He may have been confirmed to face Kofi Kingston for the WWE Championship on Friday Night SmackDown‘s FOX debut on October 2, but it looks like Brock Lesnar will also be present for another premiere that same week — Monday Night Raw‘s so-called “season premiere” episode on September 30.
As reported by WrestlingNews.co, the above announcement was made on Tuesday on the Twitter account of the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona, which will be hosting the September 30 episode of Raw. As seen on the accompanying graphic, several Raw superstars — The Miz, Alexa Bliss, Becky Lynch, Seth Rollins, Braun Strowman, AJ Styles, and “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt — are being advertised to appear on the show. However, Lesnar can also be seen next to Wyatt on the image, with the arena’s caption promising his appearance on the Raw “season premiere.”
Separately, Wrestling Inc. wrote that the September 30 Raw is also expected to feature Sasha Banks — who is currently feuding with Lynch for the Raw Women’s Championship — as well as SmackDown superstars Charlotte Flair and Bayley. The latter two have also been involved in Banks’ rivalry with Lynch and had notably fought for the SmackDown Women’s Championship at Clash of Champions this past Sunday, with Bayley retaining her title against Flair.
As is usually the case with advertisements for upcoming WWE television tapings and pay-per-views, the list of advertised performers is likely subject to change ahead of the show.
— Talking Stick Resort Arena (@TSRarena) September 18, 2019
Although Lesnar’s presence on the September 30 episode of Raw might be part of WWE’s efforts to drive sagging ratings and viewership numbers ahead of SmackDown’s move to FOX, Forbes pointed out on Wednesday that existing statistics suggest otherwise. The outlet wrote that the 42-year-old former UFC standout “didn’t seem to have any positive effect” on the company’s key metrics during his three reigns as Universal Champion. Still, it was noted that it’s “hard to deny” Lesnar’s impact on WWE’s fanbase, given the usual crowd reaction he receives during his rare television and pay-per-view appearances as a part-time performer.
“Lesnar has been able to transform WWE’s lack of truly marketable top stars into one of the longest and biggest pushes in WWE history, which has been going on for the past seven years as ‘The Beast’ has had a consistent presence in the Universal and WWE title pictures,” wrote Forbes’ Blake Ostriecher.
Meanwhile, there has been some speculation that the long-term plan is for Lesnar to represent the blue brand going forward. Recently, the WrestleVotes Twitter account speculated that Lesnar will defeat Kingston on Friday Night SmackDown’s premiere episode next month, en route to a lengthy WWE Championship run that might end in April when the former Universal Champion loses to Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 36.