Heat and Velocity; not the name of a terrible early 90s WWF tag team, but secondary programming at its finest. For a decade, Heat was the home of Monday Night Raw’s lesser names. For about half that time, Velocity was SmackDown’s counterpart. In essence, these were the reserve grades of the WWE wrestleopolis.
Do you remember Jerry Lynn or Sean O’Haire in WWE? You may remember the odd showing, maybe some weird and inconsequential vignettes of the latter, but these names were rarities on the main cards. So they plied their craft where they could, made a name for themselves (or at least built on their names) by wrestling fun and entertaining matches in WWE’s reserve. In fact, Jerry Lynn would even become WWE’s Light Heavyweight Champion in a 2001 broadcast of Heat. The shows weren’t always stellar and didn’t necessarily mean much on the grander scale, but every now and then, there would be some very interesting repercussions.
“So what?”, I hear you ask. Velocity’s been dead for more than a decade, and Heat’s not far off that. They’re two relics lost in the vast history of WWE programming, and not particularly shiny relics at that. But there is reason to this ramble, for a change is coming to the WWE landscape, a return to certain roots if you will.
The brand split is back and a roster shakeup is a-happening. Raw and SmackDown will have separate and distinct rosters (and probably champions) for the first time in about five years, and there are two forgettable parts of the WWE programming that have been completely overlooked: Superstars and Main Event. Do you remember those? You know, Kofi Kingston won the Intercontinental Championship from The Miz on Main Event a few years back. You know, Undertaker faced Matt Hardy in the debut of Superstars.
Well, these shows are also primed for a shakeup. At the moment, SmackDown is very much WWE’s secondary programming, leaving Main Event as the tertiary and Superstars as a conversation starter with people going, “Is that still a thing?” Well it’s time for these two lesser shows to prove their worth, time to become a part of something bigger rather than a place to prevent Zack Ryder from getting ring rust.
With the way things are going, WWE’s intent is for Raw and SmackDown to be equally prominent primary programmes. That means the secondary slot is up for grabs, or secondary slots I should say. Raw and SmackDown won’t be able to show everything and everybody every week, even with those never ending episodes on Monday nights. So it only makes sense for currently established programmes (albeit, appallingly established) to be reformatted. There would still be a heavy focus on using the shows as primary programming recaps, but there would be a much more salient focus for each episode.
Granted, I would much rather see Heat and Velocity return, owing to the fact that they’re much better names. However, you work with what you’ve got, and it would only make perfect sense to see Main Event and Superstars take on the mantle of WWE’s reserve grade. Who knows; even if Ryder can’t make it back to full time primary programming, he could still bring back his Internet Championship and actually have a reason for being on our screens.