Bray Wyatt's Stellar Promo, Triple H Steals the Show and More SmackDown Fallout - Bleacher Report

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    Credit: WWE.com

    With the United States under a state of national emergency because of the coronavirus outbreak, WWE SmackDown hit the Fox airwaves live from the company's performance center in Orlando with a show headlined by a hauntingly fantastic promo from Bray Wyatt and the fatherly embrace of Triple H.

    The show, one destined to go down in the annals of WWE history as one of the most unique live broadcasts ever, continued the company's march to WrestleMania and put the emphasis on several ongoing rivalries along the way.

    Relive the March 13 episode with this recap of the night's biggest takeaways.

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    With one promo, Bray Wyatt turned what appeared to be a casualty of a reshuffled WrestleMania card into one of the most anticipated matches on the April 5 extravaganza.

    Wyatt, blaming Cena for his downfall six years ago at the same event, recounted the journey he took to the Firefly Funhouse, then issued a terrifying warning to the future Hall of Famer. "At WrestleMania, it's going to be a slaughter. You just don't know it yet," he warned.

    Gone were the "oh shucks" demeanor and smiles. In their place was an eery seriousness that has come to define the character.

    With no audience to feed off, Wyatt thrived. The lack of a crowd meant no opportunities for the WWE Universe to ruin what was an emotionally intense promo with the chants of "WHAT?!" that have plagued some of the best-intentioned promos of the last two decades.

    When the SmackDown brand most needed a shot in the arm heading into WrestleMania season, it really is no surprise that the great Wyatt rose to the occasion and delivered a verbal performance that created instant excitement and buzz for his match with the equally game Cena.

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    There was an eery sense of reality that fell over Friday night's show.

    The relocation of the show and absence of audience hammered home just how surreal a world we are living in right now. Just when discomfort set in, though, the WWE Universe's dad rushed to its aid and provided a night of unexpected fun and entertainment.

    Triple H welcomed the viewing audience to his baby, the WWE Performance Center, and proceeded to join Michael Cole on the headsets for one of the most refreshingly fun and light-hearted commentary performances in recent memory.

    He was hilarious, using insider references to break up the monotony that sometimes engulfs the announce position and played off Cole extremely well. He was engaging, took nothing too seriously and even jumped behind a camera while referencing the short-handed nature of the production.

    And best of all, he did it all without taking away any attention from the Superstars on the show.

    There are fans who will point to the NXT brand as proof that Triple H can run WWE and do so to great success, but there may be no greater example of that than what he was able to accomplish Friday night on short notice and with a skeleton crew to work with.

    Without him, the broadcast would most certainly have been an uncomfortable viewing experience for an audience already shell-shocked by what is going on in the world.

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    A week ago on SmackDown, Alexa Bliss issued a challenge to The Kabuki Warriors for a Women's Tag Team Championship match. Friday night, Asuka interfered in Little Miss Bliss and Nikki Cross' match with Sasha Banks and Bayley, costing them the match and adding fuel to what was a flickering fire.

    It now appears, just over three weeks away from WrestleMania, that we have an idea of what the Women's Tag Team Championship match will look like on wrestling's grandest stage.

    The titles, often overlooked by the creative team, have been on the waists on either The Kabuki Warriors or Bliss and Cross for the last eight months, so it makes sense that those two teams would be at the heart of the rivalry. The question remains whether WWE will introduce another team into the mix.

    We have recently seen Natalya have her troubles with Asuka and Kairi Sane, creating some buzz that The Queen of Harts and former Pinup Strong tag team partner Beth Phoenix will reunite for a second, consecutive WrestleMania.

    If that is the case, the in-ring quality will certainly increase. The only negative? Another multi-woman match bogged down by the need to shoehorn in everyone on the card rather than providing an emotionally charged match.

    Still, it was nice to see WWE Creative following up on Bliss and Cross' challenge rather than inexplicably dropping it and moving on, as it has done in the past.

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    While the circumstances were discomforting to say the least, there was something refreshing about the change in scenery for this week's broadcast of SmackDown.

    The WWE production values are so superb that it oftentimes becomes easy to lose sight of the fact that the show looks the same every week. There is very little variation in the set, the camera angles, the crowd shots and the overall presentation, and it can breed boredom and complacency.

    Friday's show was one that had change forced upon it by factors it had no control over. The result, though, was a reminder of how important those breaks in the norm can be.

    The uniqueness of it helped create a more enjoyable presentation for the audience and one that will not soon be forgotten. The WWE production staff banded together to make the most of a tough situation and did so to considerable success.


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