The first live edition of SmackDown was solid, but unspectacular. It was going to be hard for the event to shine in a way worthy of its debut, as a program muddled with draft picks, random go-home closes leading into Battleground, and all the hoopla that came with balancing it as the last show featuring Raw and SmackDown talent was going to be difficult to book.
Not at all oddly, because what a bunch of negative folk, the mean streets of Twitter took notice. More importantly, fans — on all varieties of social media — went bonkers over the idea that Raw was drafted in a way to be the big brand and SmackDown Live was clearly the “B-show.”
What was strange is the fact that the same people who complain about the WWE failing to book new stars were the same complaining about SmackDown Live being built in a way to help, you know, build new stars.
“WWE never books new stars,” said Internet Human. (WWE builds entire program with a few top stars, but clearly wants to elevate some new ones) “Why are more stars being booked on Raw then SmackDown? This is dumb.”
End short fiction.
Wrestling fans, who might complain more about the thing they love more than any other type of fan, spent the night treating each draft selection as if the talent involved were being based off merit. An odd thing to do considering we all realize pro wrestling is scripted.
Furthermore, SmackDown Live did get very big names picked to its brand. John Cena might not be the straw that stirs everyone’s drink, but the WWE’s decision to put him on the blue team should automatically result in the obvious — if the WWE is willing to put him on SmackDown Live, then the brand isn’t going to be hogwash.
Let’s not forget that SmackDown Live also landed fan favorites AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose. While I’m much lower on the abilities of the latter than most, one can’t complain about Ambrose not getting his fair run and claim he’s a top guy… then say SmackDown has no top guys when Ambrose is drafted there to be just that. A similar thing obviously applying to Styles.
It is the never-ending circle of illogical hate that drives the Internet Wrestling Community that failed to take a second to step back on Tuesday night and realize, well, four of the top seven guys in the company were being hurled onto this supposed B-show.
The rest of the roster, save for Bray Wyatt — who is likely headed to a massive push (another thing the IWC claims it wants) — is built in a way to help elevate a few guys to next-level stardom.
Yes, Raw got the tag team, U.S., cruiserweight (assuming this championship returns), and women’s titles, but that’s such a shortsighted view. SmackDown Live is only going to be two hours long. Having the Intercontinental title and the WWE World Heavyweight Championship — or whatever version it SmackDown Live gets — is good enough.
Shocking news: Two hours, especially in comparison to three, is not that much programming.
Moreover, we have no idea if other belts will be switched at Battleground or if the tag team titles will be split again or if another women’s belt will be introduced. Really, we still know very little about the details as far as the brand-extension is concerned. All we do know right now is that SmackDown Live is littered with top stars and that Raw might be more littered with them… but that’s only because that show is longer.
This isn’t hard to figure out. It’s logistics.
It is incredibly early in the era of SmackDown Live. Let’s give it at least one show by itself before fans deem it the worst thing since the time our Uncle Larry ate the last bowl of generic cereal, OK? Let’s just give it a chance. How do we know this is going to be bad before we even consume it?
Did the new Pokemon Go thing come with a free ESP app?