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WWE SmackDown is a professional wrestling television program for WWE. Currently it is the only television broadcast for the SmackDown! brand. From its launch in 1999, SmackDown! was shown on Thursday nights, but as of September 9 2005, the show moved to Friday nights. To reflect this change, the show is now known to as Friday Night SmackDown!. The SmackDown! brand is currently one of WWE's two brands, the other being Raw.
|Also known as||WWE SmackDown Live|
WWE Friday Night SmackDown
WWE Friday Night SmackDown!
WWF Thursday Night SmackDown!
WWE Thursday Night SmackDown!
|Created by||Vince McMahon|
|Opening theme||"Nobody Better Than Me" by def rebel ft. Supreme Madness|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||1,256 (as of September 15, 2023)|
|Camera setup||Multicamera setup|
|Running time||Approximately 2 hours per episode|
(1 hour 30 minutes and commercials)
|Original network||UPN (April 29, 1999 – September 15, 2006)|
The CW (September 22, 2006 – September 26, 2008)
MyNetworkTV (October 3, 2008 - September 24, 2010)
Syfy (October 1, 2010 – December 31, 2015)
USA Network (January 7, 2016 – October 4th 2019) Fox October 4th 2019 - Present
|Picture format||480i (SDTV),|
|Original release||April 29, 1999 –|
|Related shows||WWE Raw|
Its currently shown in the United States on MyNetworkTV, in Canada on The Score Network and on E! Montreal, in Turkey on Fox TV, in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan on Ten Sports, in Germany on DSF, in the UK and Republic of Ireland on Sky Sports 3, Italy on Sky Italia, in Finland on Urheilukanava, in Portugal on TVI, in the Dominican Republic on Antena Latina Channel 7, in Puerto Rico on WAPA and on The CW, in Ecuador on Teleamazonas, in Chile on Chilevisión, in Malaysia on TV3, in Mexico on 52MX, in Australia on FOX8, in New Zealand on The BOX,in Bulgaria on GTV, in the Philippines on Jack TV and ABC, in Peru on ATV, in Spain on Cuatro, in Romania on TV Sport, in Serbia on FOX Televizija, in Saudi Arabia and Middle East on Showtime Arabia and ShowSports 4, in France on RTL9, in Japan on J Sports, on e.tv in South Africa, on AFN Xtra, on the Super Channel (Channel 10) in Fiji Islands, on VTV in El Salvador, on Canal 9 in Argentina, on Canal 4 RP in Panama and on SBT in Brazil.
Show history Edit
Original format Edit
SmackDown! was first seen on April 29, 1999 as a single television special on UPN. On August 26, 1999, SmackDown! officially started on UPN, in Kansas City, Missouri. Like WCW Thunder, SmackDown! was recorded on Tuesdays and then broadcast on Thursdays. The new WWF show was so popular that WCW moved Thunder to Wednesdays in the hope of holding on to fans rather than losing them to WWF. SmackDown!, like Thunder, made heavy use of the color blue, earning it the nickname "The Blue Show" amongst wrestling fans.
The first SmackDown! set was different as it had an oval-shaped TitanTron (which was dubbed the "OvalTron"), entrance and stage which made it stand out from the RAW set and its rectangular TitanTrons. An added feature to the first set was the ability for the OvalTron to be moved to either the left or right of the stage. Throughout the show's early existence, top WWF superstar The Rock routinely called SmackDown! "his" show, in reference to the fact that the name was derived from one of his catchphrases, "Laying the smackdown." In August 2001, as part of celebrating SmackDown!'s second anniversary, the show got a new logo and set. The last SmackDown! to use the previous television set saw Alliance member Rhyno Gore WWF member Chris Jericho through the center screen, destroying part of the set.
Brand Extension Edit
In early to mid-2002, WWE had a process they called the "Brand Extension". WWE divided itself into two "de facto" wrestling promotions with separate rosters, storylines and authority figures. RAW and SmackDown! would host each division, give its name to the division and essentially compete against each other. The split was a result of WWF purchasing their two biggest competitors, WCW and ECW. The brand extension was publicly announced during a telecast of WWF RAW on March 25, 2002, and became official the next day.
