The Beast was unleashed Tuesday night as WWE taped this week's SmackDown in Ontario, California, and thanks to our friends at WrestlingInc.com, you can find out everything that went down when Brock Lesnar made his first appearance on the blue brand in 12 years.
Lesnar was not the only star from this Sunday's Fastlane main event in the house for this week's tapings. His opponents in the Triple Threat No. 1 Contender's match, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose, battled The Dudley Boyz.
Would the former Shield members score another impressive victory, or would the pressure facing both men—and the fact they will be forced to compete against each other come Sunday night—prove distracting enough for Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley to score their biggest win since returning to WWE?
AJ Styles issued a challenge to Chris Jericho for one more match at Fastlane, but Y2J was hesitant to accept on Raw, instead telling The Phenomenal One he would respond on SmackDown.
What answer did the future Hall of Famer give the hottest star in WWE?
Fans got the answers to the above questions and more as the company packed Tuesday's event with matches and segments devoted to providing last-minute hype for this weekend's huge pay-per-view extravaganza.
- Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and Byron Saxton were on commentary, with no sign of Mauro Ranallo.
- Sheamus, Rusev and Alberto Del Rio defeated United States champion Kalisto, Sin Cara and Dolph Ziggler. Kevin Owens was at ringside, and his distraction set up the pinfall on Ziggler.
- Sasha Banks defeated Tamina by submission. Team B.A.D. beat down Banks after the match until Becky Lynch made the save.
- Jericho defeated The Miz with the Walls of Jericho. After the match, he accepted Styles' challenge for a match at Fastlane.
- WWE Divas champion Charlotte defeated Natalya with the Figure Eight. After the match, Brie Bella hit the ring and brawled with Charlotte.
- Ambrose and Reigns defeated The Dudley Boyz by disqualification when Lesnar interfered. The Beast leveled both Ambrose and Reigns with German suplexes. Miscommunication between the babyfaces led to Reigns planting The Lunatic Fringe with a Samoan Drop, only for the former champion to turn right around into an F5. Triple H's music played, and the WWE world heavyweight champion stared down Lesnar to wrap up the show.
The biggest SmackDown in quite some time saw the return of Lesnar, who lent instant credibility to a show too often considered the B-show of the WWE Universe.
The Beast Incarnate's presence alone elevates the importance of the show, but it is the rest of the broadcast that really makes this Thursday's offering worth watching. WWE has done a fantastic job of hyping the Fastlane pay-per-view this week, beginning with a strong episode of Raw.
Thursday, every match except for The Wyatt Family vs. Ryback, Kane and Big Show is represented in some form or fashion. Every match has a reason for existing rather than being thrown onto the card to eat up some time.
Chris Jericho vs. The Miz could very well be the show-stealer, with Y2J appearing more motivated as of late than he has been in years. Couple that motivation with the fact that Miz is wrestling his best matches in years, and the potential is certainly there for a spectacular midcard bout.
The events that closed out the show are typically reserved for Raw. From Lesnar's arrival to the dissension between Reigns and Ambrose finally on display, to a rare SmackDown appearance by Triple H, it is a molten-hot way to end the show and create anticipation and buzz for Fastlane's marquee bout.
This week's spoilers are a taste of what SmackDown could be. With a two-hour run time, it features a much faster pace and never hangs around past its expiration date—as so many episodes of Raw do. It is also the last show of the week, WWE's last opportunity to leave an impression.
And leave an impression it does.