The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Arnold Schwarzenegger and more: Top 10 moments in SmackDown history ahead of it’s debut on FOX

25 Sep

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.

Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon and Triple H backstage

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.

Becky Lynch not worried about Charlotte Flair threat ahead of SmackDown Women’s Title match at SummerSlam

19 Aug

When Raw and SmackDown spilt into two different rosters in 2016, the blue brand’s first choice pick on the women’s side was Becky Lynch.

That choice was cemented when weeks later Lynch became the first-ever SmackDown Women’s champion and took her place at the top of the Tuesday night roster.

Alexa Bliss ended that title run in December 2016 and although the Dublin-native remained an integral part of WWE’s women’s evolution, she’s was somewhat cast aside when it came down to to fresh title opportunities.

Becky Lynch is gunning for her title back

Fast forward to summer 2018 and it seemed the Irish Lass Kicker has found new impetus on SmackDown, with a winning streak that saw her force her way back into the title picture and earn at SummerSlam shot at Carmella’s title this Sunday in Brooklyn. Only then for General Manager Paige to throw yet another hurdle in Becky’s way, by later adding best friend Charlotte Flair into the bout and making this weekend’s title match a triple-threat.

True to form though, Lynch is taking it in her stride and ready to upset the odds once again and finally reclaim her WWE SmackDown Women’s Title.

Becky, you’ve been on such a roll on SmackDown and deserving of your title shot. How did you then feel when Charlotte Flair was added to the match?

I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t happy about it. Friendship aside, this is something I’ve been working hard for thanks to a hot winning streak since she’s been gone – nobody’s been able to beat me. Then when you get a spanner thrown in, you’re not going to be happy. But if there’s one thing I’m used to it’s climbing hills and overcoming obstacles. That’s what makes every victory all the sweeter.

We’ve seen on SmackDown how close you and Charlotte are as friends, but in the heat of the moment are you worried about her gaining an unfair advantage, given the dynamics of the match?

It’s a possibility, because it’s always a possibility in this industry. We’re all just one match, one victory away from success or failure, but these days my eyes are a lot more open than they ever have been before.

A year ago you failed to make the SummerSlam card, but you’ve worked your way to a title bout in 2018. What’s changed in those twelve months?

It’s not any one thing. I don’t think I’ve been resting on my laurels, I’ve been working non-stop. I haven’t been injured and have just taped things up and gone out there, so it’s just a matter of biding your time. The audience and the crowd has seen that and know how hungry I am for the opportunity, and that it’s just a matter of time. Their reaction towards me at Money In The Bank showed the company that the fans are really behind me and I want to prove them right and luckily the company has given me the chance.

You mention the crowd; you seem to have a unique bond with the WWE Universe that sees your popularity never waver. Why do you think that is?

I think it’s that struggle that fight, good vs. evil and not being pushover. Most people, not just in wrestling struggle for things and face uphill battles and the audience see that in me. I think they also know that I really appreciate them and I never take that for granted.

The triple-threat stipulation echoes memories of your classic bout with Charlotte and Sasha Banks at WrestleMania 32. Would you say that’s the best match of your career so far

That match at WrestleMania 32 has to be. For me when I came over from Ireland, what I said was is that I wanted to headline WrestleMania and I wanted to change the term ‘divas’ back to ‘women’ and to do both was amazing. Our heads were on massive posters around the stadium and we had the best match on the card and I felt like I achieved what I set out to do.

The three of you alongside Bayley have played huge parts in WWE’s evolution of the women’s division, what do you feel when you see how far it’s come

It’s unbelievable. When I got signed, women weren’t seen as a main feature of the show and were often seen as the bathroom break match. So I made a vow to make women’s wrestling cool and something people wanted to see, and Sasha, Bayely and Charlotte had the exact same vision. We had these matches on the NXT roster that were on a par with the men’s, where on the main roster it was just thirty second matches that had no time to develop any story.

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That’s what started the whole #givedivasachance, because Nikki Bella had a match that lasted just minutes but the audience saw what we could do. That sparked the revolution, turned into the evolution and we just keep breaking down glass ceilings. TLC matches, Ladder matches, Royal Rumbles, Hell in a Cells, the list goes on and now here we are with our own pay-per-view.

Yes Evolution is on the horizon in October. If you were given the chance to choose your match for that event, what would be your dream scenario

I wouldn’t mind it being a Four Horsewomen match. Having myself, Bayley, Sasha and Charlotte in a Fatal Four-Way. Or if Lita’s coming back then I’d like to face her. She was the one I used to watch growing up and thought I could be like her.

She was a tomboy and funky and could relate to her like nobody else. I often think what if I didn’t have a role model like her. It be very cool to get in the ring with her.

What do you say to the minor few who have questioned if a women’s only pay-per-view won’t be as popular a standard show

When you look at a show, the women’s segments are often the highest rated parts of the show. They carry a storyline through that show and we’ve done that time and time again. We need to get rid of this old outlook that we aren’t able to put on matches like the guys do, because we already are. We should be able too, this is our job and this is our passion, this is what we put our entire lives into. Gender shouldn’t be determined, it shouldn’t even be a factor, and with the right storylines and talent we have we’re going to blow the roof off the place.

Lastly, you’re one of the few that has remained on one brand since the WWE draft. How much do you enjoy SmackDown and would you like a stint back on Raw

I love it over here; love the family, the community. I love that it’s not the flagship show, I love that uphill battle we have to make people really care about SmackDown Live because It doesn’t always get the attention that Raw does. It’s that underground feel and gives off that feeling that we constantly have to prove ourselves. Being the first women drafted to SmackDown Live was a huge honour, and I wanted to make this the women’s division to watch and very quickly we made sure that happened.

SummerSlam will take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. UK viewers can tune in on Sky Sports Box Office or watch on the award-winning WWE Network. Sign up now and get your first month free from www.wwe.com/wwenetwork