Wrestlers now would become show-exclusive, wrestling for their specific show only. At the time this excluded the WWE Undisputed Championship and WWE Women's Championship, as those WWE titles would be defended on both shows. In August 2002, WWE Undisputed Champion Brock Lesnar refused to defend the title on RAW, in effect causing his title to become exclusive to SmackDown! The following week on RAW, General Manager Eric Bischoff awarded a newly instated World Heavyweight Championship to RAW's designated #1 contender, Triple H. Due to the fact that since the WWE Undisputed Championship was now SmackDown! exclusive it was no longer seen as "Undisputed". Following this, the WWE Women's Championship soon became RAW-exclusive as well. As a result of the Brand Extension, an annual "draft lottery" was instituted to exchange members of each roster and generally refresh the lineups.
On June 6, 2005, WWE Champion John Cena switched brands from SmackDown! to RAW as part of the month-long Draft Lottery. This effectively left SmackDown! without a World Title. During this time, United States Champion Orlando Jordan was billed as the top champion on the show. On June 23, 2005, in Tucson, SmackDown! General Manager Theodore Long announced a six-man elimination match between John "Bradshaw" Layfield, Booker T, Chris Benoit, The Undertaker, Christian (replacing The Big Show, who was picked by RAW in the lottery), and Muhammad Hassan to crown the first SmackDown! Champion. On the June 30 episode of SmackDown!, JBL won the match. Long appeared afterward and stated that even though JBL had won the match, SmackDown! did not need a Championship anymore. Batista, the World Heavyweight Champion, entered the ring as SmackDown!'s final draft lottery pick. Long also showed that JBL was the number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship.
Friday Night SmackDown! Edit
It was possible that WWE's "lame duck" status with Viacom on Spike TV is what prompted its moving SmackDown! to the Friday night death slot for the Fall 2005 season. However, it worked out for both parties involved, as the show did better in the ratings than it had on Thursdays, while UPN got much better ratings on Fridays than it did before, with its movie night. Also, UPN had been able to hold on to the ratings from Thursday nights, most notably with comedian Chris Rock's Wonder Years-like sitcom Everybody Hates Chris. In January 2006, prior to the announcement of the CW Network, it was announced that UPN had renewed SmackDown! for two more years.
Following the cancellation of Star Trek: Enterprise, SmackDown! was renamed Friday Night SmackDown! and moved into Enterprise's old timeslot in the United States. WWE promoted this move with the tagline "TV that's changing Friday nights." Friday Night SmackDown! made its start on September 9 2005. The program still aired on Thursdays in Canada on the Score. In the United Kingdom and Australia, their stations Sky Sports and FOX8 air SmackDown! on Fridays before the United States due to the time difference. This is the first time a major weekly WWE show airs internationally before it hits screens in the U.S.
The events of Hurricane Katrina affected the first version of Friday Night SmackDown! in the U.S. due to a special fundraising concert (see Shelter From the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast) that was shown on UPN at the same time that the first version would have been shown, resulting in only the second hour of the show being shown on UPN. The first hour was instead streamed from WWE's website. Other countries, including Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and the Philippines received the full two-hour show. WWOR-TV (My 9, New York, New York) also aired both hours of the show on tape delay on Saturday, due to a previous commitment to broadcast the New York Yankees on Friday nights.
At the SmackDown! taping on January 10 2006, Batista had to forfeit the World Heavyweight Championship because of a triceps injury. Theodore Long made a Battle Royal for the vacant title. The winner was at the time RAW superstar Kurt Angle, who later switched to the SmackDown! brand. In a break from their traditional role of acting as if SmackDown! is not pre-recorded, WWE.com had a photograph of Angle holding his new title on the main page. WWE also did this when Edge cashed in his Money in the Bank contract to win the World Heavyweight Championship from The Undertaker and when The Great Khali won a battle royal after Edge's injury.
On the April 7 2006 version of SmackDown!, general manager Theodore Long said that the King of the Ring tournament would return after a four-year hiatus as a SmackDown!-exclusive tournament. The tournament ended at Judgment Day 2006 with Booker T as the winner, defeating Bobby Lashley in the final.
