Fox is bringing out the big guns for its highly-anticipated debut of “Friday Night SmackDown” this Friday, with none other than The Rock making a special appearance.
The popular wrestler, known more as Dwayne Johnson these days, hasn’t been on “SmackDown” since 2013. Long since retired from the WWE, he has made sporadic appearances, with the most recent coming in Wrestlemania 32 in 2016.
The Oct. 4 debut broadcast will immediately be preceded by a half-hour “blue carpet” special. The Oct. 4 blue carpet, starting at 7:30 p.m. ET, will feature “arrivals and backstage access to celebrities and athletes, as well as past and present WWE Superstars to kick off the new era of WWE on Fox.” Appropriately, Fox’s first “Friday Night SmackDown” episode is taking place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The “SmackDown” debut comes amid a carriage dispute between Fox and Dish Network, which has resulted in 17 Fox-owned stations in major markets like New York, Dallas, Chicago and the premiere event’s host city of Los Angeles. Cable networks like Fox Sports 1 are also blacked out to Dish subs nationwide.
Along with “SmackDown,” Fox Sports and WWE are partnering on a studio show that will air on FS1. The hour-long show “WWE Backstage,” will be hosted by WWE on-air personality Renee Young and Hall-of-Fame wrestler Booker T. It will air every Tuesday at 11/10c (8 p.m. PT), beginning on Nov. 5. A special preview of the new series will run Tuesday, Oct. 15 following the conclusion of FS1’s ALCS (Major League Baseball’s American League Championship Series) Game 3.
Check out The Rock’s tweet below:
FINALLY…I come back home to my @WWE universe.
This FRIDAY NIGHT, I’ll return for our debut of SMACKDOWN!
LIVE on @FOXTV.
There’s no greater title than #thepeopleschamp.
And there’s no place like home.
Tequila on me after the show 😈🥃#IfYaSmell🎤 #Smackdown#RocksShow #FOX pic.twitter.com/V5i4cxqIqH
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) September 30, 2019