Well, hello. If chicken little tells you that the sky is fallin’ – even if it wasn’t would you still come crawling back again? I bet you would my friend… and that’s exactly the feeling I get right now – because it’s Live Wire time! Yeah, baby!
Yes, and with that opening thankfully out of the way, let’s get to this week’s column – Smackdown. Smackdown has vanished down the toilet pan since the New Year, hasn’t it? Now, I like to try and be positive, despite what people think of me, so I haven’t really said a lot on the Smackdown situation. Until now.
I’ve mentioned in the Smash forums that I attribute a lot of the problems on Smackdown to the lack of “The Benoit Effect”. When Benoit was on Smackdown, there was always a top notch match on the show, if nothing else. Since his departure, and the departure of Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar from the active roster, that has been missing. To top it all, the writing has deteriorated, and the show has just suffered from a seeming lack of interest.
What kind of Internet Wrestling Pundit would I be if I was to say something was bad… and NOT have an idea how to solve it? Hey, I don’t do a lot else other than rattle my brain round my head thinking over what’s wrong with the wrestling world – if you lived in MY house, you’d escape reality as often as you could too – and with that in mind, here it is – my simple three point guide to help cure Smackdown.
1. Cruiserweights. Yes, ‘those little guys’. WCW built a high proportion of their show around letting them do what they do best. WWE seems determined to do the opposite. Look at the roster on Smackdown – Chavo Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, Jamie Noble, Paul London, Nunzio, Akio, Shannon Moore, and even Ultimo Dragon, if he wasn’t on leave.
Sorry to rant on and on about these guys, but give them an hour of the show to actually wrestle and do the stuff that they are capable of, and that’s a solid base to build the rest of the show on. We get 2 or 3 minutes worth of Cruiser action on Smackdown every week, and worse still, with that roster, the Cruiserweight champion is… Jacqueline?
Total disrespect. That’s what last week was. I said in the forums at Smash that I understood the booking of Jacqueline as CW champ, and I still see the logic in doing it – for a LIVE crowd – maybe do a Dusty finish to pop the crowd or something, but this should NOT be done to a belt that lacks legitimacy thanks to the ineptitude of the WWE booking team in the first place.
Chavo was making a real deal of the title, I just hope there is a long term plan in place, and the WWE didn’t just book Jacqueline in on a whim, as is being suggested on the newsboards across the world wide web.
Break the Cruiserweight division down to 8 or 10 guys – work out a tournament or a league bracket system for them, make each CW division match MEAN something, give them decent match lengths, let them go out and wake the crowd up with some high flying stuff, and watch the interest soar. Maybe the wrestling crowd the WWE are aiming for will never buy people under 5 foot 8 as World Champions – but show them some quality action, and they’ll accept them as entertaining.
2. Tag Division – well, at the moment, there isn’t one. The best tag team on the SD roster, like it or not, are The Dudleys – and they’re embroiled in a feud with RVD and a partner of his choice? These guys should be used as the milestone for new tag teams to come through and make a name off them. Rico and Haas, yes, it’s funny at times, but these guys can actually wrestle. Let them!
The Bashams could be built into a legit hard ass tag team, in an old-school kinda way. I’m sure there’s guys in OVW that aren’t ready to be unleashed as singles talents yet, so bundle them together with a manager or a diva and let them find their feet as a team – hell, go all out and throw a bucket of money at America’s Most Wanted from NWA-TNA and get THEM on Smackdown.
Again, this is somewhere that under-used guys could be used to create new stars, and get some extra mileage. Much as I dislike Billy Gunn & Hardcore Holly, they do have tag experience, and they still get reactions from the fans, so use them as a team, even if it’s to take the belts for a couple of months, stabilise them and build up a new team in the meantime.
The main thing is the division – and the belts themselves – need to be strengthened in the eyes of the fans. Smackdown’s tag matches used to be a thing of beauty, now it’s just another bland 5 minute filler or comedy match.
3. Elevating the next stars – at the moment, the Cena and Dupree program is going in the right direction, Cena is being used to make Dupree look like the real deal, and to an extent, it’s working. But if Dupree were to take the US Belt, and hold it for a while, and make a point of defending it EVERY week, even if it’s against a local Indy talent, then getting the belt exposure and legitimising it would make it – and him – mean more.
Hopefully, they won’t put the belt on Dupree and push him to the moon, like they did with Lesnar, as the monster push is over used now. Dupree has a long career ahead of him – he doesn’t need to win a world title for a few years yet – likewise with Cena.
The roster trade moved Booker T and RVD over to Smackdown – you’d have thought that THESE guys would have been in the World title mix… instead, RVD is feuding with a tag team, and Booker will no doubt be fed to The Undertaker at Judgment Day. What a waste of two guys that could have given Eddie’s reign a little urgency, rather than JBL, who I don’t think ANYONE believes in as a WWE Champion.
Booker’s heel turn was done, I thought, to give Eddie a top liner to feud with, not to give the Taker a bigger star to squash on his return from the dead. Eddie’s reign as champion is wrongly going to be looked on as a failure, due to the weakness of his opponents, and the nonsensical booking – heart attacks? breaking trophies? Please! I like old school, but not kindergarten…
But even if the WWE implemented these three ideas, would the fanbase that Smackdown once had come back? Who knows… the WWE certainly look like they don’t.
Join me later in the week for Judgment Day predictions, a column I’m REALLY looking forward too…
Until then, have fun, go mad.
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