Last night (Mar. 19), word got out about WWE’s plan to pre-tape the episodes of Raw & SmackDown leading up to WrestleMania 36 - and even parts of ‘Mania itself.
A report with more specifics came out today from Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer.
Tonight’s SmackDown on Fox and the next two episodes (airing Mar. 27 and April 3) will be filmed tonight and tomorrow at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando.
Mon., Mar. 23’s Raw will tape that day, and the Mar. 30 episode will tape on Tuesday. Both are set for the PC.
Details of the WrestleMania shooting schedule are being kept secret, and very few within the company are privy on the decision about what will be live and what will be taped. That includes most of the talent, who know “no more than anyone else”.
WWE doesn’t include the word “live” in their promotional material for WrestleMania 36 on their website. Instead, it’s “an historic two-night presentation, streaming on WWE Network with former New England Patriot Rob Gronkowski hosting The Show of Shows at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on Saturday, April 4, and Sunday, April 5.”
As for NXT, Meltzer says they hope to get back to a more normal show next Wednesday, but “the current plan ... is unknown”.
Overall, if you’re committed to releasing product, this is the best plan. Get material in the can you can polish up later in the event something happens later that makes it impossible to film at all.