The final SmackDown before WrestleMania Weekend!
John Cena returns to SmackDown to address Bray Wyatt’s special challenge! Will Cena step inside the Firefly Fun House for WrestleMania?
- Triple Threat: Naomi VS Lacey Evans VS Tamina; Tamina wins.
- From WrestleMania 24 – Shawn Michaels VS Ric Flair.
- Tucker Knight VS Dolph Ziggler; Knight wins, by disqualification.
- Daniel Bryan w/ Drew Gulak VS Shinsuke Nakamura w/ The Artist Collection; Bryan wins, by disqualification.
PLAY BY PLAY
SmackDown opens with Miz TV!
Clearly the SmackDown Tag Team Champions, The Miz & John Morrison, are ready for a Ladder Match with all the ladders around. But before they make their entrances, Jimmy & Jey Uso say “Whoa!” No offense to G-Ham, the Usos aren’t waiting on the “hosts.” Especially not after last week’s blindside! Whose show do they think this is? This ain’t Ellen, Oprah or Maury. This is Friday Night Lockdown with WrestleMania on the horizon! And the USos are gonna climb the ladders and become the NEW SmackDown Tag Team Champions! But AWWWW~ people at hoooome~! The New Day makes their entrance now to join the Usos in the ring. And they say “Ohhhh no!” over and over. Did the Usos just say they were going to snatch the W, W, E, world, tag, team, championships?
We all may be used to 70+ THOUSAND screaming fans at WrestleMania, but circumstances aside, it’s still WrestleMania! And ya bois are gonna insert themselves into the annals (Big E giggles) of time. And they do that by climbing up and taking the titles back from Miz & Morrison. But that means getting past the Usos. Before “Dumb & Dumber” got involved, the New Day was gonna get done up. Oh really? Is that how they remember it? Because the way Kofi remembers it is that the New Day had the Usos handled. The rivals argue and clear out chairs but here come Miz & Morrison. Oh don’t mind them. It’s not like this is Miz’s talk show. But he and Morrison are used to this kind of disrespect, despite being A-List #TurtleneckToughGuys. They are SmackDown tag champs that deserve better!
First, they had to defend their titles against the entire SmackDown Tag Division in Elimination Chamber! Check. Now, they must face to undeserving teams in a Ladder match. Why not? But understand that no matter what anyone does, says or throws at them, Miz & Morrison will win! Bicker all you want, because The Miz & Morrison will have a front row preview to Mania. The New Day and Usos are buddy-buddy until competition sets in. Then Miz & Morrison will climb the ladders to STAY SmackDown Tag Team Championships. “Simple, straightforward and effective. Strategy like this is why we are the Greatest Tag Team of the 21st Century!” #BeJealous! Actually, now that Miz & Morrison have climbed ladders and left themselves vulnerable, the Usos and New Day attack!
Miz and Morrison are stuck in a 4v2 that goes down the ramp! Jimmy and Kofi mug Morrison, but then Morrison dodges and a SUPERKICK goes into Kofi! Big E sees that and LARIATS Jimmy! Jey runs at Big E but Big E catches him to THROW him over the barriers! But Miz & Morrison send Big E into a ladder! And then use a ladder to SMASH Kofi! The tag team champions did exactly as they said in using the rivals against each other. Will this happen yet again in that Triple Threat Ladder match?
Triple Threat: Naomi VS Lacey Evans VS Tamina!
Three of the five women in the SmackDown Women’s Championship Elimination Match battle in a sudden death preview! Will the Sassy Southern Belle and Daughter of Superfly #FeelTheGlow? Or will another take the lead going into the big WrestleMania Weekend title fight?
SmackDown returns as Bayley and Sasha Banks join Michael Cole on commentary. Lacey makes her entrance and gives Michael her hat, then throws her shawl at the bad role models. Tamina is last but certainly not least. Cole asks how Bayley would handle being eliminated, but she chooses not to even consider that an option as WWE’s only Grand Slam Women’s Champion. The bell rings and the match begins with Naomi and Lacey going after Tamina together. Tamina shoves them both away but Naomi dropkicks back. Lacey runs in but is put on the apron. Tamina elbows Naomi away but Lacey shoulders Tamina and slingshots to a roll up! Tamina gets up but Lacey dropkicks her down.
