Pro Wrestling

Why WWE Smackdown Is Now The “A” Show

A few months ago, I wrote a column detailing WWE Smackdown and why their ratings/viewership had been growing. This was on the heels of Summerslam back in August. Three months later, and the upswing in numbers is still there. When the blue brand is drawing over 500,000 more viewers than the supposed number one show, the red brand RAW, it is worth writing about.

Roman Reigns – Let’s start with the obvious. Just like I wrote about back in August, it was a HUGE boost for Smackdown to get back the number one star of the entire industry. That is not hyperbole or even an opinion. Forget whatever other company or show you may like or rave about. Roman Reigns is the top of the top in 2020 and has been for the past five years. Now when you add in his new attitude, new right hand man Paul Heyman and new shiny Universal Title…well, it’s just so far above everybody else it isn’t even funny. He has been amazing, and his ongoing saga with The Usos has been great. You can’t tell me with a straight face that he hasn’t made the blue brand better since coming back in August. You can’t tell me the viewership gains as of late can’t at least partially (or entirely) be credited to him.

Two Hours – This goes without saying. I know Raw is contracted to give USA Network three hours every Monday night, but yikes. Whatever extra money they got for that is not worth it now. USA and RAW have a billion dollar deal, as does FOX with Smackdown. Whatever few extra millions isn’t worth the struggle. The blue brand sits at two hours and breezes by more often than not. Raw, I admit, I fall asleep to some nights or just watch it the next day with the benefit of a fast forward option.

FOX Promotion – Do not forget the platform that Smackdown airs on. I watch the National Football League, like most of the United States of America. For those that may live elsewhere, let me just say this plain and clear: NFL is popular. Like, super duper popular in the U.S. The reason I say this is because football games air on FOX on Thursday nights and ALWAYS give a few plugs to WWE Smackdown airing the next night. Then there are games on other days/nights of the week, but the ‘big’ Sunday also airs on FOX. That is some big time promotion. NFL only airs from mid-September through the first week of February. It makes sense why the blue brand is seeing a good boost right now.

Sasha Banks – I have never been a big Sasha Banks. I will freely say that. Make no mistake, her matches in NXT were great. Her character and all that extra jazz is cool. It fits “The Boss” character. Her stuff with Bayley (teaming and feuding) was good. I am taking nothing away from he, but whenever I list favorites, she is never that high on my personal rankings. Since winning the Smackdown Womens Championship though, she has a new swagger. A nea aura. Maybe it is the guest role on Mandalorian? Maybe it is the big title victory? I don’t know, but for the first time in years, she has STAR written all over. Very cool to see.

Mysterio Family Drama – Seth Rollins has jumped over to Smackdown. Rey Mysterio has jumped over to Smackdown. Dominik has jumped over to Smackdown. Murphy has jumped over to Smackdown. Most importantly, Aalyah has jumped over to Smackdown. I think that story line may be FINALLY winding down, but it can’t be denied that people love their drama on TV. The back and forth romantic, relationship crap is what some go ga-ga over. This nonsense has certainly been over the top at times (Eye For An Eye?), but you know what, it has been fine. It has introduced us to a new character (Aalyah) that seems like a natural, and it has given a break to Murphy who is talented. Where it all leads, time will tell. Until then, the blue brand practically got one of Raw’s best feuds in the WWE Draft. From one show to the other.

ThunderDome – I still say some of the ratings/viewership increase is due to viewers absolutely hating the empty arena ‘feel’ from the Performance Center during the spring and summer. We’ll see how the atmosphere changes when WWE heads to Tropicana Field in December. A big stadium versus the arena they’re at now? Should be different.

Daniel Bryan – Last by not least, you know who else is back in the fold? Daniel Bryan! Roman Reigns is not the only star that sat at home for awhile due to his wife giving birth. The Yes Man is back and actually doing something main event worthy. He isn’t back fooling around with Drew Gulak or joking around with Sami Zayn. Well, he kinda is. No, he is back in there teasing a feud with The Usos, Roman Reigns and yes, the Universal Championship! When Bryan is back and wrestling every week, Smackdown is in a better place. When he is doing something important, it gives us an instant credible guy at the top of the card opposite Reigns. That can only mean GOOD things. I hope he continues to mix it up in the squared circle. A feud with Roman Reigns right now would be MONEY. Big time heel and big time face. Perfect for television viewers.

Agree or disagree? Why did Smackdown catch fire in August and continues to burn it down in November?

Follow me on Twitter: @JustinWatry

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