Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world, it appears as though sports entertainment will persevere.
This week’s edition of SmackDown was originally meant to emanate from Detroit but WWE decided to cancel that show and move it to the Performance Center with no fans in attendance.
It made for a slightly weird dynamic and about a quarter of the show was a replay of the Tag Team title match from the Elimination Chamber, but WWE made it work.
Triple H filled in on commentary for the bulk of the show and was clearly having fun.
Jeff Hardy made his advertised return and grabbed a win over Baron Corbin while John Cena also made an appearance. His promo against The Fiend closed the show.
However, one person scheduled to appear who ultimately did not is Paige. It was promoted that the Brit would ‘confront’ SmackDown Women’s champion Bayley, but Michael Cole was forced to announce she wouldn’t make it when questioned by Bayley and Sasha Banks.
Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet has since confirmed that Paige didn’t travel because of coronavirus concerns and WWE are said to have understood her desire not to. The first-ever NXT Women’s champion tweeted about missing the show, too.
Instead of that segment, Bayley and Banks would wrestle Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross in front of the empty arena, but an international ad break would show that the women just stopped wrestling during commercials.
Of course, gone are the days where the wrestling business is protected to the highest degree and everyone is well aware it’s a scripted environment, so why would they put their bodies through anything more with no one watching?
It makes sense, even if it is a weird visual.
As talkSPORT reported last week, the plan for WrestleMania is still to have Bayley defend the title in a six-pack challenge while Bliss and Cross will challenge the Kabuki Warriors for the Women’s Tag Team titles, presumably with the Divas of Doom.
The question is, when will WrestleMania be? Or where?