When the newest brand extension was announced in 2016, it was funny how much many of the same assumptions and stereotypes from the first carried over.
From Smackdown being the "wrestling" show, to it needing a hispanic star, to a different audience watching it, one of the most prevalent was that the blue brand was the "land of opportunity."
It's seemed that way at times. Jinder Mahal has found that out. The Colons, even though they're at the bottom of the depth chart, are in a better spot now than years' past. Heath Slater and Rhyno did well on Tuesdays. A women's division that was initially frowned upon delivered repeatedly.
However, things could change.
Right now, Smackdown is lagging in my eye. That won't last long. Tye Dillinger and Shinsuke Nakamura, even though they're on the roster, aren't appearing on TV regularly. If they did, that would probably pep up the show for me. But they're far from the only ones.
Erick Rowan, Luke Harper, Tye Dillinger, American Alpha aren't on the show, even when in programs lately. When they are, it seems rushed. Nakamura has been promoted by not having him wrestle, which could be a good idea. The Usos have been getting over with their mouths instead of their fists -- nothing wrong with that. But even Mojo Rawley, who is supremely protected, has found it an uphill battle to get on TV. This leads to many angles, such as Rowan/Harper and Zayn/Baron Corbin to be shot on Talking Smack.
John Cena is out doing the Hollywood thing, and he'll be back this summer. When he does, that's a solid 20 minutes of the show (at least) devoted to him, and rightfully so. The WWE Title scene leaves plenty to be desired with Mahal and Randy Orton atop the tower. A soon-to-be returning Rusev has also declared his intent to go after that crown, which crowds the top of the card a little more. Assuming that Rusev is more than a one-and-done in that situation. A Jinder Mahal could very well be pushed out if he doesn't prove he can hang.
New Day are making the switch from Raw to Smackdown in an effort to freshen their act, but Kofi Kingston is out with an ankle injury. When he comes back, that pushes American Alpha back even further. A couple of talented guys struggling to get over, and struggling even more to get on TV? That's tough.
Another wild card is Lana. It seems WWE is dead set on making her an in-ring competitor. She's a few dozen matches deep and has been working with Lacey Evans, Liv Morgan, Ruby Riot, Sarah Bridges, Kimberly Frankie and others on NXT live events. Couple that with the company having no clue where to place Summer Rae, and that women's division gets more difficult to spotlight everyone. To the brand's credit, they've done exceptionally well at that previously.
While not likely to be featured in any top spots, Zack Ryder will return this year, and could be placed back in a tag team with the aforementioned Mojo Rawley. Considering WWE's affection for Rawley and his buddy Rob Gronkowski, that could be bad news for Breezango, who have excelled recently.
There's also a Chris Jericho guy who could pop in here and there. Kane's future remains unclear, but he doesn't figure into WWE's plans until after his run for Mayor.
This is a good problem for WWE to have. Smackdown Live has an abundance of talent with only two hours to fill. The process has almost conditioned to let viewers know if someone doesn't appear regularly, they're not important. WWE could either reinforce that, and probably still do well with their loaded roster, or break their main roster mold.....and probably still do well with their loaded roster.
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