WWE Brand Extension

era of professional wrestling

The World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment (WWF/E) Brand Extension was a draft first used in 2002 by WWE with the purpose of dividing WWE Superstars into two brands, RAW and SmackDown!. In 2006 ECW was added to the draft.[1][2]

History change

RAW and SmackDown! change

Background change

After buying World Championship Wrestling (WCW), its business opponent through the 1990s, in March 2001, the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) wanted to find a way to split itself into two separate brands, because of the numbers of Superstars that it had gotten as part of WCW's purchase.[1] On March 18, 2002, Linda McMahon announced the "brand extension" in which the company would be split into two distinct brands.[1]

In terms of storyline, Ric Flair had become co-owner of the WWF following Survivor Series 2001 where Shane and Stephanie McMahon sold their stocks to Flair in order to buy WCW and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW).[3] Vince McMahon did not like having to share his creation with Flair and looked for a way to stop their partnership.[4] After entering a feud with The Undertaker, Flair sought a match with him at WrestleMania X8.[4] However, the WWF Board of Directors would only allow the match if Flair were to give all control of the WWF to McMahon.[4][5] Flair agreed, however, the Board also reserved the right to review the ownership status of the WWF following WrestleMania.[4][5] Their decision was to split the entire WWF roster into two separate brands, with Vince McMahon in control of the SmackDown! brand and Ric Flair in control of the RAW brand.[6][7] A draft was started the following week on RAW. Each owner would get a total of thirty picks.[8] The brand extension officially began on April 1, 2002.[1] By having two brands in place, the WWF was able to increase the number of live events held each year from 200 to 350.[1]

Superstar selections change

The 2002 World Wrestling Federation (WWF) Brand Extension Draft took place at Penn State University in State College, Pennsylvania on March 25, 2002.[9][10] The first half of the draft was televised live on TNN for two hours, on WWE's flagship program, Raw.[9] The second half, or the supplemental draft, was conducted over the internet on WWF's official website, WWF.com.[11] There were thirty draft picks, with sixty superstars drafted overall by co-owners of the WWF, Ric Flair and Vince McMahon, onto their respective brands, RAW and SmackDown!.[12] For the televised half of the draft, ten brand selections were manually made by Flair and McMahon.[9][10][12] The supplemental draft was however conducted as a draft lottery, with each brand receiving twenty random draft selections.[13]

On the March 18, 2002 episode of RAW, Vince McMahon won a coin toss to determine who would receive the first draft selection.

Pick #
Brand (To)
Brand Pick #
1 SmackDown! 1 The Rock
2 RAW 1 The Undertaker
3 SmackDown! 2 Kurt Angle
4 RAW 2 n.W.o (Kevin Nash, Scott Hall & X-Pac)
5 SmackDown! 3 Drafted while recovering from neck surgery. Benoit made his WWE return on the Raw brand instead.
6 RAW 3 Kane
7 SmackDown! 4 "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan
8 RAW 4 Rob Van Dam When drafted, Van Dam was the then-WWF Intercontinental Champion, which made the Intercontinental Championship RAW exclusive.[9][12]
9 SmackDown! 5
10 RAW 5 Booker T
11 SmackDown! 6 Edge
12 RAW 6 The Big Show
13 SmackDown! 7 Rikishi
14 RAW 7 Bubba Ray Dudley
15 SmackDown! 8 D-Von Dudley
16 RAW 8 Brock Lesnar
17 SmackDown! 9 Mark Henry
18 RAW 9 William Regal When drafted, Regal was the then-WWF European Champion, which made the European Championship RAW exclusive.[9][12]
19 SmackDown! 10 Maven When drafted, Maven was the then-WWF Hardcore Champion, which made the Hardcore Championship SmackDown! exclusive.[9][12]
20 RAW 10 Lita
21 SmackDown! 11
22 RAW 11 Bradshaw
23 SmackDown! 12 Tajiri
24 RAW 12
25 SmackDown! 13 Chris Jericho
26 RAW 13 Matt Hardy
27 SmackDown! 14 Ivory
28 RAW 14 Raven
29 SmackDown! 15 Albert
30 RAW 15 Jeff Hardy
31 SmackDown! 16 The Hurricane
32 RAW 16 Mr.Perfect
33 SmackDown! 17 Al Snow
34 RAW 17 Spike Dudley
35 SmackDown! 18 Lance Storm
36 RAW 18
37 SmackDown! 19 Diamond Dallas Page
38 RAW 19 Big show
39 SmackDown! 20 Torrie Wilson
40 RAW 20 Rhyno
41 SmackDown! 21 Scotty 2 Hotty
42 RAW 21
43 SmackDown! 22 Stacy Keibler
44 RAW 22 Goldust
45 SmackDown! 23 Christian
46 RAW 23 Trish Stratus
47 SmackDown! 24 Test
48 RAW 24
49 SmackDown! 25 Faarooq
50 RAW 25 Big Bossman
51 SmackDown! 26 Tazz
52 RAW 26 Tommy Dreamer
53 SmackDown! 27 Hardcore Holly
54 RAW 27 Crash Holly
55 SmackDown! 28 Val Venis
56 RAW 28
57 SmackDown! 29 Perry Saturn


