Hulk Hogan was there. Tyson Fury was there. The Rock was there. Even Cain Velasquez was there.
Still, it was the same old WWE with their short, throwaway matches and their controversial finishes that turned up at the premiere of Friday Night Smackdown on Fox.
The one big expected change though was that the show contained more sports references and appearances than an episode of Sportscenter as per the show’s new mandate.
I personally had to look up these individuals – praise be to Wikipedia – but heavyweight boxer Tyson Fury made an appearance. His feathers were ruffled by Braun Strowman who was wrestling in a tag team match that really only featured him and Dolph Zigger.
Two-time UFC champion Cain Velasquez made a shock appearance following the Brock Lesnar, Kofi Kingston WWE Championship match.
And let’s talk about that “match”.
Kofi Kingston, who has held the WWE Championship for 180 days and defeated such challengers as Kevin Owens, Dolph Ziggler, Samoa Joe and Randy Orton, lost to Brock Lesnar in…nine seconds.
Let me repeat that. Lesnar beat Kofi in NINE seconds. The actual ring introductions took longer at a minute and eight seconds.
It was not a dignified or respectful way to end a title reign. Although I wanted Kofi to lose the title some time ago, his blink-and-you-will-miss-it defeat on Smackdown was a lousy way to go out. Even if he was going to be decimated, there was no Kofi struggling to retain the title against insurmountable odds in an inspirational way. Kofi ran at Lesnar. Lesnar caught him, F5’ed him and that was that. Not a way a champion should go out. It was predictable though since the main event match began with less than 10 minutes left in the broadcast.
Brock’s celebration didn’t last long though as an injured Rey Mysterio Jr. brought down Velasquez who took Lesnar down easily and beat him about the head before The Beast beat a hasty retreat.
For those not up on their UFC history, Velasquez once beat Lesnar for the UFC Heavyweight Championship via TKO in the first round of their fight at UFC 121.
Velasquez has since wrestled for Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide where he teamed with Cody Rhodes and Psycho Clown to take on Texano Jr, Taurus, and Killer Kross.
The Fox premiere of Smackdown began in the same disjointed way with Becky Lynch addressing the crowd with her usual histrionics and overacting saying how she broke through “glass ceilings” in the WWE. Seems Lynch doesn’t realize she is putting the entire WWE in a bad light every time she mentions “glass ceilings”, which if there were any, were caused by the WWE themselves.
Lynch blathers on about The Man-this and The Man-that before King Corbin shows up fully clad in his robe and crown.
“Everyone knows who should be starting this show off and it is the King,” argues Corbin.
The WWE continues to run with the billed 5 ft. 6, 135 pound Lynch hilariously putting the fear of God into 6 ft. 8, 285 pound men like King Corbin.
Just stop, WWE. Just stop.
Never fear Becky though because The Rock is here.
The Rock shakes Becky’s hand but ignores Corbin.
“You are a broke ass Burger King on crack,” laughs The Rock.
“This isn’t your home anymore. You aren’t the great one,” Corbin spits back.
He tells The Rock, of all people, to “know his role and shut his mouth”.
The Rock pulls the “It doesn’t matter what you think!” gag with Lynch delivering the titular line instead of The Great One.
The Rock calls Corbin “Super Tough Dude” which just happens to shorten to “STD”.
The crowd starts chanting Corbin’s new nickname. The Rock and Lynch lay the smackdown on Corbin.
Trish Stratus and Lita are in the audience. Twenty minutes later, we get our first match of the Smackown on Fox era.
Sasha Banks and Bayley versus Charlotte and Becky Lynch
Becky screams some nonsense at the cameras as she heads to the ring with Sasha. I think it was Swahili for “I have no personality!” but I am not as up on my Swahili as I used to be.
Bayley pays for a cheap shot on Becky. Charlotte clocks her in the face. Bayley heaves Charlotte off the top rope. Charlotte falls clipping the ringside barrier hard before hitting the arena floor. Back from commercial, Becky Lynch hot tags in taking care of both Bayley and Sasha. Sasha breaks up a pinfall. She and Lynch slug it out. The match breaks down into a four-way fist fight. Bayley taps out to the Figure Eight in a very short but not very sweet match.
Winners: Charlotte and Becky Lynch.
Match Rating: 6 / 10
The New Day are interviewed backstage by Fox Sports’ Erin Andrews.
Andrews begins the chat splendidly by saying..“I know who you guys are. I will definitely say that.”
Andrews then goes on to screw up just brilliantly by stating that Kofi, the champion, is challenging Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship.
Kingston claims that Brock is just his next mountain to climb and reveals that he doesn’t want The New Day at ringside. That worked out fine in the end as by the time The New Day would’ve taken their seats or positions at ringside, Kofi would have been pinned any way.
