What exactly is going on with SmackDown Live right now? Even though we are currently hurtling head first towards the busiest and best time in WWE’s whole calendar, WrestleMania season, the Tuesday night show seems a little lost. Yes the WWE Championship is off of Jinder Mahal and on to the deserved AJ Styles, but as good as The Phenomenal One is he can’t carry the entire brand by himself. Right now, the entire show revolves around Shane McMahon and his dislike of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, an angle that started all the way back in July and still has no end in sight. It is becoming hard to watch and here is exactly why.
When the WWE roster was split in two back in the summer of 2016 SmackDown became a live weekly show and the future looked bright. The blue brand got a lot of the more talented in-ring performers and was labeled the land of opportunity. For a long time, it looked as if there could one day be a time that it actually became a bigger deal than Raw. The better action and the better angles were happening on Tuesday nights. Then as mentioned above Mahal was made the brand’s champion and things began to go downhill.
It’s not as simple as the wrong guy being WWE Champion either. It feels as if shows are being thrown together without much thought and with no real end goal. The aforementioned Owens/McMahon angle for example. At Hell In A Cell that was a hot storyline that looked to be coming to an end. Three months later and various other Superstars have been dragged in with not much rhyme or reason. Has Daniel Bryan lost his mind? Does Shane-O ‘Mac realize how petty he’s being? And above all else are these the questions we are really supposed to be asking?
While most of WWE’s attention being focused on that one major angle with not much good to show for it is the main reason SmackDown Live is becoming hard to watch, it’s not the only reason the show is faltering. What on earth is going on with the United States Championship right now? It feels as if unless the belt is around John Cena‘s waist no one seems to know what to do with it. Nothing will make a title seem more meaningless than a guy winning it and then discarding it two nights later. Yes, there’s a tournament to crown a new champion, but why should we believe that any of them would really want a title that Dolph Ziggler simply discarded after winning it?
The women’s division on Tuesday nights seems lost as well. There was a time on SmackDown Live where the women had three separate singles matches on one pay-per-view. Now, we have returned to all the females being thrown into one rushed segment every Tuesday night. It’s impossible for any of them to stand out in situations like that as is abundantly clear every single week. The Riott Squad lost all of their momentum and there is absolutely nothing to show for it for any of the other women they share a locker room with.
Really, the only reason to tune in to SmackDown Live right now is for the tag division. Tuesday night’s tag teams are one of the best things about WWE right now. From The Usos to The New Day to The Bludgeon Brothers to Rusev Day. It really is a great division from top to bottom and all the teams are furthering that and more than holding their own. It’s not a flash in the pan either. Usos and New Day have been leading the way for pretty much the whole of 2017 and now other teams are raising their game so that they can join them at that top table.
A terrific tag division cannot fill two hours a week, however. Brian James and the others in charge of putting SmackDown Live together each week not only need to make the angles make sense and have endpoints they’re heading towards, but also look back at what made the brand so great just a year ago. As fans of WWE know all too well, if something isn’t doing well then it won’t take long for Vince McMahon to start fiddling. The chairman doesn’t wait for things to fail, he stops them short before they reach that final stage and changes them up. We may not be very far down it but SmackDown Live is currently on a bad road. Hopefully, the time of year will make them realize that and force them to shake things up a little.
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