This Week In The WWE: 3/22-3/28

A lot has happened since we last met! First and foremost, we hope everyone out there in Place 2 Be Nation is safe and healthy. That’s what’s most important!

Now, as far as the WWE is concerned, there are various developments on many fronts. It’s been reported that the WWE has already taped all their programming through WrestleMania including the RAW and NXT after WrestleMania. That falls in line with the April 9th date that has the Performance Center closed by local officials in Orlando. The April 10th edition of SmackDown is also rumored to take place at the Performance Center as well.

The coronavirus has had many effects on the way to WrestleMania and now has impacted the card itself. According to various reports, Roman Reigns, citing health concerns and his battle with leukemia, has bowed out of his Universal Championship Match with Bill Goldberg.  The Miz, due to being sick, is out of his SmackDown tag team title match. Andrade has been replaced by Austin Theory, who will now team with Angel Garza against The Street Profits in the RAW Tag Team Title Match.

Things are VERY fluid these days in the WWE. Stay tuned as things could (and WILL) change over the next few days. We’ll have to see just how much that has leaked out comes to fruition or gets redone over the next 7 days.


Updated WrestleMania Card (as of 3/28/20 with reported changes):

  • WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar vs. Drew McIntyre
  • Universal Championship: Goldberg vs. Roman Reigns  Braun Strowman
  • Boneyard Match: The Undertaker vs. AJ Styles
  • Firefly Funhouse Match: John Cena vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt
  • RAW Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch vs. Shayna Baszler
  • NXT Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair
  • SmackDown Women’s Championship – WrestleMania Fatal Five-Way Challenge Elimination Match: Bayley vs. Sasha Banks vs. Lacey Evans vs. Tamina vs. Naomi
  • Last Man Standing Match: Edge vs. Randy Orton
  • Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins
  • RAW Tag Team Championship: The Street Profits vs. Andrade Angel Garza & Austin Theory
  • Aleister Black vs. Bobby Lashley
  • Elias vs. King Corbin
  • Intercontinental Championship: Sami Zayn vs. Daniel Bryan
  • Otis vs. Dolph Ziggler
  • SmackDown Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Ladder Match: The Miz & John Morrison vs. The New Day vs. The Usos (possibly a 1-on-1-on-1 match with Morrison vs. one member of The Usos vs. one member of The New Day)

Not announced:
Women’s Tag Team Championship Match – Kabuki Warriors (Asuka & Kairi Sane) vs. Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross vs. ???


RAW

RESULTS

  • Andrade & Angel Garza defeated Cedric Alexander & Ricochet
  • Non-Title RAW Tag Team Championship Match: Champions The Street Profits defeated Shane Thorne & Brendan Vink
  • Aleister Black defeated Leon Ruff

Definitely, a different vibe with RAW tonight with the different camera angle. A more cozy look to the show helps. It was also good to see them finally acknowledge the “tough times” the Country is facing, something they didn’t address last week. It’s ok to be honest with the audience, we can take it.

As usual, the promo work from the likes of Paul Heyman, Seth Rollins and Randy Orton delivers home runs in pushing forward their respective matches for WrestleMania. I especially liked the mixing of video directly into Orton’s promo, a nice touch instead of just tossing to a video on the big screen.

What exactly is a Boneyard Match AJ Styles? I’m assuming it’s something to do with a cemetery, right? We’ll find out I’m sure over the next week what it will entail for The Undertaker. BTW: What is his fascination with Michelle McCool anyway?

Interesting that the WWE had chosen to give United State Champion Andrade and Angel Garza a tag team title match without really accomplishing anything as a tag team. But, at this point, it’s all about getting their top stars into matches for the two-day event. Now, with Andrade reportedly out, it’s NXT’s Austin Theory who will get the title chance with Angel Garza.

Also, interesting that they chose to use stars from EVOLVE and NXT in matches rather than current RAW talents. As we’ve said previously, they are taping a lot of content over the course of a few days to maximize time and talents with the coronavirus still spreading. So, it could be just that.

BANG! How did that chair shot feel Shayna Baszler? The Man, Becky Lynch sure delivered a wallop there!

Damn, Charley Caruso sure is getting a lot of airtime these days. What and when will we get a payoff with Angel Garza and “Chuck?”

Finally, continued good use of prior matches to push current stories ahead. The 2015 Royal Rumble match with Brock Lesnar defeating John Cena and Seth Rollins cements further the fact of how dominant he’s been for 18 years. Charlotte Flair’s streak-ending win over Asuka at WrestleMania 30 boosts her stock as well heading into her NXT Championship match with Rhea Ripley.

Overall, an enjoyable show considering the circumstances.


