I write a wrestling column every Monday and Friday for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. It can be read online at TribLIVE.com.
WWE SmackDown is moving to Thursday night — why?
The only change SmackDown should be making is if it were to get Syfy to allow it to go live on Tuesday. When the show is live, it adds a whole new element of interest. Nobody can convince me otherwise.
The show started on Thursday in 1999 and was successful. At the time, there was a different talent pool and different stories. SmackDown rivaled Monday Night RAW in significance. SmackDown had a solid run where it was must see and was not the “B” show. Many times, it out performed RAW.
Today, even the most boring episodes of RAW still have some must-watch feel to them because it’s live television. The progression and surprises in the stories all happen on RAW. SmackDown might have more matches in its two hours than RAW in its three, but half of those matches are repeats from what we saw on RAW.
When SmackDown was on Friday, it was a bigger fish in a smaller pond. It dominated Friday because its audience would commit to it more than any other Friday night regular television programming could get. Moving to Thursday against powerful network sitcoms and the NFL is a challenge I’m not sure WWE is ready to handle.
The moment SmackDown goes live will be an immediate game changer. I don’t know when that will happen, but it eventually will.
A common question from fans is why isn’t it already live on a Thursday or Friday? The answer is a logistics nightmare for WWE.
Having the television crew on the road Monday for RAW, sometimes Sunday for a pay-per-view, it’s easiest to then do the final television on Tuesday. Skipping a few days and doing television again on a Thursday or Friday would go completely against the current cost-cutting motto of the company lately.
When I was in college traveling with WWE’s production crew, something I will never forget that most don’t think about is the planning it takes for the trucks and transportation of everything. It takes a lot of planning, manpower and money … and money, to get everything in the right place and time.