Naomi headlocks Tamina and springboards to a sunset flip. Tamina stays up and SLAMS Naomi down! Tamina counter punches Lacey and throws her to the apron. Both Naomi and Lacey are on that apron, and Tamina BLASTS them both off! The wild card is in control as SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns again and Tamina cranks Naomi’s neck. Naomi fights her way up and throws elbows to free herself. Tamina clubs Naomi on the back then whips her to a corner. Tamina runs in but Naomi BOOTS her away! Naomi runs but into Tamina’s clothesline! Cole asks Sasha about being in the Fatal 5 Way and about that smirk she had when it was announced. Sasha redirects the conversation to get him to say, “It’s Boss Time.” Tamina covers Naomi, TWO! Tamina headbutts Naomi down then looms over her. Naomi throws body shots and forearms. Tamina uppercuts back and whips. Naomi springboards to enziguri! Lacey slingshots in to elbow Tamina! And again! Lacey ducks and dodges to LARIAT!
Tamina ends up in a corner. Lacey hits the headstand swinging bronco buster! Lacey slingshots for the elbow drop! But Naomi drags Lacey out! Naomi ROUNDHOUSES Lacey down! Naomi heads up top, Sasha excuses herself from commentary, to throw Lacey into steel steps! But Naomi ROUNDHOUSES Sasha just for good measure. Tamina runs into a ROUNDHOUSE! Naomi slingshot sunset flips, TWO! Naomi enziguris Tamina and then runs. Tamina pops her up for a SAMOAN DROP! Cover, TWO!! Tamina can’t believe it but Bayley “loves” the passion. But doesn’t she care what happened to Sasha? Tamina runs at Naomi in the corner, but Naomi dodges! Naomi has Tamina down then goes up, but Bayley is there! Bayley hotshots Naomi, Tamina SUPERKICKS! Cover, Tamina wins!
Winner: Tamina, by pinfall
The best friends just helped the wild card win? Bayley praises Tamina as the kind of superstar SmackDown needs. She wants to shake hands to show respect, and Tamina takes it. “See you on Sunday. Good job.” But then Tamina SUPERKICKS Bayley!! Tamina doesn’t need to be told she’s good. Sasha wants Tamina to remember the days of Team BAD, but Tamina gives her a SAMOAN DROP! Tamina can do bad all by herself. Will she be the last woman standing in the Fatal 5?
SmackDown returns, and more glitching happens.
No, it isn’t glitching. It’s a message! “The Truth Will Be Heard.” What truth? Who has this truth we are going to hear? That isn’t answered as Mandy Rose walks over to Tucker Knight. Mandy tries to talk with Tucky in regards to his match with Dolph Ziggler later tonight. Will she be able to convince him to take it easy on the Show-Off?
From WrestleMania 24 – Shawn Michaels VS Ric Flair!
WrestleMania was in Orlando, Florida for the first time ever back in 2008! But this was also the last time we’d see this match. The stipulation for this match was that if The Nature Boy lost, he would retire!
The Nature Boy was only just inducted into the Hall of Fame the night before WrestleMania. And now, he walks down the ramp as if it were for the very last time, because it very well could be. The Flair Family is in the front row, and Flair Country is all around them echoing every “WOO~!” The bell rings, and these two living legends tie up. HBK headlocks but Flair powers out, only for HBK to run him over with a shoulder. Fans boo HBK but he’s just wrestling like he would anyone else. HBK and Flair tie up again, and HBK powers Flair to the corner. The ref counts, Flair turns things around, but now the ref reprimands Flair. HBK shoves but Flair shoves back! “Old Yeller, huh!?” Flair is clearly upset over what HBK has said about him in the weeks leading up to this night.
HBK SLAPS Flair away! Flair and HBK tie up again, and Flair knees low to CHOP! And CHOP! And CHOP! Flair whips, HBK reverses but Flair kicks back! Flair whips HBK and elbows him down! Fans “WOO~” as Flair drops the knee! Flair whips HBK again but HBK elbows Flair back hard! Flair uses the ropes to get up but HBK climbs up a corner. HBK is up top, but Flair throws him off! Flair goes up top!? And punches HBK away as HBK tries to return the throw. Flair LEAPS for a crossbody! Cover, TWO! HBK headlocks but Flair counters with a shin breaker! Flair wants it but HBK denies the Figure Four! Flair falls out of the ring, HBK builds speed and wrecks Flair with a baseball slide! HBK aims at Flair from the apron, and MOONSAULTS! But Flair moves, and HBK SMASHES the announce desk!
