Friday, 13 November 2015

How would you improve WWE Smackdown?

How would you improve WWE Smackdown?

As always everything written below is my opinion as a wrestling fan. I'm not a wrestling expert nor do I proclaim to be one! I have a love for wrestling and written below is my perspective :) Please read and Enjoy Thanks

I remember seeing the 1st episode of Smackdown it was 1999 and it was a Saturday morning. My Friend Matt had SKY TV at his house so I used to go over every Saturday morning and watch wrestling (as we were young at the time we weren’t allowed to get up at 1am to see Raw). Usually there was WWF Metal or some other highlight show on telling us about the goings on in WWE that week however this week in 1999 was different. That is how we kept up with wrestling we didn’t have Internet or smartphones then and information in the palms of our hands.

We sat there in Matt living room I was sat on a wooden chair and suddenly that music hit and that intro started and we looked at each other and said “what on earth is this?” up came the Graphic on the screen ”WWF Smackdown” we were not happy we wanted our Highlight show Damm it!

Original smackdown set
As the show started through those feelings of annoyance changed as we suddenly realised that’s something better had come along WWF Smackdown was a brand new 2 Hour show carrying on the story lines from WWF Raw. Gone were the highlights of matches instead we got to see full matches, promos, backstage segments, we got a full proper wrestling show being able to see that every week from then on was just awesome.

Getting to see full matches and appearances from Stone Cold, The Rock, Mankind, HHH, The Undertaker, Kane and more – it was like heaven for us.

WWE did some fantastic Smackdown shows back then Stone Cold hunting down DX on Smackdown and capturing them in all kinds of different traps for example was great piece of television and it also meant something and rolled into the next show WWE Raw. Smackdown had special moments to it things you would remember and Smackdown has lost those moments. Think amount he formula for a moment of a success TV program (breaking bad etc) it keeps making you want to come back for more, you have that feeling at the end of the show "I must watch next week!" but with so much oversaturation of WWE this is a tough challenge for them to overcome in this modern era.

Steve Austin on Smackdown
Somewhere along the way after the 2001 purchase of WCW, WWE lost their way a bit. Without competition wrestling struggled and arguably still struggles today in 2015.
Instead Smackdown was turned into a 2nd Brand. Without WCW and ECW WWE decided to create competition within themselves and have a brand split RAW and Smackdown and have these two brands compete against each other.
In this era Smackdown flourished because it was putting into the hands of Paul Heyman. Heyman use Smackdown to develop the stars of the future he gave opportunity to stars such as Edge, Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio and more and Edge stated recently that if it wasn’t for that extra exposure on Smackdown he doesn’t think he would of made it as a wwe main event star.

Edge vs Kofi Kingston on Smackdown
As Smackdown moved in the in to late 2000s the format of the show hasn’t changed and has become in my mind very stale. Smackdown has lost that meaning it had, that meaning to watch it and to be glued to it for 2 hours it used to be story driven and have a good cross over appeal and you used to have to watch Smackdown to keep up to date with things.

Now you can miss Smackdown for weeks and it doesn’t even matter because nothing of consequence happens on Smackdown.

Think about this when has a title change occurred on Smackdown in the past few years? (I'm struggling to remember one) what big promo or moment has taken place on Smackdown in the past 5 years? Apart from the Rock Returning to his own show not a lot.

Now in 2015 the matches are randomly put together and the fan interest in Smackdown is a lot lower because it is a taped show so fans either go online and find out the results or use their DVR to record it and there is no reason for them to invest two hours into a show that isn’t live.

In a nutshell WWE need to make Smackdown important again, they need to make it feel relevant and they need to make it must watch TV for the fans, if WWE don’t care about Smackdown neither will the fans, there has to be an emphasis on it and a positive drive to kickstart this show again.

Tyler Breeze

WWE however did do something of note recently on Smackdown. They introduced a new Character from WWE NXT to WWE Smackdown Tyler Breeze. I thought this was great, it wasn’t the usual new superstar debut on Raw.

 It gave a reason to watch Smackdown and gave us a new debut of a new Character and although he has been established in NXT for some time, Tyler breeze will add a different dynamic  to the main roster and have a great feud with Dolph Ziggler.

I think this shows that WWE haven’t forgotten about Smackdown and obviously they are thinking about its development.  
So How would I fix Smackdown?  I understand WWE will be moving Smackdown to USA network in 2016 and this is the idea opportunity to revamp and change the Smackdown Product here is what I would do in 5 Bullet Points.

Modern Smackdown set
  • Make WWE Smackdown Live - This to be is a must WWE have to make Smackdown live. In order to get more viewers and to build some intrigue into the show and to attract more people to see it.
  • Have WWE Title, IC Title, Tag Titles, Women's title Defended on the show more often - WWE in the past few years never really has title matches on Smackdown if they do they are on an anniversary special or an xmas special. WWE doesn't have titles defended on Tv very often, I'm not asking them to be on TV every week but a bit of variety would be great, a title holder retaining the title or even a title change even once a year would move eyeballs back to Smackdown.
  • Give fans something different they aren’t used to seeing be unpredictable again - enrolled into the 2nd point above talking about title changes smackdown has become so predictable. its the same format as Raw and is presented in the same way.
  •  Use the top tier talent that is reserved for Raw - Very rarely do you see top tier talent from Raw to Smackdown although it is all WWE shows very rarely now do you see John Cena on Smackdown. You never see Brock Lesnar for example. A key to Smakckdown being a success in the late nineties was that all the talent was used across all of the shows.

  • Make the set and feel different from Raw - Smackdown looks the same as Raw Raw is red Smackdown is Blue that is the only difference between the shows. If Smackdown had a different look this would freshen up the show.

Thanks For Reading
Jonathan Orchard

All pictures used are property of their respective owners and used for illustrative purposes only

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