October 30, 2015
WWE News: WWE Still Panicking Over Ratings, 'WWE SmackDown' To Include Big Names In 2016

WWE SmackDown has always been the little brother to WWE RAW, the flagship show for WWE that is always live each week -- unless they go overseas. WWE has managed to transform SmackDown into a popular show over the years, but recently the show has not been worth seeing. When WWE ended the brand split, SmackDown became nothing more than a RAW recap show to fans. We also see the main stars on both shows, leaving little room for new talent to come up and become great.

Keep in mind that every top star today came out of that draft split, from John Cena and Randy Orton to Daniel Bryan. Even The Shield came up during a soft split. Imagine if we brought it back and the wonders it would do for both RAW and SmackDown. Sadly, this won't be happening for at least a number of months, as WWE wouldn't do this until after WrestleMania at the earliest.

WWE video games have kept the split alive for years up until this year, where the best part of the game was the WWE Universe or GM mode, which allows you to draft people and then compete in matches yearly for picks as well. However, on WWE programming, this hasn't truly existed since 2012. By 2013, the split was pretty much over, and this was when SmackDown ratings began to slide a lot.

ORton Smackdown
image via WWE

WWE realizes it, and according to the Daily Wrestling News, the company is still panicking over the lower ratings. The easy fix is right in front of them, yet they are planning to continue the part-timer idea, where they will bring guys in to work for specific shows to help the ratings out. This is in spite of the fact that ratings were actually the lowest they have been with the legends and part-timers on WWE RAW for an episode.

For the most part, Alberto Del Rio will be a part-timer but will mostly be working television and have a lighter schedule when it comes to the live events. WWE overpaid to get him back to both help with ratings and boost Hispanic viewership.

Don't be surprised if WWE tries to get Chris Jericho and Rob Van Dam back on television yet again. However, the big fish is obviously The Rock. Vince McMahon wants The Rock back for television as soon as possible. The idea is that Rock will be able to make a WWE appearance work by early 2016, but until then, he may only be able to do appearances with WWE here and there.

RAW vs SmackDown
image via WWE

SmackDown is moving to USA Network at the first of the year, and with it WWE is planning on loading the show with big names like the part-timers mentioned above. Brock Lesnar might even work a show, which would be a first for him in a long time. People like The Undertaker are expected to work SmackDown as well.

WWE has been pressured by USA Network to make WWE SmackDown a must-see show when it comes to the network, which is a pretty significant thing for WWE to hear as ratings for them have never truly been an issue in a major way until recently. USA may never have mentioned this had the RAW ratings not dipped. SmackDown is classically not worth seeing each week, so WWE must make it better in order for people to tune in, That mean title matches need to be on the show as well as high-quality matches.

The rumor of a brand split will be going around due to the move, as USA executives want RAW and SmackDown to be unique and worthy of seeing each week. The split would allow this, but the way WWE is going right now, it will surely not help them at all. Expect WWE to fold on it eventually, as they are apparently listening to fans now more than ever.

[Image via WWE]