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WRESTLING COLUMNS

SmackDown! Struck Down!
June 4, 2006 by Adam "The Adaman" Heap


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If anyone gave me the line ‘SmackDown! Vs. RAW’ at this point in time, I would not be pleased to tell them that RAW is dominating SmackDown! at the moment. Since I started watching, RAW had always been the top show, and last year, at Taboo Tuesday and Survivor Series, I thought I had been proven wrong. SmackDown! made a huge effort to gain some respect, and along with some heated commentary from Tazz and Jerry Lawler, they managed to prove that they weren’t anybody’s b-show. They were competition. Now they’re just critic fodder.

Fortunately, it’s not their fault at all. Injuries are plaguing the WWE at the moment, on both SmackDown! and RAW. RAW recently lost Shawn Michaels for a minor knee injury, and their women’s division suffered when Ashley was injured (although Beth Phoenix is looking good, I must say). However, this is nothing compared to what’s happening to SmackDown right now. Injuries, brand-switchers, suspensions and drug problems " you name it, SmackDown!’s had it recently. The gradual decline started in November of 2005.

Christian was the first to leave the SmackDown! roster. He wasn’t happy with the way he was being used, and to be honest, he was perfectly right. The WWE wouldn’t give him anything to work with, so he packed his bags and left for TNA, where he is currently the NWA World Champion.

Not a few days after Christian signed his contract, the death of Eddie Guerrero became a massive loss to SmackDown!, as Eddie was about to become the World Heavyweight Champion before his unfortunate passing. Whether the fans and superstars liked it or not, Eddie’s death was put to work in storylines, which generated a ton of heat and reactions from crowds. I personally didn’t approve of Orton’s ‘down there’ comments, but I’ve never liked Orton anyway, so it really didn’t change my opinion of him.

The first to hit the injured list was Booker T, who is luckily active now. The injury caused Booker to substitute Randy Orton in against Chris Benoit in their last few best of 7 series. Booker has recovered and gone on to become King of the Ring for this year (I use that term loosely), and is making a great impact on the crowds, who are giving him great heat. After Booker, it was Batista’s turn. At the hands of Mark Henry, Batista was injured and was pronounced out for a few months. The loss of the brand’s biggest star hit them hard, but the recouped and brought on Kurt Angle and Rey Mysterio to do the job. Batista looks to be coming back in July; so once again, this is good news and more star power for SmackDown.

The stars were not the only ones to be injured. One superstar had been booked for a huge push before he was injured, and this was the newly popular Mr. Ken Kennedy. Kennedy had been generating a ton of heat, but his injury took him out of the light for a while. Once again, Kennedy is rumored to come back relatively soon, and I personally couldn’t be happier. I love the great promos we get from him. Marty Wright was also taken out for a while with problems, although the storyline said that Booker had put a restraining order on the disgusting, worm eating Boogeyman.

Randy Orton didn’t last long after WrestleMania, as he got suspended for unprofessional conduct. His 60 days are ending soon, though, so he should bring back some of the star power SmackDown! so desperately needs. JBL was taken out for still unknown reasons, whether they are that he’s going to RAW or that he’s retiring. For those of you who don’t know, Kurt Angle is also gone from SmackDown!. Angle was drafted by Paul Heyman for the new ECW permanent brand. This means that the top spot on SmackDown! has to be contested between Rey Mysterio and… well, Booker T. That’s it. Chris Benoit was recently taken out for rest and a few minor injuries (although the storyline said that Mark Henry did it).

SmackDown also suffered some minor losses, such as Juventud, Heidenreich and Orlando Jordan (all released from their contracts), and their women’s division was depleted to Melina and Jillian Hall. Christy Hemme was also released, and Stacy Keibler says she has no intentions of returning to the WWE. Hardcore Holly was also injured and taken out for a while.

On top of it all, MnM was removed from SmackDown! after Nitro and Melina were fired from SmackDown! and moved to RAW, and Joey Mercury was taken out for drug rehab. This leaves the tag team division, the women’s division, and the Cruiserweight division burnt. Why the cruiserweight division? Gregory Helms was also injured, out for a broken nose. On top of that, he was (and is) the Cruiserweight Champion!

