WWE has announced that former WWE Champion Daniel Bryan will be making his return to SmackDown this week.
Bryan’s return is being touted as his “ThunderDome” debut. Bryan has opted to stay home during most of the COVID-19 pandemic and has not been part of any of the previous ThunderDome shows.
Bryan is one of several wrestlers who have been absent since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, either due to health or travel issues, who are now beginning to return to WWE.
Other notable talents who have only begun to make their return are Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn and Robert Roode. Universal Champion Roman Reigns also reportedly took time off due to concerns that his leukemia left him immunocompromised, as did NXT’s Kyle O’Reilly whose diabetes does the same.
Bryan last competed in WWE back in June, where he was part of a tournament to win the vacated WWE Intercontinental title. The title was vacated, incidentally, because Zayn also wanted time off due to COVID-19 concerns. Bryan lost the match to AJ Styles and has been off TV since.
This next episode of SmackDown is being called the “season two premiere” of the show on Fox. It will feature a Kickoff pre-show, similar to what’s done for pay-per-views. This kickoff will air at 7:30 PM ET and will have WWE Hall of Famer Booker T and feature a special return from Renee Young.
A Universal Championship match between Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman was announced earlier this week and now a Tag Team Championship match has been announced as well.
The Street Profits, who became only the second Tag Team Grand Slam Champions, became the SmackDown Tag Team champions after being drafted to the Blue Brand and trading titles with the New Day’s Kofi Kingston and Xavier Wood who are now on Raw as the red brand’s tag team champions.
They will be defending their new titles against the team of Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler.
Also being advertised for the show is a farewell match for Kingston and Woods. They will be teaming with New Day’s Big E, who remains a SmackDown superstar after the draft.
The three members of the New Day will face off against Sheamus, Cesaro, and Shinsuke Nakamura.
Another match that was announced for the show will be the newly-drafted and recently returned Lars Sullivan against the former Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy.