After Rachel Miller's article on the highs and lows of WWE Friday Night Smackdown!, I decided to write one that hopefully will receive better praise. WWE Friday Night Smackdown! debuted on August 26, 1999. Named after one of The Rock's popular catchphrases, Smackdown! instantly became popular. Sometimes called the "B" show, Smackdown has proven that it is just as entertaining and as important as RAW. Here are the best moments in Friday Night Smackdown!'s history.
On June 27, 2002; the current name and face of the WWE, John Cena, made his WWE debut. Cena walked out to typical rookie music and tights, to answer Kurt Angle's challenge. John Cena possessed "ruthless aggression" and took Angle to the limit in perhaps Cena's best match. It's amazing to see how far Cena came and it all started on Smackdown!
2002 was quite possibly the most important and entertaining year for Smackdown! We saw the WWE debuts of John Cena, Randy Orton, and Rey Mysterio. All of these men would go on to become world champions and Royal Rumble winners. We also witnessed the emergence of Brock Lesnar as The Next Big Thing in the WWE. In this classic match, Lesnar battled Hulk Hogan in a match that established Lesnar as a main event worthy superstar.
In this promo; The Rock talks about why he came back to the WWF. It wasn't for Vince McMahon but for the people. The Rock was going on about his payback for a bald headed, guitar strumming, piece of trailer park trash Stone Cold Steve Austin. Unfortunately for The Rock, Booker T decided to ruin that. Booker came out to tell The Rock that he wasn't even in Austin's league, let alone his. The Rock summed it up by asking Booker T the world famous question, "who in the blue hell are you?" Sadly part two to this segment was deleted by Youtube so here's part 1.
Chris Jericho decided to call out Steve Austin and prove that he was not afraid of him. Out came Austin but low and behold it was Will Sasso dressed as Steve Austin. Half way through Sasso impressively mocking Austin, the real Stone Cold came out and did what he does best.
On this edition of Smackdown, The Rock had enough of Mr. McMahon humiliating superstars by making them kiss his ass. At first The Rock told Vince that he would have to kiss, then JR's, and then finally Trish's ass. Much to the disdain of Vince, Trish's ass was not the one that he would kiss. Instead Rishiki's ass would be the ass of choice. In the best stink face of all time, the crowd went wild as Vince McMahon was shoved face first into Rishiki's ass.
In another edition of Smackdown, Brock Lesnar and The Big Show were having yet another match. Lesnar decided to suplex The Big Show from the top rope and the ring collapsed as a result. Definitely great in terms of the fan reaction that it received. The guy that came up with this idea deserves a pat on the back.
In a cage match with JBL, Eddie Guerrero performed his greatest frog splash ever from the top of a steel cage. It's also amazing that Eddie hit it perfectly.
In the greatest match in Smackdown history, the two best atheletes in the WWE at the time duked it out for the richest prize in wrestling. Lesnar dominated the match from the start but Angle was able to pick up key pinfalls and pull within one pinfall of Lesnar. Unfortunately for Angle his comeback was too late. As time was running out Angle desperately tried to get Lesnar to tap by locking in the Ankle Lock but it was not to be. Lesnar won his third and final WWE Championship by the score of 5-4.
After then champion Batista suffered a legitimate injury and relinquished the World Heavyweight Championship, Smackdown General Manager Theodore announced a 20 man over the top battle royal to determine the new champion. Surprisingly current RAW superstar Kurt Angle entered and won the match by last eliminating Mark Henry.
The Rock's and Triple H's feud was reaching it's boiling point in 1999 so HBK was brought it to referee a WWF Championship match between the two on Smackdown. The match was pretty good and featured back and forth action. Finally as The Rock was performing the most electrifying move in sports entertainment, the people's elbow, HBK betrayed The Rock and super kicked him. Triple H picked up on the assist and hit the pedigree to retain the WWF Championship.
On the December 13, 2001 edition of Smackdown, Steve Austin whipped Booker T's ass in the infamous supermarket brawl. A paranoid Booker T happened to shopping in a supermaket and was on the look out for Austin. After Booker T mistakenly attacked a fellow shopper, Austin unleashed a 100% whoop ass on him. Booker never really mounted any type of comeback and was beaten from aisle to aisle.
On the September 30, 1999 edition of Smackdown, Vince McMahon named The Rock the special guest referee for Triple H vs The British Bulldog later on that night. The Rock addressed the fans, called the match, and even did a little commentating. Just as things were looking up for Bulldog, The Rock executed perhaps his greatest people's elbow ever and his most famous "It doesn't matter!" ever and all in the same match.
After wining the WWE Championship at No Way Out 2004, Eddie Guerrero celebrated in style on the following Smackdown. With green, red,and white balloons falling from the sky, Eddie celebrated his greatest achievement. His win at No Way Out was for everyone that had been told that they weren't big enough, strong enough, smart enough, or even good looking enough. This was Eddie's thanks to all the fans that supported him.
On the Smackdown episode before Backlash, Steve Austin reminded everyone that he was on his own side. He was in the parking lot and quite frankly he was doing what he did best; tearing shit up. He proceeded the destroy the DX Express and send a message to anyone even thinking about messing with Stone Cold.
Steve Austin played the roles of a hunter and took out every member of DX one by one. DX finally had enough and challenged Austin to the ring. While Austin tried to take on DX 4-1 he received some help from The Rock and Kane.
In a great match, Rob Van Dam faced off against fellow alliance member Stone Cold Steve Austin. At this point, Rob Van Dam was the only alliance member that the crowd liked. Instead of being a leader to the alliance, Austin was more like a bully. RVD decided to show Austin what he was made of by challenging him to a match. With some help from Kurt Angle, RVD pulled off the upset.
The Rock was put in a 2 on 1 handicap match against The Dudley Boyz. It was a table match where The Rock had to put both Dudleys through a table while the Dudleys only had to put The Rock through one. It didn't help that match was also a lumberjack match. It wasn't long before both The Rock and the Dudleys were both through tables courtesy of DX.
The Rock'n Sock Connection defended their WWF Tag Team Championships against The New Age Outlaws. People questioned The Rock and Mick Foley's partnership because no matter how hard Foley tried to deepen he and The Rock's bond, The Rock always seemed to pull away. That was the case as The New Age Outlaws won their third WWF Tag Team Championship.
On a special edition of Smackdown, the WWF superstars paid their respects to the victims of the 9/11 attacks. Vince McMahon gave one of his best promos and made sure that everyone watching at home and around the world knew that the citizens of America would fight and never ever give up on freedom. This episode of Smackdown was the best in it's near twelve year history.