  • Picks #1-20 were made on live television on TNN
  • Picks #21 -58 were conducted over WWF.com.

Aftermath change

On the June 10, 2002 edition of Raw, McMahon became the only owner of World Wrestling Entertainment when he defeated Flair in a No Holds Barred match.[14]

ECW change

Background change

After World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) bought all of Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) in 2003, the company began releasing DVDs showing the original ECW.[15] Soon afterwards, the company promoted two ECW reunion shows for ECW Alumni entitled, ECW One Night Stand in 2005 and in 2006.[15]

On May 26, 2006, WWE announced a new brand, ECW, a revival of the 1990s show.[2] The new brand debuted on its current network, the SCI FI Channel on June 13 2006.[2]

Superstar selections change

The 2006 World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Brand Extension Draft took place from the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington on May 29, 2006, where ECW representative, Paul Heyman, drafted two superstars, one from SmackDown! and one from RAW onto the new ECW brand.[16][17]

Pick # Brand (To) Ring Names Brand (From)
1 ECW Kurt Angle Raw
2 ECW Randy Orton Smackdown

Aftermath change

In late 2007, SmackDown! and ECW superstars began to appear on both shows as part of a (kayfabe) deal between ECW General Manager Armando Estrada and SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero.[19]

Impact change

Interbrand competition change

Interbrand competition was kept at a minimum, with superstars from all brands competing together only at pay-per-view events. However, in 2003, all pay per view events became brand exclusive, leaving the "big four" pay-per-views (WrestleMania, SummerSlam, Survivor Series, and the Royal Rumble) as the only interbrand shows.[20]

Starting in late 2006, in an attempt to add more star power to the shows, interbrand matches became more common. Most notably, MNM and The Hardys reformed, despite the fact that the teammates were on separate brands.[21] Bobby Lashley is also notable for his interbrand action, who was involved in a storyline with the WWE Chairman, Vince McMahon.[22][23] The return of Saturday Night's Main Event to NBC has also lead to more interaction between the brands.[24]

Pay-per-views change

The separation of the WWE roster between two brands also intended to split the pay-per-view offerings, which began with Bad Blood in June 2003.[25] The original idea had the "major" pay-per-view events at the time (Royal Rumble, SummerSlam, Survivor Series, and WrestleMania) would contain the only instances where wrestlers from different brands would interact with each other, and even among the four shows only the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania would have wrestlers from different brands competing against each other. Wrestlers, as a result, appeared only in 2/3 of the shows. Eventually, WWE abandoned the practice of single-brand pay-per-view events following WrestleMania 23.[26] December to Dismember and New Year's Revolution were cancelled following the announcement.

Championships change

Initially, the WWE Undisputed Championship and WWE Women's Championship were available to both brands.[9][10][13] The other championships were exclusive to the brand the champion was a part of.[9][10][13] With several specialty championships being exclusive to one brand, numerous wrestlers were left with no title to fight for.

