It’s been two months since the Blue Brand and the Red Brand began competing against each other again. Despite RAW getting more talent and having more time on their hands, SmackDown Live is proving to be the better show. Here are the top 3 reasons why.
The main problem RAW has is that it’s stuck in the past when it comes to booking. On the Red Brand, there still is a huge gap between main event talent and anyone below. If Neville was to challenge Kevin Owens for the Universal Championship tomorrow, nobody would believe he’d stand a chance. If Baron Corbin ambushed AJ Styles at No Mercy and asked for a title match, the fans would get excited, questioning who’d come on top. The same applies to the hierarchy in the Tag Team and the Women’s Divisions.
SmackDown managed to create the image of a land of opportunities. Both AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose got a clean victory over John Cena. It actually seems plausible that Cena won’t win his 16th title at No Mercy. Miz and the Intercontinental Championship are a main storyline and Heath Slater and Rhyno, against all odds, are proving to be deserving champions, instead of jobbers, who just lucked out that one time. Even Jack Swagger’s career seems to be entering a renaissance. Making us believe that anything is possible, as long as you work passionately for it, is what the fans love about SmackDown.
Divisions Not Individuals
Another one of SmackDown’s strong points is that the Blue Brand manages its resources better. On RAW, the storyline is always about the top individual, representing a certain division. Whether it’s Charlotte or the New Day – the champ is everything. This makes the division weak because you end up with one leading man/woman and one main opposing counterpart. Everyone else stands no chance.
SmackDown, however, didn’t start off with the same overwhelming star power as RAW, so the show had to work with all sorts of talent to create divisions that people care about. They had to build a new Women’s Division and a new Tag Team Division from scratch, so the writers paid attention to building the characters in them. After all, if the talent looks strong, the division will, as well. We were reintroduced to all the women on SmackDown, regardless of whether they had been on the roster for ages, or they had just come from NXT. As a result, people care and the feud between Carmella and Nikki became as important, as the title struggle between Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch. There are no jobbers and all the ladies have their gimmicks, while on RAW, there’s only Charlotte vs Sasha Banks with occasional Bayley in it.
The New Day is another good example. They have been champs for over 400 days. By that point, their presence is so overwhelming that no other team on the roster seems like a legitimate threat to them. The New Day ARE the RAW Tag Team Division. How many people even remember Breezango and the Golden Truth? Whereas on SmackDown, everyone gets a fair share of the spotlight. Even the Ascension are starting to regain credibility little by little.
The bottomline is that RAW relied on the elite to pull them up after the split and SmackDown invested in developing its whole roster at the same time, resulting in a much better product.
Attention to Storylines
One of the huge advances in storytelling that SmackDown employed is bringing attention back on the plot. Unlike RAW’s approach, on SmackDown a title is not the sole plot device to drive a feud. The characters make the rivalry.
A good example to illustrate this is the feud between Miz and Dolph Ziggler for the IC title. Miz vs. Ziggler has been a rivalry that has filled the WWE midcard countless times. The thought of seeing them face-off again used to make the fans groan and roll their eyes, preparing to be bored. Suddenly, we are at a stage where the A-lister and the Show Off stand against each other and the crowd is fully engaged, on the edge of their seats. How?
It’s very simple. The current feud between Ziggler and the Miz is not just about the title. It’s about who they are. It’s personal and it’s touching. Both men are given the air time to cut amazing promos and they deliver such high quality of mic work that the fans can’t stop talking about it. The fans care. This is something that has eluded the WWE for a long time – the importance of personality.
Ziggler and the Miz haven’t magically changed and become interesting. However, the willingness of the Blue Brand to invest in their characters, in the story behind the rivalry, allowed them to capture the attention of the fans. Subsequently, that made the Intercontinental Championship important again. Ironically, taking the gold out of the leading role, brought its prestige back because now we have two outstanding characters, fighting for it and that in itself makes the Intercontinental Championship stand out.
Overall, RAW is stuck in the past. It still is a show, dominated by the Authority where only the chosen ones get a shot at fame. SmackDown vests its trust into its talent and in return, the superstars make the show a success. The Blue Brand is the brand of the people and that makes it far more entertaining than the Red Brand.
Which show do you like better and why? Leave a comment and let us know!