Fans lose their minds as both men are down! The referee checks on HBK while Flair leaves him behind. HBK writhes and sputters as SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns as both men have returned to the ring. Flair gets HBK up for a back suplex! Cover, TWO! HBK survives, even after wrecking his own ribs. Flair keeps his cool as he drags HBK back up. Flair throws body shots and then hits a butterfly suplex! Cover, TWO! Flair keeps his eyes on HBK as he stomps HBK in the back. HBK gets up but Flair CHOPS him! HBK punches back but Flair CHOPS again. Flair suplexes HBK and holds him up! Then drops him down! Fans give an ovation for the strength Flair still has. Cover, TWO! He tries another cover, TWO! Flair pushes HBK around but HBK kicks back. Flair CHOPS, HBK jabs, repeat! HBK CHOPS now, and CHOPS again! And again! Flair hits back and whips, but HBK comes back with a neckbreaker!
Both men are down and Flair shakes the cobwebs out. HBK and Flair get to opposite ends of the ring. Flair storms over but HBK dumps him out high and hard! HBK goes out to the apron, climbs up top, and MOONSAULTS! This time he hits Flair, right at the ramp! Both men crash and burn but fans are loving it! The ring count begins as both men slowly stir. Flair flounders to the ring but HBK pursues. Both men get in at 9! Flair stomps HBK but hobbles around. HBK CHOPS Flair, but Flair CHOPS back! It’s a CHOP fight now! Flair CHOPS, HBK CHOPS, repeat! HBK gets the edge, whips but Flair reverses, only for HBK to hit flying forearms! Both men are down again, but HBK kips up! HBK gives Flair an atomic drop and a punch! And then another atomic drop and another punch.
Flair flounders up into a scoop slam! HBK catches his breath before he heads to a corner. He’s up top again, for the MACHO ELBOW! He gets up, clutching his ribs and growling as he goes to a corner. Fans boo as HBK tunes up the band! Flair slowly rises in the opposite corner, HBK runs in, but he hesitates to hit the kick! And Flair takes advantage with a takedown! To the FIGURE FOUR! HBK flails and endures as fans are thunderous! Flair cranks as hard as he can but HBK refuses to quit. HBK turns the hold over! Now FLAIR endures! Flair gets the ropebreak and the two are separated. Flair manages to stand, but SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns again as Flair goes for another shin breaker. HBK sunset flips up and over, but Flair stays standing as long as he can! HBK still gets him, TWO!! Flair goes to a corner but HBK is on him with CHOPS! HBK won’t let Flair escape the corner until he whips. Flair reverses and HBK tumbles up the buckles! Flair chop blocks the leg out! Fans “WOO~” and cheer harder as Flair gets a leg. Flair steps through, but HBK cradle counters! TWO, but HBK kicks. Flair blocks, then ducks the enziguri, to get the FIGURE FOUR! HBK flails and endures all over again! HBK is down so it’s a cover, TWO! Flair cranks harder but HBK drags himself towards ropes! But Flair keeps him from them! HBK turns the hold but Flair turns it over again! But HBK gets the ropebreak!
Flair has to let go, but he goes after HBK with stomps! The ref backs Flair off but Flair goes back for more. Flair stomps HBK’s bad leg over and over, then gives us another strut. But he turns around into a SUPERKICK!! Flair just got annihilated! Cover, TWO!?! Flair survives and the fans are thunderous again! HBK drags himself to a corner and his bad leg slows him down. He grits his teeth as he tunes up again. HBK dares Flair to get up, but Flair just reaches around in a daze. HBK continues to tune up but Flair is still on all fours. The ref checks on Flair, but HBK drags him up. Flair blocks the ref’s view as he LOW BLOW mule kicks HBK!! Still the Dirtiest Player in the Game! HBK falls and fans give another ovation! Flair covers, TWO!!
HBK sits up and Flair uses ropes to stand. Flair shakes out more cobwebs before hobbling over. HBK trips Flair to put on the FIGURE FOUR!?! HBK steals the Nature Boy’s move and even modifies it! But Flair drags himself backwards towards ropes. HBK clamps onto the legs with clawing hands but Flair slaps him off them. Flair reaches back, and gets the ropebreak! And then a buckle pad?! The ref keeps him from using the pad as a weapon, but this is a distraction! Flair POKES HBK in the eyes! Again, Dirtiest Player in the Game! HBK lets Flair free as he hobbles around, and Flair rolls him up! TWO!! Flair grits his teeth as he CHOPS HBK. HBK CHOPS back, and we have another CHOP fight on the mat. The two men stand as they give more CHOPS! Flair gets an edge but HBK SUPERKICKS outta nowhere!!
