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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Saving Smackdown!
May 21, 2004 by Botmaster4lyfe


It doesn't take a wrestling genius to realize that WWE Smackdown isn't nearly as good as it usually is. Heck, anyone can figure that out. If you take a 1 year old baby, and have him watch Smackdown, he'll probably say "goo goo gah gah bah goob boah". That's because babies can't talk. But just show any wrestling fan, and they'll tell you that Smackdown is definitely going down the tubes. Just look at some of the facts:

The World Champion, Eddie Guerrero, is feuding with John Bradshaw Layfield who is a Midcarder at best. (He easily could be a main eventer, but he needs more character than just "I'm rich and racist!!")

The Tag Team titles are around Rico and Charlie Haas, using the gimmick that Rico is gay, but Haas is homophobic, but they have to work together. Sad, Sad, Sad, and QUITE offensive. More on why it's so offensive later.

Talented cruiserweights like Paul London, Akio, Nunzio, and many others are lucky to make Velocity appearances while the Cruiserweight tile is being held by Chavo Classic. Now I am a HUGE Chavo Classic mark, but the fact is that he shouldn't be a champion, damnit!

Yeah, Smackdown is definitely doing pretty bad. That's why I made this column: To show how to Save Smackdown. WWE has all the right tools to make Smackdown a great show again, and I'm gonna go over some of them right now.

FIRST:

The Eddie/JBL feud should end with Eddie retaining. While it's fairly obvious that this is going to happen, it still should. This leaves Eddie as the World Champion, but without a contender. So, who is going to step up? Who can Eddie face now? The answer can be solved in three words: Rob Van Dam. RVD and Eddie Guerrero, as we all know, have some of the best chemistry in the entire WWE. Rob Van Dam is incredible as a face, but he's been a face for several years now, and I think he's starting to get stale. So, a heel turn would do him good. How would he turn heel? Attack the top face on SD, of course. The famous Guerrero/RVD feud would spark up again, this time with RVD as the heel and Eddie as the face. Not only would this be good for a feud, but it would solidify Rob Van Dam as a top upper midcarder, borderline Main Eventer on Smackdown, which WWE is in need of at the moment.

NEXT, the US Title. I have no problems with the US Title right now. John Cena is a great champ, and I am enjoying his feud with Rene Dupree. But what next? Cena retains the title at Judgement Day (I hope), and once again, we have a champ without a contender. We need someone who's fresh, has the right gimmick, and preferably has experience with John Cena in the past, maybe in OVW. One person I know of fits that description: Mortecai. Mortecai and Cena fought in OVW, so they definitely know each other. Plus, WWE has been hyping Mortecai for some time, so they want him to be seen as a force to be reckoned with. Plus, look at both men's styles: John Cena is a charismatic brawler, and Mortecai is a Charismatic brawler. Perfect. The feud would also help Mortecai stand out from the crowd, showing that he can be a big force on Smackdown.

Next up, we got the Cruiserweight Title. Sadly, it seems more and more like WWE doesn't give a flying **** about the Cruiserweight title, as shown by champions like Chavo Classic and Jacqueline. How does the WWE save this title? Simple: make it count again. First of all, WWE really needs to realize that the Cruiserweight Title is made for young Talent. You rarely see a 35+ year old Cruiserweight, do you? Also, more and more talent on the indy scene are cruiserweights. So first off, Chavo Classic should lose the title to, who else? Chavo Jr, of course. Chavo is a solid champion, because he can face a variety of opponents. Now, he needs a feud. Does anyone remember a few years ago when WWE really liked 3 way or 4 way feuds? There was Jericho vs Benoit vs Venis vs Holly for the Intercontinental Title, Jericho vs Benoit vs Angle for the EuroContinental Titles, etc. We need another one of those feuds. They help establish new stars, and keep the crowd interested. Who are the participants? Chavo, Rey Mysterio, Akio, and Paul London. Akio and Paul London are there to showcase their talent and become more well known to the WWE crowds, while Rey Mysterio is added in because not only is he uber-talented, but he's familiar to WWE fans, which I guess you can say adds a level of "comfort" to the feud. I'd say the winner of the feud would be either Akio or Paul London to show that WWE DOES care about its new, young talent.

