WWE SmackDown Continues to Struggle with Remaining Relevant

September 11, 2014 - WWE

SmackDown faces an temperament crisis. After nearly 800 episodes, WWE’s No. 2 uncover is struggling to sojourn applicable to wrestling fans.

Clearly finale a code prolongation had a vital impact on a pattern and engagement of weekly episodes of SmackDown. Still, there’s a lot some-more going on than customarily that.

After all, when SmackDown creatively launched in 1999, there were no “brand” barriers that prevented a wrestler from competing on both Raw and SmackDown.

And a early years of SmackDown had copiousness of noted moments and lots of flavor. By comparison, today’s incarnation of SmackDown feels empty. The uncover mostly seems meaningless.

In particular, there’s 3 pivotal reasons because SmackDown has turn such an mediocre show:

  1. Raw rematches are increasingly common on SmackDown.
  2. SmackDown is no longer a “wrestling show.”
  3. Both Raw and SmackDown strech a same cable/satellite audience. 

 

Killing a Brand Split

The code prolongation began to pulp in 2011.

My analysis of WWE residence uncover information (using information collected from Wrestling Observer Newsletters, subscription required) demonstrates that attendance during non-televised SmackDown residence shows began lagging behind non-televised Raw branded residence shows in 2011.

Therefore, it wasn’t a warn when Triple H announced on a Aug. 29, 2011, part of Raw that SmackDown competitors would start appearing any week on Raw. It wasn’t prolonged before a “Supershow” format spilled over to SmackDown, too.

As Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez of f4wonline.com reported in May 2012, “the code prolongation is flattering many dead.” By Aug 2013, WWE sensitively deserted a judgment of branded residence shows altogether. 

The final spike in a coffin came during 2013’s TLC: Tables, Ladders Chairs pay-per-view in December. Randy Orton faced off with John Cena in a pretension joint match. At a finish of a night, WWE crowned its first WWE World Heavyweight Champion and a final remaining elements of SmackDown’s aberration faded away.

Now there’s customarily one heavyweight champion. Wrestlers are giveaway to seem on any WWE radio show. Without a singular draw, SmackDown seems unfailing to be an defective duplicate of Raw.

 

Repetition

Raw Matches Repeated Same Week on SmackDown

Year
Singles
Tag
Total
1999
3
2
5
2000
2
5
7
2001
4
3
7
2002
0
0
0
2003
0
0
0
2004
0
0
0
2005
0
0
0
2006
0
1
1
2007
1
1
2
2008
0
0
0
2009
0
0
0
2010
2
0
2
2011
3
3
6
2012
12
2
14
2013
13
5
18
2014
11
1
12

Analysis by Chris Harrington, https://sites.google.com/site/chrisharrington/raw_smackdown_match_repeats

A magnitude of significance for a uncover is originality. Consider how SmackDown books a same singles or tab compare that a spectator already saw that same week on Raw.

From 2002 to 2005, we could not find a singular compare that was hold on Raw and steady on SmackDown during a same promote week. Four years of investigate yielded 0 examples.

During a code extension, repeating matches simply was not an issue.

Things have dramatically altered in new years.

Since 2012, I’ve chronicled some-more than 40 examples of SmackDown rehashing a accurate same singles or tab compare from Raw. Again and again SmackDown viewers are unprotected to a same matchups that they saw customarily a few days earlier.

Even in a years before to a code split, viewers never saw this turn of repetition.

At most, there was customarily 7 matches steady in 2000 and 2001. In new years, WWE has averaged some-more than twice that amount.

When viewers are being unprotected to a accurate same matchups twice in a same promote week, it hurts SmackDown’s reputation. It doesn’t take prolonged for someone to interpretation that SmackDown is merely a withdraw of Raw. 

This thought should severely difficulty a WWE.

Repetition proclaims that it’s substantially OK to skip SmackDown. After all, it’s customarily a same element we already saw on Monday night.

 

The ‘Wrestling Show’

For years, SmackDown had a repute as a “wrestling show.” The import was that compared to Raw, SmackDown offering longer televised wrestling matches.

Since SmackDown was customarily taped, mistakes could be edited out of matches. Matches could also be edited for time and blurb breaks. Viewers were mostly treated to high-flying (and high-risk) wrestlers such as Rey Mysterio or Sin Cara. While Raw had copiousness of prolonged talk segments, SmackDown was some-more packaged with in-ring action. It was a profitable contrast.

My research finds that in new years a “wrestling show” eminence has totally fizzled away.

Prior to 2011, a normal tab group compare on SmackDown was 6 mins and 29 seconds long. Meanwhile on Raw, a normal tab group compare from 1999 to 2010 was 5 mins and 43 seconds long. Smackdown tab group matches were longer.

However, given 2011, while a normal tab group compare on SmackDown has fundamentally stayed a same (6:29), tab group matches on Raw have grown longer. Now, a normal tab group compare on Raw clocks in during 7 mins and 12 seconds. SmackDown’s corner is gone.

It’s a same story story with singles matches. The normal singles compare on SmackDown went from 5:43 (1999-2010) to 5:32 (2011-13). Meanwhile, singles matches on Raw went from 4:49 (1999-2010) to 5:54 (2011-13).