Both men are down as the fans give another ovation! HBK goes to a corner now and looks at Flair. He’s conflicted, even after giving two kicks already. Flair dares HBK to do it, and HBK nods. You can’t hear it, but you can lip read HBK’s words to Flair: “I’m sorry. I love you.” SWEET CHIN MUSIC!!! Cover, Shawn Michaels wins!
Winner: Shawn Michaels, by pinfall; Ric Flair MUST retire
There was only so much Michaels could do not to end Flair in that match. But giving it his all is the ultimate sign of respect to the 16-time world champion. As for the fans, their ovations and tears, along with the chant of, “Thank You, Flair!” are clear signs of our admiration and respect for him. Thank you, Flair, for everything you have done in the ring. Flair is overcome with emotion as he hugs and kisses his family at ringside.
SmackDown has BREAKING NEWS for WrestleMania!
The Lone Wolf King’s vicious attack last week left Elias lying on the floor after a 10 foot drop off the Full Sail perch. The Drifter is still okay to compete, but what shape will he be in when he goes for revenge on Baron Corbin?
And the BIGGEST news is that the WWE Universal Championship match must change! Due to understandable circumstances regarding health and safety, Roman Reigns CANNOT compete! The man to take his place is the Monster Among Men, BRAUN STROWMAN! Will Goldberg #GetTheseHands this WrestleMania Weekend? Or is Strowman simply #WhosNext to lose to the living legend?
Otis paces backstage.
Tucky walks up to the Dozer, and Otis says Ziggler is his! Just as long as Tucky saves him a piece. Of course. But Tucky lets Otis know that Mandy came over and asked about Otis. When? Today? Yesterday? What was she wearing? No, it was today. And she just wanted to know how Otis was doing. But Mandy was on her way to Ziggler’s dressing room so it might’ve just been her being nice. Wait, Otis gets a text. He heads out, but where to? Tucker and Ziggler have their match after the break!
Tucker Knight VS Dolph Ziggler!
The Show-Off swooped in to snag the lovely lady, and then rubbed it in Otis’s face. Tucky is Otis’s best friend and is standing up for him, but will he get a sampler of what Ziggler has in store for WrestleMania?
The bell rings and Tucker circles with Ziggler. Ziggler dodges and slithers away, but then goes for a leg. Tucker blocks that and throws Ziggler off. Tucker runs in but into a back elbow. Ziggler runs into Tucker’s LARIAT! Tucker looms over Ziggler and stomps him at the ropes. Tucker kicks Ziggler in the rings! Ziggler gasps but Tucker drags him up. Ziggler kicks the leg out then turns Tucker for the neckbreaker! And a BIG elbow drop! Cover, TWO! Ziggler clamps onto Tucker with a chinlock and traps an arm. Tucker endures as Ziggler grinds him down. Tucker fights up but Ziggler throws him down by his hair. The ref reprimands but Ziggler dropkicks Tucker down! Cover, TWO!
Ziggler goes right back to the trapped arm and chinlock. Tucker endures all over again, even as Ziggler claws his forehead. Tucker fights his way up and out, but Ziggler kicks low. Ziggler aims, leaps but gets caught! Tucker catapults Ziggler into buckles! And then BOOTS him down! Tucker aims from across the way, and runs in, only to get posted! Ziggler leaps, for the satellite DDT! Both men are down but SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns and Ziggler grinds Tucker back down in the chinlock. Tucker fights up again and pries against the hold. Tucker throws body shots and haymakers! Ziggler throws hands back but Tucker counter punches! Tucker traps both arms for an OVERHEAD suplex! Ziggler flounders out of the ring but Tucker pursues! Tucker bounces Ziggler off the announce desk, then whips him into barriers! The ref starts a ring count but Tucker refreshes the count at 5. Tucker sees Ziggler go up the ramp and pursues. Tucker whips Ziggler into steel steps! Ziggler goes down in a heap and Tucker knocks the top steps over. Tucker puts Ziggler in the ring and runs, but into a kick. He catches it, for a scoop and sidewalk slam! Cover, ROPEBREAK!
