Since July, WWE’s two biggest programs, Raw and SmackDown, have been presented as split brands and split programs… yes, again, and since then, both shows have gone through the motions of hills and valleys, highs and lows, awesome matches and terrible moments. Now that we’re coming up on 6 months of the second WWE brand split, there’s one lone question that is still being asked, with no clear answer to be found:
Which show is better?
Now, I’ve personally stopped caring about which show is “better,” since… you know, I have a life and a boyfriend and all that, but for argument’s sake, let’s just take a look at both shows and how, on average, they’re presented. Both shows offer endless rematches and never-ending rivalries, meandering moments and segments, performers that elicit empathy from the audience and not the “right” reactions, champions that aren’t over with the crowd or booked strong, and an amalgamation of in-ring products that have been very, very cold for the past several years.
On the other hand, both shows have been given a chance to craft their own different identities, in fairly subtle ways. Both shows have a few differences in the set, different authority figures, different writing staffs, and yes, different and exclusive champions. One Raw, you have Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho being the top heel best friends, and on SmackDown, you have AJ Styles always being phenomenal – “But what about James Ellsworth???” He got his comeuppance and Styles knocked him the fuck out in a minute. I am not going to say one show is booked stronger than the other, because that’s just not the case. Both shows have their strengths and weaknesses, and both shows can be equally bad on any given week. But this goes back to the first question – which show is better? And here’s my answer:
It’s not that SmackDown is better than Raw.
It’s that Raw isn’t better than SmackDown. Plain and simple.