WWE SmackDown

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WWE SmackDown Live
WWE SmackDown Live 2016 logo.jpg
Genre Sports entertainment
Professional wrestling
Created by Vince McMahon
Starring SmackDown roster
Opening theme
  • "Black and Blue" by CFO$[1]
  • "This Life" by CFO$ (bumper)
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 16
No. of episodes 883 (as of July 19, 2016 (2016-07-19))
Production
Camera setup Multicamera setup
Running time 120 minutes (including commercials)
Release
Original network
  • UPN
    (April 29, 1999 (1999-04-29)–September 15, 2006 (2006-09-15))
  • The CW
    (September 22, 2006 (2006-09-22)–September 26, 2008 (2008-09-26))
  • MyNetworkTV
    (October 3, 2008 (2008-10-03)–September 24, 2010 (2010-09-24))
  • Syfy
    (October 1, 2010 (2010-10-01)–December 31, 2015 (2015-12-31))
  • USA Network
    (January 7, 2016 (2016-01-07)–present)[2][3][4]
Picture format
Original release April 29, 1999 (1999-04-29) – present
Chronology
Related shows
External links
Website

WWE SmackDown or simply SmackDown (also known as 'SmackDown Live' for marketing purposes) is a professional wrestling television program that debuted on August 26, 1999. 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.

Prior to September 1, 2005, SmackDown! was broadcast on Thursday nights; from September 9, 2005 to January 9, 2015, it was broadcast on Friday nights. The show then returned to Thursday nights on January 15, 2015,[6] before moving to a live Tuesday night broadcast in July 2016. SmackDown! originally debuted in the United States on the UPN television network on April 29, 1999, but after the merger of UPN and the WB, SmackDown! began airing on The CW in September 2006. The show remained on the CW network for two years until it was moved to MyNetworkTV in October 2008.[7][8] SmackDown moved to Syfy on October 1, 2010 and remained there until December 31, 2015.[9][10] A week later, on January 7, 2016, SmackDown moved to its sister channel, USA Network.[2][3][4] It complements Raw as the second of WWE's two main weekly programs.

In its history, SmackDown has been broadcast from 162 different arenas, in 147 cities and towns, in seven different nations (the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Iraq in 2006 and 2007 for specials Tribute to the Troops, Japan in 2005, Italy in 2007 and Mexico in 2011). Due to time differences, SmackDown premieres a few hours earlier in Ireland and the United Kingdom and a day earlier in Australia, Canada, Singapore and Philippines than the United States, except for live episodes. For international broadcast listings, see below. The show celebrated its 15th anniversary on October 10, 2014.[11]

As of July 19, 2016, SmackDown is broadcast live on Tuesday nights.[12]

History[edit]

Original format (1999–2001)[edit]

The official set used from the show's debut in August 26, 1999 until August 9, 2001

The early set featured an oval-shaped TitanTron entrance and stage (dubbed the "Ovaltron") which made it stand out from the Raw set with its rectangular Titantrons. Later productions gained the ability to move the Ovaltron either to the left or to the right of the stage. Throughout the show's early existence, The Rock routinely called SmackDown! "his show", in reference to the fact that the name was derived from one of his catchphrases, "Lay the smackdown".[13] 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 was the August 9, 2001 episode, which saw Alliance member Rhyno gore WWF Team member Chris Jericho through the center screen, destroying part of the set. As a result of that incident, a new set debuted the following week and it consisted of a fist centered above the entrance, and many glass panes along the sides strongly resembling shattered glass.

