Review for WWE: Smackdown 20th Anniversary
Ten years ago I reviewed the 10th Anniversary of Smackdown set and commented “I do wish that the matches had been set aside on a bonus disk and that rather than a 100-1 countdown that it went chronologically to see the evolution of the product from debut to today.” Now I do appreciate that this set goes in chronological order, but I do feel that maybe they should have taken it as read that the previous set covered the first ten years up to 2009 and that this set would cover the last ten.
By not being on Blu-ray and not being on more than two disks, this set feels rushed with lots and lots of things missing. Only Eighteen matches are featured to cover the twenty years (1 from 1999, 2 from 2000, 1 from 2001, 4 from 2002, 2 from 2003, 1 from 2005, 1 from 2009, 1 from 2011, 2 from 2017, 2 from 2018 and 1 from 2019) and as you can see for some reason there were no memorable matches in 2004, 2006-2008, 2010, 2012-2016 and it is shocking that this is the case. This is basically ten years’ worth of matches that are completely ignored apart from a few extra moments scattered about here and there. That being said the years 2007, 2010 and 2012-2016 are still completely ignored?
Now based on this, you would think that the matches here must all be pure gold… this is also not the case. True, there are some absolute classic matches on here such as Triple H against The Rock, A No DQ Match between Eddie Guerrero and Edge which was insane and surely should have been kept for a PPV, the infamous match between Brock Lesnar and Big Show, a great Steel cage match between CM Punk and Jeff Hardy and a fantastic match between AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan which again should have been kept for a PPV. The fact they didn’t stretch this to three disks just to include the amazing PWI Match of the Year winning Iron Man Match between Brock Lesnar and Kurt Angle is a crime.
However, they also for some reason include two Crash Holly Hardcore matches, one featuring Gerald Brisco?? The rest of the matches are fine, but it would be very doubtful anyone could tell you what a random Matt Hardy vs. Rey Mysterio match did for them and I doubt in ten years’ time anyone will remember The Bludgeon Brothers against The New Day?
Of the extra moments most are just either celebrating a victory or just random vignettes or talking in the ring. Mr McMahon giving his post 9/11 speech was very emotional and certainly a great moment from the WWE. He also appears in a very odd segment ‘interviewing’ for a new assistant. This is almost every prejudice that you can imagine from sexist, to homophobic, to ageist and would never (I hope) be done again. On the plus side, Stacy Kiebler looked amazing, but it was still very weird. He also addresses the Troops in Iraq with Santa which goes on far too long for what is such an obvious outcome.
Most of these suffer from being too long no doubt to fill TV time, rather than with wrestling action such as Stone Cold’s What? speech to Kurt regarding his medals which just went on and on and the mocking of Shawn Michaels by Kurt Angle dressing as the classic ‘Sexy Boy’ persona, complete with Sherri Martel. This again went on forever, but has no actual payoff.
The sections celebrating are a mix bag depending on who it is. Seeing Eddie Guerrero and Jeff Hardy celebrate was nice, though it was a little bittersweet seeing Eddie celebrating knowing this would be the only time he would get to do this as was the Thankyou to Edge which at the time was just so unexpected. However, the coronation of Booker T and presentation for Rusev was soooooooo boring and I was waiting for some payoff, for something, but it was just filler and not something I wanted to relive again.
If you want an overview of everything that was great from Smackdown for the last twenty years I would say pick up the last set and then you can probably pick up a ‘Best of Raw and Smackdown’ that they have released for the last ten years and get a much better experience. This set felt rushed, half completed and a wasted opportunity. I take back my comments from the last review and say that a Top 50/100 moments would have been the only way to celebrate Twenty years of a show and I hope that WWE doesn’t create a set like this again. There are some highlights, but just not enough when you consider the milestone it is supposed to be celebrating. Hopefully, when they create the 25th Anniversary set (and you know they will) it will be better.