FEEDBACK: Friday Night SmackDown (The Empty Arena)

Tonight, I’ll be joined by Mike Murray for Rewind-A-SmackDown to discuss one of the strangest episodes in WWE history from the empty WWE Performance Center.

We will also go through the latest on show cancellations, updates, and other notes attached to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The news segment on tonight’s show will be made available free for everyone and the SmackDown review will be on the Patreon feed.


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0 voters

1 Like

Brandon from Oshawa

I thought the promos were all great, the matches came off kinda lame. It’s going to be tough to get through these shows, while there is no fans. While I enjoyed HHH getting on Cole tonight, I fear we’ll get a lot more of this kind of stuff until we’re back to normal and it will get annoying.

If Wrestlemania ends up getting cancelled, what do you guys see happening? Do they hold off every match, until they can eventually have the show? Or will we get those matches on weekly TV and have a completely new Wrestlemania card? With rumors that it could be held in June or July, I don’t see how they can hold off those matches.

1 Like

Sean from Toronto

I watched this show more out of curiosity than anything and I am left mind-boggled why WWE feel the need to continue the build to Wrestlemania when every sports league has halted operations?

I can’t see myself watching these empty arena shows on a regular basis, since it’s just sad and awkward without the fans and that’s not what pro wrestling is supposed to be.

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Paul from New Jersey

Welp, Triple H’s opening promo sounded almost as disingenuous as Hogan, but I did find him quite enjoyable on commentary. I could understand how others would think he was annoying. Glad Gulak isn’t going back to obscurity, like you guys said, talent should be rewarded for standout performances. Sami Zayn slays me every time & Roman usually bores me to tears, but he did sound good in this environment. The show did have some uncomfortable moments like the Jeff Hardy alcohol jokes as well as bragging about your social media attention during a pandemic. Still, nothing surprise me anymore, so I give the show a 6. Over/under this show does a 3.5.

1 Like

Very fast episode, this had to be harder for them to perform in front of no one but triple H.

The reigns bulldozer line was cringe, but other than that they kept it simple. Simple and wwe, who would’ve thought. The EC tag match was a nice add, show off the best match from Sunday.

I hope raw follows suit and I hope that is a quick episode.
Empty arena had my attention, wonder if this was a test for mania?

Thanks for all you do and greatest mania podcast was entertaining. Thanks gents!
-San Antonio Lou

1 Like

Nick from Lansing

This will be the first of what seems to be many strange wrestling shows for the next couple of weeks and I think we should commend the company for trying something considering the circumstances. Not a completely awful show and Hunter was at least having some fun on commentary, but I can see people finding him distracting.

None of the matches really picked up, and the Bryan/Cesaro match wasn’t given the time to get heated physically. As a theatre kid the lack of audience reaction made the whole show feel like a final dress rehearsal. It was felt the most when people were cutting promos directed at an audiences that wasn’t there.

I hope they figure out some of the kinks for upcoming shows, but keep Hunter there so someone doesn’t feel too scripted

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Kudos to them for even pulling this show off. The lack of crowd noise really highlights the bizarre performance art nature of pro wrestling.

With no NBA or NHL, it was nice to have some TV content that wasn’t revolving around the coronavirus. This couldn’t have been an easy show to produce. Nobody would have blamed the talent if they didn’t want to make the trip to the Performance Centre. I appreciate them for trying. 9/10

1 Like

Noah from Vaughan

It was a show I will always remember, I thought they did a good job of taking my mind of all that’s going on right now and gave me a 2 hour show that was enjoyable. Triple H and Cole were brilliant all show long. So sorry to hear about you guys having to cancel the Live in Tampa show. 7.5/10 show

1 Like

Chris Thunder from Down Under.

I’m not really sure how to grade this show of SmackDown, good in trying circumstances I guess is accurate enough.

Triple H messing with Cole was funny, but was Jeff Hardy injured, guy was holding he lower back and limping to the back post match.

In reguards to Covid-19, in Australian so much has changed in the past 24-hours alone. At 2:00pm on Friday the 13th March 2020 (local time) Australian Cheif Medical Officer advised the cancellation of all events and public gatherings of over 500 people.

