This week’s SmackDown is promising to be just as exciting as last week’s episode if the latest WWE news about the matter is any indication. But while much ado has been made about Raw in the WWE news reports, there are clearly reasons why SmackDown does better than its Monday night counterpart in the ratings and in terms of fan retention and respect. With this in mind, we decided to explore three of those reasons, in the hope that Raw might consider adopting these tactics to halt its downward slide.
1. Longer matches with healthier competition
The Raw Universal title is nice, sure, but as Daily DDT points out in its latest WWE news report, the WWE World Championship belt is still the gold standard which every other wrestling match must be measured against. Not everyone can win this belt, nor is everyone qualified to compete for it, and the fact that SmackDown has it means that they can afford to put on longer matches with better competitors to wrestle for it. Nowhere was this better illustrated than in the recent No Mercy battle for the belt, where AJ Styles — himself a formidable wrestler in the technical arena — had to go up against John Cena (who, if he’d won, would have tied Ric Flair’s 16-time championship reign) and Dean Ambrose (himself a one-time WWE World Champion, Intercontinental Champion, and United States Champion). That level of sportsmanship is, bar none, the best in the business.
2. Daniel Bryan
According to What Culture‘s latest WWE news report, SmackDown‘s general manager is the brand’s secret weapon in the ratings war. Rather than come across as an old fuddy-duddy like Mick Foley (guys, seriously: what made “Mankind” so great, in his prime, is that he was funny and smart! Bring that back!), Daniel Bryan demonstrates that he truly understands the nature of the sport with his talk of acquisitions, contracts, and statistics. And while Shane McMahon is a toned-down version of himself (which is for the best), Stephanie comes off like a shrieking harpy on Raw, which, when put up against Mick Foley, doesn’t work. Shane, on the other hand, plays off of Daniel Bryan well, and even though Bryan never thought he’d be a GM of wrestling, it’s a good way to keep this beloved wrestler on our screens (since, let’s face it, he’ll never be medically cleared for competition again).
3. The mid-card matches
Yahoo! is the first to point out, in their WWE news report, that Raw is wasting Roman Reigns’ considerable talent. Were it not for him, frankly, the Raw mid-card would be absolutely worthless. Certainly, Reigns deserves a lot better than being a second-string wrestler, but who else is Raw going to promote? Rusev? There isn’t enough wedding cake in the world to make that appealing. Meanwhile, the SmackDown mid-card reads like a who’s who of the best wrestlers, although for different reasons: The Miz and Baron Corbin are heels that everyone loves to hate, and their onscreen characters are perfectly developed. AJ Styles, as was mentioned before, is one of the best wrestlers in the game. And John Cena, while legendary, has been begging to be knocked off his pedestal for the longest time (if solely so he can find his fame and fortune in Hollywood like The Rock did before him). Frankly, the only place that SmackDown falls short is in its tag teams, because they have Heath Slater & Rhyno, who are fantastic, and no one else. Still, that’s an easy fix.
Do you believe that SmackDown is the superior brand to Raw? Leave your thoughts about this latest WWE news in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]