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WWE SmackDown is a professional wrestling television program for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). it airs on MyNetworkTV in the United Statesmarker 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 programs and brands are Raw and ECW. 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 was shown 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. The show is shown in Mexico on TV Azteca and in the United Kingdommarker and Irelandmarker on Friday nights on Sky Sports 3 and Sky Sports HD; due to the time difference, SmackDown premieres a few hours earlier in Ireland and United Kingdom and a day earlier in Australia and India than the United States. For other broadcast listings, see below.

Show history

Original format

SmackDown! (the 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, Missourimarker. 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.

WWF SmackDown! set used from August 26, 1999 to August 9, 2001
WWF SmackDown! logo used from August 26, 1999 to August 9, 2001

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 television set 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.

Brand Extension

In 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.

WWE SmackDown! logo used from August 16, 2001 to September 2, 2005

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. During this time, United States Champion Orlando Jordan was billed as the top champion on the show. 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.

Move to Friday nights

The Friday Night SmackDown! logo used from September 9, 2005 to January 18, 2008

WWE'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. It worked out for both parties involved, however, as the show did better in the ratings than it had on Thursdays , while UPN received much 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 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! (renamed Friday Night SmackDown!) moved into Enterprise's former timeslot in the United Statesmarker. 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 Canadamarker on the Score. In the United Kingdommarker 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 a special fundraising concert (see Shelter From the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast) 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-TVmarker (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, 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.

The CW Network


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 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 WPIXmarker in New York City and KTLAmarker in Los Angeles) aired WWE's Friday Night SmackDown! early in September 2006. Two other future affiliates of The CW, WCWJmarker in Jacksonville, Floridamarker and WIWBmarker in Green Bay, Wisconsinmarker, 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 Utahmarker beginning in June when KPNZmarker in Salt Lake Citymarker stopped airing all UPN programs early. KUCWmarker broadcasts the show. In Hawaiimarker, SmackDown! returned in late 2006, airing on a CW digital subchannel of Honolulumarker's FOX affiliate KHON-TVmarker (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 is broadcast live on the same night and from the same arena where Smackdown is taped.


WWE SmackDown logo from January 25, 2008 - September 25, 2009.
Currently used today as a secondary logo.
In January 2008, SmackDown! debuted in HD with Raw and ECW and dropped the exclamation point from the end of its name. The "SmackDown fist" was removed as well as all WWE shows started using the same, standard set. On February 8, 2008 it was reported that World Wrestling Entertainment and The CW had ended negotiations to keep Friday Night SmackDown on the network. WWE stated that negotiations 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 announcing Friday Night SmackDown's move to MyNetworkTV. On May 19, 2008, MyNetworkTV president, Greg Meidel, announced that WWE television would premiere on the network in October 2008, with a recap of WrestleMania XXIV being shown on October 2, 2008, and SmackDown premiering on October 3, 2008.

In April 2008, Mick Foley replaced Jonathan Coachman as color commentator. Following the 2008 WWE Draft, 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.


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.


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 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 is now exclusive to Raw and the WWE Intercontinental Championship which is exclusive to SmackDown brand, for the first time ever.

On September 15, WWE Home Video released a DVD set entitled The Best of SmackDown 10th Anniversary.

Induction into Merriam-Webster

On July 10, 2007, Merriam–Webster announced it would induct the word smackdown into Webster's Dictionary. According to Merriam Webster, a "smackdown" is:
  • 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 MyNetworkTV the same week. Occasionally, it is taped on Monday nights before or after Raw in what is called a "Supershow". SmackDown has also aired live on occasion.

Currently, SmackDown opens with "Let it Roll" by Divide the Day. Upon SmackDown's "Decade of SmackDown" celebration it replaced the previous theme song "If You Rock Like Me" featured in the album Voices: WWE The Music, Vol. 9.

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.

Special episodes

Episode Date Rating Notes
SmackDown! April 29, 1999 5.8
SmackDown! August 26, 1999 4.2
9/11 Tribute September 13, 2001 3.6
Christmas from Baghdad December 25, 2003 3.0
SmackDown! 5th Anniversary Special September 23, 2004 3.2
Christmas in Iraq December 23, 2004 2.9
SmackDown! Night of Champions December 30, 2004 2.9
Eddie Guerrero Tribute Show November 18, 2005 3.1
Best of SmackDown! 2005 December 23, 2005 2.2
Best of SmackDown! 2006 December 29, 2006 2.4
SmackDown! 400th episode April 20, 2007 2.2
WWE Best of 2007 December 28, 2007 2.5
SmackDown All-Star Kick-Off October 3, 2008 1.9
SmackDown 500th episode March 20, 2009 2.1
Decade of SmackDown October 2, 2009 2.2

Seasonal rankings (based on average total estimated viewers per episode) of SmackDown! on UPN, The CW and MyNetworkTV