Tucker keeps his cool despite being so close. Ziggler flops out of the ring again and Tucker pursues. Tucker brings Ziggler over to the base steps, but Ziggler fights free. Ziggler rakes Tucker’s eyes! The ref reprimands but Ziggler ZIGZAGS Tucker onto the steps!! The ref calls for the bell!
Winner: Tucker Knight, by disqualification
The Show-Off doesn’t care that he lost the match, because he just sent a message to Otis. Ziggler grabs the top half of the steps but Fire &Desire hurry out! Mandy and Sonya stop Ziggler from destroying Tucker, and here comes OTIS! Ziggler runs for the hills but Otis checks on Tucker first. And then the messages appear again. “THE TRUTH WILL BE HEARD.” Who is sending the WWE these messages? We get a glimpse of the man in his control room! The mysterious hacker turns around to say, “Will you pay attention? I told you the truth will be heard.” Then the hacker presses a button, and candid footage plays!
This is from Valentine’s Day SmackDown two months ago! Mandy is on the phone and is talking with someone. “He’s big. He’s really big. But I think Otis is cute, in a different kind of way.” She’s talking to Sonya about how sweet Otis is. Sonya wants Mandy to know she does support Mandy in this. Especially with their date coming up. Sonya wants Mandy to share all the details when they meet up later. Mandy heads out, but Sonya picks up Mandy’s phone!! Sonya sent the text about Mandy being late!! Then she deleted the evidence!! But the hacker made it known! And wait, there’s more! Sonya did it, because she was in cahoots with Ziggler!! It was meant to be a win-win between them!
Sonya begs Mandy forgive her and understand why she did it. But Mandy storms off, not sure who to trust anymore. But as for Otis, he still wants after Ziggler! Ziggler gets to the ramp but Otis clips him! Ziggler gets up fast and gets away even faster! The mystery hacker has given Otis even more of a reason to go after the Show-Off! But just who is this digital vigilante? And if they watched what unfolded between Otis, Mandy, Sonya and Ziggler, what other secrets have they seen?
SmackDown returns to Sonya hurrying after Mandy.
Mandy will not wait for the person she thought was a friend. Sonya is panicking about what to do to fix this. Is there anything that can make up for what Sonya did?
Daniel Bryan w/ Drew Gulak VS Shinsuke Nakamura w/ The Artist Collection!
The Philly Stretcher helped The Goat earn a WWE Intercontinental Championship match for WrestleMania Weekend, but he did have some help from Bryan. Bryan now goes against The King of Strong Style just to show “The Great Liberator” that he’s not going to coast. Will Bryan beat Nakamura and be ready for Sami Zayn the next day?
The bell rings and Bryan circles with Nakamura. Sami joins commentary but tells Cole to leave him alone because he’s in a bad mood. Bryan goes for a leg, Nakamura blocks the takedown and gets around. Bryan slips out of the waistlock to go for a headlock. Nakamura slips out but Bryan gets a leg for a heel hook. Nakamura pries that apart but Bryan stays close. Bryan facelocks then wrenches to a wristlock. He brings Nakamura down and keylocks the arm, to STOMP it! Nakamura gets up and gets space. The two approach and Nakamura calls for a test of strength. Bryan accepts, but Nakamura kicks him low! Nakamura wrenches and yanks on Bryan’s arm to then clamp on with a wristlock. Bryan fights out and around to spin Nakamura for a wristlock of his own.
Bryan drags Nakamura down but Nakamura gets to his base. But Bryan rams a knee into the ribs! Nakamura sits up but Bryan has the hammerlock. Nakamura elbows out, runs but into a dropkick! Bryan runs as Nakamura bails out, and Bryan wrecks Nakamura with a dropkick! Sami grows further upset as Bryan hits a FLYING knee! Cesaro lurks close but Gulak keeps him back. Bryan puts Nakamura in the ring then climbs up top. Bryan leaps and missile dropkicks Nakamura down! And then kips up! “Sami, this one’s for you!” Bryan goes corner to corner to dropkick Nakamura! He hoists Nakamura up top and climbs up to join him. Bryan SUPER STEINERS, but Nakamura slips out! Bryan hits the mat, then Nakamura hits him with a FLYING KNEE of his own! Cover, TWO!
