The WWE brand split gave creative minds an opportunity to help individual talents step up to the plate and forge meaningful rivalries unique to each brand.
At times, they’ve thrown dirt at the wall and found that it didn’t stick, and occasionally they have caught something incredibly promising. With both, creative has occasionally abandoned programs altogether, and fans never heard of them again. Let’s take a look at some of those feuds that, for whatever reason, were never capitalized on, and whether or not the WWE was mistaken in its neglect.
The Usos vs American Alpha
One of the best turnarounds we’ve seen on the roster has been the Usos. When SmackDown’s tag team division was in its infancy, there was the very real concern that the roster was thin in terms of its quality. One of the biggest issues came in the form of Jimmy and Jay Uso.
Regarded as a pair of stale, outdated cartoon characters from the bygone PG Era who were still trotting out endless superkicks years into their career, the Samoan brothers delighted and surprised everyone when they made a fantastic heel turn against the debuting, skyrocketing American Alpha. Back in September, American Alpha’s dreams of becoming the first SmackDown Tag Team Champions were derailed when the Usos unleashed a savage attack on them, injuring Chad Gable’s knee in the process.
It was assumed, after Rhyno and Heath Slater picked up the inaugural accolades, that American Alpha would pick up the moment where they left off the moment that Gable was back in fighting condition, and have a decent run of grudge-fueled PPV matches. For whatever reason, that just didn’t happen, and American Alpha has sadly been left to put on less-than-important matches while the Usos do their own thing.
A real shame, as this could have been an important step towards creating storylines in the division that weren’t centered around the Tag Team Championships, and towards giving something worthwhile to a reinvigorated pair of veterans and some upstart rookies.
Dana Brooke vs Charlotte
Over a month ago now, Charlotte’s “protegee” Dana Brooke, tiring of the dog’s abuse she was getting from her mentor, completely snapped and struck her across the face, entering into a qualifying match for the Women’s Championship in the process.
When she failed to win the match and get her opportunity, she was seen grovelling to Charlotte backstage and begging to be taken back. This had followed weeks of Dana Brooke ineptly attempting to give Charlotte the assist, invariably costing her many matches. Now, the fact that this has yet to materialize into an explosive revenge feud with a newly face-turned Dana Brooke wouldn’t be so bad if she was still seen to be under Charlotte’s thumb.
But seemingly, the WWE has even abandoned that narrative, instead keeping Brooke and Charlotte far away from each other, with the former only sauntering into view to give a beatdown to Bayley at the Women’s Champion’s behest. Charlotte is one of the strongest heels in WWE right now, and the only way Dana Brooke was going to get any sympathy, and some chops as a performer, was to have her turn on her abusive mentor.
For whatever reason, WWE has completely abandoned every thread of that narrative.
Darren Young vs Titus O’Neil
This is a feud that nobody was particularly sad to see fade, but you would think that WWE would at least have had the decency to wrap it up properly.
Instead, the last time we saw these two face off against each other (and, indeed, the last time we even saw Darren Young) was when the pair teamed up to reunite the Prime Time Players, only for Titus to beat the life out of Young and his mentor, Bob Backlund, at the end of it. While Titus O’Neil continues to languish in poorly booked feuds, it is Darren Young who suffered from this feud ending.
After all the pomp and hype of his repackaging, and all the talk of making him great again, he has been totally relegated, and the least WWE could have done would have been to end that feud with a firm win for Darren Young so that he could go on to greater things. Instead, he has been unseen for months, with that embarrassing beatdown from his former tag team partner hanging over him.