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The History of Friday Night SmackDown


The History of Friday Night SmackDown
© 2008 World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The Start of a New Show:

While wrestling was at an all-time popularity peak, the fledgling UPN Network was in need of some popular programming. On April 29, 1999, SmackDown appeared on the network for as a one time special that was picked up by the network for the next season. SmackDown became a weekly show starting on August 26, 1999. When the show started, it was on Thursday nights and went up against the WCW program Thunder on TBS.

The Differences Between RAW and SmackDown:

When SmackDown started, Monday Night RAW was the flagship program of the WWE. In order to differentiate itself from RAW, the show used a blue color theme and had an oval shaped Titantron. The biggest difference between the shows though is that RAW is live while SmackDown is generally taped on Tuesday.

The Fall of WCW & The Brand Split:

In January 2000, Thunder moved to Wednesday nights because it was getting destroyed by SmackDown. In 2001, the WWE purchased WCW. During the ensuing Invasion angle, Chris Jericho was gored through the set of the show by Rhino. That resulted in the end of the ovaltron and the start of the set featuring a giant fist. When the invasion ended, the WWE split their company in half. Half of the wrestlers were drafted to RAW and the other half became the exclusive property of SmackDown.

Move to Friday Nights:

On September 9, 2005, the show was moved to Friday nights. The first episode to be held on a Friday night is notable for having the first half streamed on wwe.com instead of being televised due to the benefit event for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

The Move From UPN to the CW:

In 2006, UPN went out of business and the CW Network was created. The CW Network picked up SmackDown and continued to broadcast it on Friday nights. However, there was a problem with some affiliates when the changeover was made. Some of the UPN affiliates decided not to broadcast the final episodes of the show while some of the new CW affiliates were tied into broadcasting other programming (usually local sports) during that time.

SmackDown Goes HD & Changes Networks Again:

The beginning of 2008 saw the WWE change over to the HD format. With that change there was a change to the set. The giant fist was replaced by a wall of HD screens. The show uses the same physical set as RAW (excluding the ring ropes and apron) but looks different than RAW due to the nature of the images on the HD screens. In the fall of 2008, the show moved to MyNetwork TV, a network that was made up of many former UPN affiliates that didn't become a CW station. The new network quickly faltered and finished dead last for all networks. The following year, the network became a broadcast syndication service.

The Move to Cable:

In the fall of 2010, the program moved to SyFy. SyFy had previously broadcast the WWE programs ECW on SyFy and WWE NXT. This marks the first time in the show's history that it is being broadcast on cable.

WWE & World Heavyweight Championship Victories on SmackDown:

WWE Championship

World Heavyweight Championship

Sources: wwe.com and thehistoryofwwe.com

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