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WRESTLING COLUMNS

SmackDown!: The New #1 Brand
October 5, 2005 by Shaun Clement


For a long time RAW has been the number one brand in the minds of the WWE. SmackDown! was a clear and distant second as demonstrated by the past rosters on each show. This was recently highlighted by the roster draft a few months ago where SmackDown! lost their champion and the most over man in the WWE at the moment, John Cena, Kurt Angle, RVD, Big Show and their up-and-coming heel Carlito. In return SmackDown! gained only Randy Orton, Batista, and the misused Christian.

The WWE Championship, the most prestigious belt in wrestling was returned to RAW and SmackDown! was left hanging by a thread. JBL still in the title picture somehow, and Batista receiving about 2 minutes airtime per show made it an occasional viewing show, not like the must-see RAW. However, since Summerslam and their move to Friday nights SmackDown! has improved remarkably, matches are becoming more frequent, new talent is popping up everywhere, and now the show is compulsory viewing. And it's all due to a few simple changes.

The WHC Belt- When Batista was battling Triple H way back after Wrestlemania the title was important. The feud meant something and the belt was the ultimate prize. However, when Batista switched shows and feuded with the ageing JBL, the belt meant nothing. Batista and the championship went from being the number one story of RAW to being about third on SmackDown! and getting about 2 minutes worth per episode. However, since the show's move to Friday night that changed. JBL finally stepped aside and was brilliantly filled by Eddie Guerrero. Eddie and Batista have gelled beautifully and provided great entertainment. Once again Batista and the World Heavyweight Championship mean something. And it's all due to more airtime, a talented person to feud with, and just the brilliance of Guerrero.

The US Title- Ten points if anyone can tell me how many times Orlando Jordan defended that title of his in his five-month reign. Exactly. OJ was given the belt to allow Cena to win the WWE title and then did nothing with it. Now with Chris Benoit as champion the belt has some value again. And what a mid-card there is! Booker T, Christian, Benoit, OJ, Mr. Kennedy, Hardcore Holly and the list can go on. This is an exciting division and any of these men could step up and join the likes of Rey Mysterio, Eddie, JBL, Undertaker, Orton and Batista at the top of the card.

Exciting new stars- This is the most amazing transformation in SmackDown! We now have Mr. Kennedy burning up Friday nights with his hilarious antics. Bobby Lashley has sprung up as a Brock Lesnar-like powerhouse, and he looks amazing in the ring. Sylvan has a new ring name and look and seems like a promising mid-card performer once he's done with Holly. And once Matt Hardy joins SmackDown there will be a full roster of amazing ability.

A decent Tag Team feud that doesn't involve superheroes or gays has been a breath of fresh air, a co-GM has made things very interesting, and hey, even Melina and Christy have picked up some wrestling action. So welcome.

Due to the aforementioned reasons and many more, SmackDown! is now a contender for the crown of number one brand in the WWE. It surely is changing the way I view Friday nights.

by Shaun Clement ..


Electric Surge wrote:
This is one of the most one sided columns I have ever read. First of all you don't prove any point with examples. Sure maybe (BIG MAYBE) Smackdown is better than Raw, but if you're talking about the good things going for Smackdown! you have to mention the good things going for Raw. It's not a very good argument if you don't argue so let me help your article out a bit. Raw had the WH championship. Smackdown has the WWE championship. That's supposedly even. You kind of fail to mention that the reason one belt is better than each other is because of the people who hold the belt and the kind of matches it gives. Triple H vs Batista was a good feud because of the build up to that. So if Smackdown has a better storyline going up after the Eddie Guerrero/Batista feud (because this one certainly is not) you will then fore have a better title.

O wow! The US title has been given back to Chris Benoit. That gives it no instant value. It WILL gain some value after the four way at the next PPV.

I like the new people but they shouldn't be going against jobbers on the main show, the should be doing real creditable matches, not pointless Internet Velocity matches.

Speaking of Internet Velocity and Belts, the main attraction of Smackdown! was the exclusive cruiserweights. But the belts not even on the main show. Just let Raw take the tag teams away and push the cruiserweights again. Nobody cares about the Womens Championship so that decision will restore all value to the divisions.

