Vince McMahon for being so enamored by size. Who have been the best champions ever of this generation? Rock, Austin, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Flair, etc. None of these guys were enormous stature wise. There’s a difference between a heavyweight and heavy weight. Maybe we need to redefine the term “big man” in WWE. If the rest of my days were spent watching guys like Angle, Benoit, Orton, Edge, Jericho, and others fight it out for the WWE title, I would be more than satisfied. I don’t need to see a 300 pound animal who can’t wrestle himself out of a paper bag…I had that once…I called him Hulk Hogan and soon realized that the gimmick got real old, real fast. Same can be said for The Ultimate Warrior. Massive guy, poor champion.

And I am not disputing what Hogan did for the wrestling business, but I am saying that someone with his wrestling skills would not make it as far today as he did in the 80’s. Do you know what we call the Hulk Hogan’s of today’s generation? Tyson Tomko and Jim Heidenreich. Get back to me in twenty years and see if anyone remembers those two names.

WWE does a lot right…they do care about their fans and they do, for the most part, put on very impressive programming 50 weeks a year…but it can be better. Time will tell how long it takes to get there.


The first ever interactive PPV in the history of wrestling is upon us and I have to say, I am very interested to see how this show turns out. Let’s give WWE credit, they are taking a chance and doing something exciting that many fans never thought they would see…its definitely a turning point in how we view wrestling…especially if it’s successful.


1. For the World Championship:
HHH vs. Shawn Michaels OR Edge OR Chris Benoit

Fan’s Pick: HHH’s opponent

So who will we pick to face to face HHH? My gut is that Benoit is going to win the vote. What I am fairly confident of, however, is that no matter who HHH faces, he will retain the World Title. I think that either of the three opponent choices will put on a solid match and I expect Randy Orton to possibly show his face here towards the end of the match.

2. Chris Jericho vs. Any Raw Superstar

Fan’s Pick: Y2J’s opponent.

As I said last week, I think the choices come down to Shelton Benjamin, Christian, and Batista. I would love to see Shelton get the now, if only because it will prove that he is worthy of a push in the upper mid-card division. In any event, it’s Jericho, so it’s bound to be a great match. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Y2J drop the title here, depending on who he faces.

3. For the Tag Titles:
La Resistance vs. The 2 Men Not Picked to face HHH.

I think this is the easiest match of the night to call…whichever two men face La Resistance will become the new tag team champions. Whenever the tag division is struggling WWE loves to put the titles around two solid singles stars and see how far they can go. In terms of possible teams:

Benoit/Edge: They have been a team before and this would likely set up an Edge heel turn to keep Benoit busy leading to the Royal Rumble.

Benoit/HBK: An interesting combination, but I do not see any real long term shelf life for them.

HBK/Edge: This is an interesting team…sort of like when Edge won the titles with Hogan a few years ago. I think this duo has some potential that hasn’t been explored yet.

Like I said, one of these teams will leave Taboo Tuesday as the new tag-team champions.

4. Weapon Match
Kane vs. Gene Snitsky

Fans Pick the Weapon: Steel chair OR Metal pole OR Chain

This is going to be a very physical match that will see Lita help Kane win. I think we are about to see a face turn for Kane and an actual relationship for him and Lita. Has some good possibilities. I will be interested in seeing Snitsky’s ring work.

5. Randy Orton vs. Ric Flair
Fans pick the type of match: Steel Cage OR Submission OR Falls Count Anywhere

Fans will immediately drawn to the steel cage option here…but I must admit, if I had my choice, this would be a submission match. With the way Flair has been talking recently, I expect him to go all out in this match and really try to recapture lightening in a bottle. Orton will help that along with his terrific ring skills. A submission match will force us to see a different side of Orton…against Flair’s classic figure 4 leg lock. I think ultimately this match will go to Orton and he will establish himself as a true legend killer.

6. Fantasy Battle Royal with the WWE Diva’s: For the Women’s Title

Fans Pick the Diva’s outfits: French Maid OR Schoolgirl OR Nurse

Participants: Trish, Jazz, Victoria, Molly, Gail, Stacey, and Nidia.

I expect to see a title change here because Trish has held the belt for a very long time now. She needs a legit feud. I am going to go out on a limb here and predict the next WWE Women’s champion will be Nidia.

7. Eugene vs. Eric Bischoff
Fan’s Choice: Loser either Shaves head, Wears a dress, or becomes the winners servant.

Eugene wins, Bischoff shaves his head. Vince laughs his ass off. Case closed.

8. Christy vs. Carmella
Fan’s Vote Type of Match: Evening Gown OR Lingerie Pillow Fight OR Aerobics Challenge

Evening gown match. Christy wins. Case closed.

So there’s the card. It’s hard to truly analyze things when the matches won’t be set until they actually take place. Here are my quick picks, along with how I predict voting to unfold:

HHH defeats Chris Benoit for the WWE Title
Shelton Benjamin defeats HHH for the IC Title
Edge/HBK defeat La Resistance for the Tag Titles
Nidia defeats all other Divas in the Battle Royal
Kane defeats Gene Snitsky with a chain as the legal weapon.
Eugene defeats Eric Bischoff and shaves his head.
Christy defeats Carmella in an Evening Gown Match

I picked mostly faces here…so we’ll see how that goes…all in all, this is a PPV I would recommend buying.

Last, but not least…this weeks Trivia.

First off, here are last weeks answers:

1. What was the first main event on RAW featuring two WCW superstars after Vince purchased WCW?


2. Name all of Jeff Jarrett’s managers in WWE:

The Roadie, Tennessee Lee, Debra, Miss Kitty, and Jim Cornette

3. At the 1992 Royal Rumble, who asked the Ultimate Warrior for a World Title shot? What was his answers?

Sensational Sherri on behalf of Randy Savage. Warrior said “No.”

4. What 2 foreign objects were used against the Ultimate Warrior in his title match versus Sgt. Slaughter at the 92 Royal Rumble?

A light pole and a scepter…both used by Randy Savage.

This Weeks Winners: NO ONE! Not one person got every answer 100% correct. I was a little shocked. Better luck this week.


1. What WWE wrestler coined the term “sweathog?”

2. Two former baseball players have taken part in Wrestlemania festivities. Who are they?

3. What was Power and Glory’s finishing move?

Send all answers to this weeks trivia, along with all comments, questions, etc to GrossThoughts@yahoo.com.

Until next time…this has been this time.

-Brandon Gross



League Member
Jan 1, 2000
Fayetteville US

Matt, when I first heard of the "Raw and Smackdown Brands" I honestly thought it would be good for a laugh and then we see alot of really great tag teams spilt up at first like the Dudley Boyz for one, but while on Raw-Bubba Ray was one hell of a singles wrestler, even winning the hardcore title. But someone must have pissed in someone's wheaties and thus, the Dudleys were back together again on Raw but soon they were on Smackdown with the "Boss" Spike Dudley-who ever decided that the "runt" needed to be the brains of that outfit needs to go and track down Joel "Harder than college math" Gertner since he was the real brains behind the Dudleys in ECW along with Sign Guy Dudley.

But then again, I would degress...until I saw what they did to Nova and Stevie Richards!! Now, I feel like my friend Erik Zieba when I watch Raw or Smackdown I feel like I should go to the local liqueror store and get me something for a drinking game you know?

And my friends were wondering why I was spending so much money on NWA-TNA PPV's? Oi-Vey!

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