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Smackdown's bottoming out
By TJ MADIGAN - Calgary Sun


They say if you toss a bunch of monkeys in a room full of typewriters, they'll eventually bang out the complete works of William Shakespeare. Maybe Vince McMahon is using the Smackdown brand to test that theory, although I'm sure even a pack of primates could come up with more sensible storylines than the tripe Vinnie Mac is churning out on Thursday nights.

Smackdown has become the black sheep of the WWE family, a sub-par mid-week offering loaded with has-beens and also-rans, with the few solid pieces of talent lost somewhere in the poorly-booked mess.

Judgment Day, the culmination of the past two months of Smackdown storylines, scored the company's lowest pay-per-view buy-rate in over three years, barely cracking the 200,000 mark.

How do WWE bosses respond to this crystal-clear indicator the audience hates the direction of the product? Why, they're going to run the same main event again next month. What else? Oh, they're also going to continue to push the dinosaurs as the top guns and bury the cruiserweights as undercard afterthoughts because, well, that worked wonders for WCW.

And don't even get me started on the hilarious gay shenanigans going on between Charlie Haas and Rico. With grade-A comedy like that, I might just die from laughter.

Or boredom. Whichever.

The Smackdown brand desperately needs a complete overhaul, with new stars elevated to the top and a re-shuffling of the deck to erase the show's 'Must-Miss' stigma.

Even diehard fans aren't willing to fork out $35 to see a wrestling card they wouldn't even watch for free. If WWE wants buy-rates to head back north, they simply need to give the people what they want.

It's not rocket science. Or Shakespeare.