The Hot Topic: SmackedDown…End Of An Era?

Rob Taylor


Greetings once more from Sunny England, welcome to THT… I’ve spent a few weeks thinking about various wrestling topics, what to write about…then some major news hit and the topic was clear…but first as ever, here are my random thoughts on the recent developments in Wrestling…

Judgement Day? If that is all we can expect from such a named day, I won’t exactly tremble at it’s coming… Let’s be fair, the I Quit match was inventive, with a finish that kinda sucked, but fitted JBL to a tee…

So Vince McMahon is now taking credit for ECW… Paul Heyman in the ring next to him backing him up against Bischoff…PLEEASE!!… This ECW reunion is beginning to look like a bad idea, it’s not exactly the same spirit that saw Sandman spit beer in Savio Vega’s face is it?

Edge and Lita are “officially” an onscreen couple…or translate…This is how a career dies…to You Screwed Matt and Slut chants…. This ain’t gonna work, it’s plain to see the two are so awkward on camera that there would be more chemistry if they paired Edge with Mae Young…

The Draft is gonna be held over a month…great…so we get 2 weeks of “major signings” and 2 of “the afterthoughts”… Which leads me on to…

The Hot Topic… Last week it was announced by UPN that Smackdown is being moved to “the graveyard slot” of Friday nights… This is significant to the future of WWE and Wrestling in many ways…

Firstly, that the network chose to announce this apparantly without WWE’s knowledge, shows how weak they view Smackdown to be at this time, they know the contract is up next year, and they clearly don’t care about renewing it… WWE has always prided itself on having a product viewers, and thus networks want… They attract the right demographics for the advertisers, and do respectable numbers on a weekly basis… but in the case of Smackdown, the network are basically killing off the show…

Let’s put this into perspective, SD will now no longer be seen in one of it’s most important markets on a regular basis, as it will be prempted by Baseball. That alone is a potentially crippling blow to the ailing brand… Add into this WWE’s own actions of recent weeks…

We know 2 things, There is going to be a draft…and that ECW is clearly important to WWE cos of RAW’s involvment… In the draft, we know that any WWE superstar, and potentially title can be moved across to RAW, it’s widely rumored that Kurt Angle will be the major jumpee… Of course the trades can work both ways, but let’s be realistic, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, anyone of major calibre is NOT going to be happy to jump to a show that is now seemingly dead in the water ratings wise… Likewise, someone like John Cena, whom WWE has spent such time and money investing in, is now champ of what in a years time, could be a dead brand…

Add to this the ECW issue, indeed that RAW is invading ECW…Arguably looking at the 2 rosters, there are more potential ECW talents on Smackdown than RAW… If WWE decided they want to take ECW further, Smackdown can kiss goodbye to Tazz, RVD and potentially Rey and Eddy… Talent drained now, may not have time to be replaced….

It is not all doom and gloom, of course guys like Christian could jump to SD and cause a sensation…but the reality is anyone in that position will be walking the green mile, WWE may get another TV deal for SD in a years time, but if ECW has taken off, would they want to?…

There is no easy way out for WWE, the best scenario could arguably be to have ECW “beat” RAW at the PPV and come in and invade Smackdown… remember ECW used have the “Hostile Takeover” events… SD is dead on a friday night, but ECW could work in the more extreme slot. Many would say the brand extention failed, and the move by UPN proves it but I think there is still a chance it can work, let’s imagine the above happened, and a disgruntled Eric Bischof reformed a WCW brand… 3 brands, each with name value could potentially work… Smackdown’s problem as a brand is it has always been treated as the poor relation, when in reality it is the true WWE, the belt Cena wears is the belt Hogan won all those times… that he slammed Andre for, that Bret got screwed for… yet it plays 2nd fiddle to “The Triple H Championship”…

The last chance SD has to survive as a brand in it’s own right is a major injection of talent, we need to see someone like Triple H take the belt Cena wears seriously, not just pack it with “could be’s”, it needs a sure thing… Austin is seemingly on his way to SD in the draft, but he is not the answer cos he is not a full time competitor. I say put Trips over there, force him if need be, if he is truly the future of WWE, he’ll do what’s for the good of the business…and not just good for “The Game”.

As ever, your feedback is much appreciated at robwilltaylor@hotmail.com, I will be on vacation for 2 weeks now, sunning myself in Spain, but I will be on e-mail…

Have fun…

Have

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