Season Timeslot Network Years Rank Viewers

(in millions)
1st Thursday 8/7C UPN 1999-2000 N/A 7.2
2nd Thursday 8/7C UPN 2000-2001 90 7.1
3rd Thursday 8/7C UPN 2001-2002 111 6.5
4th Thursday 8/7C UPN 2002-2003 114 5.4
5th Thursday 8/7C UPN 2003-2004 140 5.1
6th Thursday 8/7C UPN 2004-2005 106 5.1
7th Friday 8/7C UPN 2005-2006 120 4.3
8th Friday 8/7C CW 2006-2007 120 4.5
9th Friday 8/7C CW 2007-2008 119 4.6
10th Friday 8/7C MyNetworkTV 2008-2009 N/A N/A
11th Friday 8/7C MyNetworkTV 2009-2010 N/A N/A

On-air personalities


Championship Current champion Date won Date aired Event Previous champion
World Heavyweight Championship The Undertaker October 4, 2009 October 4, 2009 Hell in a Cell CM Punk
WWE Intercontinental Championship John Morrison September 1, 2009 September 4, 2009 WWE SmackDown Rey Mysterio
WWE Women's Championship Michelle McCool June 28, 2009 June 28, 2009 The Bash Melina
Unified WWE Tag Team Championship The Big Show* and Chris Jericho June 28, 2009 June 28, 2009 The Bash (2009) The Colóns

  • Due to Edge's injury, Chris Jericho received the right to choose a replacement partner.

Authority figures

Authority Position Date started Date finished Notes
Vince McMahon Owner November 9, 2001 Present
Stephanie McMahon General Manager July 18, 2002 October 19, 2003
Paul Heyman General Manager October 23, 2003 March 22, 2004
Kurt Angle General Manager March 25, 2004 July 22, 2004
Theodore Long General Manager July 29, 2004 September 21, 2007
Vickie Guerrero General Manager September 28, 2007 April 6, 2009
Theodore Long General Manager April 7, 2009 Present


Commentators Dates
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 23, 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 - Present
Todd Grisham and Matt Striker October 30, 2009 - Present

Ring announcers

Ring Announcer Dates
Tony Chimel April 1999 - August 2007

October 2009 - present
Justin Roberts September 2007 - October 2009

Recurring segments

Segment Host Years Notes
Piper's Pit Roddy Piper 2003
$1,000,000 Tough Enough Al Snow 2004
Kurt Angle Invitational Kurt Angle 2004 - 2005
Cafe de René René Duprée 2004
Carlito's Cabana Carlito 2005

2008 - 2009
Peep Show Christian 2005
WWE Diva Search The Miz 2006
Miz TV The Miz 2007
Masterlock Challenge Chris Masters 2007
The Cutting Edge Edge 2007 - present
V.I.P. Lounge Montel Vontavious Porter 2007 - 2009
Khali Kiss Cam The Great Khali 2008 - present
Word Up Cryme Tyme 2009 - present

International broadcasters

In addition to being broadcast on MyNetworkTV and AFN Xtra in the United Statesmarker, WWE SmackDown is also broadcast internationally in many different countries.
Country Network Ref
Algeriamarker Showtime Arabia
Argentinamarker Canal 9
Australia Fox8
Austriamarker, Germanymarker, Luxembourgmarker and Switzerlandmarker DSF
Belgiummarker AB3
Boliviamarker RTP Bolivia
Bulgariamarker GTV
Cambodiamarker CTN
Canadamarker The Score Network, CJNTmarker
Chilemarker Chilevisión
Colombiamarker Citytv
Costa Ricamarker Repretel: Canal 11
Dominican Republicmarker Antena Latina 7
Ecuadormarker Teleamazonas
El Salvadormarker VTV
Fijimarker Sky Pacific and Sky Fiji
Finlandmarker MTV3 Max
Francemarker NT1
Guatemalamarker Canal 3
Hondurasmarker Canal 5
Indiamarker, Pakistanmarker and South Asia TEN Sports
Italymarker SKY Italia
Japanmarker J Sports Plus
Kenyamarker KBC
Malaysiamarker TV3
Maltamarker Melita Sports 1
Mexicomarker Azteca 7
Middle East Showtime Arabia and ShowSports 4
New Zealandmarker The BOX
Nicaraguamarker Canal 10
Panamamarker Canal 4
Paraguaymarker Canal 5
Perumarker ATV
Philippinesmarker Jack TV and RPN 9
Polandmarker Extreme Sports Channel
Portugalmarker TVI
Puerto Rico WAPAmarker and MyNetworkTV
Samoamarker SBC
Serbiamarker FOX Televizija
Singaporemarker Super Sports
South Africa
Spainmarker Cuatro and Sportmania
Swedenmarker TV4 Sport
Taiwanmarker Videoland Max-TV
Thailandmarker TrueSports 2
Turkeymarker Fox Turkey
Ukrainemarker QTV
United Kingdommarker and Irelandmarker Sky Sports 3 and Sky Sports HD3

See also


  1. WWE, Tribune announce September SmackDown! schedule.
  2. Friday Night SmackDown!
  3. WWE Ratings Come In
  5. MyNetworkTV does not rely on Nielsen ratings.

External links

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