Moving to a new network can be difficult even for an established so, so the McMahons pulled out all the stops to start Friday Night Smackdown on the right foot.
A new era
- There’s something special about seeing Vince and Stephanie McMahon usher in the new era. It brought back memories of the ‘80s and ‘90s before the Mr. McMahon character, though they came out to Mr. McMahon’s theme. It was simple Vince and Stephanie smiling and enjoying the night and that’s always fun to see. Add in the pyros, new opening graphics, and AC/DC’s “Are You Ready?” for a theme song, and it started off great.
- The Rock. This is how the show should have started the show instead of bringing out Raw superstars (for those that hate mixing of the brands). We were treated to some classic Rock lines as well as a new name for Corbin (STD for super tough dude). It was just great to see the people’s champion in action again, even if it was limited.
- The Rock put over Becky Lynch and Baron Corbin in a way that only he could. Corbin will not be able to ham up the heel roll as he may or may not face calls of “STD!” Lynch is possibly the biggest star in the WWE, and this only cemented her position. She generally gets the loudest pop of ay superstar, and this will only lift her higher.
- Firefly Fun House. Using this segment to interrupt the opening of Seth Rollins and Shinsuke Nakamura’s wasted champion versus champion match to push the Universal championship match at Hell in a Cell. Predictably, the Fiend jumped Rollins again. While it’s surprising they didn’t have Rollins fight out of the mandible claw, it’s safe to say they’re saving that for their championship match.
- Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon’s ladder match. Easily the match of the night, this was at pay-per-view level that brought back memories of ladder matches of the past, including Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels’ WrestleMania match. The biggest plus being Shane is fired unti next week.
- The WWE went all out. The audience was full of legends and hall of famers like Trish Stratus and Lita, Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair, and Bill Goldberg and Mark Henry. It was fun to see some of them back again, even if it was as audience members.
- Brock Lesnar beat Kofi Kingston. Kingston has been a great champion, but his time was over for this run. While fans tend to turn on any champion after six months, this came about more so for the same storyline of Kingston proving himself. Had they allowed him to own it and accept he was the best, he would probably still be champion. On the flip side, this was necessary to inject new blood into Smackdown and with the arrival, however long it’ll be, of Cain Velasquez to challenge Brock Lesnar.
This had a pay-per-view feel as the WWE pulled out all the stops. It definitely had some good moments as they closed out some story lines and continued others.