If you watched both Raw and SmackDown Live this week, you were probably among the many fans in the WWE Universe that thought Tuesday's show was better than Monday's. This is becoming a trend as the blue brand has repeatedly outshined the red brand since the Superstar Shake-up that saw Tuesday nights become home to a handful of top WWE Superstars. This is a trend that may not just continue, but WWE might put more effort into making sure it does.
With a new television rights deal to be announced — one that will see WWE make over $1 billion from Fox on a five-year contract to purchase the rights to airing SmackDown Live — there is speculation that WWE may be putting a lot of their eggs into the SmackDown Live basket. If that happens, then what?
For years fans have been used to the idea that Raw is "the show" for WWE. It's been on television every week for 25 straight years and has traditionally been home to the best of the best. Will fans know how to make the blue brand their priority? Will they be asked to? And if so, what changes can they expect?
Here are a few things we can anticipate happening if SmackDown Live does, in fact, become the "A show" for WWE.
SmackDown Live houses a stronger roster than it may have ever had. The only time period that might rival this one was the first time the brand separated and guys like Eddie Guerrero, Kurt Angle, Edge and others were trying to prove they could be as good, if not better than Raw. With names like Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Jeff Hardy, The Miz and a strong tag team division, their roster rivals that of Raw without question. It will only get better if SmackDown Live becomes a bigger focus for WWE.
You can expect names to move from Monday to Tuesday and that could include guys like Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Elias, Finn Balor and/or Sasha Banks and Bayley. We're just throwing out options but the idea here is that the blue brand will receive an influx of talent to make the show even more appealing for a new night on a new network.
Related: Fox's WWE SmackDown Deal Is Massive
Less of a "Workers" Show
The potential downside of this — assuming you are a fan of in-ring wrestling over crazy stories — is that SmackDown's reputation as the show for "workers" will likely change. Some fans love SmackDown Live more for the odds that they'll see a five-star caliber match. If WWE tries to make this show one that reaches more of a wide stream audience, expect that to change.
Unless Vince McMahon has a major change of heart or feels that "wrestling" is more of a draw than crazy segments, songs, and goofiness, the show will be infiltrated with less wrestling and more everything else. This may not sit well with everyone. WWE should be getting the hint from companies like ROH, NXT, New Japan and other promotions that are successful and focusing on wrestling, but who are we to argue with a WWE that is seeing some of the best financial succes in the company's history right now? Their formula clearly works and they'll likely add more of it versus changing things.
There's a good chance SmackDown Live moves from two hours to three. While much of the fanbase would rather see Raw go from three hours to two, the reason Raw is three hours is the additional revenue WWE and the network it's on makes from sponsorship. That's one more hour of commercials, one more hour of good ratings and one more hour of strategic partnerships WWE has made to air on their show.
Fox is paying an awful lot of money and will be bumping a lot of shows from their current time slots. To clear the 7pm-10pm hour would be nothing for them but the tradeoff could be huge. WWE will likely be looking to give an immediate return financially to Fox to show them that this five-year deal should be a 10-year renewal. The best way to do that is to produce money, ratings and out-shine their Raw counterpart.
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