And finally, the Tag Team Titles. Currently held by Rico and Charlie Haas. Now, some people look at this team and think it's clever. Some may say "Well, it's showing that WWE is accepting of Gays, because Rico is playing a Gay character, and he's a champion!" But listen to this: My brother is a sophomore in college, and his roommate (named Peter) is Homosexual. He's a hell of a nice guy, but my brother wanted to see what Peter thought of the Rico/Haas gimmick. The verdict? Here's basically what Peter had to say: "This gimmick horribly offends me. WWE is playing it off that Rico uses his gayness to beat his opponents. It conveys the message that people should be afraid of gays, because they aren't normal". I'm gonna agree with Peter on this one, the Rico character is extremely offensive. So it's time to get the Tag Titles off Rico and Haas, PRONTO. Onto who? Therein lies the problem: Smackdown has no real Tag Team Division. Rico and Haas are the champs, everyone is kinda sick of the Dudleyz, Rikishi and Scotty suck, etc. So, the only contenders I see are the Bashams, Doug and Danny. They were pretty over when they were the champs, but now they've been reduced to jobbing once again. WWE should put the belts on them, then focus on building a legitimate Tag Division on Smackdown.

So.......that's it. That's how WWE needs to save Smackdown. You may notice that I only covered Titles and feuds with Titles. The reason is that I believe that the strength of a show is based on many factors, but one of the most important factors are the titles, because they are what showcase the best of the best of that brand. If WWE were to follow these guidelines, I think they would start to see a jump in ratings, and more and more fan interest. Hopefully, WWE will learn how to do this soon, so we can all start enjoying Smackdown once again.

And THAT, my friends, is a dose of Bottitude for ya!

HEY, READERS: If you have any ideas for columns you would like me to research/write about, feel free to E-Mail me and tell me your ideas.

by Botmaster4lyfe..


Joe Huber writes:
First of all I don't think anything really needs to be done to save Smackdown. For me this show brings it every Thursday night. Listen to the crowds every Thursday. Do you ever hear the crowd on RAW pop this loud? They were even louder this past Thursday then they were on Judgment Day PPV.

With stars like Eddie Guerrero, John Cena, RVD, and up and comers like Mordecai, I think Smackdown is on the right road. Sure ratings are low, but ratings have been low since people like The Rock, Mankind, Stone Cold and others stopped wrestling on a regular basis.

The thing is that wrestling goes in cycles as far as popularity is concerned. In the 80's wrestling was HUGE cause of all the great wrestlers/characters/announcers & celebrity personalities. Then in the early 90's wrestling's popularity took a hit. People like Hulk Hogan and other stars of the 80's left for WCW. Eventually the WWE would recover and build up new stars like Rock, Austin, Mankind and ride the wave of the Undertaker's popularity.

Sure Smackdown doesn't get the ratings. I would say being on UPN is a big part of that because it is a suffering network. Spike TV has more viewers.

I think wrestling is going to thrive despite losing big names like Goldberg, Stone Cold, Brock Lesnar and others. Part of Vince McMahon's genius is developing characters. Sure he has had many worthy of being posted on wrestlecrap.com, but he has had some of the biggest wrestlers/characters of all-time. He also is a marketing genius.

I do agree that the Cruiserweight division is being unfairly misused. The tag-team division on Smackdown and RAW are also horrible when you compare them to the great tag-teams of the 80's like Hart Foundation, British Bulldogs, Rockers etc.

I think Smackdown is going to bring in newer viewers before RAW does. For one RAW is being held down by being predictable. The storylines are weak at best (Trish/Christian/Y2J anyone? Kane/Matt Hardy/Lita?) the wrestling in-ring is stomach-turning to say the least.

Smackdown is the show that brought me back to wrestling after a decade-long absence. The wrestlers/storylines and in-ring action is top-notch. Does it reflect in the ratings? No. Hopefully Smackdown can eventually move to a network with more viewers. I would even hope for the same thing to happen to RAW. USA Network and TBS had a lot more viewers then UPN & Spike TV ever will.

