The latest manifestation of the roster split that has been going on for almost a year-and-a-half now is one where SmackDown has been given more of a chance to compete with Raw than ever before. The show now goes live every Tuesday night as opposed to being pre-recorded as it was in the past, and it was even given the WWE Championship when the Superstars were divvied up via the draft. There have been times during the past 18 months when SmackDown Live has very much felt like the better brand and the more entertaining show. Lately though the blue brand has faltered a little and right now Raw is probably the better show. Here are five reasons why that is the case.
5. Changing Advertised Matches
WWE has to tread a very fine line when it comes to drawing in viewers and keeping fans entertained. Nothing pleases fans more than a well-kept secret surprising them such as a big comeback or a huge championship match. On the other hand if people don't know that a big comeback or a marquee match is happening, then they may not bother tuning in, so advertising it and spoiling the surprise is often necessary. What WWE should not do is advertise something and then not go through with it without much rhyme or reason. At Survivor Series announcer Tom Phillips declared that AJ Styles and Jinder Mahal would be battling for the WWE Championship two days later on SmackDown Live. When Tuesday night rolled around it was revealed that the match was instead happening weeks later at Clash Of Champions without any explanation. Not a great idea if you want to keep the fans' trust.
4. Missing And Misused Talent
SmackDown Live is supposed to be the land of opportunity. There are even examples of Superstars moving from Raw to SmackDown Live in order to be taken more seriously and perhaps be given a chance they wouldn't necessarily get on Monday nights. However, over the past few months the blue brand has become even worse than WWE's flagship when it comes to misusing talent. The likes of Shinsuke Nakamura and Bobby Roode, recent NXT Champions, are simply not being showcased in the way that they deserve to be. It could be worse, they could be Tye Dillinger and Mike Kanellis who aren't making the show at all. Yes they only have two hours compared to Raw's three, but a lot of that time is being taken up by Jinder Mahal so how about giving the above Superstars some of that real estate?
3. More McMahon Time
When watching WWE there is one thing that you must make sure you always remember, it's all about the McMahons. When Stephanie and Triple H are around then one or both of them will open Raw and be ever-present each and every week. Shockingly though Shane McMahon is somehow trumping them when it comes to hogging screen and match time. Not only does he open most shows on Tuesday nights, but come Clash Of Champions this Sunday he will have been involved in the last three PPV main events that have included SmackDown Live Superstars. Again Tuesday nights are supposed to be the land of opportunity yet the boss continues to take prime real estate away from his own employees.
2. Poor PPV Build Up
This Sunday WWE will stage the final PPV of the year, Clash Of Champions. They're also running the risk of it being the most lackluster PPV of the year which is really saying something considering how many there have been. Almost all of the focus has been on the angle between Shane, Owens and Zayn (see previous entry) despite the fact that the gimmick for Clash Of Champions is supposed to be that every title is on the line. The focus is supposed to be on the show's championships but that hasn't happened. When Brock Lesnar defends his Universal Championship, it's the focal point of the show whereas Styles' WWE Title defense against Mahal feels like an obligatory one that just needs to be gotten out the way.
1. Copying Their Angles
Smackdown: "Can I copy your homework?"— Wrestling Memes (@Wrestling_Memes) November 22, 2017
Raw: "Sure just make sure it doesn't look obvious" pic.twitter.com/Oa620Pd4tm
If you're a fan of WWE then you probably watch both Raw and SmackDown Live. Weirdly though it feels as if Vince McMahon and co are of the belief that most watch one or the other and support them akin to a favorite sports team. That's why they have the shows go head-to-head once a year at Survivor Series. It's also why WWE seem to think they can get away with running an angle on Raw and then doing almost the exact same thing 24 hours later on SmackDown Live. The most telling example of that at the moment is Absolution and The Riott Squad. They both invaded and attacked established Superstars, both attacked again while they were supposed to be having matches two weeks later, and just this week the respective women's rosters both got revenge on the two factions. To add insult to injury the trios even both look the same!