One more problem with you story. Smackdown is taped on Tuesdays. Runs on Friday Night. But in central New Jersey UPN is so close to NY that all there is is a stupid Mets game. So I have to tune in Saturday to watch it. If I'm not there to watch it I have to tape it. Problem is I can't tape it if my VCR's already set for TNA Impact. So with an anti- WWE not I leave you. So for being so long.
Rhysenswan wrote:
I have to agree. I have been watching Raw since it started, and I watched the Monday night Wars, etc. I have to say that Smackdown! has come a long way in a very short time. The move to Friday night seems to have re-invigorated the show, along with the new talent they have. Lashley is incredible, and if givin the chance, has potential to be quite a force in the WWE. I agree that the Championships have regained some of the luster they have lost in recent months as well. As a long time fan of wrestling, it's nice to see that the creative juices are still flowing somewhere in the WWE, or at least they're not as stale as they seemed to have been becoming.
Phillip Healy wrote:
In Part I agree with what you are saying about Smackdown being a better show. Since the draft RAW does not seem to have changed much in story lines and its characters, but with the wrestlers that Smackdown gained apart from Christian, they have been used very well and to good effect and combined with previous talent, it is a very good show. As far as Smackdown being the #2 for quite some time I believe you to be wrong. In my opinion only since Wrestlemania 20 has RAW been the dominant show(the triple threat match starting it off). Brock Lesnar, Kurt Angle, Undertaker, Eddie Guerrero, Big Show(when feuding with Lesnar), Rey Mysterio, The Cruiserweight Division, New Talent like Haas And Benjamin, RVD, Cena and many more made the show great. There show was much better as again in RAW it was mainly HHH instead of using Goldberg or Kane or perhaps Steiner correctly and ever since Lesnar went to Smackdown permanantly and there was two belts I believe Smackdown to be the better show
Richard Powell wrote:
I would have to disagree with you about SmackDown! It is not quite there in terms of challenging RAW for Number one Brand. Has it improved, yes. But is it Number one yet, no, not at all. I think the biggest good change was getting the Rey Mysterio vs Guerrero fued over with. I was suffocating seeing that match every week on Smackdown! If Triple H went to Smackdown! then the brand could seriously challenge RAW.

Mr. Kennedy is great, as you suggested. It is amazing what you can do with a little imagination. He needs no face paint, super-hero costumes, child custody fights etc. I think Kennedy is doing a wonderful job with his character thus far and I hope it continues. Bring Triple H to SMACKDOWN! to finally topple Batista and you could see a SMACKDOWN! THAT WOULD DESTROY RAW!!
Ernest Gdog Gd wrote:
I read the column and it doesn't make any sense. Right now Smackdown is not even in Raw's league. I tune in to both show every week and there's one thing you can guarantee to see on Smackdown, and thats at least one of the same exact match, involving the same 2 wrestlers, that you saw the week before. How many times are we gonna see the same match we had to pay to see on PPV on Smackdown. If you're a Smackdown fan you really don't have to order their PPV brands cause the next week on Smackdown you'll be able to see a few rematches on TV for free. Yes Smackdown may have the better talent bringing in Booker T, Christian, R. Orton, and Batista along with its new stars, and cruiserweights but we all are seeing them misuse their talent. Booker T should of been the WWE champion a while ago but now what is he doing" Wrestling in tag team matches against MNM, battling Christian repeatedly, and now fueding with Benoit for the "US Title". This is the "5 time" WCW champion and he can't even win the WWE championship 1 time but guys like JBL can. Speaking of Benoit, this was a guy who was a former World Heavyweight Champion and had a classic match with HHH at Wrestlemania 20, now having amusing 1 min matches with OJ for the US Title. Come on now! The WWE is still not bringing any prestige to the US title with that storyline. Benoit and Booker don't belong in the US title picture. OJ and Christian do, why can't the WWE just leave them 2 in the picture. I guarantee if Booker and Benoit are in the WHC title picture Smackdown will definitely improve in my eyes. Until then Raw will always be superior. With storylines like HHH fueding with Flair(something we haven't seen), Kurt Angle finally in the WWE title picture again against Cena(which is good for both, as it elevates Angle's career again and helps Cena wrestling skills),and with veterans like HBK(who can still entertain no matter what he does),RVD when he returns,Kane, Edge, and new stars such as entertaining Carlito, athletic Shelton Benjamin, and Chris Masters who has a promising future with his push Raw will be on top for a while. I'll take those guys over Batista, Guerrero, Mysterio Jr, Orton, Booker, Christian, Benoit, Taker, JBL, and any of their cruiserweights. Lets face it Booker and Benoit in the US title is BORING, JBL and Mysterio is BORING, and Batista and Guerrero is BORING. How many times they gonna keep giving Eddie a chance, he can't carry a WHC match, he can't handle the spotlight. The only entertaining spots is Taker and RKO(but one more match may do it for me) and Ken Kennedy. You people speak about their cruiserweights but I don't see many cruiserweight matches on Smackdown. Lets face it many of us don't see Velocity, we want to see big time 2 hr show so why can't we see the "talented" cruiserweights on Smackdown" Why because this isn't WCW back in their successful days. Thats when it was wrestling that was entertaining, now the writers want to spend more time entertaining us with soap operas. Since the cruiserweights aren't big stars they don't get no big time airtime. And that right there is proving Smackdown is still JV to Raw! You all know it!
GGlor369 wrote:
I disagree that smackdown is numberone because of the superstars. If you see Raws roster you will see legends like hogan and Shawn michaels. If you see the Smackdowns roster they have no legends accept undertaker and Animal. Also the storylines Raw has different storylines each week while Smackdown still is hanging on to one of there storyline for instance Rey Mysterio and Eddie which lasted 6 months. In my opinion i say that SD lost that tittle a long time a go Raw is the better brand.
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