Powell's Blog: Miz TV on Smackdown, WWE Main Event is more entertaining than WWE Smackdown, Ring of Honor's current TV model isn't cutting it
By Jason Powell
-The opening segment of Friday's WWE Smackdown was bizarre. The focus was on the ongoing saga involving John Cena, A.J., Dolph Ziggler, and Vickie Guerrero, but I was left stunned by how juvenile The Miz acted while serving as the host for the sports entertainment silliness. The only thing babyface about his performance was that he shook Cena's hand at the end because he liked the closing insult that was hurled at Ziggler.
There was nothing likable about Miz. In fact, there hasn't been anything likable about his persona since he turned babyface. He's playing the same character he's always played only now he's wrestling heels instead of babyfaces. The act lost steam when he was a heel, so what makes him and/or creative think there's any upside in the same old persona?
-WWE seems to realize they've stumbled onto something with Titus O'Neil via his Raw commentary performance last week. Here's hoping they also realize that it's his natural charisma that clicked with viewers and that he may not be as effective if they hand him a bunch of scripted lines to read. The Prime Time Players are growing on me as a team, but you have to think that Titus has a future as a singles wrestler at some point. The question is whether the time is now for Titus as a singles act or if they feel he could benefit from more time in the tag division.
-I find myself enjoying WWE Main Event more than WWE Smackdown these days. The format for the Wednesday night show is a welcome break from the typical approach WWE takes with Raw and Smackdown, and the one-hour show breezes by. The Friday night show feels like an unnecessary followup to Raw. Sure, you'll get some quality wrestling on the show at times, but all of the meaningful angles are replayed on Raw and few seem to really matter.
The end of the brand split has resulted in the bulk of the talent appearing on both shows every week, and the company isn't doing anything to make Smackdown feel important. They rarely bother to even promote anything for the next Smackdown show on Raw, whereas Main Event's featured match has been advertised a week out since its inception. Smackdown is a solid two-hour television show more often than not and I like the commentary team of Josh Mathews and JBL, yet it's never felt more missable.
-Ring of Honor booking has shown improvement under Hunter Johnston, but now the office and/or Sinclair Broadcast Group need to get their act together. While I applaud company officials for thinking outside the box by selling their television shows for $1.99 before they air on television, I can't say I agree with the actual move.
This should be a regular perk of the Ringside Membership package that the company sells, not something those viewers are expected to pay more to see. It's ridiculous that one of the current membership perks is having access to the weekly television shows after they air on SBG affiliates, yet before other online viewers see them for free.
Why not let the paying customers see those shows before they air on television? Does ROH really have so many Ringside Members that it would have an adverse effect on Sinclair Broadcast Group's television airings of the ROH TV show? If so, then ROH is doing amazing business and I should just stop here, but I really doubt that's the case.
Once the weekly television shows have aired on SBG stations, then ROH should release those shows to the masses on Mondays or Tuesdays. Don't just make it accessible via the ROH website, I mean really put the show out there via Youtube, Facebook, and any other platforms that will take them.
Why is this show not airing every week on the company's Youtube page? There's not even a section for past television shows. Rather, you have to look through the Uploaded Videos section and scroll down to find the latest episode, which as of this posting is for the September 29 television show. Yes, really.
I realize Sinclair Broadcast Group is in the television business and perhaps they feel that releasing the show in said fashion could be damaging while attempting negotiate deals with other stations. I'd take that risk for the possibility of attracting more people to ROH, more online pay-per-views buyers, more Ringside Members, and perhaps even getting newcomers to seek out the weekly television shows.
Airing the shows on Youtube isn't going to make the company an overnight success, but it would be a step toward regaining some online buzz that's been lost due to a slumping product combined with repeated iPPV technical issues. ROH needs to get as many eyeballs on their product as they can get by making it easily accessible on as many platforms as possible, not by limiting the product to their television affiliates and website visitors.
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