Now, I was under the impression that Vince McMahon and Hulk Hogan aren't exactly the best of friends in the storyline (not to put too fine a point on it). So why would Vince give Hogan a title shot?
An indication of a Hogan swerve?
Possibly. Although I can't imagine Hogan turning heel/face/heel within such a short time span. He's not Bret Hart, you know.
So that Vince can say that he's the one responsible for all of Hogan's success?
OK, that's likely the reason. But whether or not Vince was the one to give Hogan the shot, Hogan's still gotta go out there and win it, right? And if he does it without Vince's assistance, he'll be able to say he won the title all by himself.
But here's another question to ponder. The Undisputed Champion is the only male WWF Superstar that's allowed to appear on both RAW and SmackDown. So why would Vince give a title shot to Hogan? If Hogan wins the belt, Hogan can suddenly appear on "the competition's show", RAW. And if we go by the belief that the champion takes the spot of the guy who dethrones him, if Hogan loses the belt to a RAW-contracted wrestler, Hogan would suddenly be a RAW-exclusive wrestler, wouldn't he?
Maybe most of my confusion is based upon the fact that the split is so early in its life that not nearly enough questions have been answered.
“You see, this business is filled to the brim with unrealistic motherfuckers. Motherfuckers who thought their ass would age like wine. If you mean it turns to vinegar, it does. If you mean it gets better with age, it don't.”
I wouldn't assume that when a person loses the title he will automatically take the place of the man who beat him. I think that the rosters are "set" just like in other sports (meaning a trade could happen). I think that when HHH loses the title, he will become a free agent, and I assume he will be drafted by Flair (since _RAW¯ needs his starpower more than Smackdown does).
IF Hogan wins the title, he will be able to show up on _RAW¯, but he'll be representing Vince's show. Vince will always want his best wrestler to get title shots because when one of his boys wins the title, Vince goes one up on Flair. Vince will want to show Hogan good faith in the coming weeks so that if he wins (and I think if he does it'll be in a three-way dance with UT) he'll be a good little SD representative.
in a non-related note: the European title must go to Smackdown at Backlash and Carthage must be destroyed.
Looks like the brand extension applies to WWF.com as well. Raw's got its own subsite for its show previews, recaps and superstar bios, here...
And before you ask, I checked... there's no smackdown.wwf.