Has RAW Reclaimed Its Spot As WWE’s Best Brand?


When RAW and SmackDown LIVE went their separate ways last year following the WWE Draft, it was clear which brand was superior. While RAW maintained its usual standard, it was SmackDown that ascended to the top as WWE’s greatest show. Finally giving under-appreciated talent the spotlight they deserve, the blue brand was building future stars with refreshing storylines while RAW was busy giving us repetitive storylines, controversial finishes and corrupt power figures.

However, if we fast forward to the present day, it seems like RAW has finally overcome its obstacles to reclaim its spot at the top of the WWE programming food chain.

SmackDown’s recent Battleground PPV wasn’t a hit with fans while this week’s RAW has us all excited for their main event at SummerSlam.

But is RAW truly the best? Let’s take a look at the red brand’s current product to track its recent success and see if we can decided whether or not RAW is back on top.

A Shakeup Of Epic (And Not So Epic) Proportions

Back when RAW got the usual WWE main-event level superstars during the initial draft, we all thought SmackDown LIVE was well and truly doomed. But we were so wrong. The blue brand finally allowed stars like Dean Ambrose, AJ Styles, Bray Wyatt, Becky Lynch, Baron Corbin and Alexa Bliss the chance to shine. Furthermore, it completely reinvigorated The Miz, making him one of the best heels and most entertaining superstars in the company — something that seemed unfathomable two years ago.

However, when the Superstar Shakeup took place a few months ago, RAW pilfered the vast majority of those stars that SmackDown took the time to build up. With stars like Bray Wyatt, Alexa Bliss, Dean Ambrose and The Miz jumping ship, the blue brand was left without the stars it created, and it didn’t exactly get reimbursed for those losses.

Thus, while the red brand got to steal the momentum of Alexa Bliss and the Ambrose/Miz rivalry, SmackDown once again had to create new stars — but this time, it just doesn’t have the same level of talent that they had before.

So, while RAW is undoubtedly thriving at the moment, a lot of it is down to the fact that it hitched a ride on SmackDown’s momentum and as a result, stalled the blue brand.

Make no mistake about it, SmackDown LIVE would still be on top if it had not been for the Superstar Shakeup.

New Main Event Stars

While it’s definitely true that a lot of WWE RAW’s recent success is down to what it took from SmackDown, the creativity in the main event scene should not be overlooked.

Back in 2016, we we’re subjected to a plethora of Seth Rollins/Kevin Owens/Roman Reigns/Chris Jericho main event matches — many of which had dull controversial finishes. And while those stars thoroughly deserve main event spots, it just got so repetitive, and wasn’t anything different from what we had seen before the brand split.

However, the Main event scene has changed significantly. With the meteoric rise of Braun Strowman to the debut of Samoa Joe on the main roster, we are starting to see a wider variety of main event matches. And while putting the belt on Brock Lesnar may have received some criticism, it’s undeniable that his absences allow WWE to change things up by giving him a new opponent every time he returns. After all, aren’t we all taking about the Fatal 4-Way main event at SummerSlam, in which he’ll defend the belt against Reigns, Joe and Strowman?

With these stars breaking into the Main event scene, RAW has been able to change things up quite a lot. And the main event picture looks very different compared to how it looked a few months ago.

Photo Credit: 2K Sports

Kurt Angle’s Arrival

When the draft initially took place, WWE RAW Commissioner Stephanie McMahon named Mick Foley as the General Manager of her show. And while Foley had some great moments as GM, he was consistently undermined and under-appreciated by the corrupt power figure that was Stephanie (as well as her husband Triple H). Whether it was being forced to sit through a live job evaluation or having to read a written apology, Foley found himself never able to break free from McMahon’s shadow. And while the Authority faction had been disbanded, McMahon’s looming presence on the red brand made it feel like they had never truly disappeared. And as this was happening, SmackDown LIVE was busy giving us the fresh team of Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan — who never failed to deliver unanimous decisions.

The consistent undermining and abuse allowed Foley to make an epic exist when he finally told Stephanie and Triple H exactly what he thought of them. This, along with Stephanie’s involvement in Triple H’s WrestleMania storyline, allowed her to step away from the GM storyline while Vince McMahon appointed a new General Manager. And along came Kurt Angle.

Since Angle arrived on WWE RAW, he has made his presence felt in a huge way. The Hall of Famer has never been afraid to get stuck into confrontations to break them up and to make all the necessary matches.

Moreover, the recent revelation (that he is Jason Jordan’s father) has added a whole new soap-operatic feel which we haven’t seen from an authority figure in quite some time. And that’s the kind of epic storytelling WWE used to thrive on.

Since Angle arrived on WWE RAW, the show has flowed far better. He has been able to run the show as a single entity, without any interference from corrupt authority figures. His refreshing approach, along with Stephane McMahon’s hiatus from TV, has allowed for RAW to give us something different. And that’s exactly what we all have been looking for since the draft. Oh it’s true, it’s damn true.

There’s no denying that WWE RAW has been revitalized as of late, but there’s no denying that a large part of that is down to superstars they took from SmackDown LIVE. The SmackDown-born program between The Miz and Dean Ambrose has given Seth Rollins something different to do while not in the main event scene, while Bray Wyatt will now give Finn Balor his first PPV match since his return from injury. Thus, it’s clear to see that RAW owes a major debt to SmackDown.

However, in the red brand’s defense, it has really upped its game. Bringing Samoa Joe to

RAW allowed us to finally see him on the main roster, and the rivalry between Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns has been captivating.

Whether you think RAW is superior or not is up to you. But there’s no denying that it’s really upped it’s game in the past few months.

Do you think RAW has become the superior brand? Let us know in the comments below!