WWE to run SmackDown at Madison Square Garden for NYC return

WWE’s first present again in New York City will likely be at its “home” – Madison Square Garden.

“Friday Night SmackDown” will likely be stay from the World’s Most Famous Arena on Sept. 10. It is the constructing WWE felt its return to the 5 boroughs popping out of the coronavirus pandemic wanted to be at.

“It’s just fitting for us to sort of go back there,” Paul “Triple H” Levesque, WWE govt vp of world expertise technique and improvement, instructed The Post in a cellphone interview. “For me personally, I almost feel like it’s the stamp at the end of this long, dark hallway we were in of COVID and just everything else.”

It will likely be Vince McMahon’s firm’s first present at the Garden since a stay occasion in December 2019 and the primary main professional wrestling present in New York City since touring halted final March. Tickets go on sale subsequent Friday. WWE has an extended historical past at MSG, relationship to the Fifties when McMahon’s father ran the corporate.

“Being able to go back to Madison Square Garden, where in many ways it began, WrestleMania and the history there and everything else, it’s just the perfect place,” Levesque mentioned.

Madison Square Garden hasn’t been a daily cease for televised WWE occasions or pay-per-views in recent times due to the expense to broadcast from there. The firm ran each a “Raw” and a “SmackDown” from MSG in September 2019, the primary time doing so since 2009. Levesque hopes this coming SmackDown is the beginning of WWE resuming a “reasonable manner of business” at the Garden frequently.

“Hopefully that includes television and pay-per-views,” he mentioned. “There’s no greater crowd than Madison Square Garden when it’s packed.”

Levesque had among the greatest second of his profession at MSG, together with his return from a career-threating quad harm on “Monday Night Raw” in 2002. He felt you couldn’t have timed his return any higher than that and the response he obtained from the Garden crowd – “one of the loudest I ever heard” — made it much more particular.

“It’s funny, at that time I remember that day ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin and I talking about [it,]” Levesque mentioned. “No matter what you’ve done or what you see or what you feel coming into it, there is always that moment of when my music hits, are they going to care? And to get that kind of reaction was very, very emotional. It’s something that I’ll never forget.”

SmackDown at MSG in 2019
WWE/Rich Freeda

The firm coming again to Madison Square Garden is a part of its return to touring and having followers again within the arenas for its weekly tv reveals, beginning with “SmackDown” on July 16. During the pandemic, WWE ran reveals at its Performance Center in Orlando with out crowds after which with digital followers on screens as a part of its “ThunderDome” setup in a number of venues in Florida. With a product that’s geared towards getting fan response, Levesque couldn’t overstate the significance of getting them again.

“The difference is just night and day,” he mentioned. “For our superstars, there is nothing greater than that moment of when their music hits and that crowd stands up and goes crazy and boos and cheers and gives the reaction that they are working so hard to get. That’s the magic of what we do.”

Paul “Triple H” Levesque

WWE’s expertise obtained to expertise a few of that at April’s WrestleMania 37, which had limited-capacity crowds of 25,000 on every of its two nights at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. It will probably hit a special degree for “SummerSlam,” which is about for full capability at Allegiant Stadium – residence of the Raiders — in Las Vegas on Aug. 21. Levesque, when requested if WWE goes to deal with the cardboard’s star energy like a WrestleMania, mentioned the corporate hopes to make the present “a spectacle” and ”as huge as it might probably presumably be” with it being the primary true large-scale occasion popping out of this pandemic.

John Cena, who currently has the No. 1 movie in the world with “F9”, mentioned on “The Tonight Show” that he will certainly be again with WWE, however didn’t know when. When requested if this might be a very good time to deliver him again, Levesque mentioned comparable guidelines apply for Cena and The Rock – each of whom are rumored to be eventual opponents for Universal Champion Roman Reigns.

“No matter how busy they are, I know that anytime there’s an opportunity where you would say to them, ‘Hey, you could enter the ring in WWE and do this,’ there’s a part of them that goes, ‘Ooh, that sounds like a lot of fun,’” Levesque mentioned.

It’s one thing he hopes WWE followers will likely be having as soon as once more alongside its expertise each at Madison Square Garden in September and because the firm begins touring.

“We do it all for them,” Leveque mentioned. “There’s no other real reason. You’re doing it for that reaction. So to have that back, you can’t even really put it into words.”  

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