SmackDown prepares for the last stop on the Road to Wrestlemania! Will any shenanigans go down during Daniel Bryan’s & Kofi Kingston’s contract signing?
- Johnny Gargano w/ Tommaso Ciampa VS Cesaro w/ Sheamus; cancelled for…
- The Bar VS The Hardy Boyz; The Hardy Boyz win.
- WWE United States Championship Open Challenge: R-Truth w/ Carmella VS ???; changed into…
- WWE United States Championship Triple Threat: R-Truth w/ Carmella VS Andrade Almas w/ Zelina Vega VS Rey Mysterio; Truth wins and retains the WWE United States Championship.
- Aleister Black & Ricochet VS Shinsuke Nakamura & Rusev w/ Lana; Black & Ricochet win.
- Kevin Owens & Kofi Kingston VS Daniel Bryan & Rowan; Owens & Kingston win.
PLAY BY PLAY
Stephanie and Shane McMahon open SmackDown!
The New Daniel Bryan and Erick Rowan are already in the ring for tonight’s contract signing. In just under two weeks, Bryan will defend his WWE Championship at Fastlane. And the challenger is a veteran of 11 years with incredible charisma and high-flying ability. We flashback to that day in 2008 when he debuted, and then have a montage of all the amazing Royal Rumble survivals. This man has also been a multiple-time Intercontinental Champion, a United States Champion, and of course a historic WWE Tag Team Champion alongside the New Day.
This man has been overlooked but no longer! Two weeks ago, fate smiled upon this man when he was a last-minute substitute for a Gauntlet Match and lasted over an hour, while eliminating Daniel Bryan. He also lasted about as long in the Elimination Chamber, where he brought Bryan to his limits. And even last week, this same man defeated the WWE Champion in a star-studded Six Man Tag. And now, for the first time ever, this same man has a 1v1 chance at the world championship, that man is Kofi Kingston! Awww~ Charlotte, North Carolina! Feel~ the power~ as The New Day accompanies the #1 contender to the ring! Fans chant for Kofi as he slings pancakes and hits the ring. Big E gives Stephanie and Shane big hugs, and Xavier Woods plays Francesca loud and proud! Kofi even takes an extra lap to high-five the fans!
Kofi jumps in the ring and grabs a mic to recount the 11 years. All he’s ever wanted was a chance, and after 11 long years, “it’s happening, BABYYYY~!” This moment would not be possible if not for his brothers, the NEW~ DAY~! Fans tell Kofi, “You Deserve It!” Kofi admits none of this would be possible if not for the Tweets, the letters, the sky-writing and smoke signals from the WWE Universe wanting this to happen! At Fastlane, Kofi vows to do what everyone has wanted him to do for a very long time. Kofi stares Bryan down as he says he will beat Bryan, and finally become WWE Champion. Bryan is stoic as Kofi drops the mic and takes a seat. Shane asks Bryan sign the contract first. Bryan does, and passes the contract over. Kofi signs, but here comes Vince McMahon!?
The Chairman walks to the ring and applauds. Vince knows Kofi is extraordinary, but before this signing is finished, he wants to personally say how he appreciates everything Kofi has done these 11 years. “Truly remarkable, truly.” However, as the chairman, Vince feels he needs to give us the biggest attraction possible. Therefore, Vince is making another executive decision: he’s replacing Kofi. WHAT?! Vince says there is someone more deserving. Fans boo and The New Day is livid as Vince says this man is more qualified than Kofi, too. Vince presents the new #1 contender: Kevin Owens! The Prizefighter is back already!? Kevin walks down the ramp and fans aren’t sure what to make of this. The New Day does, though: this is an outrage!
Kevin walks into the ring, sits at the table, and even though Big E and Woods protest, there is nothing Shane or Stephanie can do about Vince’s decision. Fans chant for Kofi but Kofi can barely watch as Kevin signs the contract. The New Day leaves the ring, completely beside themselves. And Bryan seems to smirk. The fans still support Kofi but is there anything that can be done?
Kevin Owens talks with Stephanie and Shane backstage.
He knows they had nothing to do with Vince’s decision, and weren’t even expecting it, but Kevin is just glad to have his talents recognized. The New Day’s reaction aside, did they notice Bryan’s smug reaction? Yes, of course. Well Kevin, despite his great position already, simply asks to team with the equally deserving Kofi Kingston against Bryan and Rowan. Tonight? Yes, tonight. Stephanie and Shane will consider it. Kevin is thankful for even that much. Will Kevin’s odd request be granted? Will Kofi even accept it?
