Press slammed and Swanton bombed by Brandon Wetherbee.
Change can be hard. It can also smack you upside the head.
If anyone knows that, it’s World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. Yesterday, the WWE announced a major change. Beginning in July, “SmackDown,” the company’s second biggest television show, will air LIVE and flip from Thursday nights to Tuesday nights on the USA Network.
From 2002 to 2011, WWE operated “Monday Night RAW” and “SmackDown” with separate rosters and separate days of programming. Rumors about a brand split have been circulating upon the return of Shane McMahon – son of company owner, Vince McMahon. The original rumors pointed to a split in early April after Wrestlemania 32, but that never happened.
For over a decade, “SmackDown” has been pre-taped and broadcasted on Thursday and Friday nights. Due to an on-demand culture where wrestling fans found out results before they aired, and ratings that sank lower than the Undertaker’s burials, moving to a live broadcast format made the most sense.
What’s interesting, however, is the timing.
The Republican National Convention happens to take place the week of July 18th – the same week that WWE has decided to switch up its programming.
The frontrunner for the presidential ticket set to make his debut during said Republican National Convention? WWE Hall of Famer Donald Trump.
The same man that hosted multiple Manias, was interviewed by a former governor at a Mania, shaved Vince McMahon’s head at a Mania and was inducted into the Hall of Fame at a Mania has not been seen or heard on WWE programming since June of 2009. In fact, the one thing wrestlers were told not to discuss at this year’s WrestleMania was presidential politics.
So why make waves during what is basically the GOP’s version of WrestleMania? Does the WWE want to distance itself from its yuuugest Hall of Famer during that Hall of Famer’s main event? Is professional wrestling’s biggest company trying to avoid or steal the spotlight?
Regardless of the WWE’s political intentions, you’ll have to watch America’s hero, John Cena, on Tuesday nights. America’s Donald will still be on every cable news channel every night of the week.