Jun 10, 2016

The Latest: Cody Rhodes, Tommy End, WWE Brand Split & More

After a hiatus, I'm back in front of the computer. Moving, spending too much money, and getting my car back after a parking incident have really set me back over the past few weeks. But the past is in the past, so let's talk some wrestling!

The past few weeks have been pretty interesting in the world of wrestling, WWE and beyond. Cody Rhodes asked for his release, Tommy End got signed, a brand split is looming, and all sorts of news. So here we go.

First up, the release of Cody Rhodes took many off guard when it happened. Cody will be using the Rhodes name, as it seems WWE is not going to fight him on it. After posting an interesting picture to Twitter illustrating his independent goals in wrestling, Rhodes hit the ground running. He's already booked to wrestle at the PWG Battle of Los Angeles with many more announcements on the way. Not to bring the Wrestling Observer into this, but I'm going to have to disagree with Alvarez and Meltzer on this one. I really believe that Cody is going to adapt to the "Indy" style well. The dude can go and will certainly be able to speed up his work. When I saw him do that moonsault off of the cage on an episode of Raw right before he became Stardust, I thought, "Wow, this dude has truly arrived." He was over for life in my book. The Stardust character allowed him to prove that he could take a strange gimmick and run with it. He made it entertaining and got over. For whatever reason, WWE apparently didn't see him as a top tier talent and made it clear that he would not be returning to the Cody Rhodes persona. This is what led him to asking for his release. Cody is betting on himself and as a fan, I'm ready to enjoy the indy ride that he's about to embark on.

Some awesome recent news comes in the form of Tommy End apparently heading to NXT. Last I heard he was getting his physical and  completing the preliminary hiring process. End is an insanely interesting character, assuming he'll keep many of the characteristics of his gimmick upon debuting in NXT. Long story short, the dude won't disappoint. Awesome signing for NXT as it's been rumored that the roster will soon be raided to fill up the rosters for WWE's upcoming brand split.

So let's talk about this brand split for a moment. Some things that worry me:

One, two world titles. I thought we were done with this. Cena and Orton unified these things, so why are we taking a step backwards? The schedule would be tough, but why not have the champion take on all comers? Have him go back and forth from feuds on both shows. I'm not saying do two feuds at once or anything, but why not have a traveling champion that appears on both Raw and Smackdown? It would be cool dynamic and throwback to the territories days.

Two, the tag-team division. Please, for the love of God, do not create another set of tag belts. The tag division has made huge strides over the past year or two and another set of championships would effectively nullify all of that progress. Keep it simple and schedule teams in a smart manner.

Three, don't screw over the women. Don't make another belt. Just don't. Feature the women's division on both shows. They could use some more television time and this is the opportunity to give it to them. This is the time to have a main angle and an opening for some sub-angles. The more women that get to work, the better.

I could get into the Intercontinental and United States Championships, but WWE has done so much to damage those belts over the past 15 years that I wonder if it's even worth it. We'll hit that topic after more details come to light.

The big question I have is this: What happens if Smackdown starts to beat Raw in the ratings? Does Vince become angry that the flagship show is getting beat? History cannot repeat itself from the past brand split. Hopefully mistakes will not be repeated, but boy is this going to be interesting to watch play out.

NXT will have to adjust. Many top performers of the brand will surely be moving up to fill the huge opening of spots for the two rosters. You know what that means? Watch out, independents because your talent pool is about to get much smaller. Don't be surprised if guys with expiring Ring of Honor contracts make the jump over the next half year.

2016 continues to get more and more interesting. The Cruiserweight Classic is coming up, along with PWG BOLA, NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, and Summerslam. Strap in people, it's getting real.

Brady Sauvageau
-The Heater