The WWE brand split was a polarizing idea upon its announcement, and continues to be such with pro wrestling fans, but even more interesting is it appears a significant ratio of the wrestlers themselves are not too happy with the makeover due to its effects on their bank accounts.
SmackDown’s general manager, Daniel Bryan, said the issue stems from the brand split meaning that wrestlers are not working as much as they were prior, but they are still out on the road with the same expenses to pay for.
“It’s interesting because some of them don’t like it because everyday that you’re on the road and not working, you don’t get paid, so you’re spending money and not getting paid,” Bryan said on the Bear Hug It Out podcast (transcription via Wrestling Inc). “So it just becomes like a, ‘okay, so now I’m making less money, but spending the same amount of being on the road and that sort of thing’. But pretty soon, we’re going to start doing SmackDown live events on Monday nights, the same night as RAW, so then that’s going to even out a bit. And I think that extra day on the road at home makes a huge difference. I mean, there’s a huge difference between leaving on Friday and coming home on Wednesday and leaving on Saturday and coming home on Wednesday or leaving on Friday and coming home on Tuesday. So I think it’s going to be better for the health of everybody.”
Bryan is very pleased with the split nonetheless, and sees it as a great opportunity to make SmackDown the better show than Raw with its shorter running time and a different approach he wants to take with it.
“To me, the best part about it is it’s only a two hour show. It’s a lot funner to watch. It’s a lot easier to watch. But there’s also, we’re trying to really put the wrestlers first, the Superstars first, so that’s one of the things we’re really doing for the show. We’re trying to make a more exciting show than RAW.” Bryan added, “but Shane [McMahon] and I are working really hard each and every week to make SmackDown must-see viewing.”