Brand extension (2002–2005)[edit]

Main article: WWE brand extension
Tazz, SmackDown commentator from April 4, 2002 until June 9, 2006; he also appeared as a commentator from February 22, 2001 until June 28, 2001 and from August 2, 2001 until October 18, 2001, along with Michael Cole, before making a return as a commentator from August 8, 2008 to April 3, 2009, alongside Jim Ross

In March 2002, WWE underwent the "brand extension,"[14] a process in which WWE divided itself into two branches with separate rosters, storylines and authority figures.[14] Raw and SmackDown! would host each division, give its name to the division and essentially compete against each other. The split resulted from WWE purchasing its two biggest competitors, World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) and the subsequent doubling of its roster and championships. The brand extension was publicly announced during a telecast of Raw on March 18, 2002, initiated with the first-ever draft lottery a week later on the March 25, 2002 episode of Raw and became official the following week on the April 1, 2002 episode of Raw. Michael Cole was joined in commentary by Tazz on April 4, 2002 until June 9, 2006. Cole and Tazz also appeared as the commentators on February 22, 2001 until June 28, 2001 and August 2, 2001, until October 18, 2001. Wrestlers began to wrestle exclusively for their specific show. At the time, this excluded the WWE Undisputed Championship and Women's Championship, as those WWE titles would be defended on both shows.[14] In August 2002, then WWE Undisputed Champion Brock Lesnar refused to defend the title on Raw, in effect causing his title to become exclusive to SmackDown!.[14] The following week on Raw, General Manager Eric Bischoff awarded a newly-instated World Heavyweight Championship to Raw's designated #1 contender, Triple H. Accordingly, Lesnar's championship was no longer deemed "undisputed". Following this, the Women's Championship soon became a 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, then 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 the June 23, 2005 episode of SmackDown!, General Manager Theodore Long announced a six-man elimination match between John "Bradshaw" Layfield, Booker T, Chris Benoit, The Undertaker, Christian (replacing Big Show, who was picked by Raw in the lottery) and Muhammad Hassan to crown the first SmackDown! Champion. On the June 30, 2005 episode of SmackDown!, Layfield won the match, but Long appeared afterward and stated that even though he had won the match, SmackDown! did not need a championship anymore, instead revealing that Layfield was the number one contender for the World Heavyweight championship, at which point Batista, then World Heavyweight Champion, entered the ring as SmackDown's final draft lottery pick.

WWE's "lame duck" status with Viacom on Spike TV may have prompted it to move 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.[15] 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". 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 was the first time a major weekly WWE show airs internationally before it hits screens in the United States. The events of Hurricane Katrina affected the first episode of SmackDown! in the United States due to the special fund-raising concert that aired on UPN at the same time that the first episode would have gone out, resulting in only the second hour of the show being shown on UPN, while 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 Friday Night SmackDown! taping on January 10, 2006 that aired January 13, Batista had to forfeit the World Heavyweight Championship because of a legit triceps injury suffered at the hands of Mark Henry the previous week. Long decreed a battle royal for the vacant title, which was won by Kurt Angle, who was on the Raw brand, but switched to the SmackDown! brand for the duration of his reign as champion. On the April 7, 2006 episode of Friday Night SmackDown! (which was taped on April 4), Long revived the King of the Ring tournament after a four-year hiatus as a SmackDown! exclusive tournament. The tournament ended at Judgment Day with Booker T as the winner, defeating Bobby Lashley in the final.

John "Bradshaw" Layfield who joined the broadcast team on SmackDown from June 16, 2006 until December 21, 2007; he made a return as a color commentator from October 12, 2012 until February 22, 2013, from March 22, 2013 until January 9, 2015 and since July 25, 2016 until present.

On June 9, 2006, Tazz left the SmackDown! brand to join the new ECW brand, leaving the color commentator position vacant. However, on June 11 at One Night Stand, Layfield revealed that he would be the new color commentator for Friday Night SmackDown!, a position he held until December 21, 2007 when he left to make his return as an in-ring competitor on Raw, and Jonathan Coachman replaced him afterwards. Eventually, Coachman was released by WWE the following year and replaced by Mick Foley.

