Tyson Fury won his first outing in a WWE ring by knocking out Braun Strowman.
After some early awkwardness, the big man looked good against the Monster Among Men and won the respect of the fans in attendance after taking some legitimate bumps.
Fury did not shy away from the physical aspect of the performance and even took Strowman’s finisher after the bell, but he came through the fight in Saudi Arabia with his recently repaired eye unscathed.
Speaking to WWE after the event, Fury did not rule a return to wrestling but confirmed the rematch with Deontay Wilder for the WBC heavyweight title on February 22 is next on the agenda.
“I’ve got a big fella called Deontay Wilder to see to, February 22, and then we see where we go from there,” ‘The Gypsy King’ told WWE.com.
talkSPORT reported after Fury first appeared in WWE that this entire appearance was designed to promote Fury’s upcoming rematch with Wilder and raise his profile in the U.S.
It appears as though that is accurate and plans are going ahead for Fury and Wilder to meet, likely in Las Vegas.
It’s also been reported that a third match in their rivalry has already been inserted into the contract and thus, all being well, Dillian Whyte would finally get his mandated shot at the WBC champion in 2021.
Fury was expected to be inactive over the next few months to allow deep cuts sustained during September’s points win over Otto Wallin to heal ahead of the Wilder fight.
But the 31-year-old, the lineal heavyweight champion of the world, was tempted back into the ring in a bid to settle his new-found feud with Strowman.
The pair’s dislike for each other started with a ringside row on Smackdown, followed by a mass brawl a few days later on Raw, before Strowman injured Fury’s ankle in a surprise training attack last week.
Those incidents fuelled the hatred ahead of their eagerly-anticipated contest, with Fury pledging to knock his opponent out and Strowman insisting the Englishman would “Get These Hands”.
And it was Fury who delivered on his words by connecting with Strowman, who could not make it back into the ring in time before the referee’s 10-count ended.
Fury celebrated by lifting both hands in the air and what followed next could pave the way for a rematch in the future.
Strowman did not take too kindly to the defeat and, much to the surprise of Fury who had appeared to have taken to wrestling like a duck to water, bodyslammed him to the canvas and stormed off backstage.
“It was absolutely fantastic, a great experience,” said Fury, who walked to the ring in a traditional Saudi Arabian thobe and keffiyeh headdress to the Isley Brothers’ song ‘It’s your thing’.
“I was really happy to be here in Saudi Arabia on a massive show.
“Braun is the ‘Monster Among Men’. When I hit him with that piledriving right hand, I cannot believe he got back up and slammed me to the floor.
“It was a bit of a cheap shot after the bell, but what can we do? It’s WWE.”