AJ Styles appeared on Talking Smack on Tuesday night following SmackDown Live and he took a direct shot at Monday Night Raw in the segment. Ever since the beginning of the WWE brand split, Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan have referred to their brand as the “land of opportunity.” In his segment on Talking Smack, AJ Styles agreed with that sentiment, especially after the most recent trades.
“SmackDown makes ’em, RAW takes ’em! We make Superstars over here, that is what we do! You try to clean us out, we’re going to build somebody up and put them on the spot. Guess what? If you want a Superstar, this is where it’s made.”
While some fans have scratched their heads wondering why wrestlers like Jinder Mahal, Fandango, and Tyler Breeze are getting title shots at Backlash, it comes down to what AJ Styles is talking about. SmackDown Live seems more willing to give wrestlers a chance than the more star-filled Monday Night Raw.
Before the WWE brand split, The Miz was seen as little more than a low-mid card wrestler. Even after the split, many fans didn’t take The Miz seriously. However, thanks to his feud with general manager Daniel Bryan and more of a chance to talk, The Miz elevated himself back to main event status.
Throughout the end of 2016, The Miz was one of the most entertaining wrestlers in the WWE and was putting out great matches with a variety of superstars. Now, The Miz is on Monday Night Raw and just won a match that included Finn Balor and Seth Rollins. Before the WWE brand split, no one could have seen that happening on Raw. Even AJ Styles, who was very popular before the WWE brand split, became a great world champion in SmackDown Live.
While SmackDown Live seems to make more stars than Monday Night Raw does lately, it isn’t something that always happens. For every AJ Styles, there is an Apollo Crews. What seems to happen is that the wrestlers are given a chance to get over with the fans and then it is up to them to do something with the opportunity. AJ Styles and The Miz took advantage of their opportunities. Others didn’t.
Kalisto and Apollo Crews were both given a chance to get over on SmackDown Live last year but the fans never really connected with either wrestler. Now, both are on Monday Night Raw. The WWE is trying to do something with Crews, possibly pairing him with Titus O’Neil, while Kalisto beat Braun Strowman last week in a Dumpster Match.
On the other hand, The Shining Stars were doing nothing on Monday Night Raw, using a gimmick that had them trying to sell time shares and losing all their matches. When they debuted on SmackDown Live, they were no longer stuck with the gimmick and underwent a change like The Usos, where they were just tough wrestlers. It is up to The Shining Stars to make the fans care and AJ Styles feels SmackDown Live is the perfect place to do so.
It still takes the fans to put the stars over the top and up to the level of an AJ Styles but that is what SmackDown Live seems to want to do. There are still silly gimmicks, but they even seem to work better on SmackDown than on Raw. A perfect example is Heath Slater and Rhyno, who both got over huge on SmackDown despite their gimmick. As AJ Styles said, they were built on SmackDown Live and now both men are on Raw.
Just because AJ Styles prides himself on the fact that SmackDown Live makes stars, there are still a handful of major stars on the show. Randy Orton is the champion. The Usos have been one of the top tag teams in the WWE for years and they are the tag champions. Kevin Owens and AJ Styles, two of the biggest stars in the company, are feuding for the United States title. Add in John Cena and Chris Jericho, and there are huge stars on SmackDown Live.
Even so, adding names like Jinder Mahal, Fandango, Tyler Breeze, Baron Corbin, The Shining Stars, Sami Zayn, and even the newly introduced Bollywood Boys to the mix, means that SmackDown Live is giving everyone a chance to prove they belong. AJ Styles remains one of the biggest stars in the WWE but he seems happy to see others getting a chance as well.
[Featured Image by WWE]