If you clicked on this post, I’m about to discuss a major spoiler for this week’s Thursday Night Smackdown on the USA Network. This story was recently reported by WWE.com, so they’re not afraid to put this news out there themselves. Again, I’m about to get into it so if you’d like to remain spoiler-free, now would be the time to leave…and then read John Canton’s Smackdown review on Thursday! (He taught me how to shill!)
Ok, here we go. You’ve been warned. It was recently reported by WWE.com that Alberto Del Rio defeated Kalisto for the United States Championship during Smackdown’s Tuesday night taping. To be fair to WWE.com, the article appears on their home page as “Smackdown Spoiler: New Champ Crowned.” You’d have to actually click on the post to figure out the details.
Del Rio lost his United States Championship in dramatic fashion to Kalisto on this week’s edition of Raw. It was looked upon as an upset and a surprise to many, since Kalisto’s rivalry with Del Rio was a last second addition to the U.S. Title storyline. John Cena was originally supposed to feud with Del Rio upon returning from a hiatus that kept him off WWE television for nearly two months. Since Del Rio defeated Cena for the title during October’s Hell in a Cell pay-per-view event, the original plans for the U.S. Title picture was that Cena would begin a feud with Del Rio which would lead to a match between the two at the Royal Rumble in under two weeks.
Cena’s shoulder surgery forced the WWE to change plans and Kalisto was then inserted into Cena’s former spot. For all we know, this may have been the original plan for how Cena’s matches with Del Rio would have gone. They just have match after match for the U.S. Championship with the two trading titles every week or so, culminating in an end to the feud at the Royal Rumble. I only suspect this because it sounded like Roman Reigns vs. John Cena at WrestleMania 32 was close to being a done deal.
Kalisto has been getting a lot of praise backstage as of late, especially after delivering a show stealing Salida Del Sol to Jey Uso from the top of a ladder, at WWE’s TLC pay-per-view in December. Winning the U.S. Championship seemed to be a reward for his hard work, but a long-term U.S. Title run may have never been in the plans for Kalisto.
It is also worth noting that his defeat during Tuesday’s taping of Smackdown was controversial, as the League of Nations factored into the outcome. To watch this match unravel for yourself, you can tune into Smackdown tomorrow night (January 14) at 8:00 p.m. ET on Smackdown’s new home, the USA Network.
Mark’s reaction: It’s interesting that WWE.com reported on this spoiler as it’s a big moment on this week’s Smackdown. They have spoiled title changes on WWE.com in the past so maybe it’s a strategy they’ve noticed works for them when it comes to ratings. Spoiling title changes like this goes back to the days of the Monday Night Wars when Nitro told its viewers that they didn’t need to turn on Raw because Mick Foley was going to win the WWF Championship in January of 1998. Of course, this is known as the moment where the power shifted in WWE’s favor, as tons of viewers left Nitro to tune into Raw.
Although this is a very different scenario than WWE.com reporting Del Rio as the new U.S. Champion, WWE may be hoping for the same idea as I’m sure the only reason behind reporting this news would be to possibly get more viewers to tune in. Smackdown spoilers can be found on various websites every week and the WWE never reports on it. Again, maybe they’ve noticed a trend that when they report on spoilers (such as title changes) in advance, they do better in the ratings than expected. Since Smackdown’s move to the USA Network, the WWE have been making an effort to turn Smackdown into a show that’s worth watching again and not just a skippable program like Main Event or Superstars. This United States title change may hopefully be a sign that storylines can actually further themselves on Smackdown and that it’s not just a throwaway show anymore.
Are you happy Alberto Del Rio won back the United States Championship? Does this increase your chances of watching Smackdown tomorrow night? Leave any of your thoughts in the comment section below.
Image above is courtesy of WWE.com.