SmackDown Live has aired it’s final episode on Tuesday nights for the foreseeable future.
As of next Friday, the Blue Brand moves to FOX in a $1 billion deal and it marks the start of a new era, one that will see SmackDown become the ‘A’ show it’s never been.
To celebrate 20 years since SmackDown’s inception, let’s take a look at the 10 greatest moments in the show’s history.
John Cena’s legendary debut
In June 2002, Kurt Angle came to the ring on SmackDown – arguably the best wrestler in the world at the time – and issued an open challenge. A young John Cena made his way to the ring, proclaimed he had ‘ruthless aggression’ slapped the taste out of Angle’s mouth and we were off tot he races.
It still holds up as one of the best debuts of all-time and Cena has gone on to become a 16-time world champion. That’s pretty good all things considered. SmackDown gave plenty of stars their start that year, including Randy Orton and Batista.
Steve Austin blows up the DX Express
Steve Austin was still recovering from neck surgery at the time, so he was unable to get physical in a WWE ring. He did, however, play mind games on DX all night long ahead of a teasted appearance at the next pay-per-view.
Austin, driving a crane, of course, dropped an explosive onto the fabled DX Express and blew it to smithereens. Austin had been apart of many memorable moments on TV, but that was his most destructive by some distance.
Big Show and Brock Lesnar break the ring
This has been redone with Mark Henry and Big Show as well as the pairing of Braun Strowman and Big Show, but the original is the best.
As Lesnar and Show went for a superplex, the whole ring imploaded and the fans in attendance went absolutely bananas for it. The fact that Tazz said ‘holy sh*t!’ only made the moment more special.
Arnold Schwarzenegger takes down Triple H
The former California governor was still one of the biggest actors in the world in the 90s. After Triple H provoked Schwarzenegger outside of the ring, the former bodybuilder proceeded to ragdoll The Game around and the crowd went nuts for it.
Stone Cold Steve Austin would raise Schwarzenegger’s hand in victory afterward and it’s still one of the best uses of a celebrity in WWE to this day, despite taking place way back in 1999.
Brock Lesnar beats WWE legend Hulk Hogan
You’ve heard it all before. Hulk Hogan is selfish, Hulk Hogan only looks out for number one. But here? No way, Hulk put over Lesnar in a huge, huge way. The Next Big Thing even smeared the Hulker’s blood across his chest.
It’s probably the strongest sign of a push in living memory and Hulk did a fantastic job to help make it happen. The winner of this match faced The Rock at SummerSlam for the Undisputed title, and you guys know the rest.
Stone Cold Steve Austin and Booker T’s supermarket brawl
This is just the greatest TV, ever. Booker T, fresh from WCW a few months prior, had cost Steve Austin the Undisputed title at Vengeance 2001.
Austin had struggled to get his hands on the five-time WCW champion, until he found him in the grocery store. What ensued was a long segment of Austin and Booker T battling all over the shop until Austin reigned supreme. “Price check on a jackass!”
Rhyno spears Chris Jericho through the SmackDown set
Chris Jericho was always giving Stephanie a hard time and she was always looking for superstars to shut Y”J’s mouth for good. Except, she never could find anyone up to the task.
The ultra-intense Rhyno wanted to break the mould and after he speared the legendary Jericho through the SmackDown set, he made plenty of fans into believers.
Kurt Angle’s Sexy Boy
Wrestling is supposed to be entertaining, and you can’t tell me this isn’t! Kurt Angle was in the midst of a feud with Shawn Michaels and, for some reason, he thought it would be a great jab to be ‘Sexy Kurt’.
And it really, really was. “I’m just a sexy Kurt (sexy Kuuuurt), I’ll make your ankles hurt (ankles huuuurt). Genius.
The Rock closes Vince McMahon’s Kiss My Ass club.
Following WWF’s victory over WCW in the Invasion angle, Vince began making stars kiss his ass – literally – to save their jobs. William Regal was the first to oblige.
After a few weeks, The Rock would win a match that said Vince had toi kiss his ass. Rock said his rectum was too nice for Vince to kiss, so he offered Jim Ross, then Trish Stratus – which Vince was very game for – before forcing McMahon to get the stinky ass of Rikishi. I’m not making this up.
Big Boss Man crashes Big Show’s dad’s funeral
I should start this explanation by stating Big Show’s actual dad had died several years before this segment went down, but still… right?!
The Big Bossman was having the first crack at the new WWF champion back in 1999 and he was trying to get under the giant’s skin. To do that, he drove off with Big Show’s father’s coffin… yep, the coffin! And it gave us the ever-lasting visual of Show clinging onto it for dear life.