Is Smackdown Relevant?

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Is Smackdown Relevant?

Post by Unbeliever on Fri 28 Aug 2015, 11:29 pm

Is it now anymore than a glorified version of 'Heat'? It's fallen way behind Raw to the point where they barely seem to have any continuity between the shows. As a stand alone show NXT kicks its ass. The demise has been painfully slow but surely now is the time for a 'brand' rethink.

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Re: Is Smackdown Relevant?

Post by Samo on Sat 29 Aug 2015, 5:27 pm

Not even a little bit. They have tried to make it seem that way by giving it big moments (Like the Shield's first 6 man tag defeat and Cesaro pinning Rusev) but apart from that its almost entirely missable. It seems that its a dry run for the next RAW, where if something works then they'll do it again on RAW.

Smackdown used to be excellent, and at one point - with the help of the SmackDown Six - easily rivaled RAW as a top brand, over ranking it in some fans minds. Im certain the only reason its still around is so that WWE can keep building on the record of No1 and No2 longest running weekly episodic programs in US TV history.

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Re: Is Smackdown Relevant?

Post by Dolphin Ziggler on Sun 30 Aug 2015, 12:37 am

It is, however, an often entertaining show as a standalone. I think they do about as much as they can with it, to some extent. If they blow a big moment on it then they most likely catch everyone cold and waste a big moment.

If the idea as Bryan being Smackdown's IC Title holding equivalent to John Cena's US challenge on Raw was real then thats one of the better things they could do. As far as I'm concerned they should make it a programme where more things are tried, lesser focused characters get a chance to shine and stories are not exactly taken from the main show but theres a slow burn on low profile stories. More number one contender matches for the IC title and tag titles, or not even number one contender, just a simple story that both wrestlers need wins to impress and get into the limelight for an IC title shot.

Would be good for Ryback to do a lot more work on Smackdown, and of course we would all love them to bring a cruiserweight division in for Smackdown too.

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Re: Is Smackdown Relevant?

Post by Samo on Sun 30 Aug 2015, 1:32 pm

I've heard murmurings that Cena will get title no 16 on the first SmackDown on the USA Network to make it a big deal and give SmackDown a bit of legitimacy going forward on its new channel.

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Re: Is Smackdown Relevant?

Post by Dolphin Ziggler on Sat 05 Sep 2015, 2:33 pm

Sometimes you get little bits like this on Smackdown

https://streamable.com/oyxu

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Re: Is Smackdown Relevant?

Post by Prometheus on Fri 11 Sep 2015, 10:04 am

I think you can also start to ask this question about Raw as it slides down 7% on viewers from last year.

Obviously everyone grumbles about the 3 hour run time, this is a lot of any program to sit through.

But I think we can also start to argue that the Network is making Raw less relevant. Here's my thinking. Wind back the clock 1 - 2 years in the US and we have a situation where monthly PPVs. Just as rough numbers we can say that Mania is drawing around a million buys, the Rumble half a million and the rest around 150 - 250,000. So we have a situation where the majority of PPVs are not being watched by much of the audience.

Now we have the Network, which has been relatively stable at 1M subscriptions. And I think it is fair to assume that most of those subscribers will be watching each PPV.

Because so much of Raw is build to a PPV I think it becomes arguable that if you have the PPV you can skip much of the build unless you want to follow it very closely. Whereas in the past people might watch the shows because they are not going to get the PPV, so the PPV business is almost being inverted compared to the TV business.
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Re: Is Smackdown Relevant?

Post by Enforcer on Fri 11 Sep 2015, 11:46 am

I've not had Sky Sports for almost a year now, up until Mania I was trying to watch Raw online but gave up after that. Since then I've watched every ppv on the Network and really haven't felt a burning need to see Raw. I read the spoilers and that keeps my interest up.

I get my weekly wrestling fix with NXT and that's enough for me.

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Re: Is Smackdown Relevant?

Post by Prometheus on Fri 11 Sep 2015, 11:58 am

Thanks Enforcer. I do think that is more possible now. The PPV shows are just so much more accessible that they make the TV shows more skippable.

I'm not saying that Raw is a program no-one watches. And, obviously, a lot of WWE fans like to follow the stories each week and get that pay-off peak at the PPV.

I see that next week's show is being billed as the season opener. And I can see why WWE does this, and why it may be a bit special with the MNF starting as competition. But where was the season finale? I don't follow US football, but surely one of the questions that fans will tune in to see answered is "How do our new draft players work out? Will they push the team forwards?"

So, for example, if WWE paid more than lip service to this season opener idea, it might have been the best time to debut the NXT women. We might have the Diva's title on the line, but where are the new cast, the new storylines, the new start that any other season opener would have. In fact, beyond WWE itself and this post I'd be pretty confident no-one anywhere will be saying its a season opener, because it really isn't.
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Re: Is Smackdown Relevant?

Post by Dolphin Ziggler on Fri 11 Sep 2015, 12:34 pm

To be fair, none of them are must watch if you've got spoilers. I find NXT actually doesn't even need spoilers as it feels more like a contained one hour show than a story driven wrestling product. 

I don't envy those who have to keep up with wrestling from spoilers. It isn't the same. I think my least favourite sentence on any Raw thread we have is "that sounds awful."

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Re: Is Smackdown Relevant?

Post by Prometheus on Fri 11 Sep 2015, 12:42 pm

I think the point regarding NXT wrt a weekly wrestling fix is that it is concise. It is an hour long and therefore easily digestible. Although oddly I do sometimes binge it (i.e. not watch for 2-3 weeks and then catch up).

Its also common for me to not watch Raw until much later in the week. As spoilers don't tend to worry me that much (I've a shocking memory for a start) its not uncommon for me to comment on a thread and then watch the show later.

