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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Year of the SmackDown (Well, it WAS)

08/16/2017 11:25:47 PM

SmackDown logo obtained thru YouTube

I probably should've wrote this piece long time ago (last month would've been more relevant), just the same way since I have been catching up late with Great Balls of Fire and Battleground. But since SumemrSlam is just around the corner, time to pull the trigger in my mind and finger and be at my poor wrestling fan self again. Anyway...

The year-long stretch from July 2016 to July 2017 was the Year of The SmackDown. I mean, this is how the Blue show called SmackDown Live dominated their counterpart, the flagship Monday Night RAW among the competition between two long-time WWE programs that has been airing since the 90s. All that despite seeing more of sentai-like graphics, and a less-resonating soundtrack.


Why not? They got two franchise players to banner the roster that is full of star and young stalwarts, including two face-like authority figures, and their storylines (though not really fully-baked sometimes) are well-written enough to be compelling. 

And they are really dominating the pay-per-view events (PPV) wars regardless of not having much special matches. Take Hell in a Cell and Extreme Rules away? They had done better thru TLC (Tables, Ladders and Chairs), Punjabi Prison, and Elimination Chamber anyway. And seeing both heels and faces putting up classic moments on and off the squared circle showed and shoved one thing that is true in the current landscape of the WWE: It made SmackDown relevant again. 

They're more than just another RAW rebound show. In fact, they are way beyond than that. SD Live running LIVE on Tuesdays has made the WWE maximize their talents as much as possible. Their main branding which is “the land of opportunities” has been well-played with the emergence of American Alpha, Carmella, Naomi, Bray Wyatt and even Jinder Mahal to their respective stratospheric summits.

And that paved the way for AJ Styles to cement his legacy as one of the marquee guys in the professional wrestling world.

I think that's the reason why John Cena, the E's current flagship guy is on the Tuesday show instead of Monday's. I also thought of the reason why SmackDown Live lived a good 12-month run. All that despite wounding up their top matches at the midcard section of every major PPV gigs.

And in case they are screwing up big time recently, they rebound with their superb main events. Showing innovation through surprises even if it looks unconventional.

Well, it should've been the first half of the previous year and was supposedly the dominating brand until WrestleMania season folded in April.

And things could've gone even smoother since then, until a superstar shakeup took place and that – little by little – triggered the downfall of the Blue Brand among the competition between them and RAW. 

It was obvious: since then, one's running up while the other sliding on decline – gradually. And it should've been fine if the storyline competition has been running wild (but we haven't really seen anything related to that matter since Survivor Series. Not Mania, and not even on Rumble.).

But no, for unknown reasons, the color war just folded without us noticing. All they do is to have PPVs alternating one after the other. However, let's leave with that.

While SmackDown Live had a 'owning' run and still (but silently) playing tug-o-war with RAW in terms of weekly programming, we could only hope they set the bar high again so that RAW can keep up the same way.

And moreover, make the WWE as watchable as if it's 2016, especially with Cena being tagged the 'free agent' and will probably suit up for RAW for good come next week (his first in over 13-14 months). They have a new set of leading characters and it seems that Randy Orton has been taking the same role of Cena right now – that is to see if the potential main guys can impress him good enough to impress Vince.

Author: slickmaster | © 2017 september twenty-eight productions

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