So " since November last year, SmackDown! has lost Christian, Eddie Guerrero, Batista, Kurt Angle, Randy Orton, Chris Benoit, JBL, Booker T, Ken Kennedy, Gregory Helms, Johnny Nitro, Joey Mercury, Melina, the Boogeyman, Stevie Richards, Hardcore Holly, Juventud, Heidenreich, Orlando Jordan, Stacy Keibler and Christy Hemme. That’s a grand total of 21 superstars gone from the roster in 6 months. That’s almost one superstar every ten days. Even a WWE brand wasn’t mean to cope with that kind of loss.

However, stars are coming back, such as the imminent returns of Randy Orton, Batista, and Ken Kennedy. These returns are making the crowd anxious, and I can’t wait for any of their returns (well, I could do without Orton for a few more months). But that still leaves us with quite a few holes in the roster. SmackDown looks up to the job, however.

Lashley is covering the middlecard, snatching the U.S. Title out of JBL’s hands a week ago. Rey Mysterio is doing a great job of holding his World Heavyweight Title and keeping it, and Booker T looks set to come to the stage. Ken Kennedy should make a good opponent for Rey as well if the WWE gives the microphone master the push they’ve been talking about. Batista and Orton will bring strength back to the Championship division. Gregory Helms is set to return, and Kid Kash and Jamie Noble are waiting in the wings. The Mexicools or the Gymini would be glad to start taking on the new Tag Champions, Kendrick and London. SmackDown looks to be recovering slowly but surely, and I can’t wait for the day where it comes back to full strength.

by Adam Heap --- [View Adam Heap's Column Index]....


Dave Barton wrote:
I remember when the brand split first took place, alot of people were saying "Smackdown got all the talent, how's Raw gonna compete?" I didn't feel that way, but alot of people said it. My personal opinion at the time was that it was something fresh & exciting, that both shows would have a chance to try new things with guys who hadn't previously been given much of a chance. And for a good, long while it worked for me. Even for teams who were split, despite "Smackdown having all the talent", worked out well for Raw with Bradshaw & Bubba Ray getting over just great in singles matches (and if it weren't for their partners, Faarooq & D-Von flopping on Smackdown, they wouldn't have been reunited).

What I'm getting at here is that the author, Adam, is making all sorts of statements about why Smackdown is in a state of peril right now, and I'd like to say that the first moment I felt like Smackdown was no longer running neck & neck with Raw came just over 2 years ago, when Brock Lensar quit & Kurt Angle was made commissioner. I never felt like these two wrestling machines were carrying Smackdown, per se, but their absence put a huge dent in the quality of Smackdown to me. To me, that was the first moment Smackdown was in peril, and its never felt nearly as exciting to me since then.

Not to say Raw has remained top-of-the-line ever since the brand split either, but that was the moment for me that WWF/E no longer had two must-see shows.
Andrew Martin wrote:
Adaman I gotta give you credit you've always spoke sense and theres no change now you're so damn right about the SmackDown! roster, I am an avid SmackDown! fan and have stuck by it even in its worst of times, you are right about the injuries there are too many injuries but another reason why SmackDown! is struggling in the ratings is because of the WWE creative writing team they put all their hard work to make RAW a success and they have done a good job with it but I reckon its time to put some emphasis on the SmackDown! brand to rival RAW in the ratings. I'm glad Batista is coming back to the brand soon so he can take the world title back and im also glad that Randy Orton is back i know u despise Randy but he's one of my favourite wrestlers even though he is quite a snob backstage. Lets just hope WWE creative writing team won't make him swap brands to RAW and if he does im going to go BALLISTIC!!.
A Shina wrote:
I think you're taking some credit away from Smackdown at the moment. There two maineventers are not just Booker T and Rey Mysterio. I think it is safe to say that Mark Henry is in the mainevent scene now that he mainevented the Royal Rumble, had an important match at Wrestlemania and continues to dominate Smackdown. There is also the up and coming Bobby Lashley, Fit Finlay, The Great Khali, Gunner Scott and others.

