Based on the results of the Survivor Series matches, the Raw brand has the right to say that they are currently the best show in WWE right now. But the SmackDown brand has been picking up steam lately with the additions of James Ellsworth and Talking Smack to the broadcast.
While Raw may be home to some of the more popular WWE superstars and tag teams, the actual wrestling talent on the SmackDown roster is arguably at a much higher level. Though it is unlikely to happen, the current group of SmackDown superstars have the chance to eventually bring their show to the top of the company.
But for now, each brand has its own strengths and weaknesses that allow fans to enjoy certain aspects of both. Some of these aspects that make each brand what it is today are included in the lists below.
Here are 8 reasons why SmackDown is best and 7 reasons why RAW is best.
After defeating AJ Styles on the November 22nd edition of SmackDown LIVE, James Ellsworth now has contractual proof that he is a WWE Superstar. The guy who has continued to bring excitement to each week's show is here to stay at least for a little bit longer.
What may have started out as a silly one-time gimmick for a night has turned into a career for Ellsworth. A few months ago, no one knew who he was and now thousands of shirts with his chin-less mug are being sold each and every day.
His victory over Styles also guaranteed a future shot at the WWE World Championship, so Ellsworth will have the opportunity to be named in the same company as John Cena, Seth Rollins, Brock Lesnar, and his buddy Dean Ambrose. Wait, what?
15 Mauro Ranallo is the Next Great WWE Announcer
Throughout WWE history, the company has been the home for some of the greatest announcers in sports (yes sports) history. There is a reason why Jim Ross' voice has been dubbed over millions of sports highlights in recent years. It is because of the passion he expressed through his voice during each and every match he called.
A similar passion is now being brought every Tuesday night by SmackDown LIVE announcer Mauro Ranallo. As the brand's exclusive announcer, Ranallo gives the SmackDown broadcast a distinctive voice that the company has been lacking since Ross left.
Ranallo has the ability to make even the simplest of matches sound like they are as important as Andre vs. Hulk every Tuesday night. His presence on each show is certainly a reason why more and more WWE fans are continuing to side with SmackDown as the company's superior brand.
14 Daniel Bryan Brings More Than Just "Yes!" Chants as the SmackDown General Manager
While it is incredibly sad that Daniel Bryan is no longer able to step in a ring and perform like he used to, WWE fans are still fortunate enough to see Bryan use his talents outside of the ring on a weekly basis as the general manager of the SmackDown brand.
He may have seemed a little out of place at first, but Bryan has definitely been able to re-brand himself from a goat-looking wrestler into a general manager who is determined to make SmackDown the best show that WWE has to offer. Similar to how some coaches are considered more player-friendly, the superstars on the SmackDown roster know that Bryan will always go to battle with them (except for maybe The Miz) as long as it does not involve him wrestling in a ring.
13 Two Hour Show Leaves Fans Wanting More
It is sometimes said that less is more and in the case of SmackDown LIVE, this is very true. Unlike Monday Night Raw, SmackDown LIVE is only a two-hour broadcast.
This leaves less time for meaningless squash matches and unimportant promos and more time for what the viewers are actually tuning in for. Wrestling.
The shorter broadcast time also leaves WWE fans wanting more after each show. With less time, storylines are more able to be stretched out across a few weeks, making the buildup to each pay-per-view more intriguing.
The success SmackDown is experiencing with their shorter show could eventually lead to Raw going back to a two-hour show themselves. Of course it will not likely happen anytime soon due to various advertising commitments, but it is certainly something the WWE should be considering if they are not already.
11 The Intercontinental Championship Lives on Tuesday Nights
One of the matches at the most recent Survivor Series pay-per-view could have ended with SmackDown losing the Intercontinental Championship to the Raw brand. Luckily, The Miz was able to steal a victory from Sami Zayn and SmackDown was able to hold onto one of the WWE's most historic championship belts.
Since its introduction into the company in 1979, the Intercontinental Championship has been thought of as the second most important title in the WWE.
The championship has basically been a stepping stone for some of the company's most famous superstars. Past winners of the Intercontinental Championship includes Shawn Michaels, The Ultimate Warrior, Razor Ramon, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, and Triple H among others.
Along with the WWE World Championship, SmackDown currently has arguably the two most important titles in the WWE right now.
10 SmackDown Has the REAL WWE Championship
After SmackDown drafted then WWE Champion Dean Ambrose during July’s WWE Draft, the brand also got exclusive rights to the WWE World Championship belt Ambrose wore around his waist.
With the belt comes the legendary history behind it. Yes, it has a different name today, but the championship's existence can be traced all the way back to 1963.
The title has been held by many legendary superstars in the WWE's illustrious history including Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, The Undertaker, Ric Flair, Bret Hart, and Shawn Michaels to name a few.
Although under a new name, the championship still carries a ton a meaning behind it. Luckily for the SmackDown brand, their show is the current home of the company's most important title (and thankfully they did not dip it in blue paint).
9 The Best Wrestling Takes Place on Tuesdays
When trying to distinguish between the SmackDown and Raw brands, one may quickly notice the quality of actual wrestling displayed is quite different on each show.
While it may seem like Raw is more about developing new characters and having longer promos, SmackDown is what WWE fans tune in to see the company's most talented in-ring workers. With superstars like AJ Styles, John Cena, American Alpha, Randy Orton, Dean Ambrose, Natalya, The Usos, and Dolph Ziggler, SmackDown has the best chance of any WWE program to end up with the company's most entertaining match each and every week.