Johnny Gargano w/ Tommaso Ciampa VS Cesaro w/ Sheamus!
The Bar lost to the duo formerly known as DIY last week, but by the skin of Ciampa’s and Gargano’s teeth. However, Johnny Wrestling and the Psycho Killer are back again and ready for more! Will Gargano be able to beat the Swiss Cyborg 1v1? Or will The Bar even the score-
Wait a minute! That’s not DIY! That’s Team XTreme! Matt Hardy returns and is alongside his brother, Jeff, here in Carolina! And now it’s a tag match!
The Bar VS The Hardy Boyz!
Was this another executive decision by The Chairman? Either way, Matt and Jeff are here, will they DELETE an unprepared Cesaro & Sheamus?
The teams sort out and Cesaro starts against Brother Nero at the bell. Jeff and Cesaro tie up and Cesaro gets a wristlock. Jeff kicks and wrenches back then clubs Cesaro’s arm. He tags to Matt and Matt climbs up to drop an ax handle! Matt wrenches to shoulder breakers as he shouts “DELETE! DELETE!” Cesaro hits back, then European Uppercuts Matt to the corner. Tag to Sheamus and Sheamus throws body shots. Sheamus throws haymakers, too, then knees Matt low. Sheamus whips Matt but Matt kicks back. Matt throws big haymakers then tags Jeff. The Hardys whip and elbow Sheams down, senton and fist drop combo! Cesaro runs in but into the leg splitting double leg drops! The Bar bails out as the Hardys combing, SUPER Poetry in Motion! We go picture in picture while The Hardys stand tall.
Matt chants “DELETE! DELETE!” with the fans while Jeff puts Sheamus into barriers. Jeff puts Sheamus in the ring for a kick to the corner. Jeff whips corner to corner but Sheamus reverses. Sheamus runs into boots, and Jeff goes up, only for Cesaro to trip him up! Jeff tumbles down to the ground but the referee keeps Matt back. Sheamus tags Cesaro and Cesaro fetches Jeff into the ring. Cesaro hops up and mocks the Hardy finger point before dropping the leg. Cover, TWO! Tag to Sheamus, and The Celtic Gladiator drags Jeff up. Jeff throws hands but runs into an elbow! Sheamus and Cesaro do the Fusion Pose, then they mock the Delete. Jeff crawls but Sheamus catches him! Sheamus drags Jeff all the way back. Jeff fights out with a jawbreaker!
Sheamus tags Cesaro and Cesaro gets Jeff for a Swiss Swing! Cesaro brings Jeff around and around a dozen times, then puts on the Sharpshooter! Jeff endures but Matt clobbers Cesaro to save him. The ref reprimands Matt while Cesaro tags Sheamus. Sheamus puts Jeff on the apron for Beats of the Bodhrain! Sheamus goes all the way to 10 before inverted suplexing Jeff in! Cover, TWO! The Bar grows frustrated but Sheamus keeps on Jeff with a chinlock. We return to single picture as fans rally up for Jeff. “DELETE! DELETE!” echoes out as Jeff fights back. Jeff reaches but Sheamus keeps him from Matt. Sheamus tags Cesaro and Cesaro stomps Jeff. The Bar double whip and Bar Lariat Jeff down! Cover, TWO! Jeff shows his toughness and fans rally up. Cesaro knees Jeff then boots Matt! Tag to Sheamus and they whip Jeff to a corner.
Jeff fights back with elbows, then climbs, Whisper in the Wind gets two for one! Everyone else is down but Matt is back on the corner! Jeff crawls but so does Sheamus, hot tags to Cesaro and Matt! Matt rallies with haymakers then DELETE bumps on buckles! Fans fire up with Matt as he runs back in for a clothesline, but bulldog denied! Side Effect hits! Cover, TWO! Matt hops up and leaps for a big elbow! Cover, TWO! Matt keeps his focus as he calls for the Twist. But Sheamsu returns, so Matt hits him back out. Matt wants the Twist but Cesaro pushes Matt into ropes! Sheamus hits the knee! Roll up, TWO!!
Sheamus tags in and Cesaro climbs up. Jeff intercepts Cesaro with a Twist of Fate! Matt rolls Sheamus, TWO! Matt hits HIS Twist of Fate! Tag to Jeff, who throws his shirt off! SWANTON BOMB! Cover, The Hardy Boyz win!
Winners: The Hardy Boyz, Jeff pinning
With so much madness going on, this match came outta nowhere, but the Hardys take advantage! Will Matt and Jeff take the SmackDown Tag Division back by storm?
