WWE SmackDown moves to Fox tonight (Oct. 4) at 8 pm with their big premiere episode. They will be emanating from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
Pro wrestling is prone to hyperbole. Announcers will tell us every time a villain acts the heel that it’s the most vile thing ever. Fans will “the greatest” and “the worst” to describe many things liberally. We all do it because it’s just engrained in wrestling. So to say that this week is a huge f’n deal could get some eye rolls.
But it’s true.
The premiere of AEW Dynamite represents the first non-WWE on a major station in many years (how many will depend on how you want to include TNA on Spike) which forced WWE’s developmental brand NXT to become another legit WWE brand on a major network. But the biggest thing may be SmackDown’s move to Fox that starts tonight.
WWE has been around for a long time, but it’s never been on network television regularly like it will now. (Saturday Night’s Main Event would air occasionally on NBC but not as a weekly program.) This will mean that WWE is available in the more homes than maybe ever before. And a station like Fox airing them, even on Friday night, is a new level of validation for the company. Because of that, this is the most important show WWE is airing now.
That’s right, Raw is no longer the A show. SmackDown is. How weird is that?
The signs are all there. WWE shifted the broadcast booth that was anchoring Raw to SmackDown and put a booth together featuring two guys who have only worked on the WWE Network on Raw. Brock Lesnar is suddenly appearing, something up till last week he hadn’t done in 15 years. They’re bringing in as many legends as they can, including the Rock. That would happen time to time with guys like the Undertaker, but not someone at the level of the Rock. His very infrequent returns would be on Raw.
So the years of SmackDown being an afterthought compared to Raw are most assuredly over. The fact that if any show will get less care, it’ll be Raw. This would be incomprehensible a couple years ago.
It’s wild times, people!
The Title Scene
Brock Lesnar gets a WWE title shot fresh off beating up a man’s child on Monday. Kofi Kingston should make sure his family is not at ring side for this one. A title change here would not be surprising. In fact, I’d be more surprised if Kofi retained. After Monday; however, I’d expect Rey Mysterio to get involved. Maybe it’s to help Kofi or maybe it’s after the match to set up a David vs. Goliath title feud. But after what Brock did to Rey’s son Dominick, I’d be surprised if Mysterio is not there to get some much deserved revenge.
All four Horsewomen will share the ring tonight for what could be the last time in a while if they get separated in the brand split, which is a very likely possibility. SmackDown Women’s champion Bayley teams with her bff Sasha Banks to take on Charlotte and Raw Women’s champion Becky Lynch. Becky and Sasha have a date inside Hell in a Cell on Sunday. Bayley? Well much like much of the roster, there isn’t a plan for her at the PPV. Or at least one they’ve announced.
With legends like Hulk Hogan, the Rock, and Stone Cold Steve Austin coupled with three big matches they’ve announced, Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura may not even have time on this show.
The Revival are still SmackDown tag team champions and last we checked, are still feuding with the New Day. The big question I have is if FTRKO is still a thing or if Orton being involved in the Crown Jewel Hogan vs. Flair 5 on 5 means the Revival are back on their own.
Women’s tag team champions Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross have both taken singles losses to a member of the Two Woman Power Trip. They’ve also suffered a tag loss to them. Are Sasha and Bayley going to actually get a Women’s tag team title shot eventually?
Other things to keep an eye on:
- Tonight may be, and should be, the last time we see Shane McMahon if Kevin Owens defeats him in a ladder match. They’ve been building to KO getting rid of Shane for awhile so it’s time for that pay off. There’s no better night to do it than tonight.
- They’re loading up the legends again with Stone Cold Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan making an appearance on the show. But the biggest return is the Rock, who is WWE’s most mainstream star ever. Plus he’s the man who used the phrase that named this show.
- Roman Reigns will face Erick Rowan ahead of their tag match at Hell in a Cell when Reigns teams with Daniel Bryan against Rowan and his old pal Luke Harper.
WWE becomes a staple of Friday night with their official move to Fox network tonight at 8 PM ET. Who’s tuning in?