WWE: Seven Ways to Resurrect the Fallen Smackdown Brand
Boredom has encapsulated my mind while watching the latest Smackdown. The Rock's show has devolved from an entertaining, must-watch show into a boring show with no excitement or any reason to watch it. Maybe the only thing encapsulating my mind right now is hyperbole.
Smackdown has been very boring since Edge retired. Randy Orton is the only established main event superstar on the roster. Christian and Sheamus are the next top guys. Mark Henry has been rejuvenated as a monster heel. The biggest concern is that there are no faces other than Orton in the main event.
Note that this won't entail moving Smackdown to a different network or a different time slot. Making it live will make the show much more expensive to produce.
Spoilers from the Internet have not necessarily been proven to ruin TV ratings as long as nothing major happens. Moving it to Thursday is an idea worth considering.
I will also assume the rosters will not be merged. The brand extension allows WWE to run two separate house show circuits. This obviously makes more money if the house shows are profitable.
Here are my seven solutions to restore the Smackdown's prestige and to make it worth watching again.
Recreate the Cruiserweight Division and Move All Cruiserweights to Smackdown
It truly irks me when I see Rey Mysterio defeating giants like Kane cleanly every time. It is simply not realistic. Mysterio should be in this division along with many other smaller wrestlers.
In MMA, would a middleweight fighter defeat a heavyweight like Brock Lesnar or Cain Velasquez? Perhaps in boxing Manny Pacquiao can defeat heavyweight Vladimir Klitschko. There's a reason why there are different weight classes in MMA, boxing, and even amateur wrestling.
There are plenty of talents WWE should sign to upholster the revived division.
Jay Lethal is a perfect fit on the blue brand as a cruiserweight. Sin Cara would be able to showcase his skills. Seth Rollins from FCW would be a tremendous fit.
Daniel Bryan can be a poor man's Dean Malenko. Evan Bourne and Justin Gabriel would also benefit greatly from the cruiserweight division. Additionally, there are plenty of spectacular athletes available for a very low cost on the independent scene.
Have a tournament for the Cruiserweight Championship culminating at WrestleMania. The finals should be Sin Cara vs. Rey Mysterio in a historic match.
Make the Tag Team Division Exclusive to Smackdown
This is something WWE must do if they want to make Smackdown the wrestling-oriented show. Tag team wrestling needs to be back in prominence on Smackdown. The tag team division will always be overlooked on Raw.
Don't believe the tag team division can be saved? Look at the quality teams that can be made.
The Usos are a natural tag team with outstanding chemistry. David Otunga and Michael McGillicutty complement each other well as current Tag Team Champions.
Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel can bring some excitement into the division. The rumored signing of Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli, a Ring of Honor tag team known as the Kings of Wrestling, will bolster the tag team division.
More tag teams can be added.
Darren Young and Percy Watson were the South Beach Party Boys in FCW. Los Aviadores, also from FCW, can be the high-flying team fans can get behind. Bo Rotundo and Husky Harris are brothers in real life and would make a great team. Jinder Mahal and Great Khali would make a formidable monster heel team.
Primo can even recreate the Colons with Tito Colon from FCW. Drew McIntyre and Sheamus can reform their FCW team the Celtic Connection. Reforming the Hart Dynasty with David Hart Smith and Tyson Kidd would enhance the tag team division as well.
So many good tag teams can be made if WWE is serious about making the division relevant once again. A healthy tag team division is key to a brand revival. Smackdown should be the home for tag team wrestling in the WWE.
Most importantly, get rid of those ugly bronze belts. What, did Leonidas design those belts?
Bring Rey Mysterio or John Morrison Back to Smackdown
The little chihuahua needs to come home to the blue brand. Mysterio has never found his niche on Raw. Drafting him to Raw has been a devastating blow to Smackdown. He can become that top draw Smackdown is sorely lacking. He can be the No. 2 face behind Randy Orton.
Rey Mysterio is a proven draw. Do whatever it takes within reason to extend the contract of the master of the 619. He can also help Sin Cara adapt to the WWE style while retaining the Lucha Libre elements.
Although it is unrealistic to suggest Mysterio would be willing to mentor eventual replacement Sin Cara off-screen, on-screen they can make a tremendous tag team.
Mysterio captures that key Hispanic demographic WWE needs to target. Raw doesn't necessarily need him. John Cena is the No. 2 seller of merchandise in WWE history so Rey's fantastic drawing power is negated. Smackdown desperately needs a major draw other than Orton.
Morrison's lack of mic skills will ultimately be his downfall on Raw. His strengths are more suited to Smackdown since the blue brand has more emphasis on wrestling. Call me crazy but he can play Edge's role from when Edge was the face of Smackdown earlier this year.