On June 9 2006, Tazz left the SmackDown! brand to join the new ECW brand, leaving the color commentator position on SmackDown! vacant. However, on June 11 at One Night Stand 2006, JBL revealed that he would be the new color commentator for SmackDown! He stayed in that position until December 2007 when he left SmackDown! to become an in-ring competitor on RAW. Jonathan Coachman replaced him afterwards.
The CW Network Edit
On September 22 2006, Friday Night SmackDown! was started on The CW Television Network, a joint venture between CBS Corporation, owner of UPN, and Warner Bros. Entertainment, a subsidiary of Time Warner, majority owner of The WB.
For four weeks before the official start (and in preparation for the impending removal of UPN in several markets by the start of MyNetworkTV on September 5 2006) of Friday Night SmackDown! on the CW on September 22 2006, Tribune Broadcasting television stations in six major markets (including WPIX in New York City and KTLA in Los Angeles) aired WWE's Friday Night SmackDown! early in September 2006. Two other future affiliates of The CW, WCWJ in Jacksonville, Florida and WIWB in Green Bay, Wisconsin, also aired SmackDown! in early September as well.
The transition to the CW caused an interruption in the broadcast of SmackDown! in the state of Utah beginning in June when KPNZ in Salt Lake City stopped airing all UPN programs early. The show is now seen on KUCW. In Hawaii, SmackDown! returned in late 2006, airing on a CW digital subchannel of Honolulu's FOX affiliate KHON (Channel 2), which has received statewide carriage over Oceanic Time Warner Cable. Since the move to the CW Network, Friday Night SmackDown! has shown a major increase in ratings now averaging a 3.0 national rating. In addition, SmackDown! has become the second highest watched program on The CW.
On April 20 2007, SmackDown! celebrated its 400th episode. Ratings success soon followed. On June 8 2007, Friday Night SmackDown! made CW history by making a three-way tie with CBS and ABC in the key ad demographic, adults 18-49 by drawing a 1.5 rating each. On June 22 2007, Friday Night SmackDown! again made CW history by tying the network for first place in the key ad demographic, adults 18-49, and being the second most watched network program at 9 p.m. for the night. The CW had not performed as well at any time slot since America's Next Top Model in March 2007. The next week on June 29 2007, Friday Night SmackDown! helped The CW claim the top spot in the key demographic, Adults 18-49 for Friday. CBS got the overall lead but The CW got top spot for the Adults 18-49 by registering a 1.4 rating followed by CBS and NBC at 1.3, ABC at 1.2, and FOX at 0.9. Then on Friday, July 13 2007, Friday Night SmackDown! made network history by placing first in the 18-49 demographic and becoming the most watched show at the 9 p.m. hour on network television. This is the first time anything has placed this well on The CW. SmackDown! became a hit show on Friday nights winning the demographics for young males, and ranking second on the demographics (18-49) for Friday nights.
On February 8 2008 it was reported that World Wrestling Entertainment and The CW had ended agreements to keep Friday Night SmackDown! on the network. WWE stated that agreements with other networks has begun and that Friday Night SmackDown! would continue to air on The CW through the end of the 2007-2008 broadcast season. On February 26 WWE issued a press release saying Friday Night SmackDown!'s move to MyNetworkTV.
Induction into Merriam-Webster Edit
- the act of knocking down or bringing down an opponent
- a contest in entertainment wrestling
- a decisive defeat
- a confrontation between rivals or competitors
SmackDown is usually taped on Tuesday evening and shown Friday evening on MyNetworkTV the same week. Lately though, they have taped two episodes at a time and as a result are taped every two weeks. Sometimes, it is taped on Monday nights before or after RAW in what is called a "Supershow". SmackDown has also been shown live sometimes.
On October 26, 2012, WWE SmackDown began using "Born 2 Run" by 7Lions as its theme song. before this, SmackDown used "Know Your Enemy" by Green Day. "Hangman" by Rev Theory was used as the secondary theme song. The previous theme song, "Let it Roll" by Divide the Day was replaced when SmackDown began being broadcast on Syfy.
