It’s been almost two months since WWE had its first brand draft in several years, effectively splitting its roster into two brands/television shows: RAW and SmackDown. And by the looks of things, SmackDown seems to be the more interesting, more watchable brand, thanks to a number of factors.

The storylines have been better

Whether it’s Dolph Ziggler seeking a return to relevance by challenging for titles, AJ Styles developing as a full-blown, despicable heel and becoming WWE World Champion, or Heath Slater and Rhyno becoming an underdog success story as SmackDown Tag Team Champions, the so-called “blue brand” has been more on point when it comes to storylines.

There’s far more “hit” than “miss” in these storylines, and they hardly ever seem forced or awkwardto watch.

Granted, RAW has had some intriguing moments, including Kevin Owens becoming Universal Champion as Triple H’s new “chosen one,” Seth Rollins’ subsequent face turn as a result of Triple H’s betrayal, and the rivalry between RAW Women’s Champion Charlotte and Sasha Banks. But there have also been prominent clunkers among RAW’s storylines, such as the ill-conceived attempts to add a comedic edge to Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson in their RAW Tag Team title feud against champions The New Day, and the lack of direction in the Darren Young vs. Titus O’Neil feud.

SmackDown is WWE’s land of opportunity

The aforementioned Heath Slater and Rhyno are a classic example of how the SmackDown brand has served as a great opportunity for wrestlers who would otherwise be forgotten in the lower card if not for the brand split. Their road to the brand’s Tag Team Championship was borne out of Slater’s “free agent” storyline, where he would appear on both brands in futile attempts to win a contract through a match, but always end up losing.

But when he teamed up with Rhyno, a 41-year-old WWE returnee who never went higher than midcard status in his previous run, the stage was set forwhat could be Wrestling's top feel-good story of 2016, and Slater finally signing a contract in storyline.

With Jack Swagger recently having switched brands, many believe that this may be his big chance to become relevant again, after over a year of hardly appearing on TV.

Alexa Bliss’ surprise win Tuesday night to become number one contender for the SmackDown Women’s Championship is another example of the added opportunities within the brand. And who knows – the returning Curt Hawkins just might have his best WWE push in years, even if his Chuck Norris Facts-inspired vignettes are a bit on the cheesy side.

Better character development

In the early days of the brand split, The Usos had a stale babyface character, one that had been with them since 2011.

Carmella didn’t seem to have much direction after she was drafted to a different brand than her former NXT charges, Enzo Amore and Big Cass. But since turning heel, they’ve revitalized their characters in a big way, though SmackDown may want to shine more light on the ongoing Carmella vs. Nikki Bella feud.

Even those who haven’t changed alignment have enjoyed some nice character development on SmackDown.

As the WWE Intercontinental Champion, The Miz'sheel character has found some additional purpose, with his explosive Talking Smack appearance with SmackDown GM Daniel Bryan fueling his desire to stand by his “safe” style of wrestling, as well as his desire to make his belt relevant again. Likewise, Miz’s fellow Clevelandnative Dolph Ziggler has become hungrier for a career renaissance since the brand split, while still remaining a babyface character.

Compare all this to RAW, where Roman Reigns is still Roman Reigns (not a good thing for a lot of fans), and where Gallows and Anderson have gotten the wrong kind of character development. Again, RAW has done some things right, such asChris Jericho getting more fan vitriol as Kevin Owens’ “best friend” and tag team partner.But SmackDown appears to have gone the extra mile as far as character development goes.

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