Aleister Black & Ricochet react to The Hardy Boyz being back.
Imagine a match of the Dutch Destroyer and King of Flight against those tag legends. But the Ravishing Russian walks in. Can they help her? Lana just doesn’t see what the fuss is all about. Ricochet’s nothing special and Aleister is rather ordinary. They’re not former US Champions or veterans. They’re just two men who will be crushed. Lana must not have watched Raw, because they beat the Raw Tag Team Champions. But the best thing about those who say Ricochet’s nothing special is the look on their face when he proves them wrong. The look on Lana’s face will be priceless when Rusev realizes he can’t crush what he can’t catch.
And Aleister says that Lana fears the unknown. The only thing she needs to know is what’s written on his skin. To translate, Rusev & Nakamura will #FadetoBlack. Lana leaves speechless, will she be just as stunned silent after their tag match?
R-Truth and Carmella head to the ring!
What’s up?! Word is Truth is going to revive the United States Championship Open Challenge, after the break!
The newest WWE Hall of Fame inductee: Honky Tonk Man!
One of the greatest WWE Intercontinental Champions of all time, he’s cool, he’s cocky, and he’s b-b-b-b-b-b-bad! And now, he’s getting an HoF ring!
WWE United States Championship Open Challenge: R-Truth w/ Carmella VS ???
SmackDown returns and Truth says the truth is, ever since he was “a wee, wee little tyke”, he’s wanted to be just like his hero, John Cena. So just like Cena, Truth will continue the tradition of this championship open challenge. And that open challenge starts… When? Right after the Seven Second Dance Break~~! Truth and Carmella shimmy and shake, and the challenge is answered by El Idolo! Andrade Almas and Zelina Vega march right out to the ring, but Rey Mysterio intercepts him and gets in the ring! Almas follows after, but Truth says they all need to calm down. Can’t we all just get along? Truth has a dilemma now. He doesn’t know who he’s supposed to face right now!
In moments like this, Truth says, What Would John Cena Do? Cena would make it a Triple Threat. Really? “Damn, he brave.” Truth was thinking of saying “No thank you” to both, but for John, he’ll do it! Truth takes a big risk putting the title up against both El Idolo and the King of Lucha Libre, can he come out of this still the champion?
WWE United States Championship Triple Threat: R-Truth w/ Carmella VS Andrade Almas w/ Zelina Vega VS Rey Mysterio!
The title is raised and we begin this huge match! Almas dropkicks Mysterio right away, but Truth hits Almas back. Truth runs but Almas dodges the scissor kick to boot Truth back. Mysterio springboards and huricanranas Almas out! Mysterio runs at Truth but slides under, Truth comes back with the spinning elbow! Cover, TWO! Truth and Mysterio get up, and Truth runs, only to be put on the apron. Almas grabs Truth for a powerbomb to the ground! Mysterio wrecks Almas with a dropkick, then runs to SLIDE, into Almas’ dropkick! All three men are down while we go to break.
SmackDown returns and Truth goes after Almas on the top rope. Truth has Almas in an Electric Chair, and Mysterio springboards, SUPER Huricanrana! Vega is shocked as Mysterio covers, TWO! Carmella coaches up Truth while Vega shouts to Almas. Mysterio kicks Truth but Truth elbows back. Truth runs but so does Mysterio, double crossbodies cancel out! Fans fire up as all three men slowly get to corners. Almas targets Mysterio, CIEN KNEES! Then he aims at Truth, but Truth dodges! Truth counter punches Almas and then whips. Almas reverses but Truth runs him over! Truth does the splits then hits the kick! Carmella fires up with Truth as he runs corner to corner, for a big splash! Then a spin-out powerbomb, a la Cena!
Speaking of Cena, Truth says “You Can’t See Me!” Then the Five Knuckle Shuffle! Cover, TWO! Truth keeps his cool as he fireman’s carries Almas. But Vega disrupts that, until Carmella trips her up! Almas throws Truth into a post! Mysterio springboards for a seated senton, then keeps moving to tilt-o-whirl Almas onto ropes! Mysterio dials it up, 619 misses! Almas shoves, but runs into a boot. Mysterio runs but runs into the boot feint to elbow! Cover, TWO!! Almas grows frustrated, but he stays on Mysterio. He drags Mysterio up and whips, but Mysterio boots back. Mysterio springboards, but is caught! Truth returns to waistlock Almas, but Mysterio slips out and dropkicks them both onto ropes! Mysterio dials it up, 619 to Almas! Truth rolls Mysterio!! Truth wins!!
