KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — WWE superstar and Knoxville native Bianca Belair paid a visit to her alma mater ahead of WWE Friday Night Smackdown at Thompson-Boling Arena.

The first-ever WWE Friday Night Smackdown to air live on FOX will be held Friday, Sept. 17 along with superstar Roman Reigns. Belair surprised students at her alma mater, Austin-East Magnet High School, during their homecoming pep rally on Thursday.

She went on to graduate from the University of Tennessee and recently won a WWE 2021 Royal Rumble Match at Wrestlemania 37, becoming the first Black woman to take the smackdown women’s title.

Regardless of where she’s been and her newly-acquired WWE stardom, Bianca Belair said she’s glad to be home.

“It’s just really cool to come back and be a just part of the community, be accepted by them and celebrate with them at homecoming,” Belair said. “I remember homecoming being in high school and it was a special week, so much Austin-East Pride. Roadrunner for life! To be back here with them and giving back and celebrating with them, that’s what this is all about.”

Tickets are on sale at and the Thompson-Boling Arena Box Office. The tickets start at $20.