Before cable television’s longest-running episodic series, Monday Night Raw, went on the air tonight, WWE made an official announcement regarding the second longest-running series, Smackdown Live, in advance of its impending 1,000th episode this fall.
WWE released the following statement, announcing the Smackdown 1000 special episode, set for October 16, 2018 in Washington, DC:
SMACKDOWN® 1000 SET FOR OCTOBER 16
STAMFORD, Conn., August 13, 2018 – The historic 1,000th episode of WWE® SmackDown Live will take place from the Capital One Arena in Washington, DC on Tuesday, October 16, 2018, and air live on USA Network at 8/7C. Tickets are available starting this Friday, August 17 at 10 am ET at the Capital One Arena box office, via www.ticketmaster.com, or by calling 1-800-745-3000.
“1,000 episodes is a tremendous milestone reinforcing the longevity and popularity of WWE,” said Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman & CEO. “But it’s only the beginning, and the best is yet to come for SmackDown.”
On air since 1999, SmackDown Live is the second-longest running weekly episodic cable television show in U.S. primetime history, only behind Monday Night Raw. SmackDown Live is currently among the most-watched, regularly scheduled programs on primetime cable and delivers more viewers in primetime than any cable network in the U.S. (2.9 million average viewers). SmackDown Live has aired more original episodes than some of the most popular television series of all time, including The Simpsons, Gunsmoke, Lassie and Monday Night Football.
SmackDown Live has also helped launch the careers of pop-culture icons including Dwayne “The Rock®” Johnson, John Cena®, Undertaker®, Triple H®, “Stone Cold®” Steve Austin and The Bella Twins™.
Before Smackdown was the “house that AJ Styles built,” and before John Cena was the face that ran the place, Smackdown belonged to the Great One. In fact, it was his catchphrase, “layeth the smackdown” that not only got the Rock a brand new word in the dictionary but also helped establish the name of the show that has aired continuously since 1999.
So excited for SmackDown 1000 in October! The Blue brand killed it back in episode 1 and will do so in episode 1000 #SDLive
— Matt Moody_Max (@MattMoody_M) August 14, 2018
Smackdown first hit the airwaves on April 29, 1999. Emanating from the New Haven Coliseum, Smackdown’s inaugural card was stacked, featuring a slew of current and future Hall of Famers. This was especially the case in the show’s first-ever main event which saw the dream team of Steve Austin and the Rock defeat the Corporate Ministry (The Undertaker and Triple H w/ Paul Bearer, Chyna, Pete Gas, Rodney and current SD Commissioner, Shane McMahon). Also on the card, Mankind took on Big Boss Man, Ken Shamrock defeated Bradshaw, X-Pac and Kane defended their tag team titles against the New Age Outlaws (Billy Gunn and Road Dogg), and more.
Following a four-month hiatus, SD returned in August for what would later be considered by WWE, its first official episode as this was the episode that began the uninterrupted weekly streak the program currently has. In this episode, Kurt Angle, Edge, Matt Hardy, Mark Henry, Hardcore Holly and others were involved in dark matches. On the main card, Billy Gunn took on Jeff Jarrett, the Unholy Alliance (Undertaker and Big Show) won a triple threat against Kane and X-Pac and APA (Bradshaw and Faarooq) to retain their tag team titles, Big Bossman defeated Al Snow for the WWF Hardcore Championship, Road Dogg faced Chris Jericho, Shane McMahon defeated Mankind, Tori faced Ivory and finally, in the main event, Triple H retained his WWF Championship against the Rock when special guest referee Shawn Michaels helped his DX teammate.
From that very first episode to last week’s episode of No. 990, Smackdown has been an instrumental piece of WWE’s programming. It has been broadcast from 162 arenas located in 148 cities and seven different countries: U.S., Canada, UK, Iraq, Japan, Italy and Mexico. It has aired on three different nights and five different networks. Currently, it airs live on Tuesday nights.
While not the flagship show, Smackdown has offered stellar wrestling content for 18 years, which at times has had even better in-ring product than Raw has. Such as the age of the Smackdown 6, which saw the blue brand dominated by some of the best technical and athletic wrestlers in the business: Rey Mysterio, Kurt Angle, Eddie Guerrero, Chavo Guerrero, Chris Benoit and Edge. Again, it’s quite the Hall of Fame list.
Beyond the Smackdown 6, which propelled the blue brand during the first brand split in the early 2000s, Smackdown also launched the careers of Batista, the Miz, Randy Orton and John Cena to name a few as all four had their debut matches on Thursday/Friday nights. Others such as Jeff Hardy, Booker T, Big Show, Brock Lesnar, and of course the Undertaker, called the blue brand home as well and had some of their biggest career moments, as well as some of the promotion’s, during their time at Smackdown. As the Deadman himself said, when he returned on a pre-Survivor Series episode of Smackdown, which also just so happened to be Smackdown 900, in 2016, “Survivor Series was where the Undertaker was born and Smackdown has always been my home.”
While no details have yet to be revealed, there is no doubt that WWE will look to put together a huge show to celebrate this milestone. And then, almost a year later to the day, WWE will celebrate another milestone as Smackdown will become the first WWE program to air on broadcast television as it makes its FOX debut on October 19, 2019.
As Vince McMahon said in the above release, “But it’s only the beginning, and the best is yet to come for SmackDown.”