Also I believe some of your information is wrong, first, Batista was injured before Eddie Guerrero died (which is why Eddie was scheduled to win the title). Batista decided to work through his injury until Mark Henry injured him even futher at a house show and then he had to take some time off.

JBL wasn't taken out for unknown reasons, there was a perfectly good reason, he injured his back. The talk was to have JBL win the title at Judgement day as the champ has a minor knee injury, but when JBL injured his back WWE deicded to have Mysterio win and work through his injury.

Finally, I would say that although Smackdown lost 21 superstars they gained a lot to, the likes of Paul Burchail, Mike Mizanin, Chavo Guerrero, Gunner Scott, the Gymini and others made up for many of the superstars being injured.
Adam Stubbings wrote:
To be honest, your right in many respects, but there are a few things id like to point out from both sides of view here. Gregory Helms is back and healthy again, and i believe the cruierweight division is on the up. The tag team division is a different story though. Unfortunately, we only have the Mexicools, Gymin, and Kash & Noble as tag teams. Now Paul london has gone down to a staph infection too! The women's division however, appears to be on the up, the draft of Ashley Massaro, albeit still injured, could work well in the long term for Smackdown1 They now have Jillian, Sharmell, Kristal, Ashley, and the return of Michelle McCool. That isnt bad for a Smackdown roster with no womens belt to challenge for in my opinion. Stacy is long gone, and moved back to RAW anyway via wwe.com a while back. A quick note is that its the WWEs fault Stevie Richards and the Basham Brothers arent there, poor Stevie has been sat at home for the past year now, with nothing to do and no explanation! The Bashams have also disappeared with no reason as well.

To sign off, Smackdown does appear to be back on the up. The boost to the womens division will help i think, and the reutnrs of Batista, Orton and Kennedy should go down well. JBL and Benoit both have niggling injuries, so fair enough, Burchill is also out, you can add him to your injured list, but Smackdown could be on the up, or on the way out, with ECWs reutnr surely guys like the Mexicools, Richards, Kid Kash, Simon Dean and more will not stick around on the 'B' Show. They currently have Rey, Booker T, Lashley, Mark Henry, and a semi regular Undertaker to carry the dying brand.
Gerald "Tha $had0w" Vance wrote:
In addition to the returning-injured superstars, there are reports saying that Test and Chuck Palumbo are to become members of Smckdown as well as Ashley!
Gus Davis wrote:
Hey Adam I agree with all the comments about SD!. Mr. Kennedy is fastly becoming my favorite wrestler right now. With the return of Kennedy, batista, randy orton, the world heavyweight championship will be restored as the best world champion ever. Another great column. Great Job!
Jon Rosaler wrote:
Hate to Break it to ya, Adam, but SD! is only going to get worse. Sure, They brought over Ashley from Raw (which I have been dreaming of since Matt came over) and they brought back Michelle Mccool as a Heel,but those are DIVAS. ECW is rolling around and SD! has more former ECW stars than Raw. They are even strongly considering guys like Matt Hardy and Gunner Scott.

I am a big fan of Smackdown, but their CW Network Contract expires in 2008 and with ECW in the picture, Smackdown's only hope is the Crusierweight division an edge considering Raw has zero cw's (cruiserweights) and zero lhw's (light heavyweights), It can give SD! a speed advantage than a strength advantage. Also, I heard a rumor that Ken Kennedy is going to turn face.
adil alhinai wrote:
Great article adam, i posted something like this a while ago in my forum, but it was not in depth, i have to say this article is entirely true, but you may want to add Muhammad hassan to the mix as well, he was the first to leave Smackdown unfortunately and it was significant loss, as well to this, undertaker is retiring soon, but he is being replaced by the greatly over rated khali, who has only impressed me wit his size, but i guess that is what is needed in wwe these days, size over ability, i would love to see Kendrick and london drop the titles and have a three way with rey at great american bash, as that would be a possible match of the century but will never happen, smackdown have all the wrestlers possible to boost their show, booker t,and with the return of batista orton and kennedy, smackdown hopefully should be on the up, a few draft changes would suit them to.

