Last night’s unique episode of SmackDown Live took place in front of a crowd of zero fans. WWE made the decision to broadcast the show from the WWE Performance Center with only key personnel in attendance.
Because of this, it appears that measures were put in place to minimise potential danger to their Superstar. This extended to having them take a break during commercials. Unbeknownst to WWE, however, there were versions of the episode delivered to international audiences showcasing the break in the action.
SmackDown’s Opening Contest
During the show’s first match between Sasha Banks and Bayley versus Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross, all four Superstars stop competing when they know the show has gone to commercial.
This allowed them the opportunity to rest and take a break without needing to continue the action to an empty audience.
Taking A Break During The Break
In the footage, the women can be seen talking, with Nikki Cross frequently running around the ring and having a good time. During this, the referee adjusts the tag ropes in each corner. As the show comes back from commercial, however, it’s clear the competitors are once again getting into position for the show.
The decision was made to have SmackDown air in the WWE PC due to coronavirus concerns. Wanting to minimise the potential spreading of the virus, WWE instead opted to move their operations to the PC.
Despite this approach, the company appear to still be committed to delivering WrestleMania 36 from Raymond James Stadium on April 5. They do, however, have “contingency plans” in place if the situation were to change with Tampa officials or the stadium itself.