By Daniel Barker
WWE SmackDown as we all know is the second largest brand in the global juggernaut promotion that stands today as a testament to what I can only describe as short sighted business sense. Let's take a trip down memory lane to a decade ago, pay per views that featured superstars from both brands were the big four events which are of course the Royal Rumble, SummerSlam, Survivor Series and last but not least the greatest stage of them all WrestleMania! The remaining eight monthly showcases had an individual roster performing that night with vert few exceptions. Judgement Day as an example had SmackDown superstars, SmackDown championships and with SmackDown story-lines being disputed both inside & outside the squared circle.
Fast forward to 2013 we see consistently WWE pulling every available string to buffer content on pay per view cards when they were once able to do it with half the roster and executed it twice as effectively. The two brands once had a unique set of tag titles, at WrestleMania 20 both sets were defending in individual four way tag team title matches. That example right there demonstrates how far the tag team division itself has diminished which strangely becomes reflected when you examine the fall of the blue brand SmackDown. Now the creative team struggles to put a single team to contend against the current WWE Tag Team Champions The Shield. isn't it funny they had at least ten teams in circulation years before?
World Wrestling Entertainment has it's vision poised for future talent, no answers are being brought to light that explain how it all works with so little air-time opportunities, especially opportunities that have any substantial meaning. Talent has to progress down a certain avenue, I am doubting their developmental structure accommodates there own ambition when wrestlers get called up to the main roster. It's all well & good building a facility, the difficult part is building a product that allows people to witness the performers work and are able to connect with them. That must be achieved to get anywhere and what's even more difficult is getting the fans interested which is hard as the WWE design is so counter-productive. People are educated to believe by the companies own example that only Raw really matters. If a superstar wins on WWE Main Event those actions mean squat anywhere else, on a rare occasion you may see a quick push that only serves as a method to test the water which doesn't manifest into anything beneficial.
Raw is the flagship show as we've become familiar with, it's always been known. How it's emphasized has definitely changed, people used to debate which brand was the better one, nowadays the answer is unanimously evident. SmackDown merely serves these days as a platform to reinforce angles that we already see on Raw. Why WWE has allowed potentially half their marketing potential diminish over the years is hard to fathom. Ask yourself what is the rage in wrestling these days? Is it the powerhouses? No people want to see athleticism, wrestling, speed...in a nut shell they want smaller framed performers such as CM Punk & Daniel Bryan. Big guys serve a purpose to but the craze has been around the independent stars making a splash in the largest wrestling promotion on Earth.
Wrestling fans universally have adapted, we still love old habits - our needs on the other hand change. The audience goes through adaptation that becomes vocalized when a product isn't generalized and deprives content to a certain demographic. What's ironic is that SmackDown was actually built before with future potential in mind. After all a cruiserweight division sounds a great place to develop smaller framed talent that are received with far more interest than ever before. For many years we've been subjected to mismatched weight class contests because we no longer have a cruiserweight championship and division in the WWE. A tip to making SmackDown a popular show would involve dedicating time to exhibit cruiserweight action again and to highlight that as a must-see attraction!
SmackDown needs an independent roster again, it requires dedicated champions & a roster that rival Raw. Rather than WWE comparing ratings against completely different forms of entertainment; perhaps improvement would come from competing with themselves using SmackDown as a brand version of a shadow boxer. What you show on one brand may draw better attention than the other,and through that process you could gain a better understanding on how to improve ratings against external parties with better precision. The reason why the blue brand has fallen so steep is due to lacking of creativity, vision and care. If the WWE can't give a hoot then the fans won't, hence the gradual spiral down the drain continues.
What also seeing recently is top Raw superstars seemingly appeal to SmackDown, the World Heavyweight Champion simply is not a draw on his own show. It should be motivating to see the main title on a show and a bigger source for excitement seeing a top tier championship appearing on the opposite brand. At present day not a single care can be given, WWE has pretty much diluted their own mixture and it's gone flat. I hate fantasy bookings, I can't help in saying I believe the starting point to restoring such interest only takes meaningful action, not a lot either. WWE has to invest faith in itself, announce a brand split again and book solid cards debuting a new direction for SmackDown that will be contained within itself. On occasions a mutual brand scenario would be warranted.
People don't want to see things that has no purpose or can get seen somewhere else. We want EXCLUSIVE! You should see a huge talent in one place to shift the ratings across, if one side fails to draw that attention then the company should examine why instead of taking the easy way out. Problems need dealing with, WWE has used the easy route and it's turned SmackDown into the new SUPERSTARS show. Fans should get buzzed to urge their friends to watch the other show regularly again because Raw can't match something! Individual selling points people, that's all it is! There's more money than ever, they're doing less to earn it and soon the desperate antics will hit a brick wall.
That's all for me folks! Until next time take care!
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