but this is the result of playing with God, he gives you a mark henry which destroys your roster
Jon Rosaler wrote:
Told ya SD!'s getting Worse. Andrew, I know your really pissed off about Randy going back to Raw, but Smackdown will get better throughout the summer. So far in june SD! has lost or going to lose Stevie Richards, Road Warrior, Nunzio&Vito, Randy Orton and we even lost Tazz (even though it was obvious)



just because Jack Black is on the SD! page, doesn't make SD! Strong. They think by having the Star of Nacho Libre on the page will be a Ceasfire, which is sad. At this rate that SD! is going, I wouldn't be surprised if it became the "C" show.

Seeing Smackdown dying like this reminds me of a certain company that WWE also made weak. They had the same belt, a celebrity on the show to promote their Wrestling Movie, Booker T with a major Push, Oh, yeah It was called WCW. Smackdown! 2006 is an exact Replica of WCW 2000. Chris Masters is out of action from the WWE tour as well as Ric Flair. If Ric Flair and Chris Masters go on SD! (and he will become the Scott Steiner of SD!), it will be just like WCW and at that point. Smackdown will be cancelled by 2008.

bottomline: WWE is making Smackdown! a WCW deja vu' by Rubbing ECW in it.
Lee wrote:
Great Column with interesting ideas. I agree with you people when you say that Smackdown needs some more experienced wrestlers to help the new faces. But personally I believe that the likes of Booker T, Finlay and Randy Orton are the ones stopping the Smackdown ship from sinking. Its these 3 that have estabilished themselves as the haters of the Smackdown Brand. Personally I think the Spirit Squad have been a huge success and are probably the best thing to watch on RAW at present. I hope their stable sticks together on RAW for at least another year, move Lashley over to RAW and let him develope his mic skills so that during a 3 month period he would be under constant attacks from the Spirit Squad and then under "all odds" win the WWE Championship. Kane should definately move over to Smackdown along with Carlito, Shelton & maybe Master (who I think isnt a big enough character for RAW) to give Smackdown a more established "proven" roster. Booker could also be moved over to RAW to form an "arse licking" relationship with the Spirit & Vince. He could start screwing people over and become a 1999 Rock Champion who is arrogant and like the Corporation, have an alliance with Vince & the spirit, rather than Booker T being "screwed" by Teddy Long.
The New Generation Matt Taylor!!!!! wrote: I do agree with you and I dont! Firstly

Smackdown has been my favourite show since the draft in 2002! I have watched it every Saturday, and now every Friday Night! I like the superstars. Lashley, Gunner Scott, London, Rey, Finlay, Boogeyman, Taker etc... I like how they are pushing kennedy and lashley in storylines and are slowly working on scott! But one thing I dont like is the state of Tag Teams. I mean back in 2002 you had lots for Teams like The Unamericans, Billy and Chuck, APA, Eddie and Chavo, Benoit & Angle, Rey and Edge etc... They had tag teams to bring out the best and with some they did! But then in 2003 late it all started to go down! Team Angle became known as Worlds Greatest Tag Team and they broke up thanks to the draft! Then APA where Faarooq was fired by Heyman and Bradshaw became knwon as JBL and became known as the WWE Champion and a wrestling GOD! Then Scotty and Rikishi reformed as Too Cool! but without Grandmasta sexay! They were tag champs until they lost. Also Bashams could of beem a great Tag Team with the push or even on the best! But again thanks to the draft they broke and now they both havnt been seen for a while!Then just recently we have had MNM who are not together anymore because Joey was doing drugs! Mercury is now on Raw with Melina who is now gonna be crap thanks to the developmental crew! But on the plus side we have some fantastic atheltic tag teams now! Gymini, Mexicools, London and Kendrick, Noble and Kash. All these teams could be the best in history if the WWE use them right and dont force them out to TNA or ROH!

