The Undertaker and Sting are among the headliners scheduled to appear on the 20th anniversary SmackDown reunion scheduled for October.
WWE announced Hall of Famers Kurt Angle, Lita, Mick Foley, Booker T, Hulk Hogan, Trish Stratus, Goldberg, Jerry "The King" Lawler, Mark Henry, Ric Flair and Sting will make appearances on the Fox debut Oct. 4. Undertaker, Daniel Bryan, Charlotte Flair, Asuka, Roman Reigns and Kofi Kingston are also featured on a graphic.
“Since we announced our five-year agreement last June, we have been eagerly counting down the days to the launch of SmackDown LIVE on FOX Sports,” said Eric Shanks, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Producer of Fox Sports. “We couldn’t be more excited and are pulling out all of the stops to commemorate SmackDown’s 20th anniversary celebration.”
This will be the second reunion-type special WWE has run this year following July's Raw reunion. That show, which was designed to bolster sinking ratings, drew the highest viewership number of the year (3.1 million) for Raw.
WWE is undoubtedly looking to make its foray into network television come with ratings that are as strong as possible. SmackDown ratings have sunk right alongside Raw all year, and WWE needs to liven up the product to make Fox executives happy, especially with AEW also beginning weekly programming in October.
The first Fox SmackDown was always going to draw higher ratings because of fans wanting to see what the new product is like. Announcing a cabal of legends on top of that—thus bringing in some Attitude Era/Monday Night Wars fans—should add to the ratings spike.
WWE's key to success will be keeping those people around past the first episode.