After reading Kyle Dunning’s article “The Rise and Fall of SmackDown,” I decided to analyze on why the WWE tends to promote their major storylines on its flagship show, Monday Night RAW.
During the days of WWE Brand Extension, both RAW and SmackDown (along with the brief revival of ECW) were treated as separate but equal shows. Each show had its owner roster of Superstars and Divas as well as its own storylines. For example in 2010, the John Cena versus Nexus feud was strictly featured on RAW while on SmackDown, Kane took on The Undertaker.
However in August of 2011, Triple H announced that everyone on the roster could appear on both shows, effectively eliminating the brand split in the process. The reasons were twofold: a combination of declining ratings as well as WWE wanting to increase its emphasis on digital and social media.
But the turning point was when RAW expanded to three hours in July of 2012. It was then that the WWE was promoting its major angles such as Cena vs. Brock Lesnar, The Rock vs. CM Punk, and other major feuds on RAW. As a result, much of its mid-card talent were given less than spectacular matches on the RAW, instead getting some more time to shine on SmackDown.
To the WWE, RAW is its baby. If you wanted to see the big names, RAW is your show whereas SmackDown has become an expanded version of WWE Main Event and WWE Superstars.