WWE will return to the road with a 25-city tour beginning with the July 16 episode of Friday Night SmackDown in Houston. PWInsider's Mike Johnson reported on Thursday that WWE's touring schedule will also include a return to the iconic Madison Square Garden arena in New York City for the Sept. 10 edition of SmackDown. Though WWE has been synonymous with the venue for over half a century, the company has not run an event inside the arena since Dec. 26, 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The news comes eight days after All Elite Wrestling announced its first event in New York City, AEW Dynamite: Grand Slam, taking place at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens. Chris Jericho confirmed in an interview with ComicBook earlier this year about the young promotion considering running an event at MSG.
"I know we talked about it, pre-pandemic, it was in the pipeline, because it's The Garden," Jericho said. "It's the cathedral of wrestling in New York City. I think that's one of the reasons why we started with the Prudential Center, and when we sold 15,000 tickets or whatever it was, that's to show The Garden that AEW can draw. Because I think there's a lot of naysayers from the other side. They'll say, 'Oh, you can't have AEW in The Garden. WWE's only drawing 6,000 people.' Meanwhile, if we had a show at The Garden, we would probably sell it out in 20 minutes. But you have to convince the powers that be that have been [there]. WWE is Madison Square Garden. There's been a relationship there for 50 odd years. So it's going to take some finagling for us to get in there.
"But in the meantime, I think there's other arenas that we could do in New York and sell them up quickly so that The Garden would go, 'Hey, that's cool.' Little known fact, it's hard to make money in The Garden though because it's so expensive with unions and all that sort of thing," he continued. "So I think the only reason why you play The Garden because it's The Garden. But there's plenty of other places in New York with the Barclays Center, and like we said, the Prudential Center just down the road in Jersey, that we could do as well. I'm just ready to go back to any arena. I don't care which one it is."