Smackdown 20 Years And Counting by Jake Black, Jon Hill and Dean Miller

May 28, 2019

If you’ve read any of the similar WWF titles, most notably WWE RAW: The First 25 Years, you can probably imagine exactly how this book goes.

It’s the same format with around eight pages for each year, made up of a couple of dozen one-paragraph entries about matches and angles on the show. You also get the occasional boxout for when a character debuted on the show and a few snippets about happenings on pay-per-views that affected ongoing Smackdown events. As you might expect from a WWE-authorized title, it’s all completely written in storyline mode.

With roughly one thing mentioned for every two episodes, the selection does occasionally feel a bit random, though it’s certainly a reminder of just how much content there’s been on the show. The main criticism would be an occasional lack of context where events are taken out of isolation and follow-ups not mentioned. For example, there’s an entry of Chris Jericho announcing he’ll pick a new partner to replace Edge as his tag team championship partner, but readers never find out who this would be.

There’s also plenty of photos, though they aren’t always the quality you’d expect from WWE, with a surprising number either poorly lit or not in perfect focus.

Overall there’s nothing wrong with the book, it’s just it’s not really clear what it’s for. It’s not comprehensive enough to be a reference guide, but it’s long enough to go beyond the obvious hit moments and into details of segments that are neither spectacular not disastrous enough to be worth getting nostalgia over.

Unless you’re desperate to be reminded of that time Ezekiel Jackson and Wade Barrett had a match despite being former Corre member, or that time Eddie Guerrero was pinning Shelton Benjamin in a tag match but Benjamin wasn’t the legal man, this is a perfectly fine book that’s not worth going out of your way to read.

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