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ET CETERA - Jay makes the brand extension work. No word of a lie.
by Jay Spree on 2002-08-04

Before we start proper, I’d like to take a moment to address the state of this column. I know I’ve always treated it pretty badly in terms of both its quality and how often it’s updated, and to be honest, that isn’t too likely to change in the near future.

The problem is this: I don’t usually get home until about 7pm. After settling down and cooking and eating and all that other shit, it’s 8pm. 8pm and I still haven’t really stopped since leaving for work at 7am. So I need a little (but preferably a lot of) time to just kick back and relax. At some stage I have to find the time to watch four hours of wrestling, and at least that much time taking care of business online. Then I’ve got to write a DVD column, and a wrestling column. It may not look like much when you sit down and read the finished product, but I actually try to put a bit of effort into these damn things (especially the DVD columns, which have to be done in HTML, necessitating either the horrible, horrible task of writing individual tags or spending ages arsing about with GoLive). And that’s just the actual column body part – the “Code Blue” afterthoughts that are supposed to be my trademark just take SOOOOOOOO long to read up on and then write, and to be honest, I just can’t find the time.

And that’s before I even have a social life. Being as I want to spend some, you know, TIME with my girlfriend, I can’t even remember the last time I went round to a mate’s or down to the pub. I spend all weekend from Friday evening through Sunday afternoon with the missus, which is simultaneously more time than I spend with anyone else and yet not anything like as much time as I’d like to spend with her.

So, you can see my dilemma (or at least, I hope you can, you heartless pricks).

It’s okay when I’m at Uni – shit, I’ve got plenty of time to do just about anything there. Well, it WILL be my final year starting in October, so I guess the workload might intensify somewhat. And as for the postgrad course the year after that…
Anyway, for the next couple of months at least, this may very well turn into a bi-weekly thing. My long-time readership (if I can be so pretentious as to claim to have such a thing) will be wary enough to know that we sometimes go for a fair while without an update, but I just want there to be an “official word” on the matter. Yes, I’m a lazy bastard when it comes to just about everything else, but not this. I try like hell to find time to do all these things, I really do. But when you’re the flyin’, skyin’ dude that I am… well, you get the idea. Come October, none of this should be an issue. But right now, everyone’s gonna have to bear with me a little bit on this.

Rant over. Content time!


What’s the primary reason the split/brand extension/clusterfuck doesn’t work? Nobody gives a crap about it. It’s just a complete anti-event. “Providing new opportunities for fresher rivalries and new stars!” Gee, couldn’t that just have been done with one roster?

That’s what bugs me so fucking much about this pseduo-Monday Night Wars bullshit. Ooh, Bischoff might steal some talent away from Stephanie! HOLY SHIT, TEAM CANADA AND CHRIS JERICHO ARE ON RAW? Well gee fucking whizz Mr McMahon, what so special about that? It’s not like I haven’t seen these guys all over RAW a million times already before now. Why the hell am I supposed to care about them “invading”?

Brock Lesnar invades Smack!Down. Big fucking deal – I’ve just been watching him on RAW. What difference does it make that now I can only see him on a Thursday as opposed to a Monday? RAW, Smack!Down – THEY’RE BOTH WWE SHOWS. Y’see, they’re trying to convince us that these guys “jumping ship” actually means something akin to seeing Scott Hall on Nitro or Chris Jericho on RAW (I mean the FIRST time, obviously). Or even that it should generate a response as apathetic as Haku in the Royal Rumble (ha!). But it’s so obviously phoney, and everyone sees right through it. It isn’t SHOCK, because it isn’t real. If Wesley Snipes shows up on Angel, THAT’S a shock. If Buffy does it… shit, that’s not quite the same. Interpromotional jumps are only fun when there are, you know, MORE THAN ONE PROMOTION. Even the phrase “jumping ship”. Well, if there’s only ONE ship, and everyone jumps it, what happens? EVERYONE DIES. Oh look, that’s exactly what’s happening. You see, it’s no fun watching WWE stars invading the WWE. It was fun when WCW and ECW guys did it – THAT was shock, THAT was surprise. Shit, if Brock Lesnar was a WCW guy, and he suddenly showed up on S!D destroying everybody, I’d be pretty blown away. But guys “invading” the same company? That’s just lame, crap, phoney bullshit, and you can’t get people to care about it in a million years.

Or can you?

Maybe. The problem is, The Fed is attacking this all wrong. They’re trying (albeit, VERY half-assedly and unconvincingly) to convince us that the two separate “Brands” are two separate, bona fide promotions (if they just went the whole hog and started calling RAW Nitro, they’d at least have a chance, although the chances of them doing that (and even running S!D opposite it on UPN on Mondays) are supremely unlikely).

But, when everyone KNOWS that’s a hollow crock, and both shows are on TV, and everyone watches and is a fan of both shows, and nobody truly gives a crap because they have no loyalty to one show over the other, it’s kind of hard to generate either the “holy shit” or the “those assholes took one of our guys” factor. So come on Jay, how do we solve this?


Here’s the problem. The fans at home don’t care because they’re just watching both shows anyway. The fans who attend the live shows don’t care because the WWF tours the country indiscriminately and it’s just a matter of pure chance who you’ll actually end up seeing on the night. So how do you generate interest? Simple – split the roster, and split it properly. If you’re gonna insist on doing it, DO IT. Don’t fuck about – split the roster right down the middle and run one show on the east coast and one show on the west coast. RAW runs shows and gets TV on the east coast, Smack!Down gets the shows and TV on the west. THERE YOU FUCKING GO. Instant fan interest. Keep fucking about like this and even more fans are just going to stop bothering to watch. There’s no incentive to care about this “split”, so they don’t. So either do away with it, or do it properly. But carrying on with this half-assing is just gonna hurt even more.

PPVs can feature both rosters, and you can save the “inter-promotional” matches for the big five events each year. Hell, bragging rights over which roster won the King of The Ring and the Rumble would get shitloads of heat. Fuck all the current belts – each group gets a TV title (or one gets the European, one gets the IC), and whoever wins the world and tag titles gets to take them back to their shows. Each group gets two two-hour shows a week, which is more than enough TV time to cram in all the bullshit skits, all the ten-minute matches and all the “new stars and fresh rivalries” you want. Better TV = ratings go up. Each coast doesn’t get to see the other half of the roster twice a week, so they buy the PPVs = buyrates go up. Fans get the illusion of supporting their “local” promotion with a better product = house show attendance goes up. And then, whenever you want someone to “jump ship”, the setup is more believable = heat and interest goes up.

Hey, I may not be a billionaire, but shit, Vince isn’t any more either. Maybe if he takes his head out of his ass long enough to listen to someone else for a change, he might be again one day.


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