Nakamura backs off to watch Bryan stir. Nakamura kicks Bryan while he’s down then put shim in the corner. He gives Bryan Bad Vibrations! Nakamura whips Bryan corner to corner then runs in. Bryan puts up boots but Nakamura blocks them! Nakamura turns Bryan sideways on the ropes, for the SLIDING GERMAN! Sami finally likes what he sees and high fives with Cesaro while SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns as Nakamura rams his shoulder into Bryan in a corner. Nakamura whips Bryan corner to corner but Bryan goes up and over. Things speed up and Bryan hits a leaping lariat! Sami is upset again as Bryan and Nakamura rise. Bryan fires himself up and gives Nakamura YES Kicks! Nakamura sits up but Bryan kicks him from all sides! Bryan powers up but the buzzsaw misses! Nakamura drags Bryan back, down, and around to RAM knees into Bryan’s head and shoulders! Sami is happy again as Nakamura gives Bryan some kicks! Nakamura powers up but Bryan blocks the buzzsaw into a takedown! Bryan Penalty Kicks the arm out! And then ROUNDHOUSES Nakamura down! Cover, TWO!!
Gulak coaches Bryan but Sami says Gulak has only just “squeaked by” on SmackDown. Bryan brings Nakamura up to give him a shoulder breaker! And then another! Bryan drags Nakamura down and grinds the arm, but Nakamura knees Bryan back. Nakamura whips Bryan into buckles, then hits an inverted EXPLODER! But Bryan lands on his feet! Bryan runs but into a BOOT! Now Gulak is worried as Nakamura has Bryan up. INVERTED EXPLODER! Bryan is down and Nakamura takes aim. “YAO~!” But Bryan trips Nakamura up into a Half Crab! Nakamura endures, Bryan sits DEEP! But Nakamura gets the ROPEBREAK! Sami sings Nakamura’s praises but Gulak coaches Bryan up again.
Bryan and Nakamura stand and Bryan unleashes kicks. Nakamura gives strikes in return, so Bryan throws more kicks and uppercuts. Nakamura kicks and punches and knees Bryan back. He unleashes the strike fest but Bryan gets the arm! Bryan gets an armbar but Nakamura counters with his own. Bryan covers, TWO! Nakamura gets a flying takedown! Bryan grips his hands together but Nakamura hammers it apart! Bryan rolls to get his own armbar back! Sami can’t even believe that happened! Bryan gets Nakamura in a triangle hold, but Nakamura fights up. Only for Bryan to drag him into the YES LOCK! Nakamura endures but Cesaro attacks!
Winner: Daniel Bryan, by disqualification
Cesaro stomps Bryan down but Gulak rushes in! Gulak tackles Cesaro out of the ring! Sami panics as Gulak BOOTS Cesaro and then laps on for a floating guillotine! But Cesaro powers up to TOSS Gulak over barriers! Sami is fired up but Bryan DIVES onto Cesaro! But Cesaro catches Bryan to scoop SLAM him on the announce desk! Sami says this is all a preview of WrestleMania! The Artist Collective attack Gulak together, and whip him into steel steps! Nakamura drags Bryan up for Sami to push around. The referee tells them to stop but they put Bryan in the ring. Sami grabs his title belt and brings it into the ring. Cesaro gives Bryan the NEUTRALIZER! Nakamura gives Bryan a KINSHASA!
“You don’t want to listen to reason, huh?” Then this is what Bryan gets for rejecting their invitation! Cesaro and Nakamura stand Bryan up, for Sami’s HELLUVA KICK!!” Bryan is down and Sami says justice has been served. Will Sami and his “collective” continue to reign after WrestleMania?
John Cena returns again!
He’s back again after having heard Bray Wyatt’s challenge to have WWE’s first ever Firefly Fun House match. Cena says that one month ago, the WWE announced that it’d continue its broadcasts right here at the Performance Center, even with no live audience. It was a message that left everyone from fans to wrestlers asking, “What’s really going to happen?” There’s a learning curve, but together, we have all navigated the uncertainty. Cena thanks the fans for letting the WWE do so. Because it has all lead up to this: the final minutes of the final show before an “unprecedented WrestleMania.” And yet everyone is still asking, “What’s really going to happen?”
