While watching last night's episode of Friday Night SmackDown, which emanated from Ontario, California, (check out full results here) I wrestled with an oddly familiar feeling. Not for the program itself, but rather the idea that those in charge of writing for it did something every writer tasked with creating content on a consistent basis has done at one time or another.
They mailed it in.
I've been writing for this very site for just over three years now, and in that time I've been referred to -- and this was an insult, mind you -- as a "one man content farm". Essentially, things happen in pro wrestling and I write about those things so you, dear readers, can read about them. I do this so much that I'm left with little time to craft a truly great piece of writing.
I'm too busy telling you about Hulk Hogan and the "major bitch" that comes up when discussing another match, Stone Cold Steve Austin.
This was in my head throughout this entire episode of SmackDown. Nothing presented here felt truly inspired. It felt rushed, as though little to no planning or preparation went into it. Like they know that we know it's the lesser product compared to WWE's flagship program, Raw, so it was written as such.
This is a problem, of course, because I can only churn out so many posts about Hogan being upset about Austin, or Paul Heyman selling a match, or the latest episode of The JBL & Cole Show. It's why I hired talented writers like Hulk Holland, who drops in with a well thought out and even better executed piece every Tuesday and Thursday night. It's why I gave Sean Rueter a raise and expanded his role. Because while they may not be in a position to rise up and overthrow me (easy on the mutiny, fellas), they absolutely challenge me to do better.
I don't have a ready made solution to this problem for WWE. But SmackDown has become nothing more than a "B" show because WWE has all but openly acknowledged it as such. The problem is there doesn't appear to be any rush to change that, and make no mistake it does need to change. Moving to Thursday night and presenting a tired rehash of Raw or uninspired angles will do nothing to fend off the far more difficult competition the show will face on its new night.
Would I rather watch a football game or Big Show and Mark Henry lumbering to the ring to save Roman Reigns from a predictable beat down from The Wyatt Family after an even more predictable disqualification finish to his singles match with Bray Wyatt?
SmackDown can no longer be the show the writers mail it in for because 'hey, we've got the Friday night viewers anyway, let's gear up for Raw'. Where's the competitive fire the leader of WWE, Vince McMahon, is so famous for?
Here's to hoping the formidable slate of television on Thursday nights helps stoke that.
This past week has featured downright baffling booking for Bray Wyatt. He was squashed by John Cena on Raw and left to lose a singles match with Roman Reigns before losing a six-man tag in the main event. Keep in mind this is during a time when he's supposed to be getting over on Chris Jericho in their feud to help reestablish him as a strong heel following his failure against Cena in their prolonged feud earlier this year. Really bizarre.
If this is the last we've seen of Rob Van Dam on this run, will anyone miss him?
Paige acting crazy to get under AJ Lee's skin and/or throw her off her game is fine. Potentially great, even. AJ responding by acknowledging this and allowing herself to go to that crazy place, all in the name of the Divas championship, is also fine and, again, potentially great. The lesbian mind games angle? Not great. Actually, it's bad. It's really bad, and it should stop immediately.
Surprising heat for Rusev vs. Jack Swagger, which says to me that WWE really has something with Rusev and Lana and it needs to be taken advantage of.
Think of this: Bo Dallas is actually helping make Swagger interesting.
Thoroughly enjoying this new heelish Goldust/Stardust team. Is it really even all that heelish, though? Guys who lose in super frustrating ways should act super frustrated a lot more often than they do in WWE, even if that means going against the apology you just gave saying you wouldn't act that way again. Okay, yeah, it's heelish, and it's great.
Loved the rehiring of Damien Mizdow because Miz is that much of a sleaze.
As stated, this show felt mailed in and uninspired.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts on last night's show. How did you like it, if you liked it at all?
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