By Bayani Domingo, Associate Editor
There was a collective eyeroll every time we heard a Smackdown Live wrestler refer to RAW as the “B Show” leading up to Survivor Series. There is absolutely no one in the IWC that believes that Vince and the E don’t see RAW as the Crown Jewel, and SDL has been traditionally kicked in the jewels at every opportunity. You can argue that SDL is your personal favorite show, but in the grand scheme of things there was never a doubt that SDL was going to end up with the short end of the stick. We just had no idea how short that stick really was.
Let’s look at the results: The Shield defeated The New Day, RAW’s Women defeated SDL’s Women, RAW’s Men defeated SDL’s Men, and Lesner defeated AJ. You could say that in basically every match that really counted and had the big “Stars” participating, RAW soundly laid the wood to SDL. You have a match of the 2 most “over” stables go to the Shield, which wasn’t a surprise considering that the stable was made up of 3 former World Champions, the two most powerfully built up women belong on the RAW side (Asuka, Jax), Lesner’s victory was never really in question, and then the RAW’s SS Team included 2 authority figures that weren’t even part-timers. Hell, Cena couldn’t even be bothered to wear a friggin’ BLUE SHIRT!!
The fact that SDL scored wins in the Mid-Card, Women’s, and Tag Title matches were largely underwhelming. The real build up has been the actual Survivor Series type matches and the Champion vs Champion match. Even the Shield vs New Day match was a battle of merch machines. If Vegas took bets on this type of thing there is no doubt that RAW would have been a 10-1 favorite leading up to Sunday. I would even argue that the K.O./Zayn-terference came way too late to be a significant factor considering the odds were already stacked against SDL by the time they even ran in. It was obvious that HHH and Angle were not in any shape to spend any real time in the ring, but leaving Shane as the last man standing was all about plot, not about match quality, and while it’s disappointing, it was to be expected. Now we are going to see Shane dominate the program as another non-wrestler is going to steal the screen time that actual wrestlers need to get over with the fans. We can only hope this translates into a payoff where Zayn/KO are vaulted back into the main event, perhaps with some gold wrapped around their waists.
Look, we all knew there was going to be a “winner” and a “loser” after Survivor Series, the problem is that the E thought that everyone would look at the “Scoreboard” and see a 4-3 close shave by RAW, the problem is that we ALL know that these matches were not all created equal because the E already told us so. Allowing RAW to win all the important matches sent a clear signal that SDL was the “B Show” and after NXT’s showing the previous night, they might not even be that. So what now? Because the E is clearly sending a signal to the fans that they don’t need to bother clearing their Tuesday nights.
While it’s easy to criticize the E for their mishandling of SDL, it’s harder to come up with a solution for fixing it. SDL already is at a disadvantage by being on Tuesdays versus the traditional featured night of the week, Monday. They also lack a 3rd hour which would gives them 50% less airtime to feature their wrestlers, and by virtue of being booked as the “B Team” there is no way for them to compete head to head with RAW and come out as a worthwhile use of time for viewers and fans. Meaning that the only way to win a head-to-head competition is to not compete at all. That is to mean that they need to remake SDL into a different entity. NXT has succeeding in doing so, 205 Live is a different focus with separate performers, and the E tried to package SDL as the “Land of Opportunity” before, and they held to that briefly when KO, Tye Dillinger, Baron Corbin, and even Jinder Mahal were receiving huge pushes. But then fell back on old crutches like Orton, Cena, and shane-o Mac. It’s time to hit reset again.
It boggles the mind that the E doesn’t give SDL a push during football season when RAW loses viewers to Monday Night Football regardless of how much heat they try to get behind it. SDL represents an opportunity to give the NXT wrestlers a stepping stone to develop their characters before debuting on RAW, the “A Show”. Let’s go ahead and finally embrace what the E has enforced for years. Now that NJPW has caught fire in the US and is now running shows here and GFW has taking an international approach to programming, along with additional streaming services for Indies everywhere, it’s time for SDL to stop being the watered down “poor man’s RAW” and become a true brand apart from it.
- Hot Topic had a $10 T-shirt sale and the Youngbuck’s “Cease and Desist” shirt was part of it. My guess was that the women’s shirts were sold out in the first 10 mins.
- The perfect “Casual Friday” shirt for every page in Washington DC.
NJPW keeps teasing a Bullet Club “Civil War”. Which I’m told is due to “a lack of compromise”. Meaning that Tonga and Fale have been waaaaaaaay more underpaid for their labor than I previously thought.
- Jimmy Jacobs’ return to the Indies has netted him the IWA Mid South Championship. Which I’m told is based in Louisville, Kentucky. Which…is not what I imagined to be where the middle of the South is. Although, it make sense, the only things in Kentucky that are accepted and Brown are the horses and the bourbon. I’m kidding, I’m kidding…they’re Black guys in Kentucky…until after their Freshman season at UK ends, that is.
- Hideo Itami is joining 205 Live. Itami juuuust snuck in under the weight limit thanks to 20 lbs worth of pins and scar tissue amassed in NXT.
- The E is rolling out a Brunette/Goth Girl/Blonde to each show. I didn’t realize the E was treating their Women’s Division like Downloadable Content starter packs.
Drew Galloway tore his bicep prior to dropped the NXT Title. The booking team was going to take a TON of heat if Galloway wasn’t going to miss 6 months anyways…*phew* looks like the bookers got off…Scott free…
- Andrade Almas is the new NXT Champion…I’m as surprised as anyone. Especially considering he’s been deemed deficient enough on the mic to require a manager. I guess it’s true, it’s better to be Cien and not heard.
- Reportedly a woman has accused Mick Foley of sexual misconduct and statutory rape when she was 15. I’m not sure what to believe, I mean what kind of a wrestler would be caught messing around with an underaged teenage girl? A real Savage if you ask me.
- Lucha Underground is reportedly offering talent their releases if they are “unhappy”. I think we all know what LU needs to do to save these unhappy relationships and avoid a messy divorce…”LET’S HAVE A BABY!!”
- Another ridiculous rumor is Batista saying on JR’s podcast that he would consider a full-time return to the E. Suuuuuuuure, “Make less money, for more work, shittier hours, and constant criticism on a daily basis??” Weird, I never pictured Batista quitting Hollywood to become a mom.
- Not to be racist, but….Mustafa Ali, Cedric Alexander, and Rich Swann calling Enzo’s lackeys “brown nosers” felt…I dunno…a little “pot/kettle”, no?
The thing that was missing in the Gulak/Tozawa “Street Fight” was it all being filmed on a smartphone vertically so it’s a pain in the ass to watch on youtube later.