I am not a guy who likes to look into the future, but rather live in the moment and take each day as it comes. Obviously this concept is hard to follow in the world of professional wrestling, especially when trying to wrap your head around some of the creative decisions that show up on a weekly basis. One of those decisions happened some 16 years ago with the development of Thursday Night SmackDown.
This whole concept started out as a huge success primarily because the Attitude Era was in full effect and Monday Night ratings were at an all time high. With everything pointing in the right direction, there was no better time to expand. For a while this worked out great. No longer did fans have to wait an entire week to see what was going to happen next. Another prime time show to advance a storyline meant more opportunities to draw fans in.
The first SmackDown debuted on April 29, 1999 and was WWE’s first network television show since Saturday Night’s Main Event. If you recall, this was a time when a good number of fans didn’t receive cable television. These select few could finally see what all the fuss was about when it came to the Attitude Era.
As time went on, there were a number of changes to the program such as taping dates, roster development, network coverage, and daily scheduled viewing days. The following timeline below gives you a feel of the changes that occurred to WWE’s so-called “B” level show.
* The first SmackDown special aired April 29, 1999
* SmackDown debuts in regular time slot (on Thursdays) on August 26, 1999
* The 100th episode of SmackDown aired on July 19, 2001
* SmackDown changes name and nights to Friday Night SmackDown on September 9, 2005
* SmackDown airs in High Definition for the first time on January 25, 2008
* SmackDown moves back to Thursday night on January 15, 2015
However, novelties wear off and products get stale. Now SmackDown has turned into a lame duck show that includes more spoilers than an episode of the Walking Dead. For a while it was delegated as a B-rated show that only included the wrestlers that couldn’t cut it on Raw. However, more recently storylines have started to continue on to Thursday night in the hopes of drumming up more buzz.
There continues to be plenty of excitement around the changes coming in 2016 for WWE as a whole. One of them is the rumor that SmackDown will be going to a live format. If that is indeed the case, let’s hope we can start to add more of an NXT presence like the recent surprise of Tyler Breeze. Without the intrigue of yesterday, it will continue to be an unwatched show echoing the sentiments of the yearly Raw ratings drop.
I firmly believe they should cancel the weekly show and move on. To be honest, I think the biggest ratings grabber was the Tribute to the Troops each and every year. People who don’t agree with me will say that the company will never eliminate SmackDown because it’s built such a brand name over the past decade. The company would lose way too much money by eliminating another show…or would they? Are they really bringing in a huge audience?
The fact remains that the presence of a second two-hour(+) show, along with the inclusion of NXT, is currently dragging the product down. It needs to be cancelled, but it will never happen. What do you guys think? What was your favorite SmackDown match or moment? One of my favorites is shown below.
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