Wrestling Inc has a report of off-camera notes from a fan who attended last night’s Smackdown taping, noting that the entire south side of the second level of the Toyota Center in Ontario, California was covered with curtains. The south side (camera side) didn’t have very many people sitting there. Here’s the full report:
* Despite the tickets saying the show started at 4:45, which as regulars know it means a pre-taped match before Smackdown airs, the one pre-show dark match, which was between Ali and Buddy Murphy started at 4:40, while the lines at the concession stands and merchandise counters were crowded. Ali and Murphy both impressed the crowd with their solid, but short match, which Ali left victorious.
* Right after that match and before Smackdown came on air, they had the Miz pictured in an SUV, with “Carpool Karaoke Series” on the screen, and Miz walks out through the crowd and sings the Twisted Sister hit “We’re Not Gonna Take It” with the crowd. The words were up on the screen like at a bar and the Miz was pretty brutal when it came to his vocal skills. Towards the end, he left the crowd and walked up the ramp and introduced his wife, Maryse, and she played the air guitar and sang along with Miz to finish the song.
* For those who have never been to the Toyota Center, which had until recently been called the Citizen’s Business Bank Arena, it’s about half the size of the Staples Center, and for Tuesday’s show, the had the entire south side of the second level covered with curtains. The south side or camera side had very few people, as the picture above illustrates.
* It was a more raucous Smackdown crowd than the last couple times here in Ontario, but many left disappointed for a number of reasons. The main complaint I heard walking out were from fans of Roman Reigns, Finn Balor and the women’s roster. There was no appearance from Roman or Finn and there wasn’t one women’s match.
* One of the loudest and most sincere ovations was when the Miz came out to confront Shane McMahon, Elias and Drew McIntyre. Shane went on and on, and Miz emphasized how everyone backstage and everyone in the crowd is getting sick of Shane taking up so much airtime just to feed his ego, which the crowd seemed to back thoroughly, which is how many feel, as McMahon has won his last three PPV matches over legit, full-time stars.
When McMahon gave the Miz 10 seconds to pick a tag-team partner to take on McIntyre & Elias, which ended up being R-Truth, people were disappointed that it wasn’t Roman Reigns, because they had just been talking about Reigns and showing footage of him beating Shane a night ago at Raw.
* Before that tag team match started, they went dark twice for different commercial breaks. During one of the two, they had R-Truth go up to Miz to ask him what kind of match it was so the crowd understood that it was a best-of-three falls contest.
* While Reigns was at Raw, he and Finn Balor are “Smackdown superstars,” which is why people with signs and shirts of the two left disappointed.
* Otis from Heavy Machinery really seemed to get over with the crowd because of his athletic skills and antics that many found to be funny.
* One of the more odd moments was during a commercial break, there was a blonde girl from WWE giving two young fans a chance to win a t-shirt, by answering as many names as they could in 30 seconds. She would say “the Bulgarian brute” and the kid was supposed to say Rusev, and so on, and the two boys had their own 30 second rounds to answer as many names as they could, which were based on wrestler’s nicknames. What made the fans laugh was both boys finished with six correct answers apiece, and yet she didn’t realize that, and claimed one kid beat the other and handed him a Finn Balor shirt that had to be at least 3XL. And as she looked at the other guy, who had actually tied his opponent, he accepted a program from tonight’s show with a puzzled and disappointed look on his face.
* Later in the night, they had two young boys and an even younger girl asked by the same lady to do their best WWE impression. The first boy, probably 12 or so, did a solid Randy “Macho Man” Savage imitation. The second kid, a 10-year old boy, did his New Day impression by doing the “W W E champion” thing, while gyrating his hips like the New Day does, and many found it funny and yet kind of odd to see a young boy doing that. Last, it was maybe an 8-year old girl who said she could imitate the IIconics. And as sweet as she was, all she said was “the IIconics,” and because she was so young, the crowd gave her the biggest reaction, so she won.
* After the final match on Smackdown between Seth Rollins & Kofi Kingston vs Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, 205 Live quickly opened, but they had just two matches. The crowd was not into 205 Live at all.
* The dark main event, which was announced before Smackdown went off the air was Ziggler vs Kofi Kingston. Neither did much of anything and after about eight minutes, you could see the double countout coming from a mile away. Many people booed because it was such a half-assed effort by two guys who always seem to give so much to their fans. By the time Ziggler and Kingston got into the ring at about 7:45 local time, there was maybe 1/3 the crowd still there. Most left midway through the 205 Live, which was not received well.
Best crowd reactions: Seth Rollins, Kofi/New Day, Bayley in her segment with Alexa Bliss.
Most heat: Shane McMahon, Kevin Owens, Dolph Ziggler.