KNOXVILLE (WATE) – World Wrestling Entertainment will return to Knoxville next week, bringing one of their flagship shows and some of its biggest names with it.
Friday Night SmackDown will take place Friday, May 12 at Thompson-Boling Arena.
WWE announced that RAW Women’s Champion Bianca Belair, a Knoxville native and University of Tennessee graduate, will appear on the show. Undisputed Universal Champion Roman Reigns, arguably the biggest active name in WWE, will be in attendance.
It hasn’t been announced the role that either will play in the show. However, we do know Belair was recently drafted to Smackdown. Belair will compete in a triple threat match which will pit her against both Asuka and Bayley.
Last week we spoke with WWE Superstar LA Knight who gave us some insight on what fans can expect from the show.
“Heck, I’m going to go give it to you. What is this they gave me? A match card. What do we got. We got the WWE Tag Team Champions. You got Kevin Owens, you got Sami Zayn. You got the Smackdown Champion Rhea Ripley. Huh? Yeah! And from Monday Night RAW, you get a special match. Why? Because it’s from Monday Night RAW. Huh? Yeah! It’s the O.C. vs Imperium in a six-man tag. But while you’re thinking about that and you’re sitting there ruminating ‘Wow, this is going to be a great show.’ Just remember, there’s only one man people are there to see – and everybody say it – L.A. Knight.”
This will be the first WWE event in Knoxville since Monday Night RAW hit Thompson-Boling Arena last year.
Thompson-Boling Arena has become a destination for major events since the University of Tennessee began selling alcohol at campus venues in 2019. Stevie Nicks, Eagles, Guns N’ Roses, and KISS have all scheduled concerts at the arena in 2023.
Last year, University of Tennessee track and field athlete Chandler Hayden joined WWE’s name, image and likeness program that gives college athletes access to exclusive training and resources.