Over the last decade-and-a-half, SmackDown has played host to sports-entertainment’s biggest names. Hulk Hogan, The Rock, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, John Cena, Triple H and countless others have, at one point or another, taken their talents to WWE’s blue brand. Whether it’s been Thursday or Friday nights, SmackDown has been a regular ratings juggernaut since debuting in 1999, thanks in large part to the show’s seemingly never-ending supply of legendary competitors.
In celebration of 15 memorable years and counting, WWE.com decided to take a look back and rank the 15 Superstars who laid the smackdown on WWE’s blue brand better than anybody else.
#15 – Kane
While he often leaves his opponents seeing red, The Devil’s Favorite Demon also left an indelible mark on the history of the blue brand.
Kane, whose reputation as a one-monster wrecking crew is well-documented, largely influenced SmackDown with his tag team endeavors. He fought alongside X-Pac to defend the World Tag Team Championships against The New Age Outlaws on the show’s very first episode, and later went on to win a share of the tandem titles on two later editions of SmackDown.
Of course, Kane’s blue brand story also includes important chapters in his contentious relationship with The Undertaker. Initially, the 2009 WWE Draft set the SmackDown stage for a Brothers of Destruction reunion. That alliance didn’t last forever, though, and ultimately led to a World Heavyweight Championship rivalry for the ages between Kane and The Deadman that consistently lifted WWE to the top of the Nielsen ratings on Friday nights. — MATTHEW ARTUS
There’s nothing more exciting in sports-entertainment than when a Superstar climbs to the top rope. You never know what will happen next. And that’s exactly what you got with Jeff Hardy’s high-flying career in WWE.
The Charismatic Enigma established a loyal fan base with air shows featuring his signature Swanton Bomb. Whether it was tag matches with his brother Matt or adrenaline-fueled Ladder Matches, Hardy delivered some of the most exciting clashes on Friday nights for many years.
His career ultimately came to a close in WWE after a Loser Leaves WWE Steel Cage Match on SmackDown in 2009, but his exciting legacy soars on with plenty of great matches to relive on WWE Network. — MITCH PASSERO