How to move Mysterio or Morrison to Smackdown without waiting for next year's draft? Simple. Rey Mysterio can have a "loser leaves Raw" match with Alberto Del Rio while Morrison can have a similar match with R-Truth.
Only move one of these guys as Raw is lacking in faces as well.
Make Some Key Signings from Other Wrestling Promotions
The picture depicts a man who could be the new face of Smackdown. AJ Styles is the best active in-ring performer in the world today. Pro Wrestling Insider ranked him the No. 1 pro wrestler in 2010. He has wrestled for the WWE before, albeit only one time. In fact he had his tryout match with the Hurricane back in 2002.
But he has said he doesn't want to go to the WWE. Since Styles is not going to the WWE anytime soon, Samoa Joe, Shelton Benjamin, The Pope, Jay Lethal, Kazarian and Matt Morgan would be great fits on Smackdown.
Samoa Joe can have the "anti-superstar" gimmick that Kharma used. Joe is being misused on TNA right now and has some friends in the WWE. Benjamin can flat out get it done in the ring. It was a mistake to cut him in the first place. Both Joe and Benjamin will benefit from Smackdown's emphasis on wrestling.
Pope is severely underused in TNA and will be pimping as a face or a heel in the WWE. Pope never got his chance in the WWE but he has all of the tools to be a major star. Jay Lethal would look good as the Cruiserweight Champion or even the Intercontinental Champion down the line.
Kazarian can be a solid mid-card guy in the Intercontinental Championship hunt or headline the cruiserweight division. Morgan can be another top guy on Smackdown due to his high-quality in-ring ability for a legitimate seven footer.
If some of those guys are signed, then Smackdown can improve significantly.
Give Wade Barrett and Cody Rhodes a Main Event Push
Remember when Nexus shocked the world? Wade Barrett was primarily featured in that group. They pushed him to the moon due to his stage presence and incredible mic skills.
Smackdown is in desperate need of a heel other than that scrawny Canadian and Ronald McDonald's evil twin. Barrett needs to be the man pushed into the main event.
Wade Barrett is a natural villain. Barrett gets a lot of heel heat just for his mic skills alone. Make him the top heel on Smackdown.
Cody Rhodes does a great job of evolving his character. His mic skills are exemplary and his in-ring skills are very good. He also has the advantage because his father, Dusty Rhodes, is a WWE employee. Push Rhodes out of the mid-card into the upper mid-card at the very least.
Have Wade Barrett or Cody Rhodes win the Money in the Bank briefcase and become World Heavyweight Champion soon.
Play off the Historical Significance of the Intercontinental Championship
Current Intercontinental Champion Ezekiel Jackson needs to go to research the history and prestige of the belt he is wearing.
During his research he will find legends such as Randy Savage, Ultimate Warrior, Mr. Perfect, The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho and countless others holding the belt before him.
He needs to cut a promo about how important this belt is. He should vow to defend it every pay-per-view or an occasional Smackdown. The Intercontinental Championship should be treated as an artifact from a WWE museum. It has been with the company since 1979 with Pat Patterson, the first-ever champion.
Again, this belt needs to signify the history of the WWE. Nostalgia truly sells.
Remove Michael Cole from Commentary
I am not a big fan of Michael Cole. Cole can never live up to the expectations WWE fans put upon him, thanks to Jim Ross' great commentary.
The whole anonymous GM angle really did a great job of getting Michael Cole X-Pac type heat. X-Pac heat is bad, trust me.
Instead, have Josh Matthews call the action as a neutral play-by-play man. Booker T needs to improve as a color commentator but still have him in the booth.
Throw in Matt Striker as the third man to balance the face/heel dynamic. Matthews, Booker T and Striker can make Smackdown a show distinct from Raw.
Conclusion on How to Improve Smackdown and Some Additional Thoughts
The show named after one of The Rock's catchphrases has electrified the WWE fans over the years. Countless memorable moments have been made on the blue brand. Right now, though, these moments are few and far in between.
Bringing back the cruiserweight division will excite the crowd. It is a perfect way to open the show or inject some life into the crowd midway through the show.
A great 10-minute tag team match will make the tag team division relevant once again. Giving the Intercontinental Championship more importance will only make the person holding it more relevant.
Signing Rey Mysterio and John Morrison to Smackdown will provide the blue brand with much-needed faces to balance the surplus of heels. Signing additional talents from TNA or some other promotion can pay them dividends. Wade Barrett and Cody Rhodes have the tools to be in the main event.
Getting rid of Michael Cole is always a good thing. Hopefully, Booker T remembers which wrestler is in the ring. Bringing in Matt Striker will make him useful again.
Thanks for reading!