Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
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.
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.
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 .
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.  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.
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 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 however fans have criticised the WWE for constantly changing the SmackDown! General Manager. At present there have been 5 different General Managers, while Raw has only had 2.
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.
Wrestling's popularity has dropped since the arrival of SmackDown! which arrived at the apex of the "Attitude Era." The fact that the WWE seems to favour 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 Champion 1||John Cena|
|WWE Tag-Team Champions 2||Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio (Óscar Gutiérrez)|
|WWE Cruiserweight Champion 3||Paul London|
|WWE United States Champion 4||Orlando Jordan|
1: This is the original WWE World Championship. It became SmackDown! exclusive when the champion Brock Lesnar refused to defend it on 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 World Cruiserweight Championship. The WWE adopted it and dropped their own World Light Heavyweight Championship in favor of it. It also became SmackDown! exclusive.
4: The original WCW United States Heavyweight Championship was once disbanded when it was unified with the WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship. However, the title was revived by Stephanie McMahon, along with Stone Cold Steve Austin reintroducing the Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship for RAW.
1: John Cena defeated John "Bradshaw" Layfield at WrestleMania 21
2:Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio (Óscar Gutiérrez) defeated The Basham Brothers (Doug Basham and Danny Basham) at WWE No Way Out (February 20, 2005).
3:Paul London won a battle royal on "SmackDown!" March 31, 2005, aired (taped March 29. 2005). Other participants in the match were Funaki (Shoichi Funaki), Spike Dudley (Matthew Hyson), Scotty 2 Hotty (Scott Garland), and Akio.
4: Orlando Jordan defeated John Cena on SmackDown! (March 1, 2005, aired March 3).
Current SmackDown! general manager(s)
Current SmackDown! wrestlers
- Bubba Ray Dudley (Mark Lamonica) (kayfabe, injured after a chokeslam by The Big Show through a table; actually at OVW)
- D-Von Dudley (Devon Hughes) (kayfabe, injured after a chokeslam by The Big Show through a table; actually at OVW)
- Rob Van Dam (Rob Szatkowski) (injured; knee)
Current SmackDown! non-wrestlers/managers
- Melina (Melina Perez) (Manager of MNM)
- Sharmell Sullivan (Manager of Booker T)
- Theodore Long (General Manager)
- Brian Hebner
- Charles Robinson
- Jimmy Korderaus
- Nick Patrick (Nick Hamilton)
Other on-air talent
- Bill DeMott (Velocity color commentator)
- Carlos Cabrera (Spanish-language color commentator)
- Hugo Savinovich (Spanish-language play-by-play commentator)
- Josh Matthews (Josh Lomberger) (Velocity play-by-play commentator/Velocity color commentator)
- Michael Cole (Sean Coulthard) (SmackDown! play-by-play commentator)
- Steve Romero (Ring announcer/Velocity play-by-play commentator)
- Tazz (Peter Senerca) (SmackDown! color commentator)
- Tony Chimel (Ring announcer)
Previous general managers/"owners"
Past SmackDown! wrestlers(since brand extension)
- The Big Boss Man (Ray Traylor) (sent to OVW--WWE's farm federation--as of 5/5/2002; died in 2004)
- Test (Andrew Martin) (moved to RAW brand 7/29/2002)
- Lance Storm (Lance Evers) (moved to RAW brand 7/29/2002)
- Christian (Jason Reso) (moved to RAW brand 7/29/2002)
- Chris Jericho (Chris Irvine)(moved to RAW brand 7/29/2002)
- Stacy Keibler (moved to RAW brand 8/12/2002)
- Mike Awesome (Mike Alphonso) (fired by WWE, last appearance 9/7/2002)
- Ivory (Lisa Moretti) (moved to RAW brand 11/04/2002)
- Maven (Maven Huffman) (moved to RAW brand 11/04/2002)
- Batista (David Bautista) (moved to RAW brand 11/04/2002)
- Diamond Dallas Page (Page Falkenberg) (fired by WWE as of 11/24/2002)
- Perry Saturn (Perry Satullo) (fired by WWE as of 11/24/2002)
- The Godfather (Charles Wright) (fired by WWE as of 12/05/2002)
- B2 (Barry Buchanan) (fired by WWE as of 1/19/2003)
- Redd Dogg/Rodney Mack (Rodney Begnaud) (moved to RAW brand 2/16/2003)
- The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) (moved to RAW brand 2/24/2003)
- Hulk Hogan (Terry Bollea) (left WWE due to contractual issues on 6/24/2003)
- "Rowdy" Roddy Piper (Roderick Toombs) (fired by WWE as of 6/26/2003)
- Crash Holly (Mike Lockwood) (fired by WWE as of 7/1/2003; passed away 11/11/2003)
- Matt Hardy (moved to RAW brand 11/17/2003)
- Nathan Jones (left WWE due to personal issues on 12/11/03)
- Spanky (Brian Kendrick) (left WWE due to creative issues on 1/13/2004)
- Chris Benoit (moved to RAW brand 1/26/2004)
- Zach Gowen (fired by WWE as of 2/4/04, last appearance 10/23/03)
- Kanyon (Chris Klucsaritis) (fired by WWE as of 2/9/2004)
- Ernest "The Cat" Miller (fired by WWE as of 2/12/2004)
- Brock Lesnar (left WWE to pursue a football career as of 3/15/2004)
- Faarooq (Ron Simmons) (fired by WWE as of 3/18/2004)
- Shelton Benjamin (moved to RAW brand 3/22/2004)
- Nidia (Nidia Guenard) (moved to RAW brand 3/22/2004)
- Rhyno (Terry Gerin) (moved to RAW brand 3/22/2004)
- Tajiri (Yoshihiro Tajiri) (moved to RAW brand 3/22/2004)
- Edge (Adam Copeland) (moved to RAW brand 3/22/2004)
- A-Train (Matthew Bloom) (moved to RAW brand 3/23/2004)
- Chuck Palumbo (moved to RAW brand 3/23/2004)
- Triple H (Paul Levesque) (moved to RAW brand 3/23/2004; was only on SmackDown! roster for one day)
- Ultimo Dragon (Yoshihiro Asai) (left WWE on 4/15/2004)
- Sean O'Haire (fired by WWE on 4/3/2004)
- Chavo Classic (Chavo Guerrero) (fired by WWE on 6/15/2004)
- Rikishi (Solofa Fatu) (fired by WWE on 7/17/2004)
- Sakoda (Ryan Sakoda) (fired by WWE on 8/5/2004)
- Sable (Rena Mero) (fired by WWE on 8/10/2004)
- Jacqueline (Jacqueline Moore) (released by WWE in June 2004)
- Jamie Noble (Jamie Howard) (released by WWE on 9/7/2004)
- Billy Gunn (Monty Sopp) (released by WWE on 11/1/04)
- Rico (Rico Constantino) (released by WWE on 11/2/04)
- Johnny Stamboli (John Hugger) (released by WWE on 11/4/04)
- Amy Weber (left WWE in February 2005)
- Jesús (Aaron Aguilera) (released by WWE on 4/11/05)
(Note: All roster information is current as of April 11, 2005)
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