As Michael Cole would immediately say as the show faded in from the signature intro, it’s the dawning of a new era. At this point, we’ve been through so many eras in the last three years, I have no idea which one we’re on now. And how do eras even work? Are we on a new era as a whole, which includes Monday Night Raw, NXT, and 205Live, or does each brand have their own era? Screw it. Until further notice, this is the Fox Era.
Friday Night Smackdown kicked off with Vince and Stephanie McMahon-Levesque walking out on their brand new, brand-specific stage. To be perfectly honest, I enjoy Smackdown’s new stage far better than Raw’s. Stephanie would introduce everyone to FOX as Vince would introduce everyone to Friday Night Smackdown, which would lead to Smackdown’s brand new theme song, AC/DC’s 1990 hit “Are you Ready?”
The show would officially start with Becky Lynch, reminding us that the wildcard rules are still in effect. Either that or Smackdown is brand-specific, but Raw can do whatever they want and send whomever over. Becky would come down to the ring and thank the fans. It was because of them that her career took a turn for the better and she became The Man.
Baron Corbin, the man who not too long ago dropped the End of Days on her at Extreme Rules, would interrupt her. The two would have a quick back and forth before they too were interrupted by the return of the most electrifying man in all of entertainment: Dwayne The Rock Johnson.
He would relive history, discussing the word Smackdown, and calling Baron Corbin a broke-ass burger king on crack. The three would have a round table discussion, talking about Corbin’s testicles, chanting STD because Corbin was a Super Tough Dude. The two would then attack Corbin in tandem and The Rock would land The People’s Elbow and The Rock Bottom on Corbin.
Becky Lynch & Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks & Bayley: In the inaugural match of the FOX Era, this was exceptionally one-sided. Unlike the match the Four Horsewomen had a few weeks back on Monday Night Raw, a match that reinvigorated some faith that I had lost in Bayley, Lynch and Flair would take and keep control of the whole match. Bayley and Banks would get a couple of pops in, but there was no time for dirty tricks. In the end, Flair would lock in The Figure 8 on Bayley for the win.
I feel like this match would’ve been better had there been more Banks. This match ended up being mostly Bayley, and I know that WWE is trying to protect her for Hell In A Cell this Sunday, a pay-per-view that, as I’m writing this review, still only has THREE! MATCHES! ON THE CARD! Grade: B-
Erin Andrews, a FOX NFL reporter, would interview The New Day, specifically Kofi Kingston, calling him the underdog in his match against Brock Lesnar. He would agree with Erin, but that won’t stop him from coming out on top once more like he did Samoa Joe and Randy Orton.
Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura with Sami Zayn: Before this match could begin, Bray Wyatt would pop up on the jumbotron for another episode of Firefly Fun House, introducing his cast of personalities to FOX. Using a metaphor that history has a way of repeating itself, he would throw one Rambling Rabbit dressed as Seth Rollins into a cage with Mercy the Buzzard to play out what would happen at Hell In A Cell. After a shower of fluff, symbolizing that The Fiend would disembowel Rollins at the pay-per-view, the show would once again end with Bray Wyatt laughing maniacally.
After a commercial break, and the final moments of Hulk Hogan coming down to the ring, which I assume was on purpose because not everyone is cool with the Hulkster yet, the match would finally take place. Well… match would be a stretch as within three minutes of said match, The Fiend would once again interfere and attack Rollins from behind at the top of the stage, locking in the Mandible Claw.
This is old. This wash, rinse, and repeat nonsense isn’t going to cut it in the new era. The funny part during this whole segment was when Cory Graves murmured that The Fiend just threw Rollins off the stage, which at the time and camera angle, was like a foot and a half. I guess Rollins’s career is over with that massive fall. Grade: F
Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon – You’re Fired Ladder Match: In what was a far better (and much shorter) match than I originally thought, filled with a bunch of fantastic and classic spots from both performers including a Coast-To-Coast and the top rope elbow drop from Shane, and a frog splash and powerbomb onto a ladder by Kevin, both performers put on one hell of a show. Was it pay-per-view quality? No, but it was exactly what we needed to hammer in the final nail in this coffin as Kevin Owens would pick up the win and fire Shane, driving the point home with a stunner. Grade: A-
Braun Strowman, The Miz, & Heavy Machinery vs. The Glorious Showoffs, Randy Orton, & AJ Styles: Why this match? Why Braun Strowman? Why Tyson Fury? Why everything? What was the point of this match? To trigger Tyson Fury and set something up in the future? Why the hell would a future boxing Hall of Famer, who’s currently undefeated with 30 wins, 20 of which are KOs, get involved in something like the WWE. Fury is probably the only guy who can put Brock Lesnar on the ropes.
So after the tag to Strowman was made, all hell would break loose, and every performer would find themselves outside of the ring, triggering Strowman to take a job, shoulder tackling his opponents along the way. Strowman would then taunt and mock Tyson Fury before getting back in the ring to lay out a screaming Ziggler for the win.
This was stupid. Grade: F
After a brief plug with Will Smith’s new film that looks awesome, but– well, let’s be honest, he hasn’t had the best track record these last few films, we’d get another plug for the WWE Youtube channel and the 24/7 Title where DJ Marshmallow would win the title off Carmella. To find out who has the 24/7 Title now, find out on WWE’s Youtube channel…
Nah. I’m good.
Roman Reigns vs. Rowan – Lumberjack Match: In a typical Roman Reigns babyface match with untypical stipulations, Rowan would dominate most of the match, throwing Reigns outside the ring multiple times to get attacked by the lumberjacks and tossed back inside. Reigns would return the favor, but Rowan beat away all the lumberjacks with incredible ease.
It was when Reigns started picking up momentum that Luke Harper would make his way to the ring to try to change the mood of the match, but would be stopped by Daniel Bryan who happened to be at the announce table talking about every that’s happened over the last couple of months.
Chaos would break as lumberjacks would begin attacking one another, giving Harper the opportunity he needed to clothesline Reigns. Daniel Bryan would land the Flying Knee on Harpe, turning Rowan’s attention on himself. Rowan would lock in the Iron Claw, but Reigns would charge in with the spear and pick up the win.
Reigns and Bryan would shake hands. Grade: B+
Brock Lesnar vs. Kofi Kingston (C) – WWE Championship: And the match is over. Brock Lesnar wins within seven seconds into the match. I honestly thought this was going to be a better match. Grade: D
In a surprising twist to this upsetting match, Rey Mysterio would come walking out with Cain Velasquez, the man who took away Lesnar’s title at UFC 121 in 2010 with a first-round KO, and all the color from his brows would drain from his face. Brock would make attempts to get back in the ring after immediately retreating, but would pull back, and walk away.
This episode, the inaugural episode of Friday Night Smackdown, I have to admit, wasn’t all the great now that I’ve had time to review the show. I enjoyed it initially, but once I started to really watch the show, it was filled with sub-par matches, one of which had absolutely no business being on the show to begin with.
By my count, there were 8 Raw superstars and 12 Smackdown superstars that wrestled on this show, and with a fantastic roster on Smackdown, this sort of 40/60 split shouldn’t be happening anymore. I look forward to the official brand split so I can be done with this wildcard nonsense.
This week’s episode of Friday Night Smackdown is a very soft…