Though there were some rumors earlier in the year that Smackdown could possibly expand to three hours following their move to Fox later on this year. Another report was that Smackdown would be moving back to Friday nights from Tuesday nights. There is no doubt that Smackdown had struggled at first with fans having to adjust to the show being on a new night and even though they have had a good track record recently having solid shows the ratings don't reflect it.
A few weeks ago we found some great news that a few weeks of fear that Smackdown would end up like Raw by going to three hours. I am sure that every WWE fan was overjoyed when they found out that Smackdown Live would be remaining a two hour show even after it moves to Fox this fall. This will be what's best for the blue brand as it not only separates it from Raw and allows the program to still have it's own identity. It is also worth it to mention that the company will have a studio show set to debut on FS1 this fall on the former home of Smackdown Live on Tuesday Night. More than likely this could be similar to the old "Talking Smack" network show but I think it's possible that both Raw & Smackdown would be included in the set to debut FS1 show.
The other thing to note was that even though Smackdown Live will be moving back to Friday Night in it's old time slot. At this point Smackdown has been on the air for twenty years and for the most part had been tapped up until 2016. In 2016 upon the return of the brand split the company made the switch from Smackdown being tapped to airing the show live. Upon the move to Fox the blue brand will remain as a live program instead of reverting back to a tapped broadcast. Overall this will be interesting to find out how exactly the move to Fox and the arrival of All Elite Wrestling on National Television.
As we will come to understand in about two weeks on June 7 the WWE will be returning to the least controversial country in the world for another "house show." I mean massive event with one of the marquee matches being the first ever meeting between Goldberg & Undertaker another match being the likely rematch between Brock Lesnar & Seth Rollins for the Universal Title the stakes are higher then they were last time. But like last time some talent have chosen to not make the trip to Saudi Arabia and one of those guys is Kevin Owens. Last time both John Cena & Daniel Bryan turned down the option to head to Saudi Arabia and received praise for their decisions & Owens has too.
Since his return earlier this year Kevin has seemed like a wannabe "main eventer" and this is not shot at Owens it's more a shot at WWE for not really knowing how to book him long term. It's almost like they didn't believe in the process so instead of running with him as a good guy and sticking to their guns they made the switch and burned through what could've been a great long term feud. Now look at where Owens is and who Kofi is feuding with next. No offense to Dolph Ziggler, but I think at this point a feud with Finn Balor would've been a better choice for the veteran. I still don't understand why Randy Orton wasn't picked to feud with Kofi as I believe they could a feud that taps into their past and includes a bit of realism.
Overall though Kevin Owens not going to Saudi Arabia may point to either his comfort level in WWE that he feels like he can decided without fearing a punishment or he knows that AEW gives him a fall back plan. Either way props to Kevin for saying no and I hope that the company can see how much of a talent they are waisting and maybe they can figure out the right way to work Kevin into the plans in a major way. We will have to see at this point though.
I know that normally I would PPV predictions, but as it happens I missed the show due to me being busy today in real life. With that being said I figured me giving my thoughts on the event would be just as good. I skimmed through the results and was very surprised to see a few of the results, but at the same time I was disappointed due to the shortsightedness that the company has in place by using Money in the Bank to help build the Saudi show in two weeks. It is possible that Brock holding the briefcase wont last very long, but either way this is a tough road for the company knowing that most fans don't want Brock holding the title again.
Either way let's focus on the best news coming out of the show, because for the first time since she debuted on the main roster Bayley finally seems have found the light at the end of the tunnel. Bayley has been underrated & lost in the shuffle for the last few years without a clear direction. The starting and stopping for her different feuds & pushes killed any chance for fans to invest in the "Hugger." However, with the slightest glimpse of hope and it being unclear when or if Sasha Banks will return I think this is the company's chance to really give Bayley the ball and let her run with it. For once maybe they do have a long term plan for someone now if I could only get past the idea that she will loose it very soon to Charlotte. I guess we will have to see either way though a solid show tonight & a very deserving victory for the first Women's Grandslam champion in WWE history.
The last part of the never ending serious continues with the last one wrapping up with a discussion on the importance of why WWE needs to repair their championships. In my opinion, the company would be able to get rid of half of their championships and nobody would miss them. For the most part the titles have so little meaning at this point that they are just props and really need to be repaired. Like I mentioned before the company needs to sit down with their current champions and ask them who they think they could have the best matches with and use that to help formulate the length of title reigns. This would allow someone like Seth Rollins, Samoa Joe, or Hawkins & Ryder to spend months as champions establishing themselves & reestablishing the championships.
Following the "meeting" the next step in the process would be to work with the other non-champions to set aside some of them as potential challengers for the current champions this way we know who needs to have something to do and who could stay off TV for a little while. This would also help give some talent time-off as we rehab some talents images, send some people to NXT and shift gears to again depend on local jobbers matches a little bit more.
In my opinion, it doesn't seem like the WWE know where they really want to go with anything and are seemingly just moving week to week with everything. The company needs a plan and I think the best thing for them would be to go back to the drawing board and think about what has worked in the past. I am not saying that they should reuse things from the past, but they should remember that wrestling has always worked when they could simplify the process and didn't try to over complicate things. The reality is that WWE has always had a very difficult time letting this process be as simple as it could be or it use to be. Again the amount of importance that needs to be placed on patience to let the process work, but I don't believe the company would have the patience to believe in the process like they have before, because times have changed.
