Ever since I can remember, Raw has been the dominant brand in the WWE. From the Raw is War days to our present Monday night Raw show, it has always been the leading weekly episodic, constantly leaving Smackdown sat in a sorry second place. However, is the domination of Raw beginning to disappear? Can Smackdown, Teddy Long and-all, rise above their prevailing brother show and become number one?
Lately, I have been watching both shows without fail and the one thing I have noted is that Smackdown seems to be invading, and taking over, Raw. Rarely will a Monday night now go by in which Sheamus, The Big Show, Randy Orton or Wade Barrett are not involved in one way or another, and these names are fast becoming fans favourites.
I understand that Raw is now called the Raw super show, meaning both rosters can compete on Monday nights, yet the reliance upon certain superstars from the runner-up brand is perhaps indicating that Smackdown is no longer content with living in its sibling’s shadow. In fact, without the likes of Orton and Sheamus kicking some ass on Raw, would we actually see a drop in viewing figures?
The Royal Rumble winner of 2012, The Great White himself, is a fully pledged Smackdown superstar whilst the tag titles are also now owned by the blue half of the WWE. As this sort of power is instituted towards Teddy Longs team and away from big Johnny, will Teddy actually catch his rival?
Like many others, I still believe that Raw is, the greater brand, with the likes of Jericho, Punk, Cena (yes we may not like him, but, we like to not like him), Kane, The Miz, and Ziggler perhaps over-powering the weaker Smackdown roster.
Yet a look at the upcoming talent on Smackdown such as Sheamus, Cody Rhodes, Barrett, D-Bry etc. and you can see that the gulf between the two shows is certainly shrinking.
However, the problem doesn’t seem to be the talent, it seems to be the storylines. Raw has always provided that extra special moment which Smackdown just lacks. For example, on Raw you may see Kane clawing his way out of a hole in the middle of the ring only for it to be set ablaze moments later, whilst on Smackdown, the most edgy thing that occurs is a Natalya fart-gag or Hunico riding some sort of “pimped-out” bicycle to the ring. It is this kind of thing that is remembered by the WWE universe and which one, honestly, would you rather see?
To finish this piece I think we must recognise the huge strides Smackdown has made recently with the show actually becoming interesting again and not just 2 long, long hours of air-time on Sy-Fy. Raw has dominated the WWE universe for decades now, yet could we soon be seeing a switch over to the blue side?