Smackdown: Live Roster Breakdown
After two weeks, there's no denying the Smackdown roster has obvious issues. RAW certainly has a bigger talent pool, which has much more star power. Smackdown of course has a few big names of their own, including Randy Orton, John Cena, Dean Ambrose, AJ Styles and Bray Wyatt (maybe), but outside of their top five there is not much else. There of course is Becky Lynch, but so far there isn’t a meaningful opponent for her out there.
There is Dolph Ziggler, who is a good worker, but has fallen from fan favor due in part to booking decisions. The new approach we’ve seen from Ziggler may spark a return to prominence for ‘The Showoff’ but it’s yet to be seen. It is far more likely the move was done to make the title match between Ziggler and Ambrose have some meaning behind it. If he loses it makes Ziggler’s new and intense persona lose it’s value. He’d just be in the same position he’s been in for the last few years.
If he wins (which is highly unlikely,) then what does this mean for Dean Ambrose? This is the problem with the current roster. Smackdown has so much uncertainty around it right now. It honestly seems like there is no direction with the show. For the show to succeed there really are only a few ways the show can truly bring back the old ‘brand wars’.
Push and Mold the Young Performers:
This is the both the most obvious and most necessary piece of advice if Smackdown wants a chance to thrive in its current state, at least until more talent arrives. Given the roster is comprised mostly of fairly new performers or NXT call-ups, it only makes sense to try and push some of them to the midcard and potentially the main event one day.
Many of the athletes on Smackdown are unproven. Baron Corbin is the Andre The Giant Battle Royal winner, but how much value does that hold with fans? Carmella’s gimmick has yet to please the fans; Bliss has potential but wasn’t featured on TV in the program's second week, which made no sense given the horrible segment Eva Marie and Becky had in which literally nothing happened.
The biggest problem with the young roster is the personalities of each. Apollo has never really grabbed the fans and I don’t think it’s just because he’s a typical babyface. There isn’t much personality behind him and it always feels like his lines are forced. Of course, the same goes for Corbin.
It isn’t enough to just blindly push the new talent, there needs to be some creative development for every wrestler. Crews is very talented but wrestling is still about characters and over the top personalities. Corbin is close and with some work he could be a good midcard wrestler soon. If the women can receive meaningful and creative pushes Becky can have some meaningful TV time.
The one bright spot for new talent are recent NXT call ups, American Alpha. They work well in the ring and people are drawn to them. Not much else to say about those two. Speaking of call-ups.
Give Smackdown the Next Big NXT Call Ups:
For the future of Smackdown and it’s ratings the WWE has to give the show the next big NXT signings. Asuka or better yet Bayley, would be phenomenal for the women’s division on Smackdown especially if a new Women’s Title is coming to Smackdown. When new belts come then the Tuesday show will have to employ a bigger talent pool to pick from when booking. One of those two already legitimizes the women's division for Smackdown.
Next we take a look at possibly the two biggest stars in NXT, Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura, who undoubtedly will be called up sooner rather than later. The main question here is whether Joe will remain in NXT as the main wrestler to work the young talent or if they want Nakamura to have a run with the title. Many believe Makamura is ready for the main roster. Certainly hard to argue against.
Raw’s roster already has plenty of talent to fill there three hours. It’s time for Smackdown to have a roster to fill their two.
Split the Cruiserweight Division Between the Two Shows:
While supposedly RAW will have the Cruiserweights exclusive to their show. This needs to change immediately. Currently Smackdown only has two titles and if they make a women and tag division title then this give Smackdown the same amount of belts as RAW.
Giving RAW an exclusive division doesn’t make much sense. It already seems ridiculous to have a separate tag and women’s championship when the rosters are spread so thin and now you want to exclusively give cruiserweights to RAW? Smackdown needs the extra bodies to fill the roster and an exclusive division only featured on RAW gives people just another reason to skip Tuesday’s show.
It’s uncertain when the WWE will try to make Smackdown a quality show. Right now it doesn’t feel like a "B" show but the companies "C" show. I would rather spend my extra time watching the cruiserweight classic or NXT than Smackdown, which is sad.
There was so much hope that the old days of the"brand wars" were making a return and Smackdown would be legitimate again. The only thing to be happy about is that RAW has at least been enjoyable the past few weeks. Hopefully things change with Smackdown. If not, then this may have just been another mistake, or a third coming of ECW.