WWE Raw returns tonight (Mar. 23) from the Performance Center. They are building to the two night WrestleMania that will air on April 4 & 5.
Tonight is the last live Raw for a while.
The word is WWE is going to tape a lot of content this week, including WrestleMania. The next few weeks of WWE TV will take place this week.
Honestly, at this point, it makes no difference either way. Without crowds, there’s a much lower chance for things getting spoiled than say taping a show in the UK four hours before airing. And this will allow them to edit segments as needed and make sure it comes off exactly as they want it. Because while live shows add unpredictability, they also can mess up with no way to fix it.
Taping weeks in advance will allow them to make sure things look exactly the way they want it. There will be no botched finishes (I’m looking at you WrestleMania 35’s main event). If there’s a promo that doesn’t come off the way they thought, they can do it again.
Of course the most important reason is to stock up on content while they still can. WWE has 7 hours of TV to fill a week with Raw, SmackDown, and NXT. And as things continue to change regarding the gathering restrictions with coronavirus, there’s definitely no guarantee that they will be able to keep taping live weekly. Or if someone on their staff, wrestlers or production crew, were get the virus, that would likely halt all production as well.
If the requirements for social distancing are for months, there’s going to get to a point that WWE isn’t going to be able to give us new content. So it makes sense to stockpile as many hours that they can while they can.
And given there’s no crowd, it shouldn’t make much, if any, difference to us viewers.
The title scene:
WWE Champion Brock Lesnar will be on hand to respond to Drew McIntyre’s big attack from weeks back. We’ll see if a long Paul Heyman promo works as well when he’s not playing off a crowd. Heyman is very good at promos so he probably will.
Shayna Baszler has argued that wrestling in front of an empty arena at WrestleMania means we’ll be able to hear Becky Lynch’s tendons tearing and bones cracking. It was a good line. Though the big story here may be Becky’s hubris (seriously, a Becky Lynch big rig?) could be what costs her the Raw Women’s championship.
Last week (or maybe a year ago given how time seems to be moving), Rey Mysterio defeated Andrade in a non-title match. Normally that would set up a United States title match between the two. And normally that’d be on WrestleMania. Though at this point, they should be looking to keep both nights at three hours or less
If you asked me a couple weeks ago, I’d guess that the Street Profits would have to defend their Raw tag team titles against the AOP next, likely losing to finally to set up the AOP vs. Viking Raiders feud. But unfortunately Rezar is going to be out awhile with a torn biceps so Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins will need a different set of challengers.
Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross want the Women’s tag team championships and will come to Raw tonight to make it known. The Kabuki Warriors will be waiting for them.
Other things to keep an eye on:
- Last week, Edge challenged Randy Orton to a Last Man Standing match at WrestleMania. Tonight, the Viper responds. He’ll say yes eventually, even though maybe not right away.
- It’s possible outside everything advertised, we won’t see muchelse. They’ve been showing us an old episode every week, and I’d expect another to eat a good 30 - 40 minute chunk of time tonight.
A bit under two weeks to WrestleMania! What will you be looking for tonight?