Brock Lesnar defeated Kofi Kingston in mere seconds on SmackDown's debut episode on Fox to win the WWE Championship Friday night.
Lesnar was then confronted by former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez alongside Rey Mysterio.
Velasquez lost to Francis Ngannou in just 26 seconds during UFC on ESPN 1 in February. He proceeded to make his professional wrestling debut at Triplemania XXVII, a major event held by Mexican promotion AAA, in August to spark speculation about his future.
Cody Rhodes, the executive vice president of All Elite Wrestling, worked alongside Velasquez at this year's Triplemania and said he was impressed with how quickly the MMA star made the transition.
"Cain was one of those athletes ... not even an athlete thing, it's almost a strange natural ability to pick up our industry," Rhodes told reporters. "Man, he picked it up so, so quick and he wasn't doing mixed martial arts Cain Velasquez. He was trying to do true lucha, and he had worked with Psycho Clown. … I was blown away by Cain Velasquez."
The 37-year-old California native scored a knockout victory over Lesnar at UFC 121 in October 2010 to win the heavyweight title. The two never faced off again inside the Octagon, but it appears their rivalry may be renewed nearly a decade later in WWE.
Meanwhile, The Beast Incarnate is now a five-time WWE champion and eight-time world champion overall during his tenure with the company.
After Kingston beat Randy Orton at Clash of Champions on Sept. 15 and then teamed with Xavier Woods and Big E to defeat Orton and The Revival two nights later on SmackDown Live, Lesnar made a surprise return to WWE programming and laid down a challenge.
Paul Heyman called for the New Day man to defend the WWE Championship against Lesnar on the first episode of SmackDown on Fox, and Kingston accepted in an effort to prove he is a fighting champion who never backs down.
After Kingston's acceptance, Lesnar feigned going in for a handshake before laying him out with a devastating F-5, which showed his title reign was in peril.
Prior to challenging Kingston, Lesnar was last seen at SummerSlam on Aug. 11. The Beast somewhat surprisingly dropped the Universal Championship to Seth Rollins at that show, marking the second time he had lost to Rollins since WrestleMania 35.
In hindsight, it appears the loss to The Architect at SummerSlam was merely a vehicle to move Lesnar over to SmackDown and into WWE Championship contention in an effort to provide Fox with a major match and feud.
Since The Beast is a former UFC star and WWE is essentially filling the void on Fox left by UFC moving to ESPN, he is an ideal fit on the network as one of its top Superstars.
Lesnar was also the perfect opponent for Kingston since some questioned the overall success of his title reign entering Friday's match.
While The Dreadlocked Dynamo put on some solid matches against the likes of Dolph Ziggler and Samoa Joe, and had an enjoyable rivalry with Orton, he seemingly hasn't been connecting with the fans as well as he did on his Cinderella run toward winning the title at WrestleMania in April.
Facing Lesnar put Kingston back in the underdog role that suited him so well prior to The Show of Shows, and it made for the type of big-fight feel Fox was likely hoping for on its first episode of SmackDown.
With Lesnar winning the WWE Championship, Fox has a crossover star it can advertise and build around, while Kingston is now facing adversity and has a good opportunity to get the fans back on his side moving forward.
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