Special episodes Edit
|SmackDown! Xtreme||February 1 2001||4.0|
|9/11 Tribute||September 13 2001||3.6|
|Christmas from Baghdad||December 25 2003||3.0|
|Christmas from Baghdad||December 23 2004||3.0|
|SmackDown! Night of Champions||December 30 2004||2.9|
|Eddie Guerrero Tribute Show||November 18 2005||3.1|
|SmackDown! Special||November 25 2005||2.9|
|SmackDown! 400th episode||April 20 2007||2.4|
|WWE Best of 2007||December 28 2007||2.5|
- Seasonal rankings (based on average total estimated viewers per episode) of SmackDown! on UPN and The CW
On-air personalities Edit
General Managers Edit
|General Manager||Date Started||Date Finished|
|Stephanie McMahon||July 18 2002||October 19 2003|
|Paul Heyman||October 23 2003||March 22 2004|
|Kurt Angle||March 25 2004||July 22 2004|
|Theodore Long||July 29 2004||November 30 2007|
|Vickie Guerrero||November 30, 2007||April 6, 2009|
|Theodore Long||April 7, 2009||present|
- Vickie Guerrero - Assistant General Manager (May 2007 - September 28 2007), Acting General Manager (September 28 2007 - November 2007)
- Theodore Long - Assistant General Manager (November 30 2007 - May 16, 2008)
|Michael Cole and Jim Cornette||Pilot (April 1999)|
|Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler||August 1999 - February 2001|
|Michael Cole and Tazz||February 2001 - November 2001|
|Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler||November 2001 - March 2002|
|Michael Cole and Tazz||March 2002 - June 2006|
|Michael Cole and John Bradshaw Layfield||June 2006 - December 2007|
|Michael Cole and Jonathan Coachman||January 2008 - April 2008|
|Michael Cole and Mick Foley||April 2008 - June 2008|
|Jim Ross and Mick Foley||June 2008 - August 2008|
|Jim Ross and Tazz||August 2008 - April 2009|
|Matt Striker and Todd Grisham||April 2009 - future|
Ring announcers Edit
|Tony Chimel||April 1999-September 2007|
|Justin Roberts||September 2007-Present|
Recurring segments Edit
|Segment||Segment Type||Host||Years Active||Notes||Source|
|Piper's Pit||Interview||Roddy Piper||2003||Debuted on SmackDown! during Piper's feud with Hulk Hogan.|||
|$1,000,000 Tough Enough||Competition||Al Snow||2004||Segments were featured weekly on SmackDown!.|
|Kurt Angle Invitational||Wrestling Challenge||Kurt Angle||2004-2005||Format: an invitational to any local wrestler to defeat Kurt Angle in under three minutes for his Olympic gold medals. Ended on SmackDown! after Angle was drafted to RAW, continued there until 2005.|
|Carlito's Cabana||Interview||Carlito||2005; 2008 -2009||Created by Carlito after WrestleMania 21 to compete with Piper's Pit. The segment ended on SmackDown! after Carlito was drafted to Raw. Resumed after he returned in the '08 Draft.|||
|Peep Show||Interview||Christian||2005||Created shortly after Christian was drafted to SmackDown!. Ended when Christian's contract expired with WWE.|||
|WWE Diva Search||Competition||The Miz||2006||Segments were featured weekly on SmackDown!.|
|Miz TV||Interview||The Miz||2007||Created after Mizanin's brief absence from SmackDown!, but ended when he was drafted to ECW.|||
|The Masterlock Challenge||Submission Challenge||Chris Masters||2007||A challenge to any wrestler (local or active superstar on WWE roster) to break the Masterlock. Ended on Raw after it was broken by Bobby Lashley in March 2007, however it re-debuted on SmackDown!, when Masters was drafted in 2007. Ended when Masters was released from WWE.|
|The Cutting Edge||Interview||Edge||2007-present||Debuted on SmackDown! after Edge moved from Raw. The segment was in absence during Edge's 2007 injury.|||
|V.I.P. Lounge||Interview||Montel Vontavious Porter||2007-2009||after M.V.P moved from Raw|||
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