Allow me to briefly introduce myself because this is my first piece of writing for BodySlam.net. I am David Joseph, podcaster, youtuber, purveyor of all things sports and entertainment. If you happen to know me or follow my Twitter (@DavidJoesph95) you’d know that the NBA, MMA, and WWE are practically always on my mind. Call it conspiracy or whatever you’d like but you’d also know I am a big believer that ultimately a lot of these sports borrow showmanship and promoting elements of pro wrestling (Warriors vs Cavs enough said).
Do I have one million over here?! Great, I have one million over here to the current highest bidder. Do I hear $205 million over there for over the course of five years?! Last call for $205 million! Going once, going twice, and sold to the highest bidder! According to Tony Maglio of The Wrap, WWE has signed a deal with Fox worth $1 billion dollars over five years. The company’s second show (not “B show”) Smackdown Live will begin airing on FOX on October of 2019.
Since this announcement the sports entertainment world has been buzzing and rightfully so. This deal is big for pro wrestling in many ways and many diehard fans are waiting to see what type of tweaks will be made to the “land of opportunity” (Smackdown Live) to improve the overall quality of the brand. After all there is always room for improvement and the WWE is at its best when BOTH Monday Night Raw and Smackdown Live feel like unique entities within the same company.
Now that my mock auction and brief introduction are out of the way, let’s dive into some ways Smackdown Live can be adjusted on FOX to not only make it a better show but to make it more legitimate to the mainstream public.
Replace Corey Graves on Smackdown Live
Look, obviously the only people that know why Corey Graves is still being used on both brands are him and those that are in the inner circle of WWE. Those of us on the outside looking in do not always get to know every factor that goes into making final decisions. With keep Graves on Raw. It is no disrespect to Graves because he is this generation’s greatest heel commentator. He is witty, charming, and funny. However, it dilutes the brand split by having one commentator pull double duty. Presentation is important as hell and Smackdown will feel a lot more complete with their own commentary team. Is WWE implying they can’t find a third guy for the role? Why not Booker T since Coach took his spot? Or Paul Heyman? Even a wildcard like Drew Gulak! Anybody to make Smackdown Live feel like its own world every week.
One of the subtler things that made Smackdown cool from 2005-2007 was the big fist between the titantrons. That set did not look generic. Sadly, the current design does. It looks plain and dry. A move to FOX deserves a high tech looking design. Believe it or not fans appreciate the aesthetics while in an arena.
A Legendary GM
Current Smackdown Live general manager and former wrestler Paige was forced to retire due to a series of serious injuries. The was nice enough to give her the gm role to keep her on television after a heartbreaking end. With all due respect to Paige she lacks the star power of a gm. This is pro wrestling of course so the gm does not make the final decisions. They are just the on-air authority figure. Still that does not diminish the value of a great gm. Their rea job is to be a powerful heel or face presence that ultimately helps the talent get over. Whether it is through back and forth promos or feuds, the best gm’s in WWE have had star power and set the tone with the live audience by receiving an almost instant chorus of cheers or boos. When Daniel Bryan was gm every time he stepped through the curtain to talk there was an instant pop. When Eric Bischoff came out instant heat causing anyone that aligned with him to receive the same. There are levels to this. Paige does not have that star power. Who knows if she will still be general manager in 2019. Whoever replaces her needs to be compelling verbally and have star power. This is a pipedream, but it would be real cool if someone like Sting or Big Show was hired as the man in charge it’d be compelling TV. Big Show can be like WWE’s Suge Knight.
Over the last few years WWE has done a good job of getting more legitimacy. They’re featured on ESPN and now have a home in FOX. These adjustments can only help Smackdown Live and not harm them.
Follow me on Twitter @DavidJoesph95