Earlier this week, WWE confirmed two matches for next Friday’s episode of SmackDown, which will be the go-home show of the blue brand for WrestleMania 37.
Those bouts are the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal and a Fatal Four-Way for the SmackDown Tag Team Titles. Historically, the battle royal will take place on the pre-show or main card of WrestleMania. Obviously, that won’t be the case this year.
The participants announced are Akira Tozawa, Angel Garza, Cedric Alexander, Drew Gulak, Elias, Erik, Gran Metalik, Humberto Carrillo, Jaxson Ryker, Jey Uso, Kalisto, King Corbin, Lince Dorado, Mace, Murphy, Mustafa Ali, Ricochet, Shelton Benjamin, Shinsuke Nakamura, Slapjack, T-Bar, and Tucker.
Dave Meltzer was asked during today’s Wrestling Observer Radio episode if next week’s episode of SmackDown is basically the WrestleMania pre-show card and to get those matches out of the way. That’s the case due to WWE wanting to cut down on the length of WrestleMania due to it taking place over the course of two nights.
“Yeah, because I think they don’t wanna go more than 3 and half hours on both shows, especially since they’re starting an hour later than I expected. They’re starting both shows at 8 [pm EST] instead of 7 [pm EST].”
Meltzer didn’t know why WWE is starting WrestleMania 37 an hour later but did note the pre-shows will be cut down from two hours to one hour.