It's no secret that WWE tends to keep significant moments in storylines and great title changes for live events to be seen worldwide. That's what the big draw for pay-per-views is all about: many championships are put up for grabs and you never quite know when a championship can go from one superstar to another in a matter of moments.
The occasional title change at a house show is often done out of necessity, usually from an injury, firing or suspension of a champion. Even still, those are often held off for a televised event so everyone can see it.
Smackdown isn't too much better. Their taped shows air on Friday nights, while they are recorded on Tuesday night usually. That leaves three entire days for things to leak out and no longer feel like a surprise to see.
By the time that Friday Night Smackdown airs on SyFy, it is very common for a fan to already know significant aspects of the results for that night. It makes the ratings and the interest in watching Smackdown all the more important for the WWE.
Outside of two battle royals to claim champions after vacated injuries, two Money in the Bank cash-ins, the debacle of Dolph Ziggler as champion and the short reign of Christian, Smackdown has never seen a World Heavyweight Championship change hands. The WWE Championship is even more rare to see a new champion, as only Vince McMahon and Brock Lesnar have won the title on Smackdown.
Thirteen of the last 20 title changes for the United States Championship have taken place either on Smackdown or RAW:
- Sixteen of the last 27 Intercontinental Championship reigns have began on either RAW or Smackdown.
- Eight of the 17 Divas Championships in the history of that title have been won on television.
- Of the last 26 reigns involving the WWE Tag Team Championships, 17 of them (18 if you include the live event title victory for Primo and Epico) were not on pay-per-view.
The translation here is rather clear—live events yield title changes, but rarely show world titles changing hands. Titles don't get won by challengers every single week, but there has to be a lookout for special editions of RAW and Smackdown.
Just ask Kelly Kelly, who won her Divas Championship on RAW's Power to the People episode. You can also ask CM Punk, who delivered his memorable shoot promo last summer on the following week, an edition of RAW Roulette.
Smackdown has their live Great American Bash episode on Tuesday, and RAW's 1,000th episode will take place in late July. Both have the potential for a lot of viewers and a possible changing of a championship.
CM Punk's WWE Championship reign is getting into historical numbers, while more and more are getting sick of Santino Marella as United States Champion. Every other champion is under 100 days, but that doesn't necessarily yield a long reign.
The month of July has the fourth-highest amount of title changes among the current championships, with 45 combined title changes. The only months with more title changes are April (when WrestleMania occurs), and the months of October and November (right around Survivor Series time).
The upcoming 25th anniversary of SummerSlam in August could have even more title changes, but the month of July will show what WWE wants their line of champions to look like going into SummerSlam—arguably their second-most important show behind WrestleMania.
Don't be shocked if a new champion is crowned with one of the titles on either the 1,000th RAW—which will extend to a third hour on that night—or a live edition of Smackdown this upcoming Tuesday. WWE wants to keep the ratings of their shows up by putting forth the idea that anything can happen on live television. This extends to title changes.
A live Smackdown isn't very common, but gives WWE a chance to put more title matches on live TV and show them as they happen and not with 72 hours of spoilers before it. As the summer heats up and the shows become more can't-miss, expect the days for your favorite champions in WWE to be numbered.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!