WWE found an excuse to celebrate 20 years of SmackDown, sort of, with a 1000th episode last year that featured Evolution reuniting and not a lot else. In 2019, the anniversary edition couldn't be any more significant.
A "Season Premiere" on Fox kicks off one of the most important periods in the history of the show, with WWE front-loading it in order to ensure it at least appears to be the most important brand in the industry. Of course, if they wanted, they could just book it as such
Monday Night Raw has, without exception, been Vince McMahon's top wrestling priority since it helped steer him to global industry domination in the late 1990s. SmackDown was a hedonistic bonus around that time, the secondary show in every sense. The B in "B-Show" always stood for blue, even during the bizarre period in 2001 where McMahon almost handed Raw's slot over to a revived WCW Nitro.
Subversively, the lack of attention from The Chairman helped the show become a bit of a best kept secret or at very least cultivate a reputation as one. SmackDown has - several times - been as objectively awful as Raw, but some special occasion moments of magic over the years have given it a protective coating amongst the hardcore fanbase. Excellent television matches, in particular, have often been the preserve of Tuesdays/Thursdays/Fridays.
These aren't just 20 great matches (and plenty more just missed out) - they are landmarks befitting a show with a genuinely impressive legacy.
We Need To Talk About Kevin (Nash).
Michael can be found in articles or on podcasts extolling the virtues of New Generation WWF, New Japan Pro Wrestling or the new WWE angle they definitely definitely won’t ruin this time.