For years now, WWE Raw brand house shows have consistently outdrawn their Smackdown counterparts. Even drafting over their second biggest star at the time, Randy Orton, in April 2011 and later that year allowing Smackdown performers to appear on the more highly rated flagship show Monday Night Raw did nothing to reverse that trend. Thus, WWE are now considering a major overhaul to their touring business that they feel may be the solution to this nagging problem, which will also spell the virtual end to their brand split.
The idea, which Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com broke the news of, is simple, call all house shows by the same generic name, so that it isn't so clear to fans which shows will have an inferior lineup:
"WWE is looking at ideas to eliminate their house shows being branded "Raw" and "Smackdown" tours and giving the tours official names.
The company is currently taking feedback from fans on their mailing list on the idea as well as potential titles for future house show events.
Moving away from branded tours would allow the company more freedom to split the house show lineups between the Raw and Smackdown rosters, as opposed to having everyone from one TV show on one specific loop."
The names apparently being considered for rebranding all future non-televised live WWE events where superstars from both Raw and Smackdown will appear won't set anyone's world on fire with their creativity. Indeed, every option for fans to vote on in the aforementioned survey are exceedingly dreary: "WWE The Tour", "WWE Live", "WWE Live in Action!", "WWE World Tour", "WWE Live Tour", "WWE Presents", "WWE Universe Live!" and "WWE Superstars Live!". What an inspired choice to pick from!
This is actually going back to the way things were done in the company from 1984-1995, when the company would run two or three house shows a night without the need for an arbitrary roster split. The key for it to work is that you need at least two key guys capable of drawing fans to the arenas, which they had for most of that period. Today, John Cena certainly can, but it remains to be seen whether CM Punk can do the same without his help.
If WWE does go through with this move, then it increases the odds that eventually the WWE Championship will be unified with the World Heavyweight Championship, as the need for having separate Raw and Smackdown world titles would be greatly diminished. It's not like having such title matches on house shows is a draw nowadays anyway, as fans know they won't see one of the big belts change hands on a non-televised event. People come to see the stars; the problem is that there's simply not enough of them to go round to fill two WWE shows a night.