WWE SmackDown! attracts fans from all over the Mid-South

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The first WWE SmackDown! episode of 2023 was held Friday at the FedExForum. Big name stars hit the ring from Charlotte Flair to Roman Reigns.

Downtown Memphis was crawling with wrestling fans, who came from all over the Mid-south. The show featured a special introduction from the King of Memphis wrestling, Jerry Lawler.

“You know WWE can’t come to Memphis without the royal welcome, so here I am,” he said to the crowd. “Let’s get loud, Memphis! Welcome to SmackDown!”

Many fans spent the day on Beale Street before heading to the event.

“Going down there to have a good time, see all the stars. The Usos, Roman Reigns, Rhonda Rousey,” longtime fan Kenny Wooley said.

Wooley has been a wrestling fan for years and never misses a chance to travel from DeSoto County to see a match at the FedExForum.

He said seeing the fights in real life is a totally different experience from watching them on TV, especially with ringside seats like his.

“There’s nothing like being live with the stars, getting to interact with the stars, shake a hand and maybe even get a facial picture with them, you know?” Wooley said. “There’s nothing like it, man.”

Fans of all ages showed up, many carrying homemade signs or championship belts.

10-year-old Conor Glidewell said he got tickets as a Christmas gift and was excited to boo his least favorite wrestler: Roman Reigns.

“I hate Reigns,” he said. “He used to be my favorite, but ever since he became a bad guy, after he fought the Usos, I didn’t like that. So I might start a chant.”

The show left many looking forward to WWE’s next stop in the Bluff City.

In the meantime, WWE SmackDown! airs every Friday at 7 p.m. on FOX13.