BETWEEN THE BRAND SPLIT OF 2016 AND THE BRAND SPLIT OF 2017- SMACKDOWN LIVE WAS THE A SHOW ON A WEEKLY BASIS.
Every week the blue brand was putting on excellent shows with interesting feuds between AJ and Shane, Bryan and Miz, Miz and Ziggler, American Alpha and Uso’s…the list goes on and made the show a joy to watch. However- since the second Brand Split, the show has been missing that spark. When it was discovered that Miz was going to Raw and Zayn was going to SmackDown- people were delighted for Sami and devastated for The Miz. But nearly five months on it’s almost impossible to argue that SmackDown is still the better show.
A number of things have of course changed that has brought this shift in quality about. Raw seems to just be hitting the nail on the head with the majority of their feuds. Roman vs Cena has felt like the most real feud in years that has everyone in the wrestling industry buzzing, as previously mentioned Miz is still doing wonders with the Intercontinental Championship that makes whatever he does a joy to watch, the Hardyz, Ambrose and Rollins and The Bar are making the Tag Division interesting meanwhile at the top- Braun vs Brock is one of the most intriguing matchups in recent memory that, again, has most of the wrestling world focused. There are of course slip ups- no-one cares about Bray and Finn whilst the Cruiserweights are slipping further down the radar but the majority of the show is consistently quite good.
On the flip side- SmackDown Live has faltered. The main blame has to be put onto its main event scene. Whilst on the red brand Brock Lesnar is facing Braun Strowman, Jinder Mahal is the apparent top guy on that show which naturally causes people to tune out. Why would you sit and watch a glorified jobber at the top of the card when you could watch two legit athletes going through one another? Secondly- the stories just aren’t as interesting. While it has to be said yes; Uso’s vs New Day is absolutely fantastic and The Fashion Files is the funniest stuff WWE has put out in years- the rest of the show isn’t meeting that same standard. AJ is currently involved in a US title feud with the guy that management has apparently soured on and barely gets any screen time to build the story up, Owens vs Shane still hasn’t quite started (with the exception of Shane’s suspension on the most recent episode) and the women’s title scene is an afterthought.
So can SmackDown Live come back from this? Personally- I think so. With a roster that has Styles, Owens, Nakamura, Zayn, Uso’s, New Day, Lynch, Charlotte and others on it- it’s never going to be down for too long and, as previously mentioned, there are without a doubt bright spots that are some of the best in the company. But it’s going to be very interesting to see where brand goes in the near future as the year starts to wind down. We will truly see if it is actually the Land of Opportunity.