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Maybe this is not the main reason, but don't you think that one of the reasons the WWF created Smackdown for Thursday nights was to create a "Thursday Night War" with WCW's Thunder?
 

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I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing UPN asked WWE to produce a show for them, and WWE may have just requested it to air on Thursdays to compete with Thunder. If the show was originally WWE's idea I don't see how UPN would have come into the equation, I guess they would have asked USA to air it because at that time they aired all of their programming.
 

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It was the same story as in the 80's.

WWF Raw, WWF in particular and wrestling throughout 1998 was doing huge numbers in every sector. Major networks were taking notice and wanted a piece of the action.

The McMahons would never refuse a good deal and more money.

WCW had been negotiating with NBC for a series of specials. Thunder was on a steep downward trend by Summer of 1999. The ever ruthless McMahon decided to go in for the kill.
 

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I definitely took Smackdown as being a direct competitor for Thunder.

I would expect WWE(any of their past or current employees) to downplay that idea and pass it off as WWE was growing and sponsors, networks, ect wanted in on the product.

they can say what they want, they were in a war with Turner and it only made sense to take Ted’s audience away on Monday's and Thursday's.
 

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Back in 1999, the WWF had a product that demanded another show. Getting onto a network was the potential for great exposure. But the WWF were willing to do business with whoever was going to give them the time of the day once they were public. They put Heat on USA, then moved it to MTV and also gave them Tough Enough too. They also had plenty of stuff floating around in syndication and for international use as well.

Thunder came about because TBS wanted to get in on the wrestling craze. WCW didn't really want to do it, haha. It was kind of an albatross for them. The WWF wasn't "worried" about Thunder at all.
 

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Thunder was a joke. So no not competition. SD was pretty much capitalizing on the popularity of the rock.
 
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