WWE SmackDown is a professional wrestling television program for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). As of 2010[update] it airs on Syfy in the United States as WWE Friday Night SmackDown. The show's name is also used to refer to the SmackDown brand, in which WWE employees are assigned to work and perform on that program; the other program and brand currently being Raw. It is currently the only television broadcast for the SmackDown brand, though at one point WWE Velocity also featured SmackDown branded wrestling.
From its launch in 1999, SmackDown broadcast on Thursday nights, but as of September 9, 2005, the show moved to Friday nights. The show originally debuted in the United States on the UPN television network on August 26, 1999, but after the merger of UPN and the WB, SmackDown began airing on The CW in 2006. The show remained on the CW network for two years until it was announced that it would move to MyNetworkTV in October 2008. SmackDown moved to Syfy on October 1, 2010 (additional information can be seen further down this page).
Due to time differences, SmackDown premieres a few hours earlier in Ireland and United Kingdom and a day earlier in Australia, India and Philippines than the United States. For international broadcast listings, see below.
WWF SmackDown! logo used from August 26, 1999 to August 9, 2001SmackDown! (original title) first appeared on April 29, 1999 as a single television special on UPN. On August 26, 1999, SmackDown! officially debuted on UPN, in Kansas City, Missouri. Like WCW Thunder, SmackDown! was recorded on Tuesdays and then broadcast on Thursdays. The new WWF show proved 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. Uniquely, the first SmackDown! set featured 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 original 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 catch phrases, "Laying the smackdown." In August 2001, as part of celebrating SmackDown!'s second anniversary, the show received a new logo and set. The last SmackDown! to use the previous entrance stage saw Alliance member Rhyno Gore WWF member Chris Jericho through the center screen, destroying part of the set. The new set consisted of a fist centered above the entrance, and many glass panes along the sides strongly resembling shattered glass.
Main article: WWE Brand ExtensionIn April 2002 WWE underwent a process which it 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, which resulted in the roster and championships doubling in size. The brand extension was publicly announced during a telecast of WWF Raw on March 25, 2002, and became official the next day.
Wrestlers would now 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. On June 23, 2005, 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 revealed that JBL was the number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship.
WWE SmackDown! logo used from August 16, 2001 to January 18, 2008WWE's "lame duck" status with Viacom on Spike TV may have prompted its moving SmackDown! to the Friday night death slot for the Fall 2005 season. UPN received better ratings on Fridays than it did before with its movie night. In addition, UPN had been able to hold on to the ratings from Thursday nights, most notably with comedian Chris Rock's 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! (renamed Friday Night SmackDown!) moved into Enterprise's former timeslot in the United States. WWE promoted this move with the tagline "TV that's changing Friday nights." Friday Night SmackDown! made its season premiere on September 9, 2005. The program still aired on Thursdays in Canada on the Score. In the United Kingdom, Ireland 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 edition of Friday Night SmackDown! in the U.S. due to the special fund-raising concert that aired on UPN at the same time that the first edition would have gone out, 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. SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long decreed 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 edition of SmackDown!, General Manager Theodore Long announced 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. Eventually, Coachman was released by the WWE later in the year.
Variations of the SmackDown! fist and mirrors set were used from August 16, 2001 - January 18, 2008.On September 22, 2006, Friday Night SmackDown! debuted 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 premiere (and in preparation for the impending removal of UPN in several markets by the debut 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. As of 2009[update] KUCW broadcasts the show. In Hawaii, SmackDown! returned in late 2006, airing on a CW digital subchannel of Honolulu's FOX affiliate KHON-TV (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 October 16, 2007 it was announced that the SmackDown! and ECW brands would begin a "talent exchange", allowing their respective talent to appear and compete on either brand, due to the fact that ECW was broadcast live on the same night and from the same arena where Smackdown is taped.
SmackDown's version of the universal WWE HD set used from January 25, 2008 to present.Jim Ross became the new play-by-play announcer for SmackDown, while Michael Cole (SmackDown commentator for nine years from its launch in 1999 until 2008) moved to Raw. The WWE Champion Triple H was also drafted to SmackDown, which gave SmackDown two world championships to be featured on the brand. On June 30, 2008 on Raw, CM Punk cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and defeated the World Heavyweight Champion Edge, bringing the World Heavyweight Championship back to Raw. In August 2008, Tazz returned to SmackDown as color commentator, due in part to Foley's departure from the WWE as his contract was not renewed. A couple of months later in late-2008, Tazz decided to let his contract expire. So he was replaced with the color commentator for ECW, Todd Grisham, making the SmackDown announce team consist of Grisham and Ross. Also that year, for the first time in the brands history, a women's exclusive championship was introduced, the WWE Divas Championship, a counterpart to the WWE Women's Championship which up until this time was the only active championship competed for by divas, but it was exclusive to the WWE Raw brand, meaning that the divas on SmackDown had no championship to compete for until now. Michelle McCool became the inaugural champion by defeating Natalya on July 20, 2008 at The Great American Bash 2008.
