With Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio dominating Smackdown over the past few months, many fans have grown disenchanted with the blue brand. Smackdown has the tools to be a great show each and every week, but there are simply a few changes that need to be made.
Sheamus appears to have moved on, so that is a step in the right direction, but the undercard needs to be strong as well in order for the show to be a well-rounded one. The brand split is essentially over, as every superstar can appear on Raw or Smackdown at any time, meaning it shouldn't be too tough for the problems on Smackdown to be solved.
Here are the three main things that must be done in order for Smackdown to improve its entertainment value and draw closer to RAW as WWE's top show.
Shake Up the World Heavyweight Championship Scene
The first step toward a more exciting World Heavyweight Championship scene seemed to be taken at this week's Smackdown taping, as Alberto Del Rio was left out of the No. 1 contender's match, which was won by Big Show. Although that is a positive, I doubt that Big Show is going to revitalize the world title picture enough to get people interested again.
Sheamus and Big Show figure to feud from now through Hell in a Cell, but it shouldn't go any longer than that. Smackdown is lacking when it comes to main event heels, but there are a couple options on the roster. The best choice would be The Miz. He interviewed Sheamus on Miz TV at the Smackdown taping, and the two of them seemed to have really good chemistry.
Miz is being held back by the Intercontinental Championship at the moment, but he is more than capable of carrying Smackdown on his back as the top heel. The same could be said of Wade Barrett. He doesn't have as impressive of a resume as Miz, but he has all the potential in the world.
Barrett hasn't been built particularly well since returning from an elbow injury, but I like his new attitude and feel like he would be a great challenger to Sheamus. Whatever the case, WWE needs to throw someone new into the title mix, and once that happens, things will definitely heat up.
Make the United States Championship Matter
There was a time in the WWE when titles like the Intercontinental Championship and United States Championship truly meant something. That is no longer the case, however, as there is rarely enough time and effort put into them. With Antonio Cesaro winning the U.S. strap from Santino Marella at SummerSlam, it has essentially become a Smackdown title at this point.
Cesaro came to the WWE amid much fanfare, as he was a star in ROH, but his title run has left a lot to be desired. That hasn't been entirely his fault, though, as he has only had a few matches with Santino as well as a short-notice match with Zack Ryder at Night of Champions. There are plenty of mid-card faces who could help make for an exciting United States Championship scene, however.
Ryder, Brodus Clay, Christian, Justin Gabriel, Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, Ted DiBiase and Tyson Kidd are just a few guys who should be in pursuit of the title. Every guy on the roster should be trying to get his hands on a championship, but the titles have become so devalued that most guys have no direction. That needs to change.
A tournament for the No. 1 contendership with the eight guys I mentioned would be fantastic, as it would provide Smackdown with several great matches and a real mid-card purpose. Cesaro has a ton of promise and could possibly be a main-eventer one day, but he won't get there with constant matches against Santino. Allow Cesaro to have feuds with more accomplished mid-carders, and things will really start humming on Smackdown.
Feature Tag Team Wrestling Prominently
The tag team division has been an absolute mess in the WWE for the past couple years, but thanks to the emergence of teams like Kane and Daniel Bryan, Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara and Rhodes Scholars, things are really looking up. In fact, last week's episode of Smackdown was dedicated almost exclusively to the tag teams, which is incredible when you think back to how dire the tag scene was even six months ago.
I mentioned previously that a tournament should be held to determine the United States Championship No. 1 contender, and the same thing is actually happening when it comes to the Tag Team Championships. General manager Booker T announced at the Smackdown tapings that there would be an eight-team tournament to determine which team will challenge Kane and Bryan next.
Tournaments are extremely rare in the WWE now, but I love them because they allow the writers to utilize all the talent on the roster and they give everyone something to do rather than being Superstars or Saturday Morning Slam fodder. Diehard fans tend to love tag team wrestling, and the renewed emphasis on it is going to make Smackdown a much better show.
Say what you will about "thrown together" teams, but I'm glad that guys like Kidd and Gabriel or Rhodes and Sandow are being paired up rather than wasted. Proper utilization of talent is the name of the game in wrestling, and if the WWE does that in the main event, mid-card and tag team scenes on Smackdown, then bored fans will surely be rushing back to their televisions.