Cena explains that tomorrow night, on the WWE Network and PPV providers, it will be night one of the most viewed and most talked about event in WWE history. Because for the first time ever, no one really knows what will happen. Cena himself has been challenged to a Firefly Fun House match. But no one knows what that is! Bray Wyatt himself might not know. But Cena knows this is what The Fiend wants. The Fiend loves uncertainty. Uncertainty leads to fear, fear leads to panic, and panic leads to collapse. The Fiend thrives off of uncertainty. The Fiend has dominated the WWE with uncertainty, fear and panic. Yet here we are. The night before WrestleMania 36, “staring into the uncertainty, asking, ‘What happens next?’”
Cena will tell you what happens next. Cena refuses to panic, and he is sure as hell not afraid. Most of all, he will SQUASH Bray Wyatt and finish what he started six years ago. Cena doesn’t care if it’s a Fun House, Run’s House or Stone Cold Stun’s House! Bray Wyatt is NOT even on the level below Cena! Those who know Cena know what he’s capable of. And those same people know some bootleg of a poor man’s Mr. Rogers stands NO CHANCE of defeating Cena. As for The Fiend, is Cena really supposed to fear “a guy dressed up as the overfed sex child of Wiz Khalifa and the WB Frog?” Fiend please! Goldberg exposed The Fiend’s weakness. Cena exposes the Fiend as an embarrassment!
The Fiend challenged Cena just as Cena was stepping aside. And he has tried to get every advantage possible! This is his match choice on his turf on his terms, and he is STILL going to get his ass kicked! Cena asks us, “What’s going to happen?” But he also answers Bray Wyatt’s challenge: “I accept!” And Ramblin’ Rabbit is here?! Ramblin’ is SO excited! Because once The Fiend is done with him, Cena will be playing with the Fun House gang forever! Huskis is here, too, and echoing, “Forever~!” Mercy the Buzzard and Abby the Witch, too… “Uh oh. He’s here~…!” The lights go down. And when they come back up, an eerie red light shines on the perch. The Fiend stands there, glaring at Cena. Cena glares back, unflinching.
The tension mounts, and then BRAY IS BEHIND CENA! “Let Me In!” Lights go down again, and then come back up. Cena is all alone. Cena may not be afraid now, but will that all change this weekend?
Honestly, this was a pretty good go-home here. Global circumstances were of course going to put a cap on how good this episode was going to be. But what we got did a good job in setting things up for Mania. Well, mostly. I’m a little disappointed they didn’t give us a reason for Roman Reigns stepping down from the Universal Championship match. The world knows what’s going on in the world, so you might as well explain that Roman’s immune system might not be up to dealing with illness right now. I know the WWE wants to keep kayfabe and not worry anyone with real-world things, but c’mon. Worrying will happen regardless. But now that it’s official, I hope Strowman wins in Roman’s place and we can get Strowman VS Roman 2020, whenever 2020 decides to be cool.
The Women’s Triple Threat was pretty good, and it was fairly clear Tamina was going to win that because of Bayley and Sasha. But I feel like this is all just to make the math to make it that much easier for Sasha to take the title. Tamina could clear the field, and then Sasha gets Tamina off guard with a Bank Statement. Ziggler VS Tucker was alright but the finish was the major part. Oof, Tucker falling back on those stairs… And then I was really surprised to see this SmackDown hacker make their presence known tonight. The secret is out, and Otis VS Ziggler is going to be even more intense. Can Otis win both the match and the girl in one night?
Seeing Flair VS Michaels was a great choice for the PPV replay. 2008, I was about to graduate high school, if you can believe it. I didn’t see that match the first time, and just hadn’t taken the time to see it. But in the 12 years, I learned a lot about that match just from highlight reels and all that. I still reacted to seeing Michaels hit the desk like that, though. And it doesn’t matter how many times you see it, seeing HBK say “I’m sorry, I love you” and Flair going to his family and hugging a young Charlotte Flair is still going to hit the heartstrings.
Then, Cena in the go-home of the go-home was great. His message intertwining with the world’s circumstances is definitely on-brand for Top Face Cena. Plus, his use of “squash” was a subtle touch of meta given pro-wrestling terminology. And the silver-lining of pre-recorded Empty Arena SmackDown is being able to edit things like they did for maximum effectiveness. Because with the puppets and The Fiend being present, Bray as himself still popping up was very effective for me. I can’t wait to see what the Firefly Fun House match will be.
My Score: 8.2/10