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Who’s benefited most from the WWE brand split thus far

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With the two major brands in the WWE (finally) being split again this past year, there have been numerous opportunities for different superstars to be able to shine where they couldn’t before.  Ranging from already known superstars to newer faces, many have seized the opportunity. As we move closer to WrestleMania 33 in Orlando, let’s take a look at who has benefited most from the most recent brand-split thus far. 

AJ Styles:  Getting the obvious out of the way first, AJ Styles has utterly dominated in the ring since the brand split. When he was drafted to Smackdown Styles was already a top-tier talent due to the smaller roster size.  Since the split date he has done nothing but dazzle crowds with tremendous matches and great promos.  He seems to be able to pull the best out of his opponents more than anyone else on the roster, and it has bettered the entire production in the process.  His run as the WWE Champ was something the company desperately needed, and something that may not have happened had the brands not been split.  There truly is only one word to describe his current presence in the WWE: Phenomenal.

Chris and KO:  So, Jericho and Owens could probably find themselves in their own category for this, but they are so fitting together that it made sense to keep it going.  Whether it’s “The List” or any of their various best friend hijinks, they have captivated the attention of the WWE viewers and essentially put Raw on their backs.  They have provided tremendous in-ring performances as well as awesome promos that only they could deliver.  It seems as though there could not have been a better option to hold the Universal Title after Balor’s injury made him give it up, and it has taken the contribution from both men to make this happen.  With it likely that Kevin is going to give the belt up prior to WrestleMania, one can only assume (hope?) that we are in store for an awesome, best friend dividing feud in the next few weeks.

Randy Orton:  While some may be questioning the current story arch Orton finds himself on, there is no doubt that being drafted to Smackdown during the split has helped his transition back into the ring fairly smooth (aside from the whole being beaten to shreds by Lesnar).  His return to being an actual regular on Smackdown saw him paired with a great character adversary like the Wyatt Family gave us great promos and some good matches.  If Orton had been drafted to Raw it is likely that the old veteran would have lost face time on Monday nights, but he has been a solid contributor on Tuesday’s.  He just won the Royal Rumble and is headed to WrestleMania a main-eventer, and it may not have happened had the brands not been split.

Intercontinental Championship:  Prior to WWE splitting the brands the IC championship, in all honesty, was a pretty big joke.  Nearly a decade of dismal championship runs with mediocre mid carders holding the title has essentially ended since the Miz was drafted to Smackdown.  Since the split the A-lister has really boosted the perception of the Intercontinental Championship.  It has seen main-card action since the split and has become a true prize to be sought after.  It has even, essentially, been the cause of the long-awaited Ziggler heel turn that most have been waiting for.  Currently held by Dean Ambrose, it looks as though there is nowhere to go but up for this belt.

Braun Strowman: Former Wyatt Family enforcer, Strowman has been able to grow as an independent wrestler since being drafted to Raw while the other family members were drafted to Smackdown.  At first, his “Braun smash” squash matches were fairly stale; however, his feud with Sami Zayn allowed him to showcase his developing microphone skills as well as his ability to be in the ring one on one with someone he wasn’t utterly destroying and pinning in a matter of seconds.  He has quickly been elevated to the top of the card and was given an “opportunity” at the Universal Title (albeit one that was destined to “fail” due to a Roman Reigns interruption).  His future looks extremely bright, and he would not have this opportunity if he hadn’t been drafted away from the Wyatts.

This article comes to us via @RogueElephant

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