Changing channels[edit]

The CW (2006–2008)[edit]

Variations of the SmackDown! fist and mirrors set were used from August 16, 2001 until January 18, 2008

On September 22, 2006, Friday Night SmackDown! debuted on The CW, a joint venture between CBS Corporation (owner of UPN) and Warner Bros. Entertainment (a subsidiary of Time Warner, majority owner of the WB Television Network). For four weeks before the official premiere of Friday Night SmackDown! on the CW, 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!.[16] This formed part of the preparation for the impending removal of UPN in several markets due to the debut of MyNetworkTV on September 5, 2006. Two other future affiliates of The CW, WCWJ in Jacksonville, Florida and WIWB in Green Bay, Wisconsin, also aired Friday Night SmackDown! in early September. The transition to the CW caused an interruption in the broadcast of Friday Night SmackDown! in the state of Utah beginning in June when KPNZ in Salt Lake City stopped airing all UPN programs early. As of 2009, KUCW broadcasts the show. In Hawaii, Friday Night SmackDown! returned in late 2006, airing on a CW digital subchannel of Honolulu's FOX affiliate KHON-TV (Channel 2), which had received statewide carriage over Oceanic Time Warner Cable. Since the move to CW, SmackDown! had shown a major increase in ratings now averaging a 3.0 national rating. In addition, SmackDown! had become the second-highest-watched program on The CW. On April 20, 2007, SmackDown! celebrated its 400th episode.[14] Ratings success soon followed as on June 8, 2007, 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. Two weeks later, on June 22, 2007, 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 the previous March. The following week, on June 29, 2007, SmackDown! helped CW to claim the top spot in the key demographic (adults, 18-49) for Friday. CBS got the overall lead, but 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.[17][18] Two weeks later, on Friday, July 13, 2007, 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 was the first time anything has placed this well on 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, as ECW was broadcast live from the same arena where SmackDown! was taped.[19][20]

Michael Cole, the lead announcer from September 2, 1999 until June 20, 2008, from March 1, 2013 until August 15, 2014 and from January 15 until March 26, 2015 and the color commentator of SmackDown from October 1, 2010 until October 5, 2012 and from August 22, 2014 until January 9, 2015; he also appeared for one night on October 16, 2009, December 21, 2012, April 16, 2015, December 22, 2015, February 18, 2016 and July 19, 2016.

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 June 23, 2008) was drafted to Raw. WWE also drafted then WWE Champion Triple H to SmackDown, which allowed SmackDown to feature two world championships on the brand, as Edge was the World Heavyweight Champion at the time. With Triple H bringing the WWE Championship to SmackDown, Raw was left without a world title, but on the June 30, 2008 episode of Raw, after Edge was attacked by Batista, CM Punk cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and became the new World Heavyweight Champion, bringing the World Heavyweight Championship back to Raw for the first time since 2005. In August 2008, Tazz returned to SmackDown as color commentator, due in part to Mick Foley's departure from 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 by Todd Grisham, who was the color commentator on Raw, making the SmackDown announce team consist of Grisham and Ross. Also that year, for the first time in the brand's history, a women's exclusive championship was introduced, the Divas Championship, a counterpart to the Women's Championship which, up until that time, was the only active championship competed for by Divas, but it was exclusive to Raw, 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.

MyNetworkTV (2008–2010)[edit]

SmackDown's first version of the universal WWE HD set used from January 25, 2008 until July 15, 2011

SmackDown debuted on MyNetworkTV in the United States on October 3, 2008, featuring performers from the Raw, SmackDown and ECW programs. 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 its former network The CW. The premiere was also first place in male 18-49 demographics.[21] On February 15, 2009, 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.[22] On March 20, 2009, SmackDown celebrated its 500th episode.[23] As a result of the 2009 WWE draft in April, then WWE Champion Triple H was drafted to Raw, while the World Heavyweight Championship also moved to the Raw brand after Edge lost the title to Cena at WrestleMania XXV, once again leaving SmackDown without a world title.[24] SmackDown would regain the World Heavyweight Championship at Backlash when Edge invoked his WrestleMania rematch clause and defeated Cena to win the championship back.[25] In addition, SmackDown and Raw would exchange both women-exclusive championships with Raw gaining the Divas Championship and SmackDown gaining the Women's Championship. Also, SmackDown and Raw exchanged the United States Championship (which became exclusive to Raw) and the Intercontinental Championship (subsequently exclusive to SmackDown), for the first time since August 25, 2002.[24] On September 15, 2009, WWE Home Video released a DVD set entitled The Best of SmackDown 10th Anniversary. The SmackDown 10th Anniversary DVD which featured the Top 100 moments in SmackDown history was hosted by Cole and Matt Striker. On April 19, 2010, the eruption of a volcano in Iceland left ash hovering over Europe and caused the grounding of many flights, leaving most of the Raw roster stranded in Belfast, Northern Ireland. To keep the WWE Universe from thinking that Raw was canceled for the night, SmackDown took over Raw (with the exception of former SmackDown superstars Triple H and Vladimir Kozlov, who were now Raw superstars) and fought over there. The superstars included Rey Mysterio, Edge, CM Punk, Chris Jericho and more. This was the first (and so far, the only) time that Raw was titled Monday Night SmackDown, although it was never mentioned as such on the air. On October 30, 2009, Todd Grisham revealed that he would be the new lead announcer for SmackDown, alongside Michael Cole for one night on October 16, 2009, and Matt Striker, a position he held until December 3, 2010 when he left to become the new lead announcer for NXT along with Josh Mathews.

