Ever since the introduction of the Wild Card Rule, SmackDown Live has been on the slide.
Once considered the “wrestling show” by fans, the influx of Raw talent (and the baggage that inevitably brings) has flooded Tuesday nights with bad storylines, nauseating melodrama and boring feuds. SmackDown has devolved from being “the land of opportunity” into becoming “the abandoned field of Monday Night repeats”.
Nowhere is this depressing trend more apparent than with reference to the red, sweaty shape of Shane McMahon and his assorted minions. To make this point clear, I am actually more forgiving of Shane’s particular brand of narcissism than most. I think he does have some charisma, and wields enough corruptible authority to make him a viable heel worth conquering. So I’m not opposed to McMahon feuding with The Miz or Roman Reigns or Seth Rollins. As long as – and this is critical – it’s ONLY ONE of them.
Allowing the boss’ son to permeate every segment of SmackDown Live is not only tedious, it also robs other talent of earning a shot on TV. I would love to see Andrade, Bálor, Ember Moon and the Kabuki Warriors featured more prominently. Or Aleister Black find his way out of a storage closet. Perhaps receive visual confirmation that Buddy Murphy and Liv Morgan are still actively employed.
But none of that is possible when each SmackDown needs to provide for four (or six, or twelve) Raw invaders. The red brand will always be viewed as the superior show in WWE’s eyes. And so, when guests from Monday night arrive, it means it has to come at the expense of Tuesday night talent.
With that said, the Raw presence wasn’t felt as acutely this week. Last night’s SmackDown Live was instead built around one solitary segment: the return of professional Twitter troll – and Mama Lynch enthusiast – Big E. This prospect alone should bode well for the show. But how did it ultimately play out? Let’s find out in the review.