SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER
MARCH 20, 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 and Corey Graves
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 essential personnel only as we continue to navigate the current global pandemic that is the coronavirus.
We continue towards WrestleMania, which will also take place in the Performance Center as we found out prior to this week’s episode of Raw and will now take place over two nights beginning April 4 and ending the originally scheduled night of April 5. They have sold it as WrestleMania being “too big for one night.” (It wasn’t too big the last four WrestleManias that we sat there for seven hours each?) Here’s what’s on tap for tonight thus far:
- Rob Gronkowski set to appear.
- Roman Reigns and Goldberg set for WrestleMania contract signing.
Retired Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has been connected to WWE for quite some time now. He appeared in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania in 2017 to help his friend Mojo Rawley eliminate, at the time, soon-to-be WWE Champion Jinder Mahal to win the match. (Aren’t you glad I reminded you of the days of Jinder being WWE champ?)
Last week on Smackdown, Rawley joined Michael Cole at ringside to confirm Ryan Satin’s announcement on Backstage earlier in the week. That being that Gronkowski was “close to signing with WWE,” and he’ll be here next week (tonight). He then obnoxiously “play fought” with Cole.
Gronkowski appears tonight.
Frank’s Analysis: You know, I used to wish Mojo was used a little better because I thought he was decent enough to serve in a lower-occasional mid card role. After last week, I couldn’t care less about him. The guy is so obnoxious and unlikable I don’t care what they do with him. He’s that annoying jock from high school that picked on everyone but thought he was being funny. As far as Gronkowski goes, maybe it’s the N.Y. Giants fan in me, but I also could care less about him coming to WWE. It does nothing for me. I don’t think I was all that excited when Lawrence Taylor showed up to wrestle Bam Bam Bigelow at WrestleMania 11, and Taylor is a Giants legend! This is another attempt to grab a certain audience. We’ll see how it goes. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Roman Reigns and Goldberg to sign WrestleMania Contract
Okay, here we go. Last week on Smackdown Roman Reigns sat down with Michael Cole talking about his upcoming match at WrestleMania against Goldberg for the Universal Championship. Reigns of course had to surrender the title back in October of 2018 when announced a relapse of leukemia. He returned in the run-up to WrestleMania last year and defeated Drew McIntyre one-on-one in his first singles match back. McIntyre, ironically, vies for the WWE Championship this year against Brock Lesnar.
Reigns talked about this business being in his blood, how he’s mastered the art of entertainment, and how he’s going to kick Goldberg’s ass. He said he was the hardest working guy in the company and pointed out how Goldberg is a part-timer. (Alright sorry, I can’t anymore.)
Tonight, Reigns and Goldberg sign the contract for the match at WrestleMania.
Frank’s Analysis: Wade Keller and I beat this up pretty good on the Smackdown post show last week, and he did the same in his report as well. There’s no need to pile on. A contract signing is what it is. There probably won’t be any physicality, but then again you never know. Considering everything that’s going on, I’m assuming Reigns is taking extra precautions given his history with leukemia? Now on the bright side, at least Vince McMahon doesn’t have to worry about a negative reaction for Reigns when he beats Goldberg for the title. He also doesn’t have to worry about the crowd dumping all over the match the way they did with Goldberg and Brock Lesnar back in 2004 at WrestleMania.
Other Match Results and News Items from Last Week
- Triple H was the commentator in place of Corey Graves
- Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley & Sasha Banks defeated Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross (Bliss Cross Applesauce?). Here’s Bayley and Banks in a WWE exclusive:
- They replayed the Smackdown Tag Team Championship Elimination Chamber match.
- Daniel Bryan asked Drew Gulak for help. He later defeated Cesaro with Gulak in his corner. They ran a post-match angle with Sami Zayn and Shinsuke Nakamura attacking Bryan. Gulak came to Bryan’s aid. Here’s Cesaro in a WWE exclusive:
- Jeff Hardy returned to WWE television and defeated King Corbin. Here’s Jeff in an exclusive:
- John Cena returned to talk about his upcoming WrestleMania match with “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. He talked about dusting himself and getting back up after losses to CM Punk, RVD, Rock, the Miz, and the Undertaker. He put over Tomasso Ciampa, Matt Riddle, Velveteen Dream, Rhea Ripley. Bray interrupted, coming out in his Firefly Funhouse character. He told Cena that he broke him when he beat him at WrestleMania 30. He eventually stopped fighting voices in his head and started listening to them. He credited “The Fiend” for putting him back together.
It feels like all the craziness with the coronavirus has lasted a month, but it’s only been a little over a week if you pinpoint last Wednesday as the night everything started. We just wait for that one big of news that’s going to turn things around. I try to enjoy the things I love, spend time with my family, speak to my friends, watch wrestling and other things I enjoy, but it’s difficult knowing what looms ahead. I pray for everyone’s health & safety. I especially hope the wrestlers are safe, given the body contact that goes with what they do. Stay safe everyone and enjoy the things you love.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome. Thank you for reading!