Up-and-coming superstars arriving, old faces returning, and a world champion coming out of retirement are only some of the exciting developments happening for SmackDown this year. The show’s creative team stepped up their game after a lackluster first quarter, pushing stars up the card that they know the WWE Universe will love.
The blue brand is steadily gaining momentum to once again outshine Vince McMahon’s favorite son, Monday Night Raw. To seal the deal, here are a few things SmackDown needs more of, to clinch the number one spot.
Push Daniel Bryan to the main event scene
No one ever thought that former four-time WWE Champion Daniel Bryan would ever return to in-ring competition, but he did. And after a tag team match with Shane McMahon against the team of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn at Wrestlemania 34, he went straight into an uninteresting feud with Big Cass, who was recently released from the company. WWE creatives now have the chance to put him up against someone from the main event or even the title picture.
It would definitely be a good choice to clash him with the “Samoan Submission Machine” Samoa Joe as seen on the latest episode of SmackDown Live. That would make for a bunch of classic technical wrestling and precision striking displays from both of them, which a lot of hardcore wrestling fans would love.
The long-time brewing rivalry between Bryan and The Miz is something the creative team could also capitalize on as that is a rivalry the WWE Universe has been eagerly following. With both of them itching to face each other in a grudge match, this is absolutely not outside the realm of possibility.
Although a Daniel Bryan and Shinsuke Nakamura feud is slim to none at this point (since reigning WWE United States Champion Jeff Hardy had just started a program against Nakamura), it would be interesting to see the two pitted against each other if only to find out who has the strongest kicks in the WWE.
The last choice could potentially be the deathblow SmackDown Live can throw at Raw: a championship feud between current WWE Champion “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan. This could develop into a drawn-out rivalry playing on the idea of finding out who really is the best WWE champion.
More Rusev Day
Crowd reactions and merchandise sales are all the WWE creatives need for them to know that they have to get the most out of the team of Rusev and Aiden English aka Rusev Day. Putting them in tag matches or singles matches won’t really matter because the WWE Universe already loves them.
They've already started with Rusev winning a 5-man gauntlet match to become the #1 contender for AJ Styles’ WWE Championship. Aiden English should be matched up against the likes of Tye Dillinger, Andrade “Cien” Almas, and Jeff Hardy.
Put the women's championship belt on someone else
Carmella may have been the first Women’s Money in the Bank winner and beat Charlotte Flair and Asuka in the same year, but she’s not getting the reactions WWE needs in their champion. Don’t get us wrong, Carmella has a LOT of charisma and assets to boot, but it may have been a wrong-place-wrong-time situation. Her character wasn’t given enough time to develop with many fans feeling that it was a little too fast for her to be at the top of the blue brand’s women’s division.
The showrunners should put the title on someone else who is more of a household name. Charlotte should be the top pick if she was not the one Carmella beat for the championship. Another contender is Becky Lynch, the first-ever SmackDown Live Women’s Champion.
Give the ladies more time
SmackDown needs to give their women more air-time. Even if they only have two hours every week against Raw’s 3-hour episodes, they can still cram in an additional match or two for the ladies by getting rid of unnecessary backstage segments. Place the match hypes at the beginning of the show and sneak it in in between matches.
A tag team division storyline
The New Day and The Usos tag team rivalry started the rise of appreciation for tag teams on SmackDown Live, maybe even in WWE as a whole. But that storyline has run its course and we need new conflicts to add to the fire. The blue brand’s tag division is stacked right now with the likes of Gallows and Anderson, Sheamus and Cesaro, New Day and the Usos, Rusev Day, the recently-debuted Sanity, and the current WWE SmackDown Live Tag Team Champions, The Bludgeon Brothers.
The tag team division is getting repetitive and unexciting due to the lack of a good story arc and dull characters. SmackDown Live’s creatives better start thinking of a better way to present their tag matches more than just four people going at it in the ring, and fast.