WWE SmackDown 1000: Predicting Surprise Appearances for Anniversary Show
SmackDown is hitting a milestone on October 16 as the 1000th episode will be airing, meaning WWE is surely planning on trying to make it a special one.
Raw 1000 saw a new intercontinental champion crowned, a Money in the Bank cash-in and more, but some of the most fun parts of the night were seeing the surprise appearances by people like D-Generation X, Rowdy Roddy Piper, and even Mae Young's son, the hand, all grown up.
WWE has already started letting fans know that SmackDown 1000 will follow a similar trend by having former Superstars make their returns, which has everyone speculation who else we may be in store for seeing.
While anything can happen and WWE may have some ideas in play we're completely in the dark about, let's take a look at some of the possible comebacks we might see at SmackDown 1000.
Superstars Already Advertised
The cat is already out of the bag that Evolution isn't just the name of the all-women's pay-per-view coming up later this month, but it's also something we'll see at SmackDown 1000 as it's been confirmed that the 2000s stable will be reuniting.
This means SmackDown's regular roster member Randy Orton will be joined by Triple H, Ric Flair and Batista—three names fans are always happy to see, especially considering Batista's involvement here could lead to plenty of rumors that he may return for another run.
WWE has also advertised Rey Mysterio, which had been considered a strong possibility over the past several weeks. He's set to face Shinsuke Nakamura in a qualifying match for the World Cup tournament.
The Undertaker is also going to be making an appearance and will undoubtedly address what happened at Super Show-Down and his upcoming match alongside Kane against D-Generation X at Crown Jewel.
While WWE has not yet confirmed any other names yet, the Capital One Arena website does advertise several others, including Michelle McCool, Torrie Wilson, Teddy Long and Vickie Guerrero.
None of those names are shockers, as McCool would likely travel with her husband and had made her mark on the brand as well, Wilson appeared earlier this year for Raw 25 and the Royal Rumble, and both Long and Guerrero were popular general managers.
Edge and Christian
Perhaps no WWE Superstar personifies the land of opportunity SmackDown has presented over the years better than Edge, who could have easily been stuck in an upper-midcard spot on Raw, but perpetually was a top dog on the blue brand.
While there, he won several world championships and was consistently one of the most popular performers, allowing him to carve his name in the record books as one of the best examples of allowing someone to take the ball and run with it.
Where Edge goes, Christian is sure to follow, as the two are a packaged deal in many regards and could easily host a hybrid edition of The Cutting Edge Peep Show together, as well as partake in any kind of backstage antics.
Captain Charisma is also a former champion and a fan favorite in his own right with plenty of memories from SmackDown, including his impressive feud with Randy Orton. At this point, it would be worth a chuckle to tease just one more match against The Viper, too.
As an extra bonus, this means we'll likely also see the temporary return of Tony Chimel as a guest ring announcer, since he always tends to take a break from his responsibilities as part of the ring crew to step out and crack his voice for The Rated R Superstar.
Seeing Edge and Christian on this show is a must and if they're unable to join in the festivities, it will certainly feel like their absence would be noticed.
John Bradshaw Layfield
Up until recently, John Bradshaw Layfield was the longest running world champion on the SmackDown brand, having been surpassed by AJ Styles several weeks back.
As an ambassador to WWE and someone who makes casual appearances here and there, including a guest spot on the SummerSlam pre-show alongside Peter Rosenberg.
Not having him show up at SmackDown 1000 would feel like something was missing, as he was not just influential as a champion in the ring, but as a commentator outside of it, too.
In fact, it would be a refreshing change of pace to switch things up a bit and have JBL sit back at the table to call a match or possibly even fill in for the entire night, since his energy was infectious and he could provide different insight into today's stars.
Of course, any time JBL makes an appearance, there's also always a chance Ron Simmons shows up to pop the crowd with his catchphrase and to temporarily reform APA with JBL to take down some cocky heel tag team who picks a fight with the wrong legends.
A no-brainer to show up should be Shane McMahon, as he's still technically supposed to be the commissioner of the brand.
Once Paige was put in charge as general manager after WrestleMania, McMahon has been missing in action outside of competing in the Greatest Royal Rumble match.
While it's highly unlikely he would be competing in the ring during SmackDown 1000, if he were to not make any appearance at all, it would not only feel strange from a fan perspective, but it would fly in the face of logic itself.
If any time should spark the return of the top dog in control of the brand, it should be a celebratory show like this one, where he can cut a promo about how much pride he has in SmackDown and all of its success in the past, as well as what's to come in the future.
Perhaps, he can even get into some kind of confrontation with a heel like The Miz or Andrade "Cien" Almas, who feels the need to complain about their spot on the roster, prompting McMahon to make some kind of an announcement of a match they're booked in or something along those lines.
It's doubtful, but still possible, that Hulk Hogan could make an appearance at SmackDown 1000.
Hogan did have a stint on SmackDown in 2002-2003 where he actually had two title reigns as undisputed champion and tag team champion alongside Edge, so he's not entirely devoid of association with SmackDown.
This could also be a bit of a test to see what reaction he gets from the WWE Universe, as there are plenty of people who are uncomfortable with him being back in the fold.
That makes this less likely to believe than all the other names on this list, though, and it seems if Hogan does do something at any upcoming shows, Crown Jewel will be a better fit, as that crowd is much more nostalgic and would probably treat him better.
If he does pop up, the best possible way to position him in an optimistic light could be to put him as an antagonist to Shinsuke Nakamura's United States Championship gimmick, as Mr. America might have something to say about Nak-America.
It's kind of sad that John Cena has gone from the cornerstone of the WWE roster to a free agent who only makes a few sporadic appearances here and there, as it feels like he's as close to retirement as people like The Undertaker nowadays.
He did just return for Super Show-Down, so bringing him back for SmackDown 1000 may be asking a bit too much for his schedule, and it may not even mean anything special, whereas if he hadn't been back since Greatest Royal Rumble.
Still, Cena is perpetually a major name WWE can always bring out to make a statement that any show is a big deal and he certainly has some memories from SmackDown that he can reminisce about.
He may even be the best candidate of a surprise appearance who could actually wrestle on the show, rather than just cut a promo, so we might have to be on the lookout for some impromptu match between Cena and someone like Samoa Joe or even a squash against a guy like Aiden English.
Of course, the biggest name WWE could bring in to get viewers and to really make the crowd go wild would be The Rock.
The Great One isn't just one of the most popular stars in wrestling history, he's also the entire reason the show is named SmackDown to begin with—if he doesn't pop up, it will feel weird and be a missed opportunity.
However, he's an incredibly busy media icon who seems to be filming movies pretty much nonstop, so it might be difficult for him to find the time to fly out and take part in this episode.
If that's the case, WWE should make sure to at least have him record a video that can air during this broadcast, be it a simple congratulations promo or something more intense like a live via satellite segment.
Ideally, The Rock could even hint at returning to the ring somewhere down the line, giving fans something to look forward to when it comes to Royal Rumble and WrestleMania 35.
WWE's B-show has produced lots of amazing talent and any former stars who can return will be a positive thing, so come one, come all, and let's hope this is something very special that can really celebrate what the blue brand has to offer.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.