NBCUniversal[edit]

Syfy and end of Brand Extension (2010–2015)[edit]

On April 12, 2010 it was announced that SmackDown would move from MyNetworkTV to Syfy, which had previously aired NXT and ECW, in a two-year deal that included an optional third year.[9][10][26] Retaining its Friday night timeslot, SmackDown made its live premiere on Syfy on October 1, 2010 and there's been talk about having live editions of the show on WWE pay-per-view weekends.[9] According to the Los Angeles Times, the move saw Syfy paying close to $30 million for the show as opposed to the $20 million paid by its former network MyNetworkTV.[10] The premiere of SmackDown on Syfy followed a special "pre-game" show hosted by Cole. On December 10, 2010, the NXT color commentator Josh Mathews became the new lead announcer for SmackDown, a position he held until February 22, 2013 when he left to become the new color commentator the following week until May 24, 2013. In 2011, the brand extension came to an end, resulting in Raw talent being able to appear on SmackDown and vice versa. Also in late 2011, a special episode of SmackDown debuted branded Super SmackDown Live which would then be the name of all live episodes of SmackDown, taking place on a Tuesday.

Booker T who made a return as a commentator on SmackDown replacing The Usos member Jimmy Uso from September 10, 2015 until December 31, 2015, along with Jerry Lawler, Rich Brennan and Michael Cole for one night on December 22, 2015; his first appearance was from February 4, 2011 until July 27, 2012, replacing Matt Striker, along with Cole and Josh Mathews

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. On February 4, 2011, Booker T made a return on SmackDown as a commentator replacing Striker.

SmackDown's version of the universal WWE HD set used from July 22, 2011 until July 27, 2012

On the special live August 30, 2011 episode of SmackDown it was announced that wrestlers from Raw could now appear every week on SmackDown. This mirrored the proclamation made on Raw the previous day where SmackDown wrestlers could now appear every week on Raw. These moves made both programs full roster "supershows", effectively ending the brand extension. The SmackDown episode that aired on October 14, 2011 (episode 635) made the show the second-longest-running weekly episodic television series of American television history (behind Raw, which surpassed that mark on August 2, 2005). On April 1, 2012 at WrestleMania XXVIII, John Laurinaitis became General Manager of both Raw and SmackDown after Team Johnny defeated Team Teddy. However, on June 17, 2012 at No Way Out, after Cena defeated Big Show in a steel cage match, Laurinaitis was fired by Mr. McMahon. On the August 3, 2012 episode of SmackDown, Mr. McMahon named Booker T the SmackDown General Manager. In addition, Booker named Long and Eve Torres as his assistants. John "Bradshaw" Layfield returned to WWE in September 2012 and became a commentator for the show as well. On January 18, 2013, SmackDown celebrated its 700th episode. Vickie Guerrero became General Manager on July 19, 2013, but was fired the following year. The show is also run frequently by WWE Chief Operating Officer Triple H. Past episodes of SmackDown are now viewable on the video streaming website Hulu along with episodes of Superstars and ECW.[27] On October 10, 2014, SmackDown celebrated its 15th Anniversary.[11] The 15th season premiere opened with a new theme, "Centuries" by Fall Out Boy. To help celebrate the 15th anniversary, Stephanie McMahon came out first, then Laurinaitis and Long, respectively, the latter of which kept one-upping each other for the main event of the night until McMahon decided to keep the 15-man tag team match that Long suggested, on the condition Laurinaitis and Long be the captains of each team like at WrestleMania XXVIII.[28] Long's team won the match.[29] On December 16, 2014, SmackDown aired its 800th episode, which aired live on USA Network, featuring the main event between Dolph Ziggler and Seth Rollins.[30]

