With a real chance to beat Raw this week, would SmackDown live up to the challenge?
It’s a rare moment for SmackDown to potentially beat Raw in the ratings this week. The perfect storm formed, with a presidential debate and Monday Night Football game combining to put Raw in a tough spot. WWE’s blue brand had a golden opportunity to take their shot in the post-draft era, and finally score that ratings victory over Raw.
Overall, SmackDown did a solid job of continuing the build towards No Mercy and gave Raw a run for that money.
We don’t do this very often, but this week we are going to give SmackDown Live the praise it derserves for a quality show.
Randy Orton tries to find Bray
Did this not feel like it was right out of the Attitude Era? Randy chasing Bray Wyatt around the entire building, trying to find the “Eater of Worlds.” And, at each turn, Orton was faced with a test or challenge. Bray’s promos were excellent and this dynamic was great. At no point did it feel unrealistic, or boring or out of place. It was typical of the Wyatt character to call out Orton, and typical of Orton to go chasing for him.
These two still haven’t fought one-on-one in the ring, and that’s what makes this bearable. The ultimate wait to finally see Orton and Wyatt do battle is making this buildup mean just a little bit more. And no, I still don’t know what to make of that final interaction between the two. Letting our imaginations run wild is always a good thing.
The Miz and Dolph Ziggler
In an effort to keep a feud between The Miz and Dolph Ziggler relevant, the WWE has pulled out the title versus career card. One more time, The Miz and Ziggler are going to go at it. If Ziggler loses, it’s all over for him. He is putting his career on the line. And at first, it felt like a cop-out. Ziggler’s promo pulled me back in. It gave the feud the necessary motivation and reason that it needs to continue. There is fire and passion in both men, and for good reason.
They did the impossible. They got me to care about a feud involving Ziggler. That match at No Mercy is going to be very, very good.
When matches are unpredictable, in the sense that a clear winner isn’t out there, it makes the feud better. The winner of this match isn’t clear. The Miz doesn’t seem like he is being positioned to drop the belt, but does anyone really believe that the WWE is letting Ziggler go? This is where the reality era really can enhance a feud. Never thought I would say this, but sign me up for this one.
No Authority figures
Did everybody notice that Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon were absent for this show? No offense to either of them, but the show was better off for it. The focus was put on the Superstars, their feuds and the show itself. Nothing felt out of place, everything felt structured.
Raw has its Authority figures guide the show — making matches, being involved in segments and driving the program. SmackDown has had its fair share of that, but last night was a welcome change and the show was for the better. The real question is whether or not this will be a constant thing, or if this was just a one-off move from the SmackDown writing team.
Either way, the entire show flowed and had continuity. Shows like this can drum up some competition and make both shows want to strive to be the best. And if it gets Authority figures off television, I think we can all get behind things like this.