The brand split was good from it's inception until Brock left really. After that RAW thrived with Triple H, Flair, Booker T, Jericho, Evolution, Benoit. Even though Smackdown still had Angle and Undertaker it really started to suffer. Putting the belt on JBL was a death sentence. In hindsight he wasn't too bad but at the time it was terrible. Once Cena exploded after Wrestlemania 21 things could have picked up for Smackdown but they traded him to Raw. Sure, Smackdown got Batista but he was nowhere near the level of Cena. It was downhill from there.
The brand split made sense at first since they had so many starts after the Invasion. But once all those guys started retiring, leaving, getting fired and dying
it really became senseless. The Royal Rumble last year was a prime example. You look at the list from 2003
(first year after the split) and it's filled with stars and beloved wrestlers with a few jobbers in there. In 2012
's Rumble there are four guys I still consider stars (Jericho, Orton, Sheamus and Big Show) and the rest are all fine wrestlers, but nobodies.
I really hope they up the ante with this years Rumble and either bring out some stars (yesteryears or todays, even if it means people wrestling twice in one night) or at least do something memorable. The only thing I remember from last years was knowing that Michael Cole and Booker T were going to enter after Jerry Lawler did. And Kharma's return/final appearance.