NXT

RESULTS

  • Tyler Breeze defeated Austin Theory
  • Killian Dain defeated Tehuti Miles
  • Cameron Grimes defeated Tony Nese
  • NXT Women’s Championship #1 Contender’s Ladder Match: Io Shirai defeated Aliyah
  • Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch defeated Shane Thorne & Brendan Vink
  • NXT Women’s Championship #1 Contender’s Ladder Match: Candice LeRae defeated Kayden Carter
  • Matt Riddle defeated Roderick Strong

On NXT, we get matches again after a week off for some really good storytelling. That definitely helped the ratings get back up with a big boost this past Wednesday night (nearly 669,000 after last week’s 500,000)

Two more additions for the #1 Contender’s Ladder Match as Io Shirai, subbing for an injured Xia Li, joins Candice LeRae for the right to face Rhea Ripley down the road.

Even though it backfired on Austin Theory, loved the use of Tyler Breeze’s cell phone in their match. It was a good back-and-forth between the two to start the night!

Matt Riddle gets the win over Roderick Strong before being taken out by the returning Malcolm Bivens and his new tag team, “the future of the NXT Tag Team Division.” Way to take advantage of Pete Dunne being stuck overseas!

To cap the night, Triple H lays the edict down on Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano. They get one last match to end the feud. It’ll be in an empty arena with just a ref to say it’s over! Sounds like we will get one for the ages if their romp around the Performance Center last week is any indication.

But, before they were done, Triple H, Ciampa and Gargano get interrupted to end the show with Tick. Tock. Apocalypse! Killer Kross is coming folks! It’s official! We can only hope that he brings Scarlett Bordeaux with him!

An entertaining show that definitely moved things forward. Quality stuff and some 205 Live mixed it to boot, thanks Tony Nese, even in defeat!


SMACKDOWN

RESULTS

  • Drew Gulak defeated Shinsuke Nakamura – Danial Bryan wins Intercontinental Championship Match vs. Sami Zayn at WrestleMania
  • Alexa Bliss defeated Asuka
  • The Usos vs. The New Day went to a no-contest when The Miz & John Morrison interfered – The Usos & The New Day win SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match at WrestleMania

Very surprised at how little things changed on SmackDown Friday night given the fact of how much we know things WILL change in regards of WrestleMania. It almost seemed like they were going out of there way not to admit things are changing. I would’ve been up front with it. We all know that COVID-19 has affected everything. They’ve yet to come right out and say it. Just do it!

We still got Triple H hyping up Roman Reigns and his match against Bill Goldberg for the Universal Championship. That came after a replay of Reigns beating Triple H back at WrestleMania 32 in Texas. We now all know that Reigns has bowed out of WrestleMania 36, but the WWE is still hyping the match. In fact, they doubled down after SmackDown by hyping a final confrontation between Reigns and Goldberg on next week’s show.

They’re also still hyping a possible Women’s Tag Team Championship Match for Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross against The Kabuki Warriors after Bliss beat Asuka Friday night in a fun match. Loved Nikki Cross on commentary too! Unpredictable is a good thing!

As for the Women’s Championship, the show opening promo-fest with Bayley, Sasha Banks, Lacey Evans, Naomi and Tamina was nothing short of predictable and did little to gain interest, IMHO.

We knew it was coming – Daniel Bryan gets his I-C Title shot against Sami Zayn after Drew Gulak took out Shinsuke Nakamura, with Bryan’s help.

A couple of things that bewildered me. First, how can Elias really compete at WrestleMania in a week after being thrown off a balcony by King Corbin? Seriously?!

What exactly is a Firefly Funhouse Match? It sounds intriguing as hell, so I hope it delivers between The Fiend and John Cena.

With The Miz & John Morrison doing ringside commentary, do you really need a crowd to fill the noise? Damn, they are entertaining and non-stop!


Parting shots:

There’s plenty of wrestling on TV for the WWE before WrestleMania.

Sunday – 4:30pm ESPN – WWE Behind the Curtain

Sunday – 5:30pm ESPN – Ric Flair 30 for 30

Sunday – 7pm ESPN – WrestleMania 32 from Arlington, TX

Tuesday – 7pm FS1 – Royal Rumble 2020


Thanks for letting us share our thoughts! Shoot me an email at jcrowe567@gmail.com. We’d love to hear your comments and suggestions! You can also check out my blog, The Crowe’s Nest as we delve into more pro wrestling, sports entertainment and the World of Sports. My apologies ahead of time – I AM a Patriots and Red Sox fan! If you’re not down with that, I’ve got TWO WORDS for you… NEW ENGLAND!

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