The F1 Melbourne Race & Netball Pre-Season events have been canceled. While AFL, AFLW, NRL, Super Rugby, & International Cricket are all continuing as empty arena matches (no fans in 40,000 to 100,000 stadiums).

Additionally, wrestling events from some of the biggest local companies are continuing as normal but are monitoring the situation.

  • Pro Wrestling Australia (March 20): “Comming out of my cave & I’ve been doing just fine”
  • Melbourne City Wrestling (March 21): “Fallout”

And members of parliament, Australian Home Affairs Minister Perer Dutton has tested positive.

Nas from NYC

Funny story: WWE throughout the show kept playing TV ads for their MSG house show on March 22nd where DX and Drew McIntyre are advertised. And the ad actually reminded me that I had actually bought tickets to this show weeks ago and with recent events taking place, I had completely escaped my mind.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo banned gatherings of 500 or more in NYC yesterday. So what is WWE promoting this show today. And it’s 9 days away. Are you kidding me, Vince? Needless to say, refund or not, I’m not going.

Look I can sit here and critique down the finer details of the episode and the company. But at the end of the day, this is truly my only source of live entertainment for the foreseeable future. Though I’d rather not have them doing this, these wrestlers and crew went out of their way to work this episode for us. So I have to show some level of appreciation to the people involved and indirectly to the company.

1 Like

Anthony from Melbourne

I heard rumours of this empty arena from the performance centre from over 24 hours ago, yet this show felt like it was put together in a matter of hours?!

Did they not have a contingency if this was to happen? It seemed like there was so much filler and improvisation, did Hunter really come back out after the first set because of online pressure? Did they really not have enough content to have to replay a chamber match?

Some inside jokes and ribs were fun for tonight but if this becomes a frequent event for the immediate future, a repeat of this type of show is going to get old very quick.

On that, did they actually mention what will happen with future events on the show?

Also going over your predictions for Daniel Bryan recently we ended up with a mixture of all your possibility’s after tonight’s show.

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I loved the beginning of the show, but the moment they threw to the tag-team elimination match I died. I was able to leave, grab food, and come back and somehow STILL see the ending of that match! If not for the Cena promise I’d flipped the channel. There were times during the Cena segment where Bray sounded like Bo and I just couldn’t unhear his brother. The uniqueness of this show was great, but if Raw has bad PPV matches interwoven like SD just had, “Imma head out”

My toddler loves informing me of who isn’t wearing pants/shirt, and Sasha was the bad girl this episode. Sasha, please put on some pants! 7 “she’s not wearing pants” out of 10.

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Andrew from Cape Breton

I’m watching this on PVR right now, and the first segment on the show was extremely rough. Tonight’s first segment exposed WWE badly with how formulaic the shows are. The fact that WWE doesn’t care about wins and losses makes it worse. I feel if AEW had shows like these, they could just run match after match and they all have a point, because guys still need wins to progress.

The only positive was Bryan vs Cesaro. One big reason for that is, Daniel Bryan cares about competition and winning as he’s shown with his most recent match at Elimination Chamber and realizing the holes in his game. But yeah, 3 out of 10 show. Shows like these I think are doable, but they did a poor job tonight.

1 Like

Ruairi from Melbourne, Australia

I was incredibly interested in this show and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it, it was rough and ready and I loved HHH having fun out there with Cole with some great lines. It was fun seeing the performers react to no crowd but seeing Cena and Hardy come out to no crowd reactions was very weird and took away from it. All in all fun and took my mind off things. Sad to hear about your show being off.


1 Like

Rafael from North Liberty

They tried. This was the furthest thing from what I was expecting. I really enjoyed all of it. I wasn’t seeing the corporate behemoth that demands a bland unfun feel. I was seeing people that were there to do what they love. The highlights were everything Triple H and Asuskas attack and dance. Happy birthday Wai and happy belated birthday John.

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I remember doing wrestling shows with my little brother when I was younger in our bedroom. That’s what it felt like.