After 19 years and closing onto the landmark 1000th episode, SmackDown has seen it’s fair share of moments over the years. Despite overlooked at times by the company as well as the viewers over the red brand, the blue brand has managed to make it’s mark over the years.
SmackDown has been home to several notable rivalries and moments despite being marked as the “B Show”. As SmackDown ushers into a new era, let’s have a look at the ten greatest moments that the blue brand has presented us.
- Edge cashes in the Money In The Bank contract
Cash-ins have been witnessed at every possible stage by now, and with the major shows stealing the limelight of cash-ins more often, Edge cashing in the contract over a befallen Deadman on the May 11, 2007 edition of SmackDown makes it unique. This was the first time that the briefcase would be cashed in on the blue brand.
2. Eddie Guerrero reveals his dark side
Eddie Guerrero’s heel turn on Rey Mysterio was hardly expected, given that the wrestler was beloved by the WWE Universe. Guerrero’s chilling promo explaining his actions on the May 12, 2005 episode of SmackDown saw the transition of Guerrero from the fan favourite to the devil’s favourite.
10. First ever ring collapse
Destruction was imminent when Brock Lesnar clashed against The Big Show for the championship on June 12, 2003 edition of SmackDown, but the degree of the destruction was unknown to the viewers as they were about to witness something that would make their jaws drop.
When The Beast and Big Show tussled on the top turnbuckle no one imagined that the Lesnar would drop the 500 pounder over his head for a giant superplex. With both men landing hard on the canvas, the ring crumbled like a pack of cards, much to the crowd’s joy.
While the spot has been replicated over the years with the likes of Mark Henry and Braun Strowman, it can never topple the sensation of the maiden ring collapse.
9. Daniel Bryan gets cleared for in-ring action
The news of Daniel Bryan getting cleared came out of nowhere and having announced it before the airing of SmackDown gave it a whole different atmosphere when the YES! star graced the ring.
Bryan delivered a heartfelt promo about what it means to get back into the ring and thanked the WWE Universe for their constant support.
It did not take long for the wrestler to pull out the old moves as Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn assaulted the then General manager of SmackDown. Despite the sheer retaliation, Bryan was put down by a vicious powerbomb on the outside to put a damper on the proceedings later in the show.
The sheer happiness of the crowd to see their beloved star getting cleared for action after so much struggle, makes it a moment that cannot be missed.
8. Coronation of a new champion
Eddie Guerrero managed to slay the Beast at No Way Out 2004 to be crowned as the WWE Champion in a battle that lasted over 30 minutes. It was worth it in the end and the champion came out to SmackDown with a celebration befitting a true champion.
With confetti and balloons all over the arena and not to mention the rabid crowd. The Latino Heat walked through the audience over to the ring to flaunt his new title.
The genuine happiness of Guerrero and the brilliant vibe is sure to put on a smile on one’s face as well as a few tears.
7. Hardy bids farewell
In his second stint with the company, Hardy evolved as a singles performer and went on to become one of the biggest faces of the company. During a fuelling rivalry with CM Punk, the high flyer lost his World Heavyweight Championship at Summerslam.
In the rematch for the title, which took place at SmackDown shortly after, CM Punk prevailed yet again to put an end to Hardy’s career as per the stipulation.
What followed was a distraught Hardy apologising to the crowd for letting them down which was duly responded with raucous chants of “Thank You, Jeff”. While Jeff Hardy would return yet again to the WWE, the angle was duly special.
6. SmackDown kicked off in style
The first ever episode of SmackDown saw the champion Triple H defend the gold against The Rock in a high octane encounter. The battle was more enticing with The Commissioner Shawn Michaels involved in the mix as the special guest referee.
While it seemed that Rocky would be crowned as the new champion, Michaels came to the rescue of his best friend with a swift Sweet Chin Music that eventually helped The Game retain his title over The Brahma Bull.
While the WWE Universe never got to witness an actual match-up between Shawn Michales and The Rock, this is the closest they ever got.
5. Jericho gets blown
Chris Jericho’s switch from WCW to the WWE bore him great results right from the start. Shortly before being crowned as the Undisputed champion, the Ayatollah of Rock n’ Rolla was involved in a feud with Rhyno which gave rise to an iconic moment in SmackDown history.
During the August 9, 2001 edition of SmackDown, the duo were involved in a brawl that got pretty intense after Rhyno gored Jericho through the SmackDown screen.
It would be the last time the set was ever seen as it was soon replaced by the vintage set with a giant fist on the top.
4. Out comes Cena
Despite the polarizing figure that John Cena has become, it was not the case right from the beginning. The Cenation leader was a vital cog in the Ruthless Aggression era and was a hit with the fans with his rapper gimmick.
During an open challenge put forward by Kurt Angle on the June 27, 2002, edition of SmackDown, Cena rose to the challenge and put on a fighting effort to win the hearts of the crowd right away.
Cena’s “ruthless aggression” that gave rise to an era and what followed after makes it an important landmark in the history of the blue brand.
3. Booker T shops with The Rattlesnake
WWE buying out the WCW made the former invincible. With the stars of WCW at their disposal, the Invasion angle was executed.
During the December 13, 2001 episode of the blue brand, the feud between Booker T and Stone Cold Steve Austin escalated a level as the duo were involved in a grocery store brawl.
Booker T attacked a stranger from behind thinking it was Austin. After realizing his mistake, Booker T turned back only to find Austin waiting for him. The visual of Austin attacking Booker T with bizarre objects and covering him flour of all the things makes it one of the most entertaining brawls of all time.
2. Boom goes the DX Express
No wrestler must have created havoc as Stone Cold Steve Austin has done over the course of his career. During the tussle between Austin and the McMahon’s, the Texas Rattlesnake was taken out by a car by Rikishi who did it on the orders of The Game.
While Triple H and Vince McMahon believed that Austin was taken care of, on the April 27, 2000 edition of SmackDown, Austin returned for vengeance by proceeding to destroy the DX Express with the “Austin Deconstruction Crane”.
With Stone Cold doing what he does best, Triple H and the McMahon’s were left shell-shocked in the ring.
The 9/11 Tribute
The United States Of America was hit with a national crisis after the attacks on the World Trade Centre buildings in New York on September 11, 2001. While several sports events were either being cancelled or postponed. The WWE made a huge call to proceed with the taping of SmackDown on September 13, 2001.
The show began with a message by Vince McMahon who went on to talk about how the terrorists cannot dictate how one lives their life. What followed was surreal as Lillian Garcia stepping up to sing the national anthem with all the wrestlers lined up on the ramp.
As she ended the anthem with tears in her eyes, SmackDown was strengthened with unity as the wrestlers went on to deliver one of the most emotional shows in pro wrestling history.