Earlier this year, new WWE Executive Director for SmackDown Live Eric Bischoff, spoke to the people of Glasgow, Scotland for a special Inside The Ropes talking event.
At the event, seen in the video below, Eric spoke in length about what he would do in regards to the brand extension/split:
“First of all, this is the third attempt at a major promotion brand extension. The first one was mine, it was kind of short-lived and it really wasn’t a pretty sight. WCW Thunder The whole idea was to create a show for the nWo, which is why we grew nWo as much as we did, and as quickly as we did because we knew we couldn’t keep all of the talents on one show without diluting the product itself. So, the idea was to build up the nWo, so that nWo or WCW would have Nitro, then the other would be on Thursday. That was the whole reason, which is why we did the nWo pay-per-view, which was called Souled Out”.
“And that was my attempt. The second attempt was WWE’s attempt, which I was a part of. My attempt failed for a number of reasons, I think WWE’s attempt… while it’s hard to classify it as a failure, it certainly didn’t reach their expectations or anybody else’s, and I was a part of that but I was kind of a bystander, I was a talent, I didn’t have anything to do with it internally. But I think after going through my own experience and having been a part of WWE’s experience, the advice that I have would be to be as disciplined as you can possibly be at keeping the brands distinct.
If you don’t make them feel completely different, it won’t work. And part of that is creating stakes, part of that is, it’s got to feel real, it’s got to be believable or nobody’s going to buy into it. But don’t let the talent start transitioning back and forth because you dilute the concept. They won’t feel like two brands, they’ll just feel like two different shows, which is what they already feel like.”
Eric then went on to predict that this current WWE brand split wouldn’t last any more than six months:
“Because WWE does such a great job producing a phenomenal show, it doesn’t feel… it’s almost too perfect, there’s no grit. It needs to feel a little gritty, at least one of them. They both don’t have to feel gritty but one of them has to feel a little edgy, a little dangerous like something’s going to happen that you wouldn’t expect on one show, because it’s a little less sophisticated. That’s the magic and if they both start feeling very well produced, almost glossy in their presentation, and the talent is jumping back and forth, I won’t give it six months. You won’t hear the term brand extension six months from now. It’ll suffer the same fate that it suffered the last time they tried it because that’s what happened the last time they tried it.”
Blake’s Take: This is very interesting. It seems he already had his ideas of how to differentiate the brands before his appointment was made public. Which beggars the question….how long ago were Eric And Paul contacted about the job? He brings up some valid points in his Glasgow talk. You can’t have two very samey-slick shows that share the same stage, branding, etc. One NEEDS to be different. I have high hopes that once SmackDown moves to FOX this fall, it will be the kick up the ass it needs. And as Bischoff has experience working with TV execs (WCW and TNA), he could be the right man for the job.