Welcome to another WWE Smackdown Review right here on TJRWrestling for the return of the “Friday Night Smackdown” name and the first episode that airs on Fox. I have to remember to stop using “Smackdown Live” going forward. Yes, Smackdown is live and the Fox presence is huge, but they are not calling it “Smackdown Live” anymore. It’s back to the Friday Night Smackdown name. There’s a lot planned for this show. Here’s a quick rundown:
* Kofi Kingston defends the WWE Championship against Brock Lesnar.
* Kevin Owens will face Shane McMahon in a Ladder Match where the loser will be “forced to leave WWE.”
* Roman Reigns vs. Erick Rowan.
* Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair vs. Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley and Sasha Banks.
* Several legends will be on hand for the 20th Anniversary of Smackdown including The Rock, Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Lita, Mick Foley, Booker T, Hulk Hogan, Trish Stratus, Goldberg, Jerry Lawler, Mark Henry, Ric Flair, Sting and more.
There was a “blue carpet” special showing wrestlers, legends and celebrities arriving for 30 minutes before the show began. It featured a lot of Renee Young and Booker T talking about the show. Fox’s Charissa Thompson also did some interviews on the carpet. It wasn’t that interesting or newsworthy, but you can see the stage reveal up above. It looks great.
Live from Los Angeles, California (go LA Rams), this is Smackdown Live for episode #1050. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. Please visit TJRWrestling.net daily for our regular updates on the wrestling business featuring WWE news coverage along with reviews about wrestling’s past and present. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top.
There was a shot of the live crowd and Michael Cole welcomed us to the show. That led to WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and Chief Brand Officer, Stephanie McMahon to welcome us to the show. They stood on the stage. Stephanie welcomed us to history and to Fox. Vince said: “Welcome to Friday Night Smackdown.” That led to the show open.
The opening video package was awesome and it was to the tune of the AC/DC song “Are You Ready (for a Good Time)” and featured videos of various WWE superstars.
That was followed by a huge pyro display for the vocal LA crowd. Nice opening for sure. It feels like a big deal as it should.
The first superstar to enter Smackdown on Fox is…Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch. As Becky made her entrance, they put three facts about her on the screen as well. That’s a cool display feature.
Let’s Hear from Becky Lynch (plus The Rock and Baron Corbin)
Lynch said it feels good to kick off the very first episode of Friday Night Smackdown. Becky said this is where she got her start in WWE, this is where she raised the game and the fans used their voices to support her. Lynch said let’s get this show started.
Baron Corbin showed up for an interruption, which was met with boos by the crowd. Corbin walked down to the ring trashing Lynch and wondering if she still thought she was “The Man” and she dared him to come closer.
The Rock’s music hit and the Staples Center EXPLODED in cheers. Huge pop for The Great One, who showed up in his Under Armour Rock gear. What a massive ovation for The Rock. This kid has a bright future! Rock greeted Lynch with a handshake and then ignored Corbin as he did his posing on the turnbuckle. There were loud “Rocky” chants by most of the crowd as expected.
The Rock said many, many moons ago, The Rock uttered a face to some jabroni that changed the landscape forever when he said he was going to “lay the smackdown.” Rock said that Smackdown has become a show, an institution, all over 180 countries around the world and in front millions of The Rock’s fans. Rock said he was there with The Man and Corbin looking like a broke ass Burger King on crack. The fans laughed and chanted “Burger King” at Corbin. Rock did his “Finally, The Rock has come back…home” line. He didn’t say the city name as usual, he did a long pause and said “home.”
Corbin interrupted Rock, which drew huge boos. Corbin said this isn’t Rock’s home anymore. Corbin said Rock is no longer the Great One because Corbin claimed he is the most electrifying king in sports entertainment. Corbin told them to know their roles and shut their mouths.
Rock said that just because he won King of the Ring, it doesn’t actually make you a king or look like a 35-year-old virgin hanging out at Comic Con. Rock said that Becky Lynch is The Man, but you don’t see her walking out with some testicles and Becky said “if I did, they would be a whole lot bigger than yours (Corbin).” Good line. Corbin said his testicles are perfectly adequate. Corbin said he superior to Rock, Lynch and all of us. Corbin said this city only has one king and it sure as hell is not LeBron James (of the Lakers).
Rock said that Corbin thinks he is superior to Rock, Lynch and the people as well as Rock’s boy LeBron James. Rock asked if that’s what you think and Lynch said: “It doesn’t matter what you think.” Good Rock line. Rock said he knows Corbin is legit for winning Money in the Bank, retiring Kurt Angle and winning King of the Ring. Rock claimed Corbin might be a badass. Lynch said he’s a super tough dude. Rock said the fans will chant “STD” at Corbin meaning “Super Tough Dude.” Lynch said she thinks that will stick with him for life. Rock said every arena will chant “STD” at Corbin now.
Rock said he can tell Corbin is getting angry, but that’s what happens when you insult The Man, the people and the jabroni beating, eyebrow raising and you know the rest as Rock talked about himself. Rock said Corbin was going to get his ass whipped.
Lynch and Rock took turns punching Corbin. Rock hit a punching routine while Lynch hit a running leg drop. Rock hit the People’s Elbow to Corbin’s chest, Lynch kicked Corbin two times and Rock hit a Rock Bottom on Corbin. That led to Corbin rolling out of the ring.
Rock: “I love ya Smackdown…if you smell what The Rock is cooking.” Rock and Lynch posed in the ring. They hugged. That was it for the opening segment after 18 minutes.
Analysis: That was a lot of fun. The fans were hanging on every word The Rock said and you could tell he loved being out there again. Putting Lynch out there with Rock gives her the “rub” as they say in wrestling by having her associate with one of WWE’s biggest stars ever. As for Corbin getting beat up by Rock, the fans hate Corbin, so it was a wise choice. When Rock was announced for the show, I figured somebody would get beat up and it was Corbin. It always happens when the legends return. We’re used to it. If the “STD” chants stick for Corbin then that’s going to be a comical way to get heat on Corbin. Obviously, STD also means “sexually transmitted disease,” but hey “super tough dude” works too.
There was a plug for Kofi Kingston vs. Brock Lesnar, Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon and Roman Reigns vs. Erick Rowan still to come.
There was a shot of Sasha Banks and Bayley getting ready for their tag team match up next.
They showed WWE Hall of Famers Trish Stratus and Lita at ringside watching the show. Maria Menounos was beside them as well. They all looked great.
Charlotte Flair entered s Becky Lynch’s partner. Lynch remained in the ring from the opening segment. Sasha Banks and Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley made their entrance as the opponents.
The graphics, the pyro, the camera angles and the look of the entrances is really cool. There’s already a big-time feel on Fox. I believe they were using the more high-quality 4K cameras as well because it looked a bit different.
Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair vs. Bayley and Sasha Banks
Bayley with a head whip on Flair and then Banks tagged in with a double knee attack. Flair hit chops to Banks and then a boot to the face knocked Banks off the apron to the floor. Flair went up top, Bayley tried an attack, Lynch went after Bayley, but didn’t do enough and Bayley knocked Flair off the top to the floor. There’s the first floor to commercial break on Fox. I’ll try to cut back on the “first” thing.
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