PWTorch editor Wade Keller presents a special Thursday Flagship edition of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast featuring a WrestleMania 36 Preview with ex-WWE Creative Team member and professional stand-up comedian Matt McCarthy.
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WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER
APRIL 3, 2020
ORLANDO, FLA. AT THE WWE PERFORMANCE CENTER
AIRS ON FOX NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EDT
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH SPECIALIST
Announcers: Michael Cole
Top 10 Moments from Last Week
Arena and Items Advertised by WWE
Tonight’s WWE Smackdown will once again take place in the WWE Performance Center with no audience. It was recorded before the shelter-in-place order for Orange County, of which Orlando, FL. is included.
We head towards WrestleMania, “too big for one night,” which starts tomorrow night and concludes Sunday. Here’s what’s on tap for tonight thus far:
MizTV sets the stage for Smackdown Tag Team Title clash at WrestleMania
John Cena to answer Bray Wyatt’s challenge at WrestleMania
MizTV: Champs Miz & Morrison to host New Day and the Usos
Last week, New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) took on long-time rivals the Usos (Jimmy & Jey) for the right to face the Miz & John Morrison for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania. Miz & Morrison joined Michael Cole on commentary. To nobody’s surprise, they got involved in the match attacking Big E and then Kofi as well as the Usos. The referee called off the match.
Following that, Cole had a message from “WWE officials” as he advised Miz & Morrison that they would be defending their championship not just against New Day, but the Usos as well in a triple threat ladder match. Here’s New Day in a WWE exclusive:
Tonight, ahead of the triple threat match at WrestleMania, Miz & Morrison will have New Day and the Usos on MizTV. As far as the match at WrestleMania, multiple wrestling media outlets have reported that Miz did not wrestle in the match as he reportedly showed up at the recent Smackdown taping sick. This did NOT sit well with the Usos and quite possibly has a lot to do with Roman Reigns pulling out of the match with Goldberg. WrestleMania was already taped, so over the weekend we’ll ultimately find out what WWE did with the tag match and the Universal Championship match. The match is still advertised on their website as originally constituted.
Frank’s Analysis: Not to say something that everyone would say, but what is wrong with the Miz if this is true? As far as I’m concerned, he should face harsh disciplinary action for committing an egregious act of irresponsibility. Part of me feels like they should have stripped Miz and Morrison and have New Day and the Usos go at it for the titles.
John Cena to Answer Bray Wyatt’s to a Firefly Funhouse Match
Last week on Smackdown, Bray Wyatt opened the door once again to the Firefly Funhouse and talked about his upcoming match with John Cena at WrestleMania. He made a shake which included hot sauce and Ramblin’ Rabbit. (How many lives does that little guy have?) At any rate, Bray said that their match at WrestleMania shouldn’t just be any match. He said that “he” (meaning the Fiend of course), challenges John to a Firefly Funhouse match.
John appears tonight to answer Bray’s challenge. Typically, I don’t include clips of what was already shown, but here’s Bray interrupting John a few weeks ago on Smackdown. This was the first of the empty-arena series of shows:
Frank’s Analysis: The Firefly Funhouse match likely gave WWE an opportunity to film the match away from Orlando, as they likely did with the Boneyard match between the Undertaker and A.J. Styles on Raw. One could only imagine the particulars of a Firefly Funhouse match, but hopefully Ramblin’ Rabbit comes back to life.
Roman Reigns vs. Universal Champion Goldberg Still Advertised for WrestleMania
WWE is still advertising this match for WrestleMania.
Roman Reigns confirms he has pulled out of WrestleMania, lashes out as those critical of his decision, WWE still advertising the match
WWE was advertising that Goldberg and Reigns will meet face to face tonight. They did not include it in their official preview, so we’ll find out tonight if that was edited out as Smackdown was filmed last week. All signs point to Braun Strowman replacing Reigns in the match at ‘Mania, which has also already been filmed. Roman talked to People.com regarding his decision (LINK)
Other Match Results and News Items from Last Week
Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley, Sasha Banks, Lacey Evans, Naomi, and Tamina all came out to open the show and discuss their Fatal Five-Way elimination match at WrestleMania for the Smackdown title. Tamina headbutted Naomi to start a brawl.
Drew Gulak defeated Shinsuke Nakamura to earn Daniel Bryan an Intercontinental Championship match against Sami Zayn at WrestleMania. Here’s Drew and Bryan training after the match:
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Dolph Ziggler challenged Otis of Heavy Machinery to a one-on-one match at WrestleMania with Mandy in his corner.
Elias sand a song about King Corbin and was attacked by Corbin from behind. He got shoved off of a platform and onto his back. He was taken to a “local medical facility.” (Great timing WWE. Let’s talk about medical facilities during a global pandemic. Morons.)
Alexa Bliss defeated Asuka of the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions the Kabuki Warriors (Asuka & Kairi Sane). Alexa and Nikki Cross take on the Warriors for the titles at WrestleMania. It was Alexa & Nikki from whom the Warriors took the titles at Hell in a Cell back on October of last year. Here’s Alexa & Nikki in a WWE exclusive:
They showed Roman Reigns vs. Triple H for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 32 in 2016. (Of all matches they picked that?)
I have to admit I’ve been negative on watching WWE programming, but after a while I realized if I’m going to watch it, I may as well enjoy it. I don’t sit there and beat down AEW for putting on empty arena shows, so why would I be critical of WWE? Either beat it all down or not at all. The promos have been outstanding with no fans and have been done the way promos were done when I started watching wrestling back in the 1980s. I see passion and a purpose, two of my “Ps” that should be in every promo. I’m really curious to see how they handled the Reigns situation. More importantly, with the stay-at-home order for Orange County, what do they do with subsequent Raws and Smackdowns? The order, last I checked, was until April 9. It may have changed as of this article publishing. We’ll see, as we get ready for WrestleMania.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome. Thank you for reading!
CATCH UP… LECLAIR’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 3/26: Alt perspective, detailed coverage of New Day vs. Usos, Bliss vs. Asuka, Firefly Funhouse, more