blue crush: the rise and rise of smackdown

Yeah yeah, I’ve not written anything for ages. Let’s just pretend I’ve apologised to you all personally and never speak of it again OK?
Anyway, as NXT has become frankly too embarrassing to watch, never mind recap, I’ve had to think of something else to write about. Now, it’s no secret that I am not a fan of Raw. In fact I think I’ve watched 3 episodes this year, and that was only because Boss Lady Ray chained me up in the Bunker and threatened to lower my pie rations if I didn’t watch with her. My main issue with Raw has always been it’s focus on storyline at the expense of wrestling. While I’m happy to accept that storyline is a very important, if not vital, part of Sports Entertainment, I would rather see it put across in promos or in-ring than with tea party sketches.

And I for one am not prepared to argue with Debrett’s Guide to British Behaviour

No, I’ve long been a fan of the “Blue Team” over on Smackdown. The so-called B-Show has been consistently more enjoyable than it’s more high profile cousin on Monday nights; with better wrestling, more intriguing characters and feuds, commentators that don’t make me want to hammer pencils into my eardrums and (for the most part at least) a lack of inane sketches. I always assumed that I was in the minority in this opinion, after all Raw has more of the established big names (Cena, HHH, Orton) whereas the general “mid-carders” have been lumped on Smackdown following ECW’s demise. But recently it seems that the WWE have actually taken notice and seem to be happy to promote Smackdown as fulfilling the “Wrestling” part of their company name, with Raw as the “Entertainment” part.
But look at what’s actually been happening on Smackdown over the last year or so. CM Punk went from great wrestler to amazing wrestler and even better character. First with the feuds against Jeff Hardy and The Undertaker and then with the introduction of the Straight Edge Society, Punk secured his place in the higher echelons of the WWE to the point where he is supposedly being lined up for a big push over on Raw once he comes back from injury. We were fans of Punk anyway in the bunker, but he really stepped up given the space to become a main-eventer on Smackdown. Would he have been as successful if he had been on Raw from the start? Personally I’d wager not, but it will be interesting to see how well he does on Raw. Given that Edge went from winning the Royal Rumble and having a title match at Wrestlemania as a Smackdown superstar to floundering in multi-man matches with no real direction on Raw, it’s not looking good…

The beauty of not jamming Smackdown full of established main event stars is that there is plenty of room for younger wrestlers to make their mark. When the biggest name on the show only wrestles a handful of matches a year, there are TV and PPV slots open for many more guys. People like Alberto Del Rio who has come and done amazingly well so far, putting his 10 years of experience in Mexico to great use and proving himself to be a definite contender for the Wrestlegasm “Breakout Star” of 2010 Award at the end of the year. The wink makes funny noises come out of Ray, and his rolling cross armbar finisher makes me wish I’d tried harder in PE at St Wulstans primary school. He even managed to overcome a slight internet faux pas over at…

Dolph Ziggler is another name that’s doing really well on Smackdown, and one that we in the Bunker are always happy to watch. I can’t say I miss his incredibly tiny shorts but there’s no denying the guy can wrestle and his current storyline with Vickie and Kaitlyn (swoon) has played out pretty well. In fact, so popular is he in the Bunker that one of us *may* have been known to dress like him before bed, but I’ll let you decide who…
That’s not to mention the likes of LayCool still being hilarious given the opportunity, as well as their pet project Kaval. Cody Rhodes leaving behind the incredibly dull Legacy of Randy Orton and Ted DiBiase and actually getting a character in “Dashing” Cody Rhodes – his grooming tips, amazingly entertaining mirror entrance and almost naked appearance appeal to a much wider audience than tagging with the likes of DiBiase or Hardcore Holly ever would. Jack Swagger has also gone from strength to strength; from winning Money in the Bank and cashing in against Jericho, to his latest antics alongside the Swagger Soaring Eagle. And of course, that’s not to mention a certain announcer that Ray is mildly enamoured with…