This issue was solved in September 2002 when the Undisputed Championship became the WWE Championship again and was moved to SmackDown! while Eric Bischoff created the World Heavyweight Championship for RAW.[27] Shortly thereafter, SmackDown! created their own

Raw created WWE Raw Tag Team Championship, revived the United States Championship, and became the exclusive home of the Cruiserweight Championship.[28][29][30] Meanwhile, Smackdown became the exclusive brand for WWE's original WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship, the Intercontinental Championship, and the Women's Championship.[28][29] The end result was each brand having four championships. When ECW was revived in 2006, the ECW Championship was re-established and is that brand's world title.[31]

Related pages change

References change

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "WWE Entertainment To Make RAW and SMACKDOWN Distinct Television Brands". Archived from the original on 2014-10-17. Retrieved 2008-06-05.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "WWE Launches ECW As Third Brand". Archived from the original on 2009-02-22. Retrieved 2008-06-05.
  3. Zimmerman, Christopher Robin. "WWF Raw (November 19, 2002) Results". The Other Arena. Archived from the original on 2008-03-15. Retrieved 2008-02-22.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Zimmerman, Christopher Robin. "WWF Raw Results (March 11, 2002)". The Other Arena. Archived from the original on 2008-03-15. Retrieved 2008-02-22.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "WWF Raw (March 11, 2002) Results". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
  6. Michael McAvennie (2003). "WWE The Yearbook: 2003 Edition". Pocket Books. pp. 99 & 100.
  7. "WWF Raw (March 18, 2002) Results". The Other Arena. Archived from the original on 2008-03-15. Retrieved 2008-02-22.
  8. Michael McAvennie (2003). "WWE The Yearbook: 2003 Edition". Pocket Books. p. 102.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 Zimmerman, Christopher Robin (2002-03-26). "WWF Draft 2002 Recap". Archived from the original on 2012-07-23. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 "WWF Raw (March 2, 2001) Results". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
  11. "WWF Raw (March 25, 2001) Recap". WrestleView. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 "WWF 2002 Draft Results". PWWEW.net. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 "WWF Raw (March 25, 2001) Results". PWWEW.net. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
  14. "WWE Raw (June 10, 2002) Results". Archived from the original on 2008-03-15. Retrieved 2008-02-22.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Cohen, Eric. "Top Ten Moments of WWE in 2005". About: Pro Wrestling. Archived from the original on 2008-03-16. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
  16. Williams III, Ed (2006-05-29). "Heyman gets Draft picks". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Williams III, Ed (2006-05-29). "Will Triple H join the Mr.McMahon Kiss my Ass club". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
  18. "WWE Raw (May 29, 2006) Results". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
  19. Dee, Louie (2007-10-18). "Even Exchange?". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
  20. "WWE Pay-Per-Views to follow WrestleMania formula". World Wrestling Entertainment Corporate. Archived from the original on 2007-03-19. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
  21. Dee, Louie (2006-11-27). "R-K-Anarchy". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
  22. Tell, Craig (2007-04-03). "Fatal Fallout". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
  23. Hunt, Jen (2007-02-27). "Superstar's React to Trump's choice". World Wrestling Entertainment. Archived from the original on 2008-03-21. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
  24. "WWE Returns to NBC with Saturday Night's Main Event". World Wrestling Entertainment Corporate. 2006-02-22. Archived from the original on 2006-03-20. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
  25. Powell, John. "Bad Blood Just Plain Bad". Canoe: SLAM! Wrestling. Archived from the original on 2012-06-30. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
  26. "WWE Pay-Per-Views To Follow WrestleMania Formula". Archived from the original on 2007-03-19. Retrieved 2008-06-05.
  27. "Triple H's first World Heavyweight Championship reign". World Wrestling Entertainment. Archived from the original on 2008-02-21. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
  28. 28.0 28.1 "WWE Tag Team Championship History". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
  29. 29.0 29.1 "WWE United States' Championship History". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
  30. "WWE Cruiserweight Championship History". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
  31. "Rob Van Dam's first ECW Championship reign". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2008-02-23.