In both cases, Raw matches grew longer. Thus, SmackDown is now a uncover with shorter televised wrestling matches on average.

Undeniably, these longer Raw matches are attributable to Raw henceforth relocating to a three-hour format. 

Now, in 2014, Raw averages some-more than 8 matches opposite a three-hour live show. An normal Raw compare lasts about 6 mins and 48 seconds.

Meanwhile, SmackDown shows in 2014 have about customarily 6 matches per show. Each SmackDown compare lasts, on average, about 5 mins and 55 seconds.

Raw eclipses SmackDown for wrestling content. This is loyal both in tenure of perfect volume of matches and length of particular matches. It’s a towering blow to SmackDown’s reputation.

For years, SmackDown carried a ensign as a “wrestling show.” Viewers could balance in to see longer matches that featured opposite talent. Those arrange of certification done SmackDown a suggestive radio show. Now that aberration is gone.

 

Audience Reach

Raw and SmackDown Broadcast History

Year
Average Raw Rating
Raw Network Night
Average SmackDown Rating
SmackDown Network Night
1999
5.90
Monday, USA
4.37
Thursday, UPN (special Apr 29; weekly starting Aug. 26)
2000
5.88
Monday, USA (Jan-Sept); TNN (Sept-Dec)
4.73
Thursday, UPN
2001
4.64
Monday, TNN
4.03
Thursday, UPN
2002
4.01
Monday, TNN
3.52
Thursday, UPN
2003
3.76
Monday, Spike TV (TNN rebrands)
3.30
Thursday, UPN
2004
3.67
Monday, Spike TV
3.18
Thursday, UPN
2005
3.81
Monday, Spike TV (Jan-Sept); USA (Oct-Dec)
3.04
UPN, Thursday (Jan.Aug); Friday (Sept-Dec)
2006
3.90
Monday, USA
2.46
Friday, UPN (Jan-Sept. 15); CW (Sept. 22-Dec)
2007
3.61
Monday, USA
2.64
Friday, CW
2008
3.27
Monday, USA
2.33
Friday, CW (Jan-Sept); MyNetworkTV (Oct-Dec)
2009
3.57
Monday, USA
1.94
Friday, MyNetworkTV
2010
3.28
Monday, USA
1.81
Friday, MyNetworkTV (Jan-Sept); Syfy (Oct-Dec)
2011
3.21
Monday, USA
1.95
Friday, Syfy
2012
3.00
Monday, USA, 3 hours (starting July)
1.89
Friday, Syfy
2013
3.01
Monday, USA, 3 hours
1.92
Friday, Syfy
2014
3.05
Monday, USA, 3 hours
1.91
Friday, Syfy

Gerwick.net and sites.google.com/site/chrisharrington/wwftv

In a United States, NBCUniversal has a radio promote rights to atmosphere both Raw (USA Network) and SmackDown (Syfy Network). 

Throughout the history of WWE, a association has always employed innumerable placement mediums, including syndicated programming, wire networks and promote radio specials.

However, WWE has turn increasingly reliant on joining with fans possibly by a WWE Network or and weekly programs that are customarily accessible on cable/satellite television. 

When Main Event left Ion TV in April, that signaled a finish for weekly strange WWE programming accessible on a regular, promote television. 

Now, to keep adult with a product, WWE fans need to possibly allow to a wire or satellite provider, sequence a WWE Network, watch clips online or perspective a programs by a use such as Hulu. 

Some fans are being left out of a radio equation. For years, SmackDown was accessible to those fans who did not have wire or satellite radio subscriptions. That’s not loyal anymore.

Until SmackDown changed to a Syfy Network in Sep 2010, SmackDown was accessible on promote television. The uncover had stints on UPN (1999-2006), CW (2006-08) and MyNetworkTV (2008-10).

I trust that a decade of SmackDown being accessible to a non-cable assembly played an critical purpose in compelling WWE programming to a opposite assembly than a weekly Raw viewers.

Last year, according to Nielsen, a USA Network was accessible in over 98 million homes. The Syfy Network was accessible in over 97 million homes. While both networks have glorious coverage on wire and satellite, a networks are customarily accessible to subscribers.

SmackDown used to strech intensity fans who would attend residence shows or sequence merchandise. Now, these non-cable fans might be intensity subscribers to a WWE Network. However, but unchanging WWE programming on promote television, WWE stopped reaching a intensity pool of fans.

Providing no weekly WWE programming on promote radio leaves WWE during a disadvantage. It’s a mistake.

Now, SmackDown is left being a defective wire wrestling programming. It’s an hapless purpose for a program.

 

Final Words

SmackDown won a endowment for “Best Wrestling Television Show” in a annual Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards in 2002, 2009 and 2011. The uncover has been good before and it can be good again.

There was a time that a SmackDown module meant something.

SmackDown used to have longer wrestling matches. SmackDown used to be accessible to a opposite assembly than Raw reached. SmackDown had uninformed and singular content.

None of this is loyal anymore.

As a result, SmackDown languishes on Friday nights.

Before it’s too late, WWE needs to make some critical changes to freshen adult this critical radio property.

source ⦿ http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2191085-wwe-smackdown-continues-to-struggle-with-remaining-relevant

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