The debut episode of SmackDown on FOX aired on Friday night, and WWE pulled out all the stops.
The Rock returned to SmackDown, Braun Strowman tussled with boxing’s lineal heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury, and former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez made his WWE debut, attacking Brock Lesnar after Lesnar beat Kofi Kingston for the WWE Championship in the main event.
The Velasquez debut is perhaps the most interesting.
Velasquez won the UFC heavyweight championship by beating Brock Lesnar in 2011. Most recently, Velasquez made his pro wrestling debut at AAA in Mexico. Velasquez made his WWE debut alongside Rey Mysterio, who was assaulted by Lesnar on Monday’s episode of RAW (now that whole attack makes a lot more sense).
Velasquez vs. Lesnar would be a huge match for WWE. According to MMAFighting.com, Velasquez has come to terms with WWE on a one-match deal to do the Lesnar match — it doesn’t appear like anything other than the one match is guaranteed — and speculation has it happening either on Oct. 31 in Saudi Arabia or next April at WrestleMania 36 in Tampa.
Strowman vs. Fury, if it happens, feels like a match made for WrestleMania. However, that match might be more difficult to make happen.
Fury just picked up a win two weeks ago in Las Vegas and Fury is very much in the picture for a heavyweight championship bout. It’s likely Fury has a rematch with Deontay Wilder coming up soon, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Wilder/Fury winner get a shot at either Andy Ruiz or Anthony Joshua for the heavyweight championship of the world.
In other words, Fury isn’t in a position to risk an injury in a pro wrestling match against Strowman at WrestleMania in April. However, you could argue that Floyd Mayweather wasn’t in a position to risk injury when he fought Big Show at WrestleMania 24.
Now, we’ll see what WWE does with Fury and Velasquez. Maybe there’s nothing in stone with Fury. With Velasquez, it’s a lock that he’ll soon be stepping into a WWE ring for real.