In this episode of Wrestling Night in America, PWTorch columnist Greg Parks breaks down both nights of WrestleMania with callers and emailers. Topics include the quality of the Firefly Funhouse match, the decision to put Charlotte over Rhea Ripley, the potential of wrestlers getting more creative freedom in the current environment, and more.
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WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER
FEBRUARY 21, 2020
GLENDALE, AZ. AT THE GILA RIVER ARENA
AIRS ON FOX NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EST
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH SPECIALIST
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
Arena and Items Advertised by WWE
WWE Smackdown returns to the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz. The show last appeared in September of 2017, which according to prowrestling.fandom.net was the only appearance by WWE in the building’s 16-lus year existence. It is the home of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, the original Winnipeg Jets.
Lacey Evans to sit down with Renee Young for exclusive interview
Top 10 Moments from Last Week
Carmella vs. Naomi: Winner Faces Bayley for Smackdown Women’s Championship at Super Showdown
Last week, Carmella came up short in her attempt to become a two-time Smackdown Women’s Champion. Champion Bayley defeated her via pinfall, having her foot on the ropes for leverage. Bayley then attacked Carmella but was bailed out by Naomi. They doubled-teamed Bayley and set her to the floor to end the segment.
This week, Naomi and Carmella go at it to determine who will face Bayley for the title at Super Showdown. It will be the second women’s match in Saudi Arabia after Natalya and Lacey Evans went one-on-one at October’s Crown Jewel. There is some history with Naomi and Carmella as they fancied themselves team “Fabulous Glow” when they participated in the Elimination Chamber match last year to determine the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship. Tonight, they oppose each other in their quest to capture a title they each held within the past four years.
I’m ready! https://t.co/pus1yGpuOE
— MELLA I$ MONEY (@CarmellaWWE) February 15, 2020
Frank’s Analysis: I’ve been overall down on Carmella, but I liked the match last week. The near falls were believable, and I felt she had a chance to win the title. I’ve never been a big fan of Naomi, but I want her to win me over. God knows the Smackdown women’s division needs depth, and these two working their way up the card would go a long way to doing that.
Next week at Super Showdown, Goldberg will challenge “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt for the Universal Championship. It will be an attempt to wear the gold for the second time, as Goldberg last held the Universal Championship in 2017 when he defeated Kevin Owens in the run-up to WrestleMania. Goldberg would then drop it to Brock Lesnar.
Saudi Arabia thus far has been good to Bray as he captured the Universal Title from Seth Rollins at Crown Jewel and has held the title ever since. He’s had two successful defenses against Daniel Bryan, and a non-title victory over the Miz. This time, he faces a much different animal in the Hall of Famer Goldberg.
Tonight, Goldberg appears to hype the upcoming title match.
Frank’s Analysis: I don’t see where it makes sense to put the title on Goldberg, unless for some reason they want Goldberg defending the Universal Title at WrestleMania. I can’t say I despise that, but what opponent makes sense?
Big Eight-Man Tag: New Day & Usos vs. Ziggler & Roode & Morrison & Miz
WWE is touting that this match has “major implications” on Super Showdown, although all that’s at stake is a “leg up” going into Saudi Arabia. It should be an action-packed match that fills a big chunk of TV time tonight.
Bella Twins on “A Moment of Bliss”
Will they be announced as being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year, and if so will they act surprised even though it’s all over the news? Will Nikki talk about being pregnant post-John Cena relationship?
I got to see my baby today! Our baby was flexing for us lol it was sooo cute! At 16 weeks I feel like they already have a personality. ☺️ I’m so on cloud nine it’s crazy! ❤️N
— Nikki & Brie (@BellaTwins) February 21, 2020
Social media is having fun mocking return of the Bellas. You can indulge in that, if you wish.
— WWE (@WWE) February 21, 2020
Renee Young Interviews Lacey Evans
We haven’t seen Lacey Evans since she failed to capture the Smackdown Women’s Championship from Bayley at the Royal Rumble. She’s been her usual vocal self on social media, touting video of doing stuff with her family and interacting with fans. Tonight, she sits down with Renee Young for an exclusive interview marking her first TV appearance since that loss. Here’s a playful tweet directed towards Renee:
Frank’s Analysis: I still wonder if she’s earmarked to beat Bayley for the title at some point, if at WrestleMania. I don’t see another obvious candidate outside of maybe Alexa Bliss or Nikki Cross (and that’s pushing it). Lacey has the look and the swagger Vince likes in a female wrestler. I don’t see how they don’t pay that off with a title win in the near future.
Other Match Results and News Items from Last Week
Sheamus defeated Shorty G & Apollo Crews in a handicap match. Here’s Crews & Shorty in a WWE.com exclusive:
WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan was interviewed in regard to fellow HOFer Goldberg’s impending challenge of “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt for the Universal Championship at Super Showdown.
Cesaro and Sami Zayn tried to perform a protest song with a ukulele but were interrupted by Elias. They double-teamed Elias, who was bailed out by Intercontinental Champion Braun Strowman.
They hyped John Cena’s return to Smackdown next week.
Otis attempted to have his date with Mandy Rose, but Dolph Ziggler interrupted and joined Mandy at the dinner table. Otis dropped his rose and walked away.
Roman Reigns & Daniel Bryan defeated Miz & John Morrison. King Corbin, who had been banned from participating in Smackdown activities by WWE management as a result of his actions the previous week, attacked Roman following the match.
I did like that Daniel Bryan was the mystery partner of Roman Reigns and overall, I’m intrigued by where they position those two heading into WrestleMania. Believe it or not I’m curious where things go with Braun Strowman, even though the Intercontinental Championship doesn’t feel like the right thing for him. Everything else on Smackdown is somewhat blah for me, but hopefully things pick up once we get past Super Showdown.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome. Thank you for reading!