Last Tuesday’s inaugural edition of SmackDown Live featured the second WWE brand extension draft. Unlike 2002, which had the WWF stars and writers that carried it through the Attitude Era and a multitude of WCW and ECW alumni, the current incarnation of WWE is headed up by a select few wrestlers who are allowed to be stars and writers that have led WWE to viewership declining to record lows.
As part of the TV deal that WWE has with the USA Network / NBC Universal, the USA Network requested that changes be made to SmackDown to shore up its ratings. The call was made to go live on Tuesday nights (when WWE tapes the show) and break up the WWE roster into two separate crews in order to give people a reason to watch SmackDown in addition to Raw.
The problem is that the draft didn’t really do anything to make SmackDown important and worthy of appointment viewing.
It’s not an uncommon occurrence for a gaming news outlet to be blacklisted by a publisher. You can hear Jim Sterling talk about blacklisted regularly on The Jimquisition. Destructoid was blacklisted by Konami. At one time or another, EGM was reportedly blacklisted by numerous companies including Sony, Midway and Ubisoft. Jeff Gerstmann infamously lost his job at GameSpot over a poor review of Kane & Lynch that resulted in Eidos Interactive threatening to pull ads from the site.
The latest publication to take their blacklisting public is Kotaku. Editor-in-chief Stephen Totilo took to the site to reveal that the company had been cut off by the PR branches of both Ubisoft and Bethesda. While some in games media are standing up for Kotaku, those content consumers that Kotaku are supposed to be producing content for aren’t on their side. When you’re as divisive as Kotaku, there isn’t much sympathy for the devil.