Friday Night SmackDown debuted on MyNetworkTV in the United States on October 3, 2008, which featured performers from the Raw, ECW, and SmackDown programs. WWE SmackDown also debuted with a new theme song. The premiere episode on MyNetworkTV attracted 3.2 million viewers. While the viewership dropped, SmackDown pulled the highest ratings to date for MyNetworkTV and pushed the network to fifth place—ahead of rival The CW. The premiere was also first place in male 18-49 demographics.
WWE SmackDown logo used from October 2, 2009 to September 24, 2010. A variation without a Roman numeral ten has also been used since January 25, 2008.On February 15, at No Way Out, Edge won the World Heavyweight Championship in Raw's Elimination Chamber match, thus making it a SmackDown exclusive title and giving SmackDown two top tier championships. On March 20, 2009 WWE SmackDown celebrated its 500th episode.
As a result of the 2009 WWE Draft in April, WWE Champion Triple H was drafted to the Raw brand, while the World Heavyweight Championship moved to the Raw brand after Edge lost the title to John Cena at WrestleMania XXV. SmackDown would regain the World Heavyweight Championship at Backlash (2009) when Edge defeated John Cena to win the championship. In addition, SmackDown and Raw would exchange both women-exclusive championships with Raw gaining the WWE Divas Championship and SmackDown gaining the WWE Women's Championship. Also, SmackDown and Raw exchanged the WWE United States Championship (which became exclusive to Raw) and the WWE Intercontinental Championship (subsequently exclusive to the SmackDown brand), for the first time ever.
On September 15, 2009, WWE Home Video released a DVD set entitled The Best of SmackDown 10th Anniversary.
On April 19, 2010, most of the WWE Raw superstars were stuck in Belfast due to Eyjafjallajökull erupting in Iceland and left ash hovering over Europe and caused flights to be grounded. To help, Smackdown took over Monday Night Raw (with the exceptions of former Smackdown superstars and current Raw superstars Triple H and Vladimir Kozlov) and fought over there. The superstars included Rey Mysterio, Edge, CM Punk, Chris Jericho and more. This was the first time Raw was noted as Monday Night Smackdown.
On April 12, 2010, it was announced that SmackDown would move from MyNetworkTV to Syfy, a network which previously aired NXT and ECW, in a two year deal that also includes an optional third year. Retaining its Friday night timeslot, SmackDown made it's live premiere on Syfy on October 1, 2010 and there's been talk about having live editions of the show on WWE PPV weekends. According to the Los Angeles Times, the move sees Syfy paying close to $30 million for the show as opposed to the $20 million paid by MyNetworkTV.
Due to the move to an NBC Universal Cable network, SmackDown is now advertised more frequently on Syfy's sister network, USA Network, which airs Raw. Same-week encores of SmackDown were also added to Universal HD's, and mun2's Saturday night schedule as a result of the move in the spot previously held by NXT and ECW.
- 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 aired Friday evening on Syfy the same week. Occasionally, it is taped on Monday nights before or after Raw in what is called a "Supershow".
The show began broadcasting in HD beginning with the January 25, 2008 edition of SmackDown, where a new set debuted — shared among all three WWE brands. Following the first broadcast in HD, the iconic exclamation mark used since the show's inception disappeared from all references pertaining to "SmackDown", including the official logo.
|SmackDown!||April 29, 1999||5.8||Pilot episode.|
|SmackDown!||August 26, 1999||4.2||Series debut|
|SmackDown! Extreme||February 1, 2001||4.0|
|9/11 Tribute||September 13, 2001||3.6||Tribute in memory of 9/11.|
|Christmas from Baghdad||December 25, 2003||3.0||Honored American armed forces.|
|SmackDown! 5th Anniversary Special||September 23, 2004||3.2||Celebrated the show's 5th anniversary.|
|Christmas in Iraq||December 23, 2004||2.9||Honored American armed forces.|
|SmackDown! Night of Champions||December 30, 2004||2.9||Featured championship matches.|
|Eddie Guerrero Tribute Show||November 18, 2005||3.1||Tribute in memory of Eddie Guerrero.|
|Best of SmackDown! 2005||December 23, 2005||2.2||Featured clips from 2005.|
|Best of SmackDown! 2006||December 29, 2006||2.4||Featured clips from 2006.|
|SmackDown! 400th episode||April 20, 2007||2.2||Celebrated the show's 400th episode.|
|WWE Best of 2007||December 28, 2007||2.5||Featured clips from 2007|
|SmackDown All-Star Kick-Off||October 3, 2008||1.9||Featured Champion vs. Champion matches.
Premiere on MyNetworkTV.
|SmackDown 500th episode||March 20, 2009||2.1||Celebrated the show's 500th episode.
Featured the rosters from all three brands.
|Decade of SmackDown||October 2, 2009||2.2||Celebrated the show's 10th anniversary.
