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Shane McMahon: The deck was stacked against SmackDown in the WWE Draft

One of the criticisms levied at WWE over its draft back on July 19 was the fact that Monday Night Raw was given three picks for every two for SmackDown Live, all but ensuring the red brand would get the deeper roster. You could argue that was out of necessity considering Raw is three hours to SmackDown’s two, but the front loading led to some obvious talent disparity.

Shane McMahon, in charge of the blue brand, called this out in an interview with the Cheap Heat podcast while welcoming the challenge of overcoming that:

"Distinctly different? Absolutely correct. Second or on par? Absolutely not. There is a lot of personal pride and you're already starting to see, as we kinda say internally, Team Blue, which I'm proud to be a part of, we're out to win. We want a better show, we want better creative, we want better talent, we want better quality matches and that's exactly what we're trying to pull off each week. It's a big ship to turn but I feel we're, each and every week... we're not going to do a great job every week, even though we try, but we are definitely changing the direction of where SmackDown goes, specifically. And because of what we're doing Team Red or Raw is saying 'oh, look what they're doing.' Now, again, there's a lot of personal pride in it in saying 'good luck, you guys keep going.' The deck was stacked and that's fine with Daniel and I. Raw got an immense amount of picks. We definitely wanted some of the talent to come over to SmackDown but we have a great crew and we're trying to develop more talent you'll start to see -- we can talk about that a little bit later -- coming into SmackDown. But more importantly utilizing what you have. We have an immense amount of great guys and girls that have never, to your point earlier, gotten the opportunity to let it out there. That's what we're all about."

Viewership has been trending down since the brand split but that’s the same for both brands. Any change will take time and potentially strong acts like American Alpha are just now getting their chance to shine on the main roster. That’s without mentioning returning stars coming in — save for an injured Shelton Benjamin — to help get those new acts over.

Time will tell if SmackDown can ever come close to Raw, but the attitude seems to be there.

Whose team are you on?

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