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The Rock Returns to WWE ‘SmackDown’ In Huge Shocker For the First Time In Four Years

Photo: JPI

On Friday night, you could feel through your television and mobile screens, the reverberation from inside Ball Arena in Denver, Colorado. That is when on WWE Friday Night Smackdown on Fox, none other than The Rock returned to WWE programming for the first time in four years.

The audience in attendances gave the biggest pop we have ever heard for any WWE superstar in probably history! The set-up was quite spectacular too! First, Pat McAfee returned to open the show and got into the ring, and then got into a war of words with former ring rival, Austin Theory.

While Theory was trash-talking to McAfee, cue The Rock’s theme music!  Dwayne Johnson made his entrance, and played it to the hilt and in full ‘Rock-mode’. Once in the ring, he got into it with Theory amid “Rocky’ chants that rang out from the stunned fans in the arena.


Initially, Theory interrupted The Rock and delivered Rock’s classic line: “It doesn’t matter what The Rock says!” McAfee looked stunned by Theory’s impersonation.

However, The Rock was prepared with a response: “You see, it actually does matter what The Rock says. And it does matter, more importantly than what The Rock says, what the people say. You bring up Stone Cold Steve Austin, that’s The Rock’s boy. But if he here were here right now, this, this is what he would say: ‘If you want to see me beat this jabroni’s ass, give me a hell yeah!’” At the end of the segment, Theory and Rock began to fight, which ended, of course, with The Rock landing ‘The People’s Elbow” on Theory!

Later in the night, The Rock ran into another all-time legend, John Cena.  The two eventually hugged it out. It looks like the SAG-AFTRA strikes are good for the WWE, giving Cena and The Rock time to come back home, since they can’t work on, or promote any films they may have, or may have been working on, due to the Hollywood strikes.

Watch The Rock’s stunning return on Friday Night SmackDown below.

Now let us know, what did you think of The Rock being back in the WWE? Share your thoughts in the comment section.



WWE ‘SmackDown’ Heading From Fox to USA Network As Part of New Rights Deal with NBCUniversal

In several major announcements coming from the WWE-UFC merger and its new company TKO Group, WWE Friday Night SmackDown will be on the move in 2024.  Since 2019, SmackDown has had its home on primetime on Fox. However, in news on Thursday, SmackDown is heading to USA Network starting in October of next year.

The shift is part of a new overall domestic rights deal between NBC Universal and the WWE which will extend for five years.  In addition, and in exciting news for the WWE Universe, NBC will air four primetime specials during the 2024/2025 TV season.

Monday Night Raw, and NXT, which currently air on USA Network are not part of this deal, but they will continue to air on USA Network through September of 2024. Raw has been the top scripted program on cable on Monday nights this past TV season.

Photo: WWE

Currently, Raw is on the market looking for an exciting new home, as sources have told THR, sharing, “The market for the program is ‘extremely active,’ with traditional linear networks, streaming services and ‘unexpected players’ all interested.”  The Monday night wrestling series has been the top scripted program on cable Monday nights this past TV season.

WWE also has an exclusive U.S. streaming deal with Peacock through 2026, which includes all premium live event programming and specials.

In a statement, WWE CEO Nick Khan shared, “We are excited to extend this longstanding relationship by bringing SmackDown to USA Network on Friday nights and look forward to debuting multiple WWE special events annually on NBC.”

NBC Entertainment chairman, Frances Berwick added, “It’s a privilege and thrill to continue NBCU’s decades-long partnership with WWE which has helped cement USA Network’s consistent position as the top-rated cable entertainment network in live viewership. With Friday nights on USA, primetime specials on NBC, and the WWE hub on Peacock, we’ll continue to use the power of our portfolio to super-serve this passionate fanbase.”

What do you think about SmackDown moving to USA Network? A new home on the way for RAW and NXT? The new deal with NBCUni? Share your thoughts via the comment section below.

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Bad Bunny Sets His Sights on Taking WWE Universal Championship From Roman Reigns

Grammy award-winning global music superstar, Bad Bunny opened up about his future, his career, his love life and more in a new feature in Vanity Fair.  One of the topics, was on his passion for professional wrestling, which is something that Bunny has been able to live out in front of millions of fans in the WWE universe in a few key in-ring appearances.

First, he tag-teamed with Damian Priest and won a match versus The Miz and John Morrison back at WrestleMania 37 in 2021.  In May of this year, Bad Bunny hosted WWE Backlash in his home country of Puerto Rico, and gave one of the best performances, ever seen, anywhere, in his San Juan Street Fight match against Damian Priest.

Now, Bunny (real name, Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio) apparently has his eyes on the biggest prize in all of WWE! That would be the WWE Universal Championship held for the past three years by Roman Reigns.

Photo: WWE

When speaking if he would be looking to return to ring action in the future, Bunny admitted: “My plan is to take the title from Roman Reigns”.  However, he cautioned that he’s trying to not tempt himself to go back into wrestling as he admitted his match at Backlash with Damian Priest, ‘was just too painful.”

Photo: WWE

But never say never from Bunny, who has accomplished so much at only 29-years-old.  It’s clear he loves everything about pro wrestling, and he told Vanity Fair just why: “I liked everything—the creativity, the characters, the fact that each wrestler has his own entrance song, like a soundtrack that identifies you.”

So, what if …. Bad Bunny somehow defeated Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal Championship ending his 1109 run as the champ? Do you think Bunny will decide to ever wrestle again? Comment below.


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WWE and UFC Officially Merge to Become ‘TKO Group’

It’s a dawn of a new day for Vince McMahon and the WWE.  On Tuesday, the WWE and Endeavor’s UFC (MMA) have now officially merged to become TKO Group.

Executives from both sides were part of the daily NYSE opening bell to celebrate this new premium sports and entertainment company “serving more than one billion young and diverse fans, reaching viewers in 180 countries, and producing more than 350 annual live events,” according to Endeavor.

Endeavor holds a 51% controlling interest in the new company and existing WWE shareholders hold a 49% interest.  For Vince McMahon this is a big move. He built the pro wrestling powerhouse from the company his father started and has been its biggest shareholder for years. Here, he cedes control of the company.

In the restructuring, Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel will be TKO’s chief executive. McMahon will be the executive chairman. Dana White will continue as CEO of UFC, and Lawrence Epstein as COO. Nick Khan will continue as president of WWE and their TV brands Raw and Smackdown.

Endeavor president and COO Mark Shapiro, who will retain his title with TKO Group, shared that both live sports-centric brands have TV programming and devoted followings with WWE being more “family centric” while MMA is more “international, and kind of college age.” WWE has 1.2 billion followers on social media. UFC has 700 million.

McMahon previously shared in a statement, “This is the culmination of a decades-long partnership between Endeavor and WWE across strategic initiatives including talent representation and media rights. Given our collaborative, trusted relationship and Endeavor’s incredible track record of success growing UFC, we believe WWE is optimally positioned for future growth and success as part of TKO. Our focus remains on delivering for our fans across the globe as we take the business to the next level alongside UFC and Endeavor.”

So, what do you think about the WWE and UFC merging to become TKO Group? Like the name? Comment below.

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