Friday's Smackdown (6/29) was another solid show that impressed WWE fans with a mixture of solid wrestling and notable story advancement. Certain stars like Daniel Bryan, AJ and Tyson Kidd were given time to showcase their talents, and newcomers like Damien Sandow were built up for the future.
The one aspect of the episode that could have been improved on was the World Heavyweight triple threat match among Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio. The match was well executed and there were a few standout moments but everyone knew, whether they read the spoilers or not, that Sheamus would walk out victorious.
The predictability is down to the simple fact that the big championships rarely change hands on public television.
The last time the World Heavyweight championship changed hands was Randy Orton's shock win over Christian last year, which led to Christian's heel turn. Before that came the two week title exchange between Edge and Dolph Ziggler, which corresponded with Vickie Guerrero feuding with Teddy Long over the general manager position on Smackdown.
Both of these matches had long-term storyline implications. The last time the World Heavyweight Championship changed hands on television, without immediate storyline or injury pressures, was back in 2008, when Chris Jericho defeated Batista in a steel cage match.
Smackdown's triple threat match was not of this calibre; therefore, the event would have been far more exciting had the match not been for the title. This was shown just days before on Raw with the triple threat match among CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and Kane.
Both matches were of similar stylistic quality, but Raw's raced ahead in interest because no one could be sure of the result. This was backed up by Bryan being able to surprise Punk and pick up the critical victory, which has set up their third straight pay-per-view match nicely.
Removing the championship stipulation but not changing the result would still have made Sheamus' victory more effective because the champion would have shown his dominance without the title motivating his efforts. Sheamus is supposed to go out and just fight. That aspect to his personality would have been nicely emphasised by his win.
Changing the outcome of the match would have boosted either Del Rio or Ziggler into legitimate contenders for the Money In The Bank. It would have been a win-win situation for the WWE.
One of the most important aspects of wrestling is keeping the audience guessing. That does not mean changing the title holder every five days or creating situations where unlikely people win without good cause. It means creating well-executed storylines that make wrestlers look like equals who could get the better of each other at any moment.
There are small indications from WWE's programming that the company wants more parity between their main draws. Removing title matches from main events to make them more open to chance would be a great first definitive move in that direction.