Seth Rollins is wandering around backstage. Perhaps he is looking for his lost Twitter account?
Tyson Fury, Mick Foley and Kurt Angle are in the audience.
Seth Rollins versus Shinsuke Nakamura
Before the match can get underway an episode of the Firefly Funhouse airs. Bray and his animal friends stage a mock Hell in the Cell match where Ramblin Rabbit dresses like Seth Rollins and gets the stuffing beat out of him by Mercy the Buzzard.
Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair and Ata Johnson (The Rock’s mom) are in attendance.
Poor Nakamura. What a mockery the WWE has made of you. Save what is left of your dignity and go back to NJPW.
Nakamura starts the match with a float-over arm bar. Other than that, he is a step behind the entire time as a flying knee off the ropes and a super kick from Rollins sets him up for the Stomp.
Before Rollins can execute the move, the lights in the arena go dim and we fade to black. A petrified Nakamura is shown scrambling about in the ring. Rollins is jumped by The Fiend at the entrance way in another sneak attack with the Mandible Claw.
Winner: No contest.
Match Rating: 2 / 10
Kevin Owens versus Shane McMahon – Ladder Match
“Can you imagine a WWE without Shane McMahon?” asks Michael Cole.
As Shane pauses for his “Best in the Wooooooorld” introduction, Owens runs up the rampway to meet him. Owens takes it to Shane tossing him into the ring stairs and into a ladder about 40 times.
Owens chucks a ladder at Shane. It goes over the top rope landing on the floor. Owens makes the mistake of going out to retrieve it. Shane drop kicks the ladder into Owens.
Shane lays Owens on the announce table, blasting him into the head three times with the hood (covering) of said announce table.
Shane lands a sweet flying elbow smash on Owens putting him through the table. The match goes to a commercial break. When we return, Owens has the upper hand in the ring for some inexplicable reason.
Owens gives Shane a taste of his own medicine with a frog splash from the top rope putting Shane through a ladder. Shane shellacs Owens with a steel chair before laying a ladder over him and executing a Coast to Coast drop kick.
“KO may be KO’ed!” yells Cole.
Shane climbs the ladder with the speed of a sloth. Owens powerbombs him off the ladder, through a ladder to claim the briefcase hanging above the ring,
“Hey Shane, you’re fired!” laughs Owens as he gives him a Stunner.
Winner: Kevin Owens.
Match Rating: 8 / 10
Paul Heyman is interviewed backstage. Footage of the horrendous attack on Rey Mysterio Jr. from Raw is shown. Heyman predicts a bad ending to the fairy tale that is Kofi Kingston.
Randy Orton, AJ Styles, Robert Roode, Dolph Ziggler versus Heavy Machinery, The Miz and Braun Strowman
Strowman tags in within minutes flatting Dolph Ziggler like a steamroller would. Strowman jogs around the ring mowing down the competition. Strowman sees Tyson Fury at ringside. He jokes around with him. Fury doesn’t seem amused. Strowman accidentally throws Ziggler over the barrier and into Fury. A furious Fury leaps over the barricade as security is quickly there to hold him back.
Back in the ring, Strowman snickers at Fury as he pins Ziggler with his powerbomb. Strowman continues to laugh from the safety of the ring.
Winners: Heavy Machinery, The Miz and Braun Strowman.
Match Rating: 2 / 10
Daniel Bryan joins announce team. He doesn’t like being lied to…yadda…yadda. You know the deal by now.
Roman Reigns versus Erik Rowan – Lumberjack Match
There is only half an hour left in the broadcast and there is this and the main event left. Something tells me the main event won’t last long.
Rowan backs up Reigns right away stomping and punching him in a corner. Romans knocked out of the ring. The evil lumberjacks pound on him.
Roman clotheslines Rowan over the ropes. Rowan falls to the floor annihilating all of the lumberjacks. Roman dives at him. Rowan catches him and slings him into the barricade.
With only 20 minutes left in the broadcast we are back from commercial as Roman and Rowan brawl on.
Luke Harper charges out and through the lumberjacks and Daniel Bryan. Bryan bonks Harper with a running knee. Rowan grabs Bryan. Roman spears Rowan for the win.
Bryan extends his hand to Roman. Roman is reluctant to respond with the same. The crowd and Bryan encourage Roman so he breaks down and shakes Bryan’s hand.
Winner: Roman Reigns.
Match Rating: 7 / 10
Kofi Kingston (champion) versus Brock Lesnar (challenger) – WWE Championship Match
Winner:…and new WWE Champion…Brock Lesnar.
Match Rating: 0 / 10
Episode Rating: 7 / 10