SmackDown!

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WWE SmackDown! is a professional wrestling show that airs in the USA on the United Paramount Network (UPN) and in Canada on The Score Network. It is produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). The SmackDown! Superstars will typically perform four shows in a week. WWE generally tapes its Tuesday evening show for UPN to air on Thursday evening of the same week. However, once or twice a year, the show may be broadcast live. In May 2005, UPN announced that it will move SmackDown! to Friday nights starting in the new Fall season. [1] (http://tv.zap2it.com/tveditorial/tve_main/1,1002,271|95394|1|,00.html)

Contents

Show history

Pre-brand extension

WWF SmackDown! (as it was originally known) was set up to compete against WCW's Thursday night show, Thunder. In the spirit of the WWF's Attitude Era, the show was originally planned to be two hours of WWF Divas in primetime TV. However, this did not work out, and instead SmackDown! became a complementary show to RAW. SmackDown! first appeared in May 1999 using the Raw is War set, however at the time it was considered a "one off." However as 1999 continued, the WWF found itself experiencing a meteoric rise as new wrestling fans tuned in week after week to catch Raw is War. In August 1999 SmackDown! debuted on UPN. Like WCW Thunder, SmackDown! was recorded on Tuesdays and then broadcast on Thursdays. So popular was the new WWF show that WCW pulled Thunder forward to Wednesdays in the hope of holding on to fans rather than lose them to the WWF. SmackDown!, like Thunder, made heavy use of the colour blue, earning it the nickname "The Blue Show," amongst wrestling fans.

The original SmackDown! theme was not performed by a band, unlike Raw is War; instead, the WWF created a fast-paced theme that was a mixture of techno and rock. The first SmackDown! set was also unique as it featured an oval-shaped Titantron, entrance and stage which made it stand out from other wrestling sets which had traditionally used rectangular Titantrons and so on. An added feature to the original set was the ability for the Titantron 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 August 2001, as part of celebrating SmackDown!'s 2nd anniversary, the show received its current logo and set, and a new theme tune performed by Marilyn Manson (which was also used by Raw several years earlier).

Brand extension

In early to mid-2002, World Wrestling Entertainment (then known as the World Wrestling Federation) underwent something they called the “Brand Extension”. Basically, this meant that the two WWE television shows (RAW and SmackDown!) would become competition for each other. This came about after WWE purchased their two biggest competitors, WCW and ECW. The brand extension was publically announced during a telecast of WWF RAW on March 25, 2002, and became official the next day.

The Brand Extension would bring about a change like nothing the WWE had seen before. Wrestlers would become “show-exclusive”, wrestling for their specific show only. At the time this excluded the champions as originally, the WWE titles would be defended on both shows. However, later in 2002, Brock Lesnar, then the WWE World Champion, refused to defend the title on RAW, causing the title to become SmackDown!-exclusive. Following that, both shows then got their own exclusive championships.

In January, 2005, The Oakland Tribune reported that Leslie Moonves, co-President and co-Chief Operating Officer of UPN's parent company, Viacom, announced that SmackDown! will not be renewed on UPN after Viacom's contract with the WWE expires in 2006. This article was later revealed to be in error; Moonves was in fact saying that SmackDown! may not be renewed, as opposed to will not be renewed [2] (http://www.pwinsider.com/ViewArticle.asp?id=7967&p=1).

The SmackDown! brand has a sister show, Velocity, broadcasting Saturday nights from 11:00 PM-12:00 AM Eastern Standard Time on Spike TV. It consists of low-card matches and recaps of last Thursday's SmackDown!. If SmackDown! is cancelled on UPN at the end of the 2005-2006 season, it is unknown if or how this would affect Velocity; Spike TV is also owned by Viacom.

On March 10, 2005, Viacom announced that they would not seek to extend their deal to air WWE programming on Spike TV, most notably RAW, when it expires in September, 2005. [3] (http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20050311/tv_nm/television_wwe_dc_1) This presumably covers Velocity, which also airs on Spike TV, however SmackDown! will continue to air on UPN at least until the contract to air that show expires in 2006. It is 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. Sources within WWE were reportedly caught unaware by the move. [4] (http://www.pwinsider.com/ViewArticle.asp?id=10396&p=1) [5] (http://www.pwinsider.com/ViewArticle.asp?id=10397&p=1)

SmackDown! vs. RAW

Fan opinion has always shifted towards SmackDown! since the show's creation. Initially fans were unsure about the show and were worried that the WWF's flagship show, RAW is WAR, would suffer due to there now being 2 shows. However SmackDown! did not dent Raw's popularity, and fans welcomed the new show. During the early history of SmackDown! some fans openly preferred SmackDown! over RAW though most fans stayed loyal to the latter. Other fans criticised the WWF for not giving SmackDown! enough fresh matches as some saw SmackDown! as a simple repeat of RAW.

Since the Brand-Extension many fans have come to consider SmackDown! to be the "poor cousin" when compared to RAW. Initially SmackDown! was praised for showcasing fresh matches and for pushing more talent but fans have criticised WWE for constantly changing the SmackDown! General Manager. There have been five different General Managers, while RAW has only had two.

The creative team of SmackDown! have also voiced their disapproval of the WWE's attitude towards SmackDown!, at WrestleMania 21, the WWE Championship match pitting John Cena against John "Bradshaw" Layfield was cut short and made to feel less important so as not to overshadow the RAW main-event. Cena being drafted to RAW two months later was seen as adding insult to injury. The subsequent draft of SmackDown! mainstay Kurt Angle was an additional surprise to some.

Wrestling's popularity has dropped since SmackDown! arrived at the apex of the "Attitude Era." The fact that the WWE seems to favor RAW over SmackDown! and the possibility of UPN not continuing to broadcast SmackDown! after 2006 has put SmackDown!'s future into question.

Current SmackDown! championships

Championship Notes: Current Champion(s)
WWE United States Champion 1 Orlando Jordan
WWE Tag-Team Champions 2 MNM (Johnny Nitro (John Hennigan) and Joey Mercury (Joey Matthews))
WWE Cruiserweight Champion 3 Paul London

1: The original WCW United States Championship was once disbanded when it was unified with the WWE Intercontinental Championship. However, the title was revived by Stephanie McMahon, along with Stone Cold Steve Austin reintroducing the Intercontinental Championship for RAW.
2: These are completely new tag-team championships. The original WWE Tag-Team championships became RAW exclusive and renamed to the World Tag-Team Championship.
3:This championship originally was the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. The WWE adopted it and dropped their own Light Heavyweight Championship in favor of it. It also became SmackDown! exclusive.

Roster

Current SmackDown! general manager(s)

Current SmackDown! wrestlers

Inactive list

Current SmackDown! non-wrestlers/managers

Referees

Other on-air talent

Previous general managers/"owners"

Past SmackDown! wrestlers

(since brand extension)

(Note: All roster information is current as of 20 June 2005)

Trivia

  • The current theme song of SmackDown! is "Rise Up" by Drowning Pool.
  • The show is taped on Tuesday nights and broadcast on Thursday nights. Their 11 September 2001 event was canceled due to the terrorist attacks. On 13 September 2001, SmackDown! was broadcast live as the first major and televised event since the attacks as thousands were in attendance. The ring ropes are usually blue for the SmackDown! shows but were red, white and blue for this night; these colors were commonly used during the 1980s.

External links

es:SmackDown!

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