It’s a tale as old as … well, it’s a pretty damn old tale. SmackDown Live remains an undeniably strong show while Raw, with its extra hour, often serves as a weekly chore to watch.
This week served as a perfect encapsulation of the differences in approach — and quality.
Hell, even the dueling promos of Ronda Rousey and Becky Lynch served as a glimpse.
Rousey’s promo was a big-timer, a Hollywood star, an Olympian and a UFC champion talking down to a woman for daring to … what? Be a flight attendant instead of having a mother who “woke her up trying to break her arms?”
Meanwhile, Lynch focused on how she fought and clawed and failed more than once on her way to become a real champion.
Becky connects because she — or the character of her — is one of us, someone who did not get the opportunities she felt she’d earned no matter how hard she worked. She saw those opportunities go to the woman the company preferred to trot out in front of the public.
Rousey hasn’t earned that with wrestling fans, even if her real life story is one of someone who has struggled on her way to an amazing athletic career. We’re told she’s the big deal and that’s how it is.
Just like Raw is positioned as the A-Show, no matter how many times they insist it isn’t. But SmackDown is out there, featuring diverse and exciting matches, simple-but-not-dumb storytelling and stars like Lynch, AJ Styles, Andrade Almas and Daniel Bryan who make it all work.
Meanwhile, Raw gets the big treatment and we’re told it’s good and that’s how it is.
But after this week, it’s hard to ignore what we can see and hear.