There is no denying that Monday Night Raw is WWE’s flagship show and has been so for over 20 years. However, in 1999, WWE introduced Smackdown, a secondary episodic show produced by the company. Smackdown has been running shows for the last fifteen years, but almost never live. Usually, Smackdown is taped on Tuesday and aired on Friday nights. While Smackdown has a long history in WWE as it’s secondary level show, Main Event is making things very competitive.
Smackdown began as WWE’s B-level show, but that changed in 2002 with the brand extension. WWE’s roster was so big that the company was split into two separate brands. Half of the roster would compete on Monday nights on Raw. The other half would compete on Tuesday nights, to be aired Thursday nights, which was later changed to Friday nights. This continued until August 2011, when WWE Superstars began competing on both shows for the first time since 2002.
Smackdown was always seen as the secondary show. The top stars were on Raw and the second tier stars were on Smackdown. Occasionally, WWE would hold a draft where wrestlers would be moved to the other brand. This was done either to give a wrestler a push or to bring new storylines and feuds to shows. The fact that Smackdown is rarely live also gave WWE the opportunity to make edits to the show. This was another reason Smackdown was seen as the secondary show.
This brings us to October 3rd, 2012. On this night, WWE Main Event debuted. Although originally airing on ION television, Main Event is now available exclusively on the WWE Network. The show generally produces one to three matches of low to upper mid card stars competing against one another. The United States, Intercontinental and Tag Team titles have all been defended at points on WWE Main Event.
It is beginning to become harder to argue that Smackdown is WWE’s B show. WWE Main Event is live. There is no opportunity to read spoilers of Main Event days before the show airs. Having the show air one night after Raw is also beneficial to WWE fans. Advertisements for the main match on Main Event are shown on Raw and fans don’t have to wait long to see that match.
Title defenses also seem to be occurring more on Main Event than Smackdown as a result. This goes hand in hand with the issue of being a live show. WWE fans don’t want to read about a title change online. Even if you don’t read the Smackdown spoilers, WWE.com has announced title changes on the website. It ruins the title change and makes WWE fans less inclined to watch the match since they already know the outcome.
Main Event is like the Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Cesaro and Bray Wyatt of WWE programming. It is the up and coming B-level show for the company. Smackdown is the Randy Orton of WWE programming. It is a seasoned show that delivers, but isn’t as exciting.
What show do you consider to be WWE’s B-show? Main Event, Smackdown or something else? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Seth Guttenplan is a math and computer technology teacher for special education students in New Jersey. In his free time, Seth writes about wrestling for Camel Clutch Blog and SEScoops. Follow Seth on twitter @sethgutt