Yeah… it’s you, Matthew

The most encouraging thing about all this is that WWE themselves seem to be waking up to the idea that Smackdown is the better show. Bragging Rights is a great example of this. One of the unwritten rules of Professional Wrestling is that one wrestler will get the upper hand before their opponent makes a comeback, and so on and so forth. This happens in singles or tag matches as well in the likes of 2 out of 3 falls matches, Best of Seven Series or Iron Man matches. Now Bragging Rights, as you may well remember, was a new PPV that debuted in 2009 rather tenuously pitting Raw against Smackdown; coincidentally timed to broadcast around the release of the Smackdown vs Raw video games.
At the first Bragging Rights, Smackdown won the 7 on 7 match and won the Bragging Rights trophy. However, this was only due to the fact that Big Show betrayed his team.
Therefore, logic (or at least “wrestling logic”) dictates that when Bragging Rights 2010 came round Raw should be winning. The team being run by the current “Mr Money in the Bank” The Miz (another possible 2010 Wrestlegasm Award Winner) and featuring ex-champions Sheamus and CM Punk should have had this one won, especially after Team Smackdown were victorious on Raw on Monday and again on Friday’s Smackdown. So what happened?
Smackdown won! Two years in a row! Aaaaaand… not only did Smackdown prove their superiority over Raw in Bragging Rights matches recently, they have also shown that they are stronger than them in another way. Even as someone who doesn’t watch Raw I’m obviously aware of the Nexus storyline that’s been going on this year. At first I was hoping they would start to invade all three shows (yes Superstars, I do know you exist) but as time went by I was quite happy for them to stay where they were and leave “my” Smackdown alone. However, back at the start of October Nexus did make an appearance on Smackdown, acting as Lumberjacks in a Cena/Kane match but not really asserting themselves as they would have probably liked.
Last week though Nexus set their sights on Smackdown proper, while Barrett was off “visiting family” in the UK, Otunga decided to lead an invasion, interrupting a match between Edge and Del Rio. After a bunch of Smackdown stars had entered the ring and chased them off, the main event of the show was then changed to be a five on five Smackdown vs Nexus match. Now, Nexus have had plenty of matches against the top stars on Raw, which have tended to end in the same way:
“little ones” is in no means a slight on the man’s genitals
So what happened when they tried the same thing on Smackdown?

Not only are the WWE now happy for us to believe that Smackdown wrestlers have the ability to beat the Raw wrestlers on a pretty consistent basis, but also that they are able to rout the Nexus invaders when the need arises – something that Raw hasn’t managed yet, even to the point of Cena having to join them.
Now, this is all well and good, but to be honest it’s all just my opinion and I’m interested to know what you lot think. I know we have readers who love Raw unconditionally and will defend it to the death so, on the off chance that anyone reads this far, let us know in the comments which show you prefer and why. Hell, if enough of you prefer Raw to Smackdown I might even watch and recap an episode.


5 thoughts on “blue crush: the rise and rise of smackdown

  1. Smackdown all the way

    its the B show indeed: B for BETTER i have to say

    and, its awesome to hear from you guys again, i was missing this site a lot!

  2. I think a LOT of internet fans have known for years now that Smackdown is the best wrestling show WWE produce.

    If you check out the opinions of TWFs resident blogger, Derek X, you’ll see nothing but contempt for the crap they feed us on Raw and joy for the propper wrestling entertainment we get on Smackdown…

  3. I can’t help but think the release of a certain Hardy brother made SD go up even further in your estimations…!
    If I’m totally honest, I haven’t watched Smackdown for a good few weeks now. I have still been watching Raw, which I have really enjoyed, but I admit it’s more from an entertainment standpoint. Something I noticed when my husband and I went to the TV tapings this time last year was how different the crowd was at SD, the Raw crowd was made up mainly of families with crying children and screaming Cena girls. The SD crowd were closer to our age and had a genuine passion for wrestling; we had interesting discusions with the people around us in between tapings. I also think this is conveyed on to TV – if the live crowd are more into it, I think most of the home audience will be too.
    PS Ace to see the blog resurrected 🙂

    • Well, I’m never going to pretend that I’m sorry to see the back of him, and I may have audibly groaned everytime his stupid entrance music started up and he slowly ambled down the entrance ramp and shuffled across the ring attempting to run the ropes, only to stop out of breath half way… But, to be honest, he wasn’t that big a deal towards the end. He was mainly just getting beat up by the likes of Drew McIntyre or going on about grapes.

      Like you say, there’s definitely a market for both shows. For all the criticism he gets, Vince McMahon isn’t stupid. He wouldn’t have any show on air for that long which doesn’t have a fanbase. Personally I can’t stand it, but I know that plenty of people love it and watch every week without fail.

      PS Ace to be back 😀

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