Why WWE SmackDown is the Better Wrestling Show over Raw


Since the brand extension draft, SmackDown has turned 180 degrees and become the far superior wrestling show in essentially every aspect compared to Monday Night Raw reminiscent of Team Blue’s 2002-2003 run.

The short answer is simply because there’s more wrestling, the oft-overlooked, and until very recently, rarely mentioned, second ‘W’ in WWE. Ever since Vince McMahon coined the term ‘sports-entertainment’, and ever since WWF was forced to drop the ‘F’ and adopt an ‘E’, the WWE has, by in large, become more focused on entertainment than wrestling.

There is no greater example than WWE’s flagship show, Monday Night Raw. Raw is a bloated, three-hour slog, that can, depending on the week, be extremely difficult to sit through and watch. Over the years since the advent of the PG era, fans have had to endure celebrity guest hosts to help with mainstream crossover appeal, 90% of whom probably knew nothing about wrestling or cared about it; frustratingly short matches; boring, insipid, uninspired, scripted promos; a bevy of sponsorships, many of which had nothing to do with the actual product; and the same guys week in and week out.

With the recent brand extension draft, Raw has become, more or less, the same, stagnant product, despite apparent ‘change’ in the form of Mick Foley as General Manager. But let’s give Foley credit where credit is due; Raw has had a couple of major moments since the draft, namely the amazing WWE Women’s Championship match between Sasha Banks and Charlotte; the crowning and de-crowning of Finn Balor as WWE Universal Champion; and the subsequent rise of Kevin Owens at the expense of Seth Rollins.

While the show has remained largely the same, the roster split has made the weaknesses and holes in Raw into gaping voids that have been hard to ignore. Raw’s tag team division, despite being anchored down by The New Day is a trainwreck, with the feud between the popular trio and The Club running out of steam with no true contenders on the horizon as Raw seems to not know what to do with the Shining Stars and whether or not to keep Enzo & Cass a team or to continually feature them in rotating singles matches.

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Raw’s women’s division has only truly spotlighted Sasha, Charlotte, and Dana Brooke, and now with the recent arrival of Bayley, the hope was that Bayley would inject new life into the roster. However, nothing seems to have changed; in fact, Sasha and Charlotte are set to square off once again for the Women’s Championship in Los Angeles next week, while Bayley was left to squash an enhancement talent fresh off a triple threat PPV match, much to the confusion of fans. Where is Nia and where does she fit into this equation?

Despite supposedly being ‘punished’ or ‘de-pushed’, Roman Reigns finds himself the United States champion, while the Universal Championship finds itself in a situation much like the Tag Team titles in that, unless Raw’s creative team does something, Kevin Owens won’t have a suitable contender past Seth Rollins, who is set to seemingly go up against Triple H. Raw has Cesaro and Sami Zayn, both of whom could be money opponents for Owens, and yet both find themselves in the mid-card. Just about the only thing that would be considered ‘wrestling’ on Raw these days is the brand new cruiserweight division.

However, the grass is much greener on the other side of the fence over on the Blue brand. SmackDown Live, since the draft, has consistently become the superior wrestling show compared to its tenured counterpart. Better, LONGER matches, better roster, better storylines, better commentary, truthfully, better everything than Raw.

Each of SmackDown’s titles and divisions are filled to the brim with healthy competition. The WWE World Championship, regardless of how Raw would like to promote and push its Universal Title, is still and will always be the richest prize in all of pro-wrestling. The WWE Championship finds itself to be contested in a highly combustible triple threat match at No Mercy between the champ AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, and John Cena, with the potential history-making moment of Cena tying Ric Flair’s record of 16x Champion as the underlying angle of the storyline.

The Usos’ heel turn has given tag team wrestling new life on SmackDown as they are currently embroiled in a feud with both the SmackDown tag team champions Beauty and the Man-Beast, as well as American Alpha. The Miz has brought the prestige and luster back to the Intercontinental Championship as arguably the WWE’s hottest heel right now. And in comparison to Raw’s women’s division, Becky Lynch, Natalya, Nikki Bella, Naomi, Carmella, and Alexa Bliss have all been able to stand on their own and shine.

It was presumed that the only change SmackDown would get by going live would be the elimination of edited crowd noises, but in reality, SmackDown has undergone a wholesale transformation with Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan at the helm, both of whom set out to make wrestling, competition, and opportunity the top priority on their show as opposed to Raw.

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With lively crowds (Cleveland’s SmackDown audience was hot compared to Raw’s Cincinnati bunch), a more-manageable 2-hour format, a companion and brilliant companion show on the network in Talking Smack, and a much better first PPV in Backlash over Raw’s Clash of Champions, it’s no secret as to why SmackDown has once again become the better wrestling show over Monday Night Raw.