Return to Thursday nights (2015)[edit]

The show's return to Thursday nights – something that was rumored as early as August 2014[31][32] – was made official by Syfy and WWE on November 6, 2014.[33][34] The return to Thursday nights was expected to help attract a younger audience to Syfy, as well as more premium advertising dollars from marketers, who tend to spend more to promote their products, especially film releases, on the night as consumers head into the weekend.[35] The last SmackDown airing on Friday nights had 2.43 million viewers with a 0.7 share.[36]

Byron Saxton who joined the broadcast team on SmackDown from January 15, 2015 until June 18, 2015, alongside Tom Phillips, Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler; he also appeared for one night on July 23, 2015, alongside Phillips and The Usos member Jimmy Uso, and made a return on January 7, 2016, along with Lawler, Cole for one night on February 18, 2016, and Mauro Ranallo, before taking time off due to a live prediction about the upcoming matches at WrestleMania 32 with Renee Young.[37] He then moves to Raw commentary team once again after the broadcast on July 19, 2016.[38]

After the broadcast on the finale of SmackDown, Layfield left SmackDown to join Raw, where he serves as a commentator, alongside Cole and Booker T since January 5, 2015,[39] leaving the color-commentator position vacant. SmackDown returned to a Thursday night airing from the episode of January 15, 2015.[33][34][35] Lawler joined the broadcast team for the move.[39][40][41][42] He was to join the broadcast team in 2012 on SmackDown until he had a heart attack during the September 10, 2012 episode of Raw.[43][44][45] WWE pay-per-view events kickoff analyst Byron Saxton also joined the broadcast team afterwards in the same episode.[39] The broadcast saw a revised SmackDown logo and all new graphics with 2.68 million viewers with a 0.8 rating share.[46][47] In a January 2015 interview, Daniel Bryan said he told WWE management that he wished to be the "face of SmackDown" to increase the show's viewership.[48] The January 15, 2015 episode of SmackDown marked Bryan's return to the ring after months of being injured as he wrestled in the main event of the first five SmackDown episodes since the move back to Thursday airings.[a] On January 29, 2015, the special live episode of SmackDown was aired from XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut, after the January 2015 North American blizzard, postponement for live Raw and cancellation for SmackDown taping in Boston.[54][55] The live episode had 2.95 million viewers with a 0.9 share, and featured the main event between Daniel Bryan and Kane in a casket match,[56] which Bryan won.[57] During WrestleMania week, Byron Saxton was absent at the time due to a live prediction about the upcoming matches at WrestleMania 31 with Renee Young and SmackDown would be consisted of two commentators.[58] Tazz, Cole, Layfield and Booker T was recently absent during WrestleMania week in 2005, 2012 and 2013.[59][60]

Jerry "The King" Lawler who joined the broadcast team on SmackDown on January 15, 2015, after hospitalization for diverticulitis; he also appeared during SmackDown aired on UPN from August 26, 1999 until February 22, 2001, November 22, 2001 until March 28, 2002, and for one night on March 31, 2005, October 23, 2009, March 1, and April 5, 2013. He had then left SmackDown commentary team after the broadcast on July 19, 2016.

