With Smackdown moving to Friday nights on FOX, the blue brand is destined for a new format. Fresh production, new theme music, new set (possibly the fist!) and a sports-like feel.
However, that doesn’t mean Smackdown Live wasn’t something special and gave us some of the best wrestling moments in the modern era.
“The land of opportunity” has been the tagline for Smackdown Live ever since it started in 2016. The blue brand has heavily featured mid-card talent in main event storylines – feeling like a breath of fresh air.
This is the reason for looking back at the ’10 Best Feuds On Smackdown Live’!
A list that won’t feature a single Shane McMahon – let’s go:
10. Jeff Hardy vs Randy Orton
At Extreme Rules 2017, the U.S. title was on the line when Jeff Hardy faced Shinsuke Nakamura. Nakamura won his first singles title on the main roster but that was beside the point. The main talk of the night was Randy Orton returning and igniting a rivalry with the ‘Charismatic Enigma’.
This feud was memorable for one main reason – Orton maliciously targetting the ear of Jeff Hardy. This was one of the most revolting experiences to have watching wrestling ever!
This feud ended at Hell in a Cell inside the demonic structure. Orton decided to go even harder on Hardy and used a screwdriver!
The match ended rather lazily with Hardy falling into a table for Orton to pick up the win.
9. AJ Styles vs Dean Ambrose
Smackdown Live is the house that Aj Styles built – so expect him to appear on this list frequently!
One of his first feuds on the blue brand happened over the WWE Championship against Dean Ambrose.
Ambrose was one of the biggest stars in the company, beating his SHIELD brothers for the title and being the number one draft pick for Smackdown Live.
AJ Styles was also fresh off a big win against John Cena and was ready for his next challenge.
The ‘Phenomenal One’ won his first WWE Title at WWE Backlash by dastardly low-blowing Ambrose (a recurring trend in Styles matches) and picking up the belt.
Afterwards, this feud got comedic by adding James Ellsworth to the mix.
The rivalry climaxed at TLC 2016 when they faced off in the coveted Tables, Ladders and Chairs match. Styles retained when Ellsworth turned heel and pushed the ‘Lunatic Fringe’ off of the ladder.
8. AJ Styles vs Samoa Joe
Of course a rivalry between former TNA stars – AJ Styles and Samoa Joe – was going to be superb!
A storyline that was more than just a title feud; it was focused on the family of Styles, making it personal.
Last year, Styles faced Samoa Joe on multiple occasions – SummerSlam, Clash of Champions, Super Showdown and Crown Jewel. Each time, Joe couldn’t capitalize on a massive victory, but at least it was fun TV.
“Oooooh Wendy” still being brought up in conversation today is the reason for this feud making the list.
7. Daniel Bryan vs Kofi Kingston
The most recent feud on this list is Daniel Bryan putting his eco-friendly title on the line against Kofi Kingston at WrestleMania 35.
This was such a heartwarming moment! Kingston taking the place of an injured Ali in a gauntlet match proved why we all adored him eleven years ago!
He then proved it more during the Elimination Chamber. Each setback made us want to see Kingston more and more – the crowd were behind him similarly to Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 30.
This was quite ironic as it was Daniel Bryan, Kofi was having to challenge. Leaping over every obstacle, Kingston became WWE Champion for the first time! It was truly one of the best moments in WWE today.
This Kofi push might come to a halt though, as he faces Brock Lesnar on Smackdown, this Friday on FOX.
6. Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt
Thinking back, it never had the greatest of booking, but this Wyatt Family betrayal storyline had much hype during the time.
It was a surprise when Orton joined the Wyatt family, late 2016 and even won the Smackdown Tag belts.
We all knew he would turn Wyatt, the better question was “When?”.
This team imploded when Orton eliminated Wyatt to win the Royal Rumble. Wyatt then won the WWE Championship at Elimination Chamber to set up their WrestleMania 33 encounter.
The most grueling part of this feud was when ‘The Viper’ burnt down the house of Wyatt and the lore of Sister Abigail.
The final payoff wasn’t the greatest – with supernatural illuminations appearing in the ring and Orton retaining. They then fought in a House of Horrors match to finish the feud.
Each Wyatt rivalry never ended well for him and this is the reason why The Fiend was born!
Also, imagine if they kept with original plans and had Luke Harper inserted in the Mania match, would he have won the title?
5. RAW vs Smackdown Live 2018
Every year at Survivor Series, “RAW and Smackdown go head-to-head in direct competition.” This was highly entertaining last year as it focussed on the fans favorite at the time – Becky Lynch.
This rivalry may have ended with a clean sweep for RAW (excluding the New Day match) but it will be remembered for the brutal brawl between the women’s division of each roster.
Smackdown women’s champion, Becky Lynch was expected to face RAW women’s champion, Ronda Rousey, however, Nia Jax destroyed ‘The Man’s’ nose.
This meant Becky Lynch could turn face to the delight of the fans and Charlotte faced Rousey instead.
4. Daniel Bryan vs The Miz
Daniel Bryan vs The Miz was a match the fans were dying to see ever since Bryan’s days on NXT.
The rivalry planted its seeds on the awesome talkshow – Talking Smack – when Miz went off script in one of the best promos of this generation. Of course, a match couldn’t happen as, at the time, Bryan wasn’t medically cleared to compete.
Speculation swirled when Bryan was medically cleared and returned to the ring once more.
This did eventually lead to them locking in the ring at SummerSlam in one of the most anticipated storylines of Smackdown Live.
Miz picked up the win and the feud, unfortunately, went downhill from there.
3. AJ Styles vs John Cena
At the start of his WWE career, AJ Styles’ favourite thing to do was “Beat up John Cena!”.
This started when he turned heel aligning with Gallows and Anderson. This set up a match at Money in the Bank 2016. This match resulted in a DQ and it swiftly moved on.
Both men were sent to Smackdown Live in the 2016 Draft and the feud continued from there.
SummerSlam saw one of the best matches in both men’s career. Styles actually coming out on top – a rare occurrence in Cena matches.
Once Styles became champ, he was tangled in multiple feuds with Cena and Ambrose. This led to a triple threat match at No Mercy 2016.
This awesome rivalry closed with John Cena becoming a 16-time champion by beating ‘The Phenomenal One’ at Royal Rumble 2017 in a truly epic moment!
2. Charlotte vs Becky Lynch for the Smackdown Women’s Championship
SummerSlam 2018 saw the start of the Becky Lynch movement, but not in the greatest fashion. Carmella put her title on the line in a triple threat against Lynch and Charlotte. The match ended with Becky Lynch becoming champion and turning heel on Charlotte!
For some reason, Charlotte was being billed as a babyface in their clash at WWE Evolution. It never felt this way as the crowd for super for Lynch and Charlotte just fits the role as a cocky heel.
Finally, WWE pulled the switch and changed the roles of both women after Survivor Series.
Lynch beat Charlotte and Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania 35, becoming Becky2Belts. This cemented her as the biggest female in the company.
This run as RAW Women’s Champion may come to an end this Sunday when she faces Sasha Banks inside Hell in a Cell!
1. The New Day vs The Usos for the Smackdown Tag Titles
The New Day vs Usos storyline was one of the best Smackdown Live and tag team feuds of all time!
These men were entertaining, put on classic matches and went to war with each other for most of their time on the blue brand!
There was a moment on Smackdown Live where no other time would face for the Smackdown tag belts as this rivalry was still at its prime!
The best moments of this feud was the rap battle and their Hell in a Cell match which were both perfect for entirely different reasons.
Smackdown Live definitely had epic storylines in its time and this was among the greatest!
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