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August 26, 2009, marks the 10 year anniversary of the first episode of Smackdown. When thinking about how much time has gone by, much comes to mind regarding the legacy of the show/brand.
When it began on Thursday nights, it was heavily promoted and buzzed. I think a lot of this had to do with the fact that it was fresh, featured all superstars that were on RAW as well. I also feel that the show got off to a good start because of the content that WWE was putting out. We were seeing the McMahon family feud with each other, along with Stone Cold raising hell, Rock telling people "He is going to lay the smack down on their candy ass."
At this time the show did not give off the vibe that it gets much of today. The vibe of being second rate. The vibe of the more kid friendly show. The vibe of this is the show where I see the superstars building their careers before they get the call to the live flagship show.
Once the brand extension took place, I feel that was the beginning of the brakes being put on the vehicle of Smackdown going down the momentum highway.
The first initial draft, you didn't know this because what appeared to be a serious attempt to keep both programs armed with talent and entertainment was put in motion by splitting the rosters in a fair manner.
By just looking at the first couple picks in 2002, it was competitive.
Smackdown- The Rock, Hulk Hogan, Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit
RAW- The Undertaker, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, X-Pac (NWO), RVD, Kane