Another good point you made is ECW! WWE has brought back ECW which they killed back in 2001. WHY? Casue it was competition! Now its back under WWE? What the hell! Now I never watched ECW so if I get things wrong am sorry but from what I have seen it was great, The risks they took was fantastic to see and they did really gett he fans involved unlike the WWE! They have took some good whole quality wrestlers on Smackdown! Angle has been moved to the "new face of ECW". What is the point when Angle has been against ECW since its invasion in 2001!!!! Plus Big show from Raw has gone! RVD has gone. Richards from Smackdown has gone back to ECW! These wrestlers who got their big break in WWE are now in ECW! (Part from RVD) When you think raw you think HHH, HBK, RVD, Spirit Squad and when you think Smackdown you think Rey, Kurt, Henry etc... Now even commentaters are in! Tazz has now gone back "HOME" to ECW! Tazz is proberly the best color analysist commentaters out their! Don West and Jerry Lawler dont have anything on Tazz! We all know hes gonna be a commentater in ECW soon! But UK fans arent gonna get him cause WWE arnt bringing out ECW in UK yet! Plus rumours a curculating that Matt Hardy, Super Crazy and Kid Kash are being moved to Smackdown! Which fare enough but again a big name being removed from Smackdown in Matt Hardy! He does seem right in ECW environment and Super Crazy but Kash should stay on Smackdown. Plus Orton a big Smackdown name has been moved to Raw for some reason! WWE officials are doing what WCW did, killing it! Smackdown will be gone soon if they dont sort out their problems!

But There is light on the horizen! Batista is returning to action! At the Great American Bash he faces Mark Henry! Kennedy is back and beat Scotty on Smackdown this past week. Boogeyman is back in August and They are FINALLY giving Henry and Booker that push they need! Booker won the King of the Ring 2006 and Henry is being reconised as a threat now! Booker could be a great Worlds Champion and Henry could! Lashley, Finlay, Regal, Burchill, Vito could all be big US Champions. Nunzio, Kash, Noble, Funaki, Scotty, London, Kendrick could all be big Cruiserweight Champions! As for the new comers like Gunner Scott and Miz! Well the future does look extremely bright with these superstars! Miz has the fans behind him and Gunner is another Benoit! But the injured list is still big.

Currently Injured are:- Hardcore Holly, Batista, Benoit, Boogeyman, Doug Basham! Inactive:- JBL, Joey Mercury, Shannon Moore, Jimmy Yang Biggest names released:- Muhammad Hassan, Christian, Angle (to ECW), Orlando Jordan, Heidenreich, Kidman, Tazz (to ECW)

All in all, ECW could be the Smackdown that never was if you know what I mean! Smackdown could be gone very soon. But what they should do is just simply bring the roster together. That way they have bigger divisions like Heavyweight. Could you imagine something like HHH vs. Rey Mysterio or Henry vs. Viscera or even Lashley vs. Kane???? Even Tag Teams like London and Kendrick vs. Spirit Jackoffs! All the possibilities but the WWE wont use. Even though I am team blue all the way I dont like the chances of Smackdown staying on Television for a longtime like Raw!
DERBORAH PERRINS wrote:
i loved it when the drafts first happend smackdown had it all the rock, Y2J, Kurt Angle, triple H the works and downt he line they've all left for raw which is sad cuz iwas a big Y2J fan but batista is the man for smackdown he is better than brock lesnar was and people go crazy when they here his music its lyk wow, but i am a smackdown guy i do prefer it to raw although being a HUGE triple H fan but Khali is a waste of space the only thing thts keepin me hooked is hoping the Undertaker will be coming back and thn get rid of him.
Richard wrote:
Don't you people get it? Smackdown! is DOA, period. It is only a matter of time.................
Joe wrote:
I dissagree that Rey and Booker T are the only maineventers on the smackdown roster what about the greatest wrestler ever THE UNDERTAKER he is the only wrestler in the wwe that rightfully deserves to be world heavyweight champion. It's a pathetic storyline he is in kahli is just a tall stuttering idiot he is not worthy to even get in the ring with undertaker let alone get victories over him. Undertaker is a legend and should get what he deserves the world heavyweight tittle not having to lay down and let some tall nobody like kahli pin him in my opinion he deserves much more.
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