On April 2, 2015, Tom Phillips replaced Michael Cole as lead announcer until April 9, 2015, alongside Jerry Lawler and Byron Saxton, while Cole was recovering from a kayfabe injury suffered at the hands of Brock Lesnar the previous week on Raw.[61][62] Phillips' first air date as August 22, 2014, until January 9, 2015 during SmackDown aired on Fridays alongside Cole and Layfield.[63] After Cole had then left SmackDown to join Raw as lead announcer during Great Britain tour on April 16, 2015, Phillips back again to join SmackDown announce team alongside Lawler and Saxton on the following week. After the broadcast on June 18, 2015, Phillips would continue as lead announcer on SmackDown until August 20, 2015. In the same date, Byron Saxton left SmackDown to join Raw as a color commentator, along with Cole and Layfield since June 8, 2015,[64] leaving the color commentator position vacant. However, on June 25, 2015, The Usos member Jimmy Uso revealed that he would be the new color commentator for SmackDown, a position he held until September 3, 2015 when he left to make his return as an in-ring competitor on SmackDown next week to team with Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose in a six-man tag team match against WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day, and the color commentator on Main Event since August 25, 2015 before SmackDown taping. On August 27, 2015, NXT and Superstars lead announcer Rich Brennan replaced Phillips to join the broadcast team following Phillips' interview with WWE Superstars after the match in the backstage on WWE.com and WWE's exclusive YouTube channel.[65] On September 10, 2015, the WWE pay-per-view events kickoff analyst and Hall of Famer Booker T once again made a return on SmackDown as a color commentator replacing Jimmy Uso.[66] The last SmackDown airing on Syfy had 2.8 million viewers and was taped on December 29; it featured as the main event a tag team match between Ambrose and Reigns against Kevin Owens and Sheamus, which Ambrose and Reigns won by disqualification.[67]

USA Network (2016–present)[edit]

On January 7, 2016, SmackDown started airing on USA Network, as announced on April 7, 2015.[2][3][4] With the move, all top three WWE programs – Raw, SmackDown and Tough Enough – would air on the same network for the first time ever.[3] According to Lawler, SmackDown may move back to Friday nights on USA Network and go live.[68][69][70][71] There was a possibility that SmackDown may move to Tuesday nights on USA Network and go live.[72] SmackDown would remain on Thursday nights when the show moves from Syfy to USA Network on January 7.[73] Coinciding with the premiere of SmackDown on USA Network, Rich Brennan was replaced by Mauro Ranallo, who is set to become the lead announcer,[74][75] and Booker T was replaced by the current Raw and Superstars color commentator Byron Saxton, who is set to become the alternate color commentator. The first ever SmackDown airing on USA Network had 2.75 million viewers and was emanated from Laredo, Texas; it featured a first title match between Charlotte and Becky Lynch for the Divas Championship, and the main event and second title match between Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens for the Intercontinental Championship, which ended in a double countout.[76] When Mauro Ranallo has suffered from influenza, the current Raw lead commentator Michael Cole replaced him as the special guest lead commentator on February 18, 2016. That night's SmackDown episode broadcast from Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California, marked as the return of Brock Lesnar and then WWE World Heavyweight Champion Triple H during and after main event between Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose against The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) in a tag team match.[77] David Otunga temporarily replaced[78] Jerry Lawler after Lawler was suspended as a result of a domestic abuse incident at his home in Memphis, Tennessee.[79] The last SmackDown airing on Thursday nights had 2.0 million viewers with a 0.6 share[80] and was emanated from Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan.[81]

Move to Tuesday nights and second Brand Extension (2016–present)[edit]

On May 25, 2016, WWE announced that SmackDown will be shifted from Thursdays to Tuesday nights and will be aired live instead of the previous pre-recorded format, and that the brand extension that was instituted from 2002 to 2011 would also return.[82] WWE also announced that they will be revealing new graphics, a new set, blue ropes, and a new General Manager.[citation needed] On the July 11, 2016 episode of Raw, Vince McMahon named Shane McMahon the Commissioner of SmackDown Live.[83] Then next week on Raw, it was announced that Daniel Bryan as the new SmackDown General Manager.[84] On July 22, 2016, General Manager Daniel Bryan revealed the new SmackDown logo on his official Twitter page.[85]

Production[edit]

SmackDown fist in 2008.

