After a bit of apparent miscommunication, WWE got down to telling the story of this year’s battle for brand supremacy at Survivor Series. As we now know, that story involved Raw running the table on SmackDown to score a 6 - 0* sweep of the head-to-head matches which took place in Staples Center last night (Nov. 18).
A take I’ve seen a lot of around the wrestling web today - sometimes jokingly, sometimes not - is that Fox should be upset with the results of Sunday’s pay-per-view (PPV). The reasoning is that Raw’s dominance devalues the investment Rupert Murdoch’s empire made in Vince McMahon’s, so the execs at Fox must be pissed off right now.
It’s a line of thinking I just can’t follow.
You know this is a story, right? And that it’s not over?
SmackDown doesn’t move to Fox Friday nights until fall of 2019. That gives WWE plenty of time to position the brand however they and their broadcast partner want them to. In the immediate wake of Survivor Series, we got an indication it wouldn’t just be business as usual on Team Blue tomorrow night:
This wasn’t the night I had in mind for Team Blue.— Shane McMahon (@shanemcmahon) November 19, 2018
Tomorrow is a new day, but something is going to have to change come Tuesday. #SurvivorSeries
We could be about to get further advancement on the Shane McMahon heel turn which started at Crown Jewel earlier this month. This also could be a plot twist creative uses to turn SmackDown into the more competition-based, “sport presentation” Fox is rumored to want. There will be another Superstar Shake-Up between now and Oct. 4, 2019, so the wrestlers who lost to Raw in Los Angeles might not even be on the blue brand when it debuts on Fox.
There’s too much we just don’t know yet, and getting overly upset - and especially believing a team of business people are getting worried - is silly.
Fox wouldn’t second guess WWE’s creative decisions as long as it was delivering the consistent ratings and viewership they expect from live television. They’re certainly not going to freak out about one which is happening long before they’re even broadcasting the show.
Now, that’s not to say Vince & company won’t screw this up. It’s possible they don’t really have a plan in mind, and the sweep was done just to surprise the audience. Or the plan they do have isn’t a good one (I’m not convinced a “sports presentation” is something their dedicated fan base is interested in, for instance).
But we, and the folks at Fox, can fret about that when it becomes clear they’ve screwed it up and ratings are plummeting further or the product is less fun to watch. The network has almost a year before they’re worried about it. And us fans just watched them book an authority figure to piss himself.
We all have other concerns.