By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Dot Net Member Tyler England attended the WWE Smackdown event in Nashville, Tennessee at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday and sent the following report.
-The entire upper deck was tarped off, but the 100 and 200 levels were mostly full except for a few places of empty seats near the hard cameras.
-There was a dark match before Smackdown began that saw Naomi defeat Ruby Riott with the Rear View. The Riott Squad tried to get involved in this but Naomi was able to overcome it. The match was fine for what it was, and the crowd was hot for it.
-There were tons of loud Rusev Day chants before the show went live, including during the live cut in that they film for the USA Network. Not sure if it made TV or not.
-The Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon segment was well received for the most part. Both of them got really good reactions, but there was an awkward moment of silence during the promo that had some of the crowd chanting “boring.” The crowd reacted well to the “hug it out” line. Overall, they seemed to be pleased with the opener.
-Charlotte Flair received a nice welcome, and Natalya got a mixed reaction with some nice boos thrown in. The crowd was quiet for most of the match but down the stretch they got into it and everyone popped for the teased cash in. Asuka’s music made everyone erupt as they seemed surprise to see her, even though she was on the Mixed Match Challenge later on.
-The AJ Styles interview fell at an awkward time during the broadcast as a lot of people had gotten up for a restroom and concessions break. The fans who did watch it seemed to react well, though. The Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon video package that followed was about the same, most people had been up at the concessions or they were checking their phones. That’s the one negative of doing back to back video packages, they are known to negatively affect the live crowd.
-Bobby Roode’s entrance theme seems to be what fans like the most about him. Once the music stops, people aren’t reacting big to him. I know he was just on commentary here, but other tapings that I’ve attended in the past have been the same way. Jinder Mahal got mostly a flat reaction, but Aiden English got a nice pop. The Rusev Day rap was well received by the crowd, and Rusev was mega over. Everyone was chanting Rusev Day through his entrance and off and on during the match. One of the loudest pops of the night came whenever Randy got the RKO Outta Nowhere and then followed up with one to English.
-More of the same reaction for the Nakamura interview. Lots of people headed to the concourse.
-The crowd reacted awesomely to New Day being on the screen. They wanted to see them but they never ended up coming out.
-The eight-man tag got basically no reaction until we got down the stretch. People mostly seemed interested to see Baron Corbin. Everyone has entered during what I’m guessing was a commercial break. The finishing sequence wowed the crowd.
-Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens showing up seemed to be unexpected by most people. I thought they would show up in some capacity, but when they didn’t during the opening segment I figured they would hold them off of the show again. The crowd reacted well, but a lot of people in my section tuned out because the production crew was getting cameras in place for their crowd exit, which was right along the isle where we were seated. The crowd popped again for Shane’s music and was singing along with Bryan for the goodbye song.
-Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable didn’t get much of a reaction, but Shinsuke and AJ got some of the loudest reactions of the night. A light start to the match but fans became more interested during the closing moments. The post match angle with AJ faking out Shinsuke got a pop, but some people seemed to not be impressed that they done the opposite of the week before. I’m still confident the match will deliver, despite having a lackluster build.
-They transitioned right into the Mixed Match Challenge. There was some people leaving after Smackdown, but most stayed. For those wondering, I spotted Michael Cole and Beth Phoenix near the time keepers area about 10 minutes before Smackdown went off the air. The ring crew quickly changed the apron and announce table cover while the commentators were standing up at the beginning of the show.
-Booby Roode and Charlotte Flair got a nice pop but not nearly as loud as they had a couple hours earlier. People were hot for Asuka and the Miz. The match definitely held the crowd’s interest, and I believe most people were waiting to see how they would handle Charlotte and Asuka being in the ring together. The post match promo by the Miz and Asuka received lots of pops, as expected due to him endorsing the charity work.
-I was in attendance with my father and we left before 205 Live due to severe weather impacting the area and having a 1.5-2 hour drive home. There were TONS of people also leaving, the concourse was literally flooded with people leaving after the Mixed Match Challenge. I felt bad for not staying but we needed to get home and the weather wasn’t working in our favor.
-No return date was announced while I was there.
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