From October 26, 2012 until April 4, 2014, SmackDown began using "Born 2 Run" by 7Lions as its theme song, with "This Life" by Cody B. Ware serving as the secondary theme, then a swap was made, as "Born 2 Run" was used as a secondary theme, when "This Life" is used as SmackDown's main theme. Prior to October 26, 2012, SmackDown opened with "Know Your Enemy" by Green Day while "Hangman" by Rev Theory served as the secondary theme song.[86] Upon SmackDown's debut on Syfy in 2010, it replaced the previous theme song "Let it Roll" by Divide the Day.[87] WWE tapes SmackDown on Tuesday evenings to air on Thursday evenings on Syfy the same week. However, SmackDown has aired occasional live specials on Tuesday nights (which are then replayed in its usual Thursday night timeslot). The show began broadcasting in HD beginning with the January 25, 2008 episode of SmackDown, where a new set (which became universal for all WWE weekly programming) debuted. Following the first broadcast in HD, the exclamation mark used since the show's inception disappeared from all references pertaining to "SmackDown", including the official logo, which resembles the 2001–2008 logo, but with a darker blue scheme.

As of August 3, 2012, the show has used the modified WWE HD universal set, which debuted at Raw 1000 on July 23.[88] From September 21, 2012 until October 26, 2012, October 4, 2013 until November 1, 2013, October 3 and 31, 2014 and October 2 and 30, 2015, WWE worked in conjunction with Susan G. Komen for the Cure to raise awareness for breast cancer by adorning the SmackDown set with pink ribbons and a special pink middle-rope in the ring. SmackDown's ring ropes were usually blue from 1999–2012 (although they were black for a period between 2001 and 2002). They remained blue until December 2012 when they were permanently changed to white, with all WWE programming now using white ring ropes. On August 22, 2014, SmackDown switched to a full 16:9 letterbox presentation, with a down-scaled version of the native HD feed on a 4:3 SD feed. Like Raw (which also switched to a full 16:9 letterbox presentation four days earlier on August 18), the new WWE logo is seen on the ring's turnbuckle covers and also, on the lower-right hand corner of the screen. On August 29, 2014, the Syfy network logo moved to the lower left-hand corner of the screen.

SmackDown logo used from January 15, 2015 until July 24, 2016.

Although the graphics were re-positioned, SmackDown continued to use a variation of the graphics package that had been in use since its first HD broadcast in January 2008, until the show moved to Thursday nights on January 15, 2015, when an all-new graphics package (now optimized for the 16:9 format) and intro video were introduced along with a revised SmackDown logo. On March 26, 2015, WWE added a small LED board to the left side of the ring on SmackDown, similar to Raw. On the September 14, 2015 season premiere of Raw, the middle rope was colored gold. Throughout the month of October 2015, the WWE announcer table, entrance ramp and ring skirts would be co-branded with Susan G. Komen for the cure of breast cancer.[89] Also, the middle ring rope was pink to promote the fight against breast cancer.[89]

Theme music[edit]

Song Title Written and/or Sung by Dates used Ref
"Everybody on the Ground" Jim Johnston August 26, 1999 – August 9, 2001 [90]
"The Beautiful People" Marilyn Manson August 16, 2001 – May 15, 2003 [90]
"I Want It All" Jim Johnston May 22, 2003 – September 16, 2004 [90]
"Rise Up (Instrumental)" Jim Johnston September 22, 2004 (only used for SmackDown's 5th Anniversary show) [90]
"Rise Up" Drowning Pool September 30, 2004 – September 26, 2008 [90][91]
"If You Rock Like Me" Jim Johnston October 3, 2008 – September 25, 2009 [90]
"Let It Roll" Divide the Day October 2, 2009 – September 24, 2010 [90]
"Hangman" Rev Theory 2009 – 2012; used only as bumper song. [90]
"Know Your Enemy" Green Day October 1, 2010 – October 19, 2012 [90]
"Born 2 Run" 7Lions October 26, 2012 – April 4, 2014 [90]
"This Life" CFO$ April 4, 2014 – January 9, 2015; this song version featuring Dylan Owen is currently used bumper song. [90]
"Centuries" Fall Out Boy October 10, 2014 (only used for SmackDown's 15th Anniversary show) [92][93][94]
"Black and Blue"1 CFO$ January 15, 2015 – July 24, 2016 [1]
Notes
  1. ^ Bold song titles are currently being used as the opening theme.