Ratings don't always reflect how good a show is. Look at the early years of Seinfeld or Cheers. Those shows struggled before they took off and dominated the ratings. They could have easily been canceled before they became so famous.

I think what Smackdown really needs is a good Network with viewers who would tune in to see a show like this. Also, UPN does not promote the show near as much as they should. Word of mouth is another thing. Us wrestling fans don't do near as much to promote wrestling to non-wrestling fans as we once did. It used to be an event that you can take the family to see. Now with all the T & A kids, for the most part can't tune in. Shawn Michaels doesn't even allow his son to view wrestling these days. When wrestling was so huge in the 80's a lot of the fan base was kids. I was one of them. Vince forgets that wrestling used to be a family event. It needs to get back to that to bring back viewers they lost over the years and bring in new viewers.
Greg Helphenstine writes:
I don't see Rico "uses his gayness to beat his opponents". I've never seen Rico finish off the match with a "gay" manuver. It's mind games - nothing more nothing less. Goldust did the same thing long ago (remember the good Goldust before bondage?) and the same things were said about him at first - but he ended up being one of the biggest faces in WWF history. When Mankind debuted I don't remember many people going, "He's insulting sadomasochists".

Also, they have never went on the line and blatantly said that Rico is "gay" - everyone has apparently made that assumption that he is because of his antics. Only Billy and Chuck have made that step to stating they are gay with their whole "marriage" angle.
Isaac Noonan wrote:
Oh that's a GREAT idea, have everyone who switched to Smackdown turn heel (note the sarcasm). Even if the WWE wanted RVD to turn, it wouldn't work. It didn't work for Austin or The Rock. The fans were into them just like they are into RVD. What's wrong with a face in a feud with another face? I agree that the Tag-Team and Cruiserweight divisions are lacking. As far as the Tag division, they can only do so much with what they have. But they really should use their cruiserweights better. I do NOT think that Mordecai is ready for any title shots at this point. Dupree was already established with his character when he started feuding with Cena. I think Mordecai would be a legitimate contender, just not at the moment. On a final note, I seriously doubt that the WWE is trying to offend anybody with this Rico/Haas angle. It is quite entertaining. If your brother's roommate thinks that people will get the wrong idea about it, then I think he's taking it too seriously. Bear this in mind: I know a few gay people myself, and I'm not afraid of any of them. They are nice guys and I'm not influenced by the WWE. It's meant to be entertaining.
Botmaster4lyfe wrote:
To Greg Helphenstine,
You claim that you have never seen Rico use his gayness to beat his opponents. Well, I can cite several examples:

1. In his Smackdown debut match, he beat Charlie Haas by exposing his thong, which disgusted Haas so much he threw up and was unable to enter the ring, thus getting counted out.

2. He often "rides his opponent" which freaks them out. That's more then a mind game in my opinion.

3. Rico and Haas' double team finisher is that Rico KISSES his opponent, who stumbles back into Haas' German Suplex. That's using gayness to beat his opponent.

To Isaac Noonan:
You say that the heel turns of Austin and The Rock didn't work. If you recall, Austin was quite over as a heel when he teamed with HHH as part of the Power Trip. And The Rock not being a heel? What about his buildup to Wrestlemania 19, where he beat Steve Austin, and his feud with Goldberg after that? He was the CLEAR heel.

READERS: Remember, feel free to E-Mail me ideas for columns. I could use some good ideas from you guys!
Greg Helphenstine wrote:
So wearing/exposing a thong makes you gay? I guess that's why Lita's thong disappeared since her return.

Kissing another man makes you gay? Wow - then the "Kiss of Death" mafia members give their next whack is actually a symbol of gayness. You know, men can be secure enough in their sexuallity to kiss another man and not be "gay".

Acting flamboyent and doing things that are not the norm DO NOT MAKE YOU GAY

"I'm not telling you anything you don't already know."
Isaac Noonan wrote:
OK I'll give you that. Austin and The Rock were over as heels, The point I was making was that the heel runs didn't last as long as other runs did.
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