Featured the rosters from all three brands.
|Monday Night SmackDown||April 19, 2010||3.1||Due to air travel disruption after the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption,
most of the Raw roster remained in Europe after a European tour. As a result, the SmackDown brand was featured in for the week's WWE Raw program. Will Forte, Kristen Wiig and Ryan Phillippe featured as Guest hosts.
|SmackDown Live Syfy Premiere||October 1, 2010||1.7||Premiere on Syfy.
Featured the rosters from Raw and SmackDown.
Seasonal rankings (based on average total estimated viewers per episode) of SmackDown! on UPN, The CW and MyNetworkTV
|Championship||Current champion||Date won||Date aired||Event||Previous champion|
|World Heavyweight Championship||Kane||July 18, 2010||July 18, 2010||Money in the Bank||Rey Mysterio|
|WWE Intercontinental Championship||Dolph Ziggler||July 28, 2010||August 6, 2010||SmackDown||Kofi Kingston|
- Note - The WWE Tag Team Championship and WWE Divas Championship can be defended on both Raw and SmackDown. Currently the WWE Tag Team Championship are held by Raw stable Nexus (Members Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel are the official champs, though unknown if all members can defend it) and the Divas Championship is held by Raw Diva Natalya.
|Authority||Position||Date started||Date finished||Notes|
|Vince McMahon||Owner||November 6, 2001||Present||McMahon assigned new General Managers to Raw and to SmackDown after Ric Flair lost his position on Raw.
Stacy Keibler served as "Personal Assistant" through McMahon's term.
|Stephanie McMahon||General Manager||July 16, 2002||October 19, 2003||Lost her position as per an "I Quit" match stipulation against Mr. McMahon.|
|Paul Heyman||General Manager||October 21, 2003||March 22, 2004||Resigned after drafting to Raw.|
|Kurt Angle||General Manager||March 23, 2004||July 20, 2004||Returned to the active roster when no longer confined to a wheelchair.|
|Theodore Long||General Manager||July 27, 2004||September 18, 2007||Left position due to health complications.
Served as "Assistant General Manager" from November 2007 to May 2008.
|Vickie Guerrero||General Manager||September 25, 2007||April 6, 2009||Served as "Assistant General Manager" from May to September 2007.
Opted to fully take over the position on Raw and resigned as General Manager of SmackDown.
|Theodore Long||General Manager||April 7, 2009||Present||Long was reassigned from ECW to SmackDown.|
|Vickie Guerrero||Consultant||November 17, 2009||Present||Appointed as Theodore Long's Consultant by Vince McMahon.
Interim General Manager when Long is out.
|Michael Cole and Jim Cornette||Special - April 29, 1999|
|Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler||Pilot - August 26, 1999|
|Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler||September 2, 1999 - February 2001
November 2001 - March 2002
|Michael Cole and Tazz||February 2001 - November 2001
March 2002 - June 2006
|Michael Cole and John "Bradshaw" Layfield||June 16, 2006 - December 21, 2007|
|Michael Cole and Jonathan Coachman||January 4, 2008 - April 25, 2008|
|Michael Cole and Mick Foley||May 2, 2008 - June 16, 2008|
|Jim Ross and Mick Foley||June 23, 2008 - August 1, 2008|
|Jim Ross and Tazz||August 8, 2008 - April 3, 2009|
|Jim Ross and Todd Grisham||April 10, 2009 - October 23, 2009|
|Todd Grisham and Matt Striker||October 30, 2009 – September 24, 2010|
|Todd Grisham, Michael Cole and Matt Striker||October 1, 2010–present|
|Tony Chimel||April 1999 - August 2007
|Transferred to the ECW brand in August 2007.
Transferred back to SmackDown following Lilian Garcia's departure from WWE.
|Justin Roberts||September 2007 - October 2009||Transferred to the Raw brand following Lilian Garcia departure from WWE.|
|Piper's Pit||Roddy Piper||2003
2005 - 2006
|In-ring interview segment.|
|$1,000,000 Tough Enough||Al Snow||2004||WWE Tough Enough competition segment.|
|Kurt Angle Invitational||Kurt Angle||2004–2005||Three minute match challenge for Angle's gold medals.|
|Cafe de René||René Duprée||2004||In-ring interview segment.|
2008 - 2009
|In-ring interview segment.
Discontinued after Carlito was drafted to Raw.
|In-ring interview segment.|
|WWE Diva Search||The Miz||2006||WWE Diva Search competition segment.|
|Miz TV||The Miz||2007||In-ring interview segment.|
|Masterlock Challenge||Chris Masters||2007
|Submission challenge to break Masters' Masterlock hold.|
|The Cutting Edge||Edge||2007–2010
|In-ring interview segment.|
|V.I.P. Lounge||Montel Vontavious Porter||2007–2009
|In-ring interview segment.|
|Khali Kiss Cam||The Great Khali||2008–2009||In-ring fan interaction segment.
Khali kisses a female member of the audience.
|Highlight Reel||Chris Jericho||2010||In-ring interview segment.
Discontinued after Jericho was drafted to Raw.
|Grooming Tips||"Dashing" Cody Rhodes||2010–present|