Cultural references[edit]

On July 10, 2007, Merriam-Webster announced it would include the word smackdown in Webster's Dictionary.[95][96] Merriam Webster defined a "smackdown" as:

  • The act of knocking down or bringing down an opponent.
  • A contest in entertainment wrestling.
  • A decisive defeat.
  • A confrontation between rivals or competitors.

The Oxford English Dictionary traces the use of the word smackdown in English back at least as far as 1990, but notes that a professional wrestling television show "popularised" the term.

Special episodes[edit]

Throughout its broadcast history, the show has aired editions that have different themes. These include tributes to various professional wrestlers who have recently died or retired from actively performing, as well as episodes commemorating various show milestones or anniversaries.

On-air personalities[edit]

The show features various on-air personalities including the wrestlers themselves (both males and females), ring announcers, commentators and on-screen authority figures. SmackDown also has had various recurring on-air segments hosted by members of the roster.

Champions[edit]

Before the "supershows", the brand extension championships exclusive to Smackdown were seen. On the special live August 30, 2011, episode it was announced that wrestlers from Raw could now appear every week on SmackDown. This mirrored the proclamation made on Raw the previous day that SmackDown wrestlers could now appear every week on Raw. These moves made both programs full-roster "supershows", effectively ending the brand extension.

On July 19, 2016 the brand extension was brought back and for the first time ever, the brand extension draft was held on Smackdown. With the second Brand Extension, the current champions are listed below:


Championship Current champion(s) Date won Date aired Event Previous champion(s)
WWE Championship Dean Ambrose June 19, 2016 Money in the Bank Seth Rollins
WWE Intercontinental Championship The Miz April 4, 2016 Raw Zack Ryder

Broadcast[edit]

In addition to broadcasts on USA Network, Universal HD, NBC Universo and AFN Xtra in the United States,[8][97] SmackDown also appears on-air internationally.

Canada[edit]

From 1999 to early 2015, SmackDown aired in Canada matching the United States airtime and currently airs on Sportsnet 360 (previously known as Headline Sports until 2000 and The Score from 2000–2013). When SmackDown moved back Thursday nights, the show was broadcast on Wednesday nights (with the exception of live episodes) in Canada January 14, 2015 to July 13, 2016, due to national NHL coverage being aired on Sportsnet 360 on Thursday nights, as part of a 12-year deal between Rogers (Owner of Sportsnet) and the NHL.[98][99] However, from July 19, 2016, SmackDown will once again air in Canada simultaneously with the United States, following SmackDown's move to a live Tuesday night broadcast.

Asia-Pacific and Africa[edit]

The series airs in Australia on Fox8.[100][101] SmackDown airs in Fiji on Sky Pacific and Sky Fiji.[102] SmackDown airs in India,Nepal and Pakistan on TEN Sports[103][104] and Kenya on Kenya Broadcasting Corporation.[105] SmackDown airs in Malaysia on TV3 and Astro Supersport3.[106] Malta on Melita Sports 1,[107][108] The series airs in New Zealand on The BOX[109] and the Philippines on Fox.[110] The series airs in Singapore on SuperSports,[111] South Africa on e.tv,[112] and Samoa on SBC.[citation needed]

SmackDown airs in the Middle East and North Africa on OSN,[113] and Israel on Sport 5.[114]

Europe[edit]

The series airs in the United Kingdom on Sky Sports 3.[115] It airs in Ireland on Sky Sports 3.[116] The series airs in France on AB1 and in Italy on Sky Sports 2.

Online streaming[edit]

On May 22, 2009, Hulu Plus and WWE announced that they had a deal to air full episodes of SmackDown to be available for viewing the day following its original airing.[117] On September 24, 2012, Hulu Plus signed a multi-year deal with WWE to stream all of the company's TV shows and some of its web series, which includes SmackDown. Full episodes of SmackDown are available for viewing the following day of its original airing.[118] All episodes of SmackDown are available on the WWE Network. Recent episodes are available for on-demand viewing 30 days after the original air date.[119][120]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ See external link reports from The Independent and Canoe.ca for episodes for January and February 2015.[49][50][51][52][53]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]