Since January 1993, Monday Night RAW has served as WWE's flagship television show.
RAW became required viewing before long, supplanting Superstars and Wrestling Challenge as the company's premier program. When SmackDown debuted in 1999, it was treated much like RAW at first, but after a few years, it became clear that RAW was still WWE’s golden child. In 2017, however, RAW may now be the incumbent fending off opposition, much like Superstars in the early 90s.
Last July, WWE implemented its second-ever brand extension in which with half the roster was made exclusive to RAW and the other half, SmackDown. This coincided with SmackDown moving to Tuesday nights (on the USA Network) and finally airing live.
Months that followed saw SmackDown ratings improve while RAW’s steadily declined. The combination, along with other reasons, has left RAW struggling to maintain its position as WWE's A-show.
Of course there’s a long
way to go until Vince McMahon and other senior WWE leaders admit to that, but for now, let’s take a closer look at how SmackDown could be slowly usurping RAW as WWE's premier program…