WWE SmackDown just celebrated it’s 15th Anniversary this past week. On the air since September of 1999, SmackDown has been a huge show for WWE. It became such a massive success that Webster’s Dictionary put “SmackDown” in the book. Originally a catch phrase by The Rock, where he would “Layeth the Smacketh Down,” the phrase was so popular that Vince McMahon decided to use it and create the second TV show that would help WWE get into more homes in America.
SmackDown was on network TV, unlike WWE RAW on cable. While RAW was still a major success, the idea that you could be in more homes across America on a network channel most people had was intriguing. SmackDown was on UPN originally, and eventually ended up on CW when a merger between the WB and UPN went down. It was there that SmackDown eventually went from it’s original Thursday Night slot to Friday. Trying to keep up with the concept, WWE started to call WWE SmackDown Friday Night SmackDown.
WWE left The CW Network a little while later, and ended up on MyNetworkTV. For many, it was on a channel that previously carried UPN, so the concept of it moving was good. An issue for many fans was that the channel was not able to work in high definition, despite WWE cameras filming in HD. WWE, seeing that the digital transition was forcing many to get cable and satellite packages, ended up moving to their current home, SyFy. Under the NBC Universal banner, SmackDown has been the network’s number one show since it’s arrival in 2010.
WWE realized that having it on cable was more helpful than it was on network TV, as they could move it to random days for special occasions with no problem. They also would not be bumped for a random football game. This led to WWE being able to air live SmackDown specials on Tuesdays for the first time in company history. Still, SmackDown was normally on each Friday.
WWE and SyFy originally scheduled a move to Thursday nights a few months back. WWE even went as far as changing a truck to show the new night and time. WWE then changed the truck back to it’s original graphic for Friday, and SyFy’s fall schedule still put SmackDown on for Friday Night. However, there is now speculation that WWE will be moving to Thursday once more.
WWE thought that moving to Thursday would hurt them, as they would once again compete with football. WWE already does this on Monday, which is not good. This is why the move is tentatively set for January of 2015. This would allow football to end for that night and WWE could have little to no major competition. Ratings could also rise, as Friday night usually sees a drop in all of television. Meanwhile, Thursday is popular for people to be home. This would allow WWE to be seen on time and not DVRed as often.
The move around January makes even more sense when you think of it in terms of WrestleMania season. WWE fans still may not be fans of watching, despite the move. The reason simply is because SmackDown has become a RAW recap show, usually only extending some angles from the show and not much else. Missing the show has not been a problem for many, as they would see highlights from it on RAW. The highlights would show off the only significant part of the show. Since the brand split ended, WWE has not been able to give fans a lot on SmackDown. So if WWE wants to succeed on this night, there needs to be incentive to watch the show more often than not still.
[IMG Credits: H4-Entertainment.com, sportzwiki.com]