Which Brand To Embrace"
August 14, 2004 by Jonathan Rogers

When the WWE split into two brands, I figured I would watch both until settling on a favorite and stick with it. After almost two years of switching back and forth, I've still not reached a solid opinion on which is the one to watch. As much as I became annoyed with the Stone Cold character and the overall direction of Raw, without him on there every Monday Night, the show suffers. Albeit, I had reached the end of my rope during the whole ATV angle, nobody gets a crowds blood pumping like Austin.

Finding myself dissatisfied at 11:05 every Monday night, I would look forward to tuning into Smackdown to see what they had to offer a few days later. For the longest time I couldn't get past their weak lineup. Then when Angle went down, I decided I wouldn't watch anymore. This changed when it was announced that Triple H had been "traded" to Smackdown during the first swap of talent some time ago. I was ecstatic. I thought this was brilliant. 1) something the fans didn't seen coming and 2) totally against convention (in breaking up the newly formed Evolution so soon into it's existence). But as usual, Vince and Co. decided to stick w/ the norm and not do something exciting and fresh, but instead teased the public into tuning in for the next few weeks while the whole Triple H being-traded-saga, played out. This was all topped by several less than average pay-per-views, where as a long time fan, I finally felt truly cheated and disrespected.

After a few months of clicking my way through the Monday and Thursday programs and enduring the Kane-Matt-Lita nightmare, (does the George the Animal/Ms. Elizabeth angle ring a bell"") I decided that I'd been duped enough by Raw and I'd had it. So I settled in a few weeks ago and decided I'd watch an entire Smackdown without interruption. It wasn't the 1987 Great American Bash by any means, but it certainly wasn't half bad, in fact to my pleasure, it was borderline terrific. The fact that Kurt Angle was wrestling again made the two hours worth it alone. I know everyone has an issue with Bradshaw holding the strap, but that doesn't bother me one bit. Haas, London, the underused until recently, Billy Kidman, Eddie and Kurt make the product credible and a pleasure to watch. Cole and Tazz are like clockwork and the crowds, for the most part, are going bonkers for every match. For now, I don't feel cheated.

While I might not have the desire for the sport that I once had, I still believe in wrestling. While I'd love to tune in every Monday night and see a Blassie/Tolos match live from the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles or Carlos Colon taking on Abdullah the Butcher from some rundown baseball stadium in Puerto Rico, I'll settle for the Smackdown boys and girls for now. Long live Blassie.

by Jonathan Rogers..



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