It’s been front-and-center news all day Friday as most of the talent roster is stuck in Saudi Arabia due to what is being reported as “mechanical issues”. The roster will not make it back in time for Friday Night SmackDown, and as such, there is a ton of news surrounding the show tonight:
Show Almost Canceled?
There were rumors that SmackDown was almost going to be canceled due to the delay. There’s no word on how accurate that report was but Triple H is said to be running the show tonight and enough of the production crew was around to ensure the show came together.
What changes might be made for production value is unclear, but there might be some changes based on the alterations in production.
Who Will Be on SmackDown
While names like Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt and others will not be on SmackDown, a number of names have been confirmed. Talents like The Miz, Daniel Bryan, Bayley and others who did not make the trip are scheduled to be the focus of the show and WWE has surprises planned.
There are also reports WWE has flown in a number of the NXT talent to be a part of the show. Hulk Hogan posted a video showing he, Jimmy Hart and Ric Flair made it to Tampa, Florida and in the video he mentions that they might need to hustle over to Buffalo, but that “hopefully the NXT guys tear it down.”
Mauro Ronallo also tweeted out, “It sounds like NXT is coming to the rescue.”
WWE Hiding Something?
Atlas Air, the flight crew that was responsible for WWE’s travels did issue an apology for the delay, citing mechanical issues. Dave Meltzer reported that everyone is safe and the crew will fly out around 8pm Eastern on Friday, but there is a sense that not all of the information is being released.
12 executives and 8 talent were flown out on separate charter flights but they will not make it back in time for the show. Rumors of Saudi holding WWE crew against their will is out there, but it’s hard to substantiate those claims at this time.
Cesaro posted a video from Ireland and he was in good spirits suggesting that things are ok and, at the very least, safe for the stars who are doing what they can to make it out of Saudi.
Brock Lesnar Will Be on Tonight’s Show
Some talents did make it out on time. Lesnar has just been announced for tonight’s show, suggesting others might be there in time.
Announcers For Tonight’s Show
Renee Young, Tom Phillips and Aiden English are set as the announcers for tonight’s “SmackDown” on Fox, TheWrap has learned exclusively. The trio are acting as replacements for regular announcers Michael Cole and Corey Graves, who are among a large number of WWE wrestlers, employees and members of the production crew that have been “delayed” in their return from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s “Crown Jewel” pay-per-view event, as TheWrap reported earlier Friday.