The brand's reputation as the home for straight-up wrestling has even drawn the interest of some current superstars on the Raw roster. After the next WrestleMania, do not be surprised to see some of Raw's more talented in-ring performers jump ship and become a part of the SmackDown broadcast (Cesaro anyone?).
8 Talking Smack Adds a Whole New Dimension to WWE Programming
Despite their show being an hour shorter, SmackDown has something each week that Raw has yet to find a way to compete with in Talking Smack. The weekly show that follows each SmackDown LIVE broadcast has added a remarkably realistic element to a form of entertainment that has always ended up on the more make-believe side of the spectrum during its existence.
Talking Smack allows WWE fans to see a different side of some of their favorite Superstars each week. Scripted or not, the show has provided SmackDown with some of its most memorable moments since the brand-split in July (Daniel Bryan walking off set after The Miz screams at him comes to mind).
The company has attempted to create a similar show with the Raw brand with the program known as Raw Talk. But it certainly has not had as much success as the show that airs after each episode of SmackDown LIVE.
Since its debut back in September, 'The List of Jericho' has been one of the most over characters on Raw each week despite it not being an actual person. From Seth Rollins to The New Day to Ashton Kutcher to a cameraman, many have heard those five fateful words uttered out of Chris Jericho's loud mouth.
"You just made the list!"
The list is starting to become an integral part of every Raw episode each week and something that viewers look forward to seeing what the brand will do next with the most famous piece of paper since the Declaration of Independence.
Like Randy Savage had Miss Elizabeth, Jericho has the list. When the day finally comes that the list is banished (if ever) a moment of silence will likely be needed.
6 Monday Nights Are Home to The Queen and The Boss
There is a reason why Raw used the third overall pick in July's WWE Draft to select the then-Women's Champion in Charlotte. She's not just a superior women's wrestler; she is a magnificent wrestler, male or female.
She is well on her way to becoming the best female wrestler in the history of WWE. Her skill level in the ring and on the mic is already above many women who were previously in her place.
So if Charlotte is the Hulk Hogan of the current WWE women's division, then who must be the Randy Savage? Well that would be none other than The Boss, Sasha Banks.
Banks brings a different type of skill level to the ring and one that keeps viewers wanting more each week. While her style can be a bit reckless at times, she is still one of the most exciting Superstars the Raw brand has to offer.
5 New… Day Rocks
Does anyone even remember when The New Day made their debut back in November 2014? It is hard to imagine that this amazing trio of wrestlers heard a ton of boo birds during their first few months of action.
It is also hard to imagine The New Day without their Raw Tag Team Championship belts. The trio has held onto their hardware since defeating The Primetime Players, Los Matadores, and The Lucha Dragons back at the SummerSlam pay-per-view in August 2015.
As many gimmicks continue to be repeated over and over again, The New Day has definitely brought something different to the WWE. Their hard work over the past couple of years has not gone unnoticed either as they have received countless amounts of recognition from a number of different publications including Rolling Stone and the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
4 Break Out the Purple Ropes, It's Cruiserweight Time!
Being that it is a fairly new addition to the show each week, the WWE is still trying to figure out the best way to utilize the high-flying superstars of the cruiserweight division on Raw every Monday. But the new division has given viewers yet another reason to favor the company's Monday night broadcast over their Tuesday night program each week.
The wrestlers in the new division must be doing something right since they now have their own one-hour show (205 Live) on the WWE network each week that showcases the talent of the cruiserweights and only the cruiserweights.
But for those who are not subscribed to the WWE Network, every broadcast of Raw provides fans with the opportunity to watch this division's group of talented wrestlers fly around the squared circle.
3 Paul Heyman’s Client, Brock Lesnar
Before he was recently embarrassed by Goldberg in a squash match at the most recent Survivor Series pay-per-view, Brock Lesnar was viewed as somewhat of an invincible specimen on the Raw roster. Even despite his loss, Lesnar still wreaks havoc each time he makes an appearance on the WWE's Monday night broadcast.
Could anyone imagine Lesnar being a part of the SmackDown roster? No way because he would obliterate any of those Superstars in a ring if need be.
Which is why Lesnar's mere presence on Monday nights gives Raw the edge over SmackDown each week.
Most of the time, he does not even have to appear in an actual wrestling ring to generate any buzz. A simple promo video is usually all that is needed to leave WWE fans thirsting for more Lesnar-related content.
2 Longer Show, Longer Matches
If it were up to WWE fans, every Raw broadcast would likely be around eight hours. The show will never be that long, but at least the WWE is able to provide their fans with a three-hour program every Monday night.
Since switching to a three-hour long broadcast in 2012, the company has found a variety of different ways to utilize their time on Monday nights. The writers for the Raw brand have the luxury of being able to write more detailed and complex storylines because of the amount of time they are given each week.
The extra hour has also been a huge boost for the brand's women's division, as the show's female wrestlers get to do more than perform in a short five-minute match each week like they used to when the show was only two hours long.
1 Monday Night Raw is Still the Company’s Premier Show
When it comes down to it, the WWE's weekly Monday night broadcast is still the home for the company's top performers. As much as the SmackDown brand would like to think they are catching up to Raw's popularity, it is pretty clear which brand the company favors.
SmackDown has always been seen as the Robin to Raw's Batman and it does not look to be any different anytime soon.
Whenever the company is excited about an up and coming Superstar, he or she will most likely find their way to Monday nights. That is the way things have always been and how they will continue to be as long as Vince McMahon is leading the charge.
Perhaps when McMahon has passed away in the distant future SmackDown will shift into the company's top brand, but for now that title belongs to Raw.
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