WWE Friday Night SmackDown!

Common Sense Media says

Crass, outlandish, and not recommended.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Message is that violence is funny, brawn is preeminent, humiliation is hilarious, and women are sex toys. Ridiculous "soap opera" scenarios created to heighten drama.


Extreme simulated physical violence (largely without weapons), rarely bloody.


Men and women dress provocatively and pose seductively.


Some crass language along the lines of "you suck," stronger curse words are bleeped.


Cross-promotions seem to be integrated into the show (a movie trailer starring a pro wrestler is introduced by members of the show).

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this sporting event-meets-soap opera is brimming with non-stop physical violence, including body slams, headlocks, knees to the groin, smacks, punches, and kicks. The violence, although simulated, usually looks very real, and wrestlers are often injured during matches (though this element is played up only for dramatic effect). The series' comedic elements could convince younger viewers that this kind of violence is innocuous, while, in reality, much of it is choreographed and shouldn't be attempted by untrained people. Via dress and behavior, male and female sexuality is portrayed in an overt, stereotypical manner.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Every week, WWE FRIDAY NIGHT SMACKDOWN! offers two hours of larger-than-life personalities pretending to beat the hell out of each other. The show has undergone several transformations since its start in 1999, but now has a dominating presence in televised professional wrestling. Several matches take place during each show. Between the matches, different comedic sketches or promotions air to further the SmackDown! narrative. During the matches, two commentators assess both the wrestling and the dramatics associated with the participants.

Is it any good?


Each episode begins with the lower-ranked wrestlers, whose moves are so obviously choreographed and whose personalities are so relatively dull that it can be difficult for a non-fan to tolerate. As the action progresses, the characters get more compelling, and the wrestling begins to look more realistic, even though it's accompanied by over-the-top mugging at the camera and oh-so-dramatic throes of pain. Professional wrestling has an enormous fan base. As one might assume, the fans are generally young and male, though a glance into the stands at these events, which are filmed live, reveals plenty of women and children in the audience. Fans of the show -- and the genre -- say the personalities (and their intricate, soap opera-like storylines) are what attract them, rather than the fighting, though there have been reports of youths copying showy wrestling moves to tragic ends.

The invention of women's professional wrestling (the Divas) has theoretically put women on the same footing as men in the WWE, but overt sexism and exaggerated machismo is part of the game. Ladies are often used to escort male wrestlers to the ring or pose seductively by the ropes. Characters are so over-the-top that some would say they're poking fun at the personalities they inhabit -- overly macho men, most obviously. But viewers too young or too cynical to tease out the subtleties of this interpretation will see it as simply an outlandish celebration of violence and testosterone.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of professional wrestling shows. What makes them compelling? Do the matches seem genuine? What about the characters and their ongoing storylines? What are some common themes in the genre? How do women fit into the scene? What about race? Though professional wrestling supposedly has rules of engagement, they're often ignored. What lessons do your kids take from that idea?

TV details

Cast:Glenn Jacobs, Michael Coulthard, Teddy Long
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG

This review of WWE Friday Night SmackDown! was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byrfyjkmngfrtghdfrty April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

your weird

iam awesome much unlike the person that rated this terrible, by the way i rule the reason that i am awesome is because i once watched the show but i was awesome before i was born so anyway this show rules kinda like me. its hard to appreciate it because i can beat up any wrestler so this is the end of the great undescribable report by the great one. and just so you can enjoy this since youv been begging me to do it again all day i am awesome.
Parent Written bylolboy55 December 10, 2012

okay for kids 7+ and over

its fake fighting okay its not ufc its okay they fake punch they act have you seen someone getting punched they just fall down for fake okay for 7 year olds because 6 year olds may think they are really fighting it may get intense for them!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Adult Written byOne Wookie May 27, 2011

Parents Just Don't Understand.

As a lifelong wrestling fan take it from me that the only thing offensive about WWE's programming anymore is the often idiotic subject matter and lines that John Cena and fellow 'superstars' spout. If we were in 1998 then I can understand the concern of letting your child watch pro wrestling, but it's 2011, now is the time to turn on WWE. We're not in 1998 anymore, the women aren't being used as sex objects and the blood is pretty much extinct. Grow up parents and pop the bubble your child is living in, a few expletives won't shatter their impressionable minds.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


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