SmackDown has ended its time on USA Network and will enter the most important stage in the show’s history. It will now air live on Friday nights every week on national television. The show has been a huge part of WWE since debuting in 1999, bringing fans two decades of priceless memories. As with most things in wrestling, though, it's been a real mixed bag over its time.
The best main events featured iconic names engaging in classic matches that fans still love to go back and watch on the WWE Network. However, there have also been matches that just failed in the main event, leaving a negative impact. Find out just which bouts have made history, for better and for worse, as the show starts a new chapter.
10 Best: Kurt Angle vs The Undertaker (March 3, 2006)
Kurt Angle and The Undertaker had a couple of classic matches in 2006 that made fans wonder if they should have been WrestleMania matches. Angle would have some of his best bouts during his World Championship reign that year.
Undertaker and Angle had a phenomenal match at the No Way Out 2006 PPV. The rematch took place here, with them facing off in the main event of SmackDown. Both men once again delivered a classic that showcased their talents. Unfortunately, the match ended with Mark Henry attacking Undertaker to enter a feud.
9 Worst: Vladimir Kozlov vs The Undertaker (November 7, 2008)
WWE tried pushing Vladimir Kozlov hard in 2008, as one of the next top stars. Kozlov was elevated into top matches against faces like Triple H, Jeff Hardy and The Undertaker. This match between Kozlov and Undertaker main-evented SmackDown in disappointing fashion.
Kozlov had a few stinkers against the top names, causing WWE to completely give up on him. A match like this, against Undertaker in a main event, could have been huge for him if he impressed. Instead, it was viewed as an awful SmackDown match that hurt his career.
8 Best: Undertaker vs Batista w/ Edge cash in (May 11, 2007)
The Undertaker and Batista had a brutal end to their feud in 2007 on this episode of SmackDown. Both men showed great chemistry in their matches between WrestleMania 23 and this one. Undertaker retained after a long match that got quite physical.
Mark Henry attacked Undertaker after the match to further weaken him. Edge made a shocking appearance, moving from Raw to SmackDown to cash in his Money in the Bank title shot and win the World Championship. This main event provided everything one wants from the wrestling experience.
7 Worst: Jinder Mahal vs John Cena w/ Baron Corbin cash in fail (August 15, 2017)
The opposite instance, of a Money in the Bank cash-in creating a negative experience, came in 2017. John Cena and Jinder Mahal faced off in a lackluster match, which was already enough of a disappointment on its own.
However, it grew worse when Baron Corbin attempted to cash in his Money in the Bank title shot. Following a distraction from Cena, Corbin would be rolled by Mahal as the latter retained the WWE Championship. This was arguably the worst moment ever from a MITB briefcase holder.
6 Best: TLC III (May 24, 2001)
The TLC match helped create interest in the tag team division during the Attitude Era. Edge and Christian, the Hardy Boyz and the Dudley Boyz all made the match famous, with a couple of classics together. WWE Tag Team Champions Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho defended against all three in this 2001 SmackDown main event.
All four teams left it all in the ring to create this all-time-great SmackDown main event. It wasn’t as remarkable as the first two TLC matches, but only a handful of matches in WWE history can say that. Jericho and Benoit retained the titles in a superb match, adding to their rising star power at the time.
5 Worst: Eddie Guerrero and Big Show vs Kurt Angle and Luther Reigns (September 23, 2004)
A match involving Eddie Guerrero and Kurt Angle on the worst side of the list seems wrong, but this was a disappointing match for many reasons. WWE was trying to push Angle’s enforcer Luther Reigns in a feud with Guerrero, despite his lack of in-ring talent.
Big Show and Angle were involved in a questionable personal storyline as well. The match was probably not worthy of the main event, but the post-match angle was the real reason it closed the show. Angle’s crew shot Big Show with a tranquilizer dart and shaved his head in an embarrassing moment.
4 Best: Daniel Bryan, Kane and Randy Orton vs The Shield (June 14, 2013)
The Shield was the hottest act in WWE around 2013, with a long-running undefeated streak when they teamed together. Daniel Bryan and Kane were their main rivals during the tag team run as Team Hell No, with a third face often joining them.
Randy Orton was the partner of Bryan and Kane on this memorable night of SmackDown. The Shield suffered their first loss when Bryan made Seth Rollins tap out. Bryan was going through a storyline trying to prove he was not the weak link of the team, and this night helped usher him into the main event picture.
3 Worst: Hulk Hogan vs Chris Jericho (May 2, 2002)
The New World Order coming to WWE in 2002 would see fans want to cheer Hulk Hogan despite the heel role. Hogan’s performance at WrestleMania X8 turned him face and earned him a WWE Championship run, after defeating Triple H.
The momentum of Hogan started to fade away during this SmackDown main event defending the title against Chris Jericho. This match was a disaster with the interferences from Triple H and Undertaker hurting it instead of saving it. Hogan lost the title and moved down the card shortly after the poor performance against a top worker.
2 Best: Brock Lesnar vs Kurt Angle (September 18, 2003)
The rivalry between Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle helped establish the identity of SmackDown in the early years of the brand split. SmackDown was above Raw when it came to the in-ring product, with younger stars often getting a fair chance to steal the show.
Angle and Lesnar mixed it up in this classic Iron Man Match. They strayed away from the obvious story of the match and kept the fans guessing. Both wrestlers were among the best in the world and showed it with a match that could be considered the greatest main event in SmackDown history.
1 Worst: The Great Khali battle royal win (July 20, 2007)
The Great Khali winning the World Championship in a battle royal gives us the worst main event in Smackdown history. Edge vacated the title after suffering an injury that kept him sidelined for a few months. WWE went with a battle royal to crown a new champion in surprising fashion.
Fans were treated to the worst possible scenario, with Khali standing tall to win the gold. WWE wanted to see if he would sink or swim in the role and it clearly didn’t work out. Khali’s win probably deserves to be ranked lowest in SmackDown’s history.