The start of a new era for the WWE kicked off last night (October 4th, 2019), as Friday Night SmackDown launched on FOX, and had millions of fans across the globe screaming at their television screens. For one of the few times in a long time, wrestling within the WWE felt exciting again, as a championship changed hands, and a beloved Hall of Famer returned to the squared circle.
Near-perfection, there were a couple of moments that could have been handled better. On the whole though, this was a brilliant start to what may now become the WWE's A-show!
What it got right
That opening promo from The Rock and Becky Lynch
When Becky Lynch's music hit, the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles exploded. The Man marched down to the ring with a grin on her face, breaking her usual stern look as she made history. It didn't take long for one of the biggest egos within the business to interrupt her however, as King of the Ring winner, Baron Corbin, claimed that he was the right person to kick off proceedings.
Then came Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson. The most electrifying performer in sports entertainment - and now the highest-paid actor from the big screen. He teamed up with Lynch to bring an end to Corbin's ranting to a close, showcasing his signature moves including the People's Elbow, and delivering some brutal put-downs to the King. It was pure fire.
The women getting the first fight
It may have been the only chance the women got to show off their talents this Friday, but seeing The Four Horsewomen take to the ring and perform in the first ever WWE match to broadcast on FOX was an incredible moment. Sasha Banks, Charlotte Flair, Bayley and Becky Lynch are at their best when they're pushing each other to their limits, and an awesome Moonsault from the top rope to the outside of the ring by Flair, before her Figure Eight Leg Lock, brought the match to its perfect conclusion. Sunday night's Hell in a Cell pay-per-view is going to be one to watch, with these ladies a huge reason for that.
The Fiend's appearance
Yowie Wowie! Bray Wyatt is the most 'over' Superstar in WWE right now, alongside 'The Man' Becky Lynch, so we knew we'd be getting a new edition of The Firefly Fun House before SmackDown even hit the air. Whether or not The Fiend would be making an appearance was still up in the air however, so when he interrupted WWE Universal Champion Seth Rollins' bout against the Intercontinental Champion, Shinsuke Nakamura, fans got the goosebumps!
Kevin Owens beating Shane McMahon
We were hoping this was the way it would go, but you never know what stunt WWE writers are going to pull! Exactly whether or not Shane McMahon's termination from the company stands remains to be seen, but here he put on the match of the night against Kevin Owens, who truly deserves to be the face of the company. That Coast to Coast straight into a ladder draped across Owens' body proved just how much McMahon is willing to put on the line to put on a good show. There were some monumental spots here, which included ladders snapping in half, and chair shots to the spine. A match that will go down in history, for sure.
Tyson Fury jumping the rail
I'd heard some rumours that Tyson Fury would be getting involved with WWE in the run-up to the Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia, so to see him jump the rail and kick off an angle with Braun Strowman was very satisfying. Sources close to Fury have said that Fury will be fighting at Crown Jewel for a cool £4 million - not a bad pay day! With Fury's book set to release in November, and a major fight in February 2020, this is the perfect promotion to an American audience.
Cain Velasquez's appearance
Whilst I'm not the biggest fan of UFC fighters getting involved in WWE for long periods of time, Cain Velasquez is the exception to the rule, in that he's renowned for taking Brock Lesnar out in the first round of a UFC fight via TKO. Seeing Lesnar truly scared and in retreat isn't a sight we're used to, so it was fun to see this different side to the Beast. Paul Heyman is now playing up the angle perfectly on social media, and fans are truly excited to see where things go from here, and just how big a role Velasquez is going to play in the WWE.
Where it went wrong
The Lumberjack match
Honestly, this just felt a little boring. The Rowan versus Roman Reigns angle has been going on for too long at this point, and Daniel Bryan doesn't feel believable yet as a cuddly face, and companion to Reigns. Unless he turns on the Big Dog at Hell in a Cell, this whole story is going to feel like a huge waste of time.
Kofi being dismantled in seconds
Since WrestleMania, Kofi Kingston has been WWE Champion, and enjoyed one of the most exciting periods of his career. He's been built up as a true competitor, and somebody who can take on the best inside the squared circle. So, to see him fall foul to one of the quickest title losses in history was unforgiveable. He deserved much better.
Friday Night SmackDown continues each week on FOX in the United States, and on Sky Sports in the UK.
Tagged in WWE