Back when it was announced that FOX had acquired the broadcasting rights to WWE’s Smackdown Live, one of the reported negotiation tactics was to say that NBC was “embarrassed by” WWE’s product. Per a note in this week’s Observer, it sounds like FOX is also embarrassed by parts of WWE’s presentation, and is hoping to make some lasting changes when the show joins their lineup next Fall.
The note mentions how FOX is intent on including a Friday edition of Smackdown Live as a part of their new Thursday-through-Sunday sports programming block, which means more of a lean toward sports than entertainment. Specifically, getting rid of Vince McMahon’s horrible, horrible idea of “comedy.”
FOX supposedly wants to use Smackdown for cross-promotion with their other shows — something Smackdown’s been down with from the beginning; Shasta McNasty, I’m looking in YOUR direction — which means having stars and personalities from their other sports shows pop in to promote. That also works in the other direction, and it’s a lot easier for sports guys to promote an athletically-centered wrestling program than to, say, ask you to watch R-Truth dress up like Sherlock Holmes while Vince gets his face shoved into Stephanie’s butt, or whatever.
As a person who watches both Raw and Smackdown regularly and as a noted complainer on the Internet, I would be extremely down for Smackdown to take a step back from sad guys in tuxedo shirts having pancake batter poured on their head in favor of wrestlers and wrestling matches. Of course, that’s not for everyone, which is why WWE leans toward lowest common denominator jokes about poop and bad breath (and pulling hilarious objects out of a fake Jim Ross’ ass) to draw in crowds.
What do you think? Will Smackdown be largely improved by a pivot toward sports and competition? If it does, does Raw go in the opposite direction and go full ridiculous comedy? Followup question: have they done that already, and we’re just all too exhausted to notice?