With the first week of the Wild Card now behind us it's time to look back on how things effected the company. In reality it did help the ratings for this week, but it will be fleeting because this isn't the right way to fix the promotions current issues. Much like the trouble that World Championship Wrestling was having near the end the only way to fix the WWE's programming crisis is with time. Patience and a long term direction is the best way to fix wrestling programming, because trying to piece together a fix is just putting a band aid on things that will always bubble to the surface after a while.
As I mentioned in part 1 the company has seemingly forgotten how to establish a new star as a flag bearer. I know that Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Daniel Bryan, and other talent are top stars but they aren't on the level of stars from an era gone by. The reason for the health of the WWE right now is because well Vince put a glass ceiling on how popular his talent was allowed to get and now he is paying the price for it. In my opinion, another reason is based on the fact that previously Vince had allowed talent to have a bit of freedom to speak for themselves and have some control over promos. Nowadays though most if not all of the promos we see on television reek of memorization and writers speaking for the talent. One of the main reasons we were able to get invested in talent of the past is because they were allowed to speak in a way that sounded genuine rather than sounding fake.
I mentioned in the previous part about how it might be time to rebuild the WWE which is something they have done many times before specifically in the "New Generation" and at the beginning of the Hogan era. However, in recent years it has seemed like they have forgotten how to rebuild their roster and find role players to fill in depth. To start in my opinion, the WWE needs to sit down a figure out which championships actually matter and work to reestablish the importance of the gold that is now no more than props.
The second part of this process should be allowing the best talent to be given the championships to help rebuild them. The last part of the process would be picking an event to work toward and to book backwards this would allow the company to be aware of where they are going before they get there and also be aware of who they need to keep on television for them to either build momentum or keep on the minds of fans. I know that some fans might question why this needs to take so long, but it is a process that takes time to fix and this is the start of the process. However, this isn't the only way to fix the company as this is really just step one of a very long process that would take years to help the company find stability. We will get into the other parts of these steps in the next part coming next week.
Recently, it has been very public the issues that have been plaguing WWE especially the slouching ratings that really seemingly just keep going down every week. The days of solid ratings seem to be gone for the WWE as they really ran whatever momentum they had into the ground and now need to rebuild it, but forget how to do that. In the past Vince had rebuild after the Hogan era came to an end, also when the Next Generation era ended & they moved into the Attitude Era. The last time that the company had to rebuild was following the departure of Steve Austin, Goldberg, and Brock Lesnar this would lead Vince to want to build around people who would stay.
Vince would build the company around John Cena, Edge, Batista, and Randy Orton as he felt like they would stick around for the long term. John Cena would become the figurehead of the promotion & be the flag bearer for the company for over fifteen years. However, John has all but walked away from the wrestling business at this point only working one match this year so far with no return in sight. At 42 years old father time might've caught up with John which happens to even "Superman" and with how headlong he has been for almost twenty years it no surprise that injuries and age has caught up with him.
Looking back one of the reasons previous periods worked is because of the intriguing storylines, amazing in ring action, and gimmicks that actually fit the talent. However, one thing that really has been ignored especially recently is that the roster had so much depth & stability that the veterans on the roster provided. Names like Hardcore Holly, Finlay, Undertaker, Kane, William Regal, and others always gave the company stable in ring performers every night & talent you what to expect from, but time catches up with everyone.
At this point though the company has struggled to replace the stars of the past which is why they attempt to rely on the stars of the past now. The company has seemingly forgotten that the past is supposed to be used to help get over the future instead of letting the past stay on top even when some of those workers are well past their primes. This however is just among the rough problems that have been plaguing the major sports entertainment promotion in recent years, It is time we take a look into these problems piece by piece and see where this takes us. Part 2 will be coming soon!!
Recently, in WWE there seems to have been a lot of tension boiling over specifically with talent on the red brand and so I thought it'd be fitting to focus on the newest reports. Seemingly from out of nowhere it seems as though Lio Rush has developed a crazy ego and a worse attitude then Enzo Amore. Since the early days of his run in WWE he has had his issues, but for the most part it was a one and done thing that could be put aside due to his talent. In my opinion, Lio does have potential to be something more than a manager, but his current role showed just how annoying he can be as a heel if only he kept the ego on camera.
Upon his return to the WWE it was clear the company still didn't have a clue the best way to handle Bobby Lashley and maybe it would've been better if Lashley had stayed with Impact or went to MMA. Then the company partnered him with Lio Rush and turned him heel all the problems seemed to be fixed. They had the built-in feud with Lashley if they chose to flip Rush baby face once the partnership ran it's course or they could've just tried to give it a chance and see how far things would go.
It is disappointing that Lashely only reached the Intercontinental Title, but at least it's something and it is possible now that Lashley might be suffering with Lio Rush by his side. Overall I think Lashley could benefit from some time away and a repackaging while they figure out this Lio Rush situation. The more Rush runs his mouth backstage the more likely it is he will not be in the WWE much longer and unless he tones it down he won't be in many other places once the WWE goes away. It is possible that Rush is just acting like an egotistical, delusional jerk to get out of WWE, but it's more likely that being on WWE programming might've gotten to his head and someone needs a bit of a reality check in my book.
Sharing my thoughts, opinion, and historical facts on everything WWE both past and present