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Opinion: Has SmackDown finally become the A-Show?

The Street Profits, Kevin Owens and Daniel Bryan celebrating their win on this week
The Street Profits, Kevin Owens and Daniel Bryan celebrating their win on this week's SmackDown
Sanjay Dutta
ANALYST
Modified 24 Oct 2020, 17:42 IST
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Monday Night RAW has been WWE's flagship program ever since it first aired in 1993. There have been stretches where SmackDown has dominated RAW, both in terms of overall quality and ratings. But, the company has always positioned the red brand as its numero uno offering.

But with SmackDown moving to FOX last October, there was a strong sense within the IWC that the company might be finally be positioning SmackDown as the A- Show. But, that didn't exactly happen as RAW managed to grab several high-profile names during the 2019 WWE Draft

The blue brand got Superstars like Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt, and Brock Lesnar ( who would move to RAW a few weeks later) in the draft. RAW, on the other hand, managed to acquire the services of Becky Lynch, Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, Charlotte Flair, and Drew McIntyre. 

While the red brand continued to thrive under the leadership of Paul Heyman, SmackDown dipped in quality and never really felt like the bigger and best show. 

The lack of creative direction led to below-average ratings for the blue brand during its initial run on FOX. Within months after debuting on FOX, SmackDown saw a change in leadership, with Bruce Pritchard replacing Eric Bischoff as the brand's Executive Director. 

Roman Reigns' return has given SmackDown a new lease of life

But, things seemed to have turned around for SmackDown following SummerSlam. Roman Reigns' return infused new life into an otherwise dead main event picture on Friday Nights.

Reigns' metamorphosis into The Tribal Chief and his feud against Jey Uso has been the best thing on WWE TV for the past few weeks.

The women's division on SmackDown has also been firing on all cylinders. The highly-anticipated feud between Bayley and Sasha Banks has got off to a great start. Then, there is the rise of Big E as a singles star.

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The past few weeks have seen SmackDown come out as the must-see weekly WWE TV show. But, the 2020 Draft might have tipped the weight in SmackDowm's favor even more. 

With big names like Seth Rollins, Rey Mysterio, Kevin Owens, The Street Profits, and Aleister Black moving to the blue brand, SmackDown is the most star-studded it has ever looked in recent memory.

For starters, the blue brand has two of the biggest names in the company at the moment in the form of Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins. The blue brand's women's division has got a new lease of life with the inclusion of names like Bianca Belair, Liv Morgan, Ruby Riott, and Zelina Vega.

Then, there is the prospect of seeing Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn locking horns for the WWE Intercontinental Championship. The variety on SmackDown at the moment is reminiscent of the brand's golden era during the early to mid-2000s.

Published 24 Oct 2020, 17:42 IST
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