WWE Friday Night SmackDown featured a tribute episode to The Undertaker, as Michael Cole welcomed viewers by quoting The Undertaker’s apparent retirement at the end of The Last Ride, emphasizing that “Undertaker says he has wrestled his final match.” WWE repeated this notions several times throughout the broadcast.
Jeff Hardy vs. Baron Corbin was announced for the main event, with in-ring matches throughout the hybrid episode.
It’ll be interesting to see how the viewership holds up for the Undertaker-themed episode after widespread praise for the aforementioned Last Ride documentary on the WWE Network. The Undertaker broadcast comes after a chaotic week for WWE as multiple employees tested positive for COVID-19, throwing its taping schedule into a frenzy. Developmental talent in attendance were seen wearing masks on camera.
An anonymous letter from a frustrated WWE developmental talent was just the latest in a sea of controversy as WWE continues to move forward during COVID-19.
Friday’s broadcast of SmackDown garnered 2.089 million viewers.
- June 19, 2020—2.089 million viewers
- June 12, 2020—2.016 million viewers
- June 5, 2020—1.984 million viewers
- May 29, 2020—2.170 million viewers
- May 22, 2020—2.044 million viewers
Pro Wrestling Bits—The Undertaker and The Last Ride
WWE SmackDown Total YouTube Viewership this Past Friday
6,014,796 views (Up from 3,372,410)
- Most-Viewed: Matt Riddle Crashes AJ Styles’ Intercontinental Championship Party (1,131,045 views)
- Least-Viewed: Sheamus Plans to Toast Jeff Hardy Next Week on SmackDown (117,645 views)
- Median Viewership: 509,887
WWE Friday Night SmackDown Results: Friday, June 26, 2020
Opening Segment Featuring Undertaker’s Survivor Series 1990 Debut
Add WWE to the growing propaganda machine designed to convince fans that The Undertaker “has wrestled his last match.” We’ll see about that.
Roddy Piper’s reaction to The Undertaker doesn’t get enough praise for the role it played in allowing this monster in a silly gimmick to be taken seriously right off the bat.
The Undertaker def. AJ Styles—Boneyard Match (WrestleMania 36 Re-Air)
As if riding in on a motorcycle to Metallica wasn’t enough, you really knew The Undertaker wasn’t messing around in this match when he called AJ Styles “Allen.”
The conspiracy theorist in me thinks The Undertaker rode off into the night, and not the sunset, in order to leave the door open that he might come back.
Baron Corbin Cuts a Promo on The Undertaker
Baron Corbin in a plum spot, cutting a promo that invoke’s WWE’s past, was an amalgamation of issues plaguing WWE, all in one segment.
Baron Corbin asserted that a 30-year career in WWE is impossible, and if WWE will prove him right if it keeps desperately clinging onto its past.
The Undertaker has been around for so long, even the guys he mentored are from a past generation.
I’m 90 percent sure that Undertaker hasn’t wrestled his last match, but if he hasn’t, dear God imagine the Twitter reaction if his return match is against Baron Corbin.
Nikki Cross def. Lacey Evans and Dana Brooke
WWE officially retconned the “Boss and Hug” Connection name as they shouted down the reference on commentary.
It will be a sad day whenever WWE moves forward without Bayley and Sasha Banks regularly on commentary.
Michael Cole has too big of an ego for his otherwise promising back-and-forth with Sasha Banks and Bayley to reach its full potential.
Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura def. The New Day vs. The Lucha House Party
Once the announcers start calling out the fact that somebody is “underrated” on commentary—like they did again with Cesaro tonight—it’s typically a death knell in WWE.
The only thing that would have made the babyface team more awesome is if Lince Dorado would have worn blue along with his three teammates.
Nobody shines in defeat better than The Lucha House Party, and it was even better to see them get a pinfall victory.
Braun Strowman Calls Out Bray Wyatt
The “snake” promo was far too ambitious of a promo for Braun Strowman to cut, but he certainly tried to make it work.
As low as expectations may be for Bray Wyatt’s upcoming match against Braun Strowman, the fact that this will be a cinematic match with the minds of Wyatt and Jeremy Borash behind it makes me very bullish.
Jeff Hardy vs. King Corbin
“I got my diploma from Dead Man University” was a cool line from Jeff Hardy, but his delivery wasn’t strong enough to pull it off.
Saying Jeff Hardy’s famous match against The Undertaker in 2002 “launched Jeff Hardy’s career” may have been laying it on a little thick.
The Undertaker has been around for so long, even the wrestlers he mentored are from a past generation.