Personally I probably average 1 in 2 or 3 Raws. It is sometimes more frequent when there are angles that interest me (e.g. the US title defence). Even then, due to time constraints I'll often take the story from reviews and forward to the matches worth watching. But again some of those angles are worth watching, e.g. Brock and Rollins' car or Heyman on the mic, etc.
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Re: Is Smackdown Relevant?

Post by talkingpoint on Fri 11 Sep 2015, 1:03 pm

a 3 hour show every week is bound to have some filler. Not to mention the fact that technology has made television/internet streaming so much more consumer friendly. If you record a TV show you can just fast forward the parts you don't like/find boring. You can effectively edit and control exactly what you watch.

I don't have the WWE network, but are you able to record the PPVs or do you have to watch them live? How many times are they repeated? Could you treat them like an episode of Raw and Smackdown and just skip over the matches/segments you don't want to watch?

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Re: Is Smackdown Relevant?

Post by Prometheus on Fri 11 Sep 2015, 1:08 pm

All the content on WWE Network is available on Demand.

So you find the show you want, click on it and watch it when you want.

Most of the PPVs are also bookmarked so you can skip to the next match if you want to miss one. Though rather stupidly if you hover on the bookmark at the end of a match it will tell you not just who won but how the match finished.

No disprespect to you TP as it is a good question. But I've seen similar questions in the past over when PPVs can be viewed. And these are from people who watch Raw and are into wrestling (even if you ffwd it). So, I'm quite amazed that WWE has not got over the concept of how the Network works better. I can see why they focused so much on the 9.99 angle, but I still think a lot of people assume it is only available for live content rather than it is really an on-demand service.
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Re: Is Smackdown Relevant?

Post by Kay Fabe on Fri 11 Sep 2015, 1:47 pm

SmackDown! for me is done, I've not watched it in 18 months and I don't think I've missed anything remotely significant in that time, if I have missed something perceived to be big then it's not something that immediately springs to mind.

The downfall of SmackDown! began when they made it a RAW-lite program, they lost everything that made it a stand alone show, replacing the isle with the ramp, the SD fist, the emphasis on the Blue, the commentators...they had a brilliant product at one point, probably the best Wrestling show on TV at one point too but at some stage Vince looked at it and must have felt they wanted to take it in a different dirction.

It'd be better for all concerned if SmackDown! became Network exclusive, they could be a bit more creative on it ala NXT and it'd also give the WWE more ammunition to sell the Network to fans

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Re: Is Smackdown Relevant?

Post by Dolphin Ziggler on Fri 11 Sep 2015, 1:53 pm

The weirdest thing about Smackdown for me is that they know it's filler, they known its ratings fodder for channels and they know people are watching it even though they put barely any effort in. So why not use it as a more creative platform? They actually hit the nail on the head quite well on Smackdown; there seem to be fresher pairings and more focus on B+ players because Cena and Orton in particular are not around. But too much of the s*** around it is recap, repeats or filler. I have no idea why lesser lights like Fandango, Ryder, Swagger etc are not given Smackdown feuds. They clearly feel they need tv revenue, but I don't think they have anything to lose in terms of ratings as people who watch it are generally just accepting the garbage supplied to them. They're not gonna turn off if an Axel vs Adam Rose feud doesn't hit the right notes.

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Re: Is Smackdown Relevant?

Post by talkingpoint on Sat 12 Sep 2015, 12:11 am

Prometheus wrote:All the content on WWE Network is available on Demand.

So you find the show you want, click on it and watch it when you want.

Most of the PPVs are also bookmarked so you can skip to the next match if you want to miss one.  Though rather stupidly if you hover on the bookmark at the end of a match it will tell you not just who won but how the match finished.  

No disprespect to you TP as it is a good question.  But I've seen similar questions in the past over when PPVs can be viewed.  And these are from people who watch Raw and are into wrestling (even if you ffwd it).  So, I'm quite amazed that WWE has not got over the concept of how the Network works better.  I can see why they focused so much on the 9.99 angle, but I still think a lot of people assume it is only available for live content rather than it is really an on-demand service.

If that is the case, could they even be considered PPVs anymore? I mean if they're part of the network subscription package and the content is bookmarked then is it still a PPV technically speaking? Couldn't they call them 'Network specials' or something? I know non network viewers can still buy it as a PPV, but if the financial model has shifted towards the network being the primary source of revenue then hasn't it effectively done away with them as PPVs strictly speaking?


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Re: Is Smackdown Relevant?

Post by Prometheus on Sat 12 Sep 2015, 11:17 am

I think the use of the term PPV may be me (I still video things). I believe that WWE tends to refer to them as Events.

Of course, what WWE is also trying to avoid is the perception that their Network is only used for Events. I'd take a stab that 90% of their users pretty much just watch the PPVs (and maybe NXT, but this has a Hulu outlet too in the US). I expect a few people dip into the archives. And they have some series, like Rivalries or Monday Night Wars that are worth a watch. But I'd be willing to bet that the number of people who use it as a live TV channel is very, very low. Just don't tell their investors that.
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Re: Is Smackdown Relevant?

Post by Dolphin Ziggler on Sat 12 Sep 2015, 12:16 pm

To be fair, I don't think people are investing into wwe on the basis of live numbers. That's the point of on demand content, really.

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Re: Is Smackdown Relevant?

Post by Prometheus on Sat 12 Sep 2015, 12:31 pm

I'd disagree. The WWE in their main investor call this year were trumpeting hard about the new content they had, the Jerry Springer shows, etc. I think they would like shareholders to believe that The Network is a channel and not something that the majority of their subscribers use for around 4-8 hours per month as a "cheaper" way of getting the PPVs.
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Re: Is Smackdown Relevant?

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