It’s been an interesting time for the WWE, and there’s been a lot of negativity surrounding the company. My last two reviews of Raw were quite negative, along with my last Wednesday Wrap Around. For this week, I would like to get back into a more positive state of mind, and discuss Smackdown’s potential in the New Year.
Ever since the brand split was dropped, the WWE’s secondary show has gone through some highs and lows, but mainly lows. In fact, the highs for the show have mainly occurred within this past year, and it’s due to many factors. The show has continuously been on par with Monday Night Raw and NXT for most of 2015. Now that it’s moving to the USA Network, the company will need to find a way to continue their momentum and make it feel more important. The execs at NBC need this to be as exciting as Raw, and won’t accept filler content. In today’s edition of the Wednesday Wrap Around, I’d like to specifically discuss what Smackdown has been doing right, wrong, and what could be added come 2016.
Smackdown Pros of 2015
This actually doesn’t apply for 2015 only, but I feel the work rate shown on the Thursday/Friday show has been phenomenal since they ended the brand split. The company allows for the talent to go out and simply perform their craft. Without the use of drama and theatrics, the performers still know how to steal the show. Looking back at this year we were given Tag Team Turmoil (Reigns & Bryan vs the tag division), Cesaro vs Rollins, Cesaro vs Rusev, Owens vs Ambrose, New Day vs Ambrose & Reigns, Ryback vs Kalistio, etc. The list goes on, and I’m sure it’s better than most matches we’ve seen on Raw. Essentially, if the WWE hopes to keep up the momentum of Smackdown, they need to allow wrestlers to deliver amazing matches, and that’s what should make it different from any episode of Raw.
Specifically for 2015, the talent presented on the “B” show has been a lot stronger than previous years. Even though most of the talent has been around for quite some time, the characters themselves have grown to become more credible, especially the three former members of the Shield. Rollins, Reigns, and Ambrose alone have made Smackdown worth watching. This entire year, I never felt the show needed the presence of someone such as John Cena, Randy Orton, or the Authority. With the emergence of Cesaro, Owens, and the New Day, Smackdown never feels like it lacks star power.
Cons of Smackdown in 2015
This is probably the only glaring con of the current Smackdown product, and it’s the only thing hindering it from gaining similar ratings to Raw. The talent is there, and so is the work rate, the next step should be to make the actually show feel important. The main reason fans say they can miss Smackdown is because they know the story won’t be progressed. Not only is this a con of 2015, it’s been a massive problem since 2011.
It’s actually the main thing they need to fix before heading to the USA Network. Without assessing the quality of television that the network produces, they still do produce popular shows that receive eyeballs throughout the United States. I don’t believe they need Smackdown if it’s going to remain a show with good wrestling. If they can manage to make this show feel significant, they can turn their recent luck around.
Heading into the New Year, I’m the most excited for Smackdown when it comes to the WWE. Whenever a show switches networks, it always gains more attention, so this can mean a lot for their Thursday show.