Live on FOX, from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Our hosts are Michael Cole and Corey Graves.
We get a cold open and the updated stage looks fancy. Vince and Stephanie McMahon come out and welcome the fans to FOX and they cue up the new intro video, which manages to be snazzy and dorky all at once. The AC/DC theme song does feel a tad bit tired, but at least it's not Skillet.
Hey, it's Raw Women's Champion Becky Lynch! I can't think of a more fitting star to kick off Smackdown, seeing as they don't have their own Women's Champion or anything... Snide comments aside, Becky is mega-over and gets a great ovation from the fans. Becky puts over Smackdown and it's fans for helping raise her up and she's going to repay them by kicking some ass. She's interrupted by King Baron Corbin, who is the latest unfortunate soul to get saddled with a cheesy king gimmick after winning the King of the Ring tournament. Corbin thinks he should have been the first to kick off the show, and Becky dares him to fight. They are interrupted by none other than The Rock, who I'm sure we can all look forward to seeing appear week in and week out going forward in this great new era of Smackdown on FOX... oh, I'm getting word that we'll never see him again, so let's enjoy him while we can. Rock takes his sweet time soaking in the ovation on his way to the ring and reminds us that he first coined the phrase "Smackdown" and makes fun of Corbin for looking like a broke-ass Burger King on crack (crowd loves this). Rock says finally he's come back home (just like in 2011) and Corbin interrupts to say WWE isn't Rock's home anymore and should know his role and shut his mouth. Rock says winning KOTR doesn't make Corbin actually a king, so he shouldn't be walking around like a 35 year old virgin. For example, Becky Lynch is "the man" but isn't walking around holding a pair of testacles, and Lynch piles it on saying they'd be bigger than Corbin's. Corbin pleads that his testicles are reasonably sized and says he's the only true king in L.A. (take that, Lebron James). I think Corbin has finally found his calling as a loser who gets picked on by the cool kids. Rock admits that Corbin is a super tough dude and gets the crowd to chant "STD." Cute. Rock and Becky beat Corbin up together, complete with a Peoples' Elbow and Rock Bottom. Normally, I cringe when former stars show up to humiliate the current stars, but I can make an exception for Baron Corbin. This was fun and the fans enjoyed it, but now that it's over, Rock is still no longer there, Corbin still sucks, and Becky gets a mild rub.
The actual Smackdown Women's Champion Bayley and Sasha Banks are spotted talking strategy. Don't expect them to have any mic time tonight.
The New Day are interviewed backstage. WWE Champion Kofi Kingston is embracing his underdog role as he prepares to face Brock Lesnar later tonight. Big E and Xavier Woods are respecting Kofi's wish to go it alone, but shake their hips anticipating that Kofi will still be champion. If you had never seen New Day before and were just tuning in, this would probably seem pretty confusing.
Cole and Graves show footage of WWE stars enjoying themselves on the red carpet, and hey look, Mick Foley and Kurt Angle are in the crowd.
Universal Champion Seth Rollins comes to the ring to wrestle, but he's interrupted by the Firefly Funhouse Music and Bray Wyatt appears on the Titantron in his warped kid's show parody show, which quite honestly is the most interesting thing about WWE main roster programming these days. Wyatt's puppets act out what's going to happen in their match at Hell in a Cell, and needless to say the buzzard win via grisly decapitation. The problem here is that I think this is awesome, but anyone tuning in for the first time will likely be royally confused.
Recap video of the Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon feud. It looks like Owens has Shane over a barrel in some kind of lawsuit, but they've agreed to a loser leaves town stipulation in a ladder match. If we're going to bask in 90's nostalgia, we might as well have stipulations that have no chance of sticking.
Owens rips off the classic McMahon "You're Fired" and puts Shane down with a stunner for good measure. It's good to see Owens get put over strong.
Kayla Braxton interviews Paul Heyman backstage. Heyman doesn't care what Kofi Kingston had to say, and cuts to footage from Raw, where Brock Lesnar put a hurting on not only Rey Mysterio, but also his son Dominic. Truth be told, that's a great angle, if (and that's a big IF) it means that Rey is being built up as an underdog opponent to Lesnar. Heyman has a spoiler: Brock Lesnar becomes WWE Champion again tonight.
Tyson Fury is mad at Braun and security stops him from storming the room. At the risk of sounding ignorant, but am I supposed to know who this guy is? Seriously, is boxing still a thing in this country? The fans seem to know and care as they chant "Let them fight."
Earlier on Youtube, DJ Marshmallow pinned Carmella to become 24/7 Champion. Again, am I supposed to know who this is? Maybe I'm old and out of touch...no, it's the children who are wrong.
THE BIG DOG Roman Reigns is here, THANK GOD I THOUGHT WE MIGHT NOT SEE HIM TONIGHT! He gets tons of pyro, which actually warms my heart. Looks like he's in a lumberjack match, as the ring is surrounded by people I'd rather see in the ring (ie, Ricochet).
The fans chant YES as Bryan and Reigns shake hands. The fans in the arena certainly seem to be enjoying this show more than I am.
Brock struts with his newly won title and is interrupted by Rey Mysterio and Cain Velasquez. Cain once won the UFC title from Brock, so Lesnar is properly scared to see his old rival. Velasquez tackles Brock and lands several punches before Lesnar retreats. Heyman thrusts the WWE title onto Brock and orders to "show him who you are" and Lesnar manages to save face. Velasquez stands tall as Brock opts not to return for another fight.
Final Thoughts: Kofi deserved better than this. Forget WWE, I'm sticking with AEW. Thumbs down.