The no-audience episodes of Raw and Smackdown in the Performance Center have been unusual so far, with WWE reportedly still “feeling out” the best way to do them. Now, according to a report by POST Wrestling, WWE has a new plan for producing its main roster programming during the build to this year’s two-day Gronk-Mania.
This week’s episode of Smackdown will air live as usual, but WWE reportedly plans to tape the other remaining pre-WrestleMania episodes of Raw and Smackdown. That’s two episodes for the red brand (March 23 and March 30) and two for the blue (March 27 and April 3.)
WWE may also air more old matches during these shows like it did for the men’s tag team Elimination Match on last week’s Smackdown and the men’s Royal Rumble on this week’s Raw. The fact that Raw viewership increased during the Rumble replay signaled to WWE that broadcasting archived rather than new matches wouldn’t necessarily mean ratings doom.
Per the same report, there also could be some more changes to this year’s already unique WrestleMania. The most concrete is that the men’s and women’s pre-show battle royals (the Andre and the FKA Moolah) will be cut from the show while the rest of the cards remain the same. Less definite: WrestleMania could end up being pre-taped as well.