May 25, 2016
WWE announced Wednesday morning that SmackDown will move to Tuesday nights and air live each week beginning in July. Variety first reported the shows would draft separate rosters, and WWE also confirmed that.
“This bold move will have major ramifications for all of WWE and exemplify the New Era, as both Raw and SmackDown will each feature their own unique rosters and rivalries following an imminent Superstar draft," the company said in a statement
What wasn’t noted was whether Shane McMahon or Stephanie McMahon would also split up and take over SmackDown. That might be in the cards, but it hasn’t been officially confirmed yet.
Vince McMahon gave the following statement to WWE.com:
"WWE's flagship programs will both leverage the incredible depth of our talent roster, distinct storylines and the unpredictable nature of live TV," WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon said. “This move will undoubtedly build more excitement and deepen engagement with our fans around the world.”
The last - and only - WWE brand extension came in 2002 when Raw and SmackDown split up to formulate its own competition. Pay-per-views were re-branded in 2003 for Raw-only rosters and SmackDown-only rosters. In 2011, the brand extension ended unceremoniously and the roster was morphed back into one.
There is no confirmation at the present time of pay-per-views being re-branded. This biggest story coming from this other than the brand extension is SmackDown moving to Tuesday nights and airing regularly live for the first time. There have been live SmackDown episodes before on Tuesdays, but now they’ll be airing live every week.
Shane McMahon and Stephanie are already trying to position themselves as the leader of SmackDown, so the importance placed on the program is in clear sight right now.