Winner: R-Truth, by pinfall; still WWE United States Champion
Truth gambles and wins big! All because he did it like Cena! Will Truth keep on rolling down The Road to Wrestlemania?
As for Mysterio, Almas attacks him from behind! Hammerlock, La Sombra is denied! Mysterio dials it up but Vega helps Almas bail out. El Idolo and The King have a lot left to settle between them. Who will stand tall on their own Road to Wrestlemania?
Charlotte Flair heads to the ring!
The Queen is in her namesake city and Flair Country is happy to see her. Charlotte knows, like everyone else knows, that Raw got a little too rowdy as Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey had another brawl, resulting in Becky being arrested. The Baddest Woman on the Planet put it on Stephanie McMahon to get Vince to make the right decision, and then dropped the title in the ring. The Queen says it’s not often that she gets to simply witness history. She saw that Fastlane got “even better” with Kevin Owens replacing Kofi Kingston to take on Daniel Bryan. That was almost as important a change as when Vince “anointed Your Queen to save the main event of Wrestlemania”! Charlotte knows why Vince did it, even as fans chant for “Becky! Becky!” She says Vince did it because Charlotte stays in her lane.
“Unlike the criminal, Becky Lynch, and the quitter, Ronda Rousey”, Charlotte does what she’s told and always delivers. From media to charity to live events to the main event, Charlotte is the gold standard. Ronda throws away the title Charlotte proudly defended. Charlotte knows what Becky and Ronda were thinking, because it’s so simple. “They fear me.” Fear makes people do irrational things. Becky fears Charlotte will expose her as the fraud she really is, and Ronda fears that Charlotte will beat her down like she did at Survivor Series. Charlotte fears nothing, and a true champion fears no one. Ronda had her opinions on what a true champion is. Footage plays from November that Ronda talked about being the “best in the world on your worst day.”
Charlotte and Ronda finally agree because Ronda said it herself. But the difference is that Charlotte would never quit, and would never lay down a title. Because Charlotte is The TRUE Champion! That’s why on next Monday’s Raw, Charlotte will be there so Vince can crown the new Raw Women’s Champion as “someone who deserves it: Your Queen, Charlotte Flair!” Charlotte points at the Wrestlemania sign, but will she really be walking in as champion?
Aleister Black & Ricochet VS Shinsuke Nakamura & Rusev w/ Lana!
The Embodiment of the End once again joins forces with The One and Only. They were victorious over The Revival, but will they make the Bulgarian Brute and King of Strong Style #FadetoBlack? Or will Rusev and Nakamura MACHKA the Dutch Destroyer and King of Flight with a #Knee2Face?
SmackDown returns as the teams sort out. Nakamura starts against Aleister and they circle. Nakamura tests Aleister with kicks then puts him against the ropes. The King of Strong Style taunts Aleister with his ab rest but Aleister turns it around. Aleister backs off but swings a kick! Nakamura dodges it and struts around. Nakamura shouts “C’MON!” and Aleister rushes him! He dodges, but so does Aleister. Aleister rolls off Nakamura’s back, then dodges Nakamura’s roundhouse by sitting down and crossing the legs. Nakamura tries again but Aleister dodges, kips up and arm-drags Nakamura to an armlock! Nakamura gets up but Ricochet tags in. Ricochet and Aleister double whip and then drop toehold to a dropkick! Cover, ONE, but Ricochet keeps on Nakamura with an arm wrench.
Ricochet yanks on Nakamura’s arm but Nakamura kicks out a leg! Nakamura tags in Rusev and Rusev stomps Ricochet to a corner. Rusev stomps a mudhole into Ricochet but backs off at 4. Ricochet flounders to ropes but Rusev is on him with haymakers. Rusev toys with “Ricky” then tags in Nakamura. They both stomp Ricochet then mug him with roundhouses. Fans chant “USA! USA!” as Nakamura grinds Ricochet with a facelock. Ricochet endures while Lana mocks his pain. Nakamura rams his knees in then tags in Rusev. Rusev kicks Ricochet now and then drags Ricochet up for a big suplex! Cover, TWO! Rusev stays between Ricochet and Aleister as he looms over him. Rusev whips Ricochet to the corner but runs into a boot! Ricochet fights his way out, then up and over, hot tags to Nakamura and Aleister!
Aleister rallies on the Rockstar, sweep to knee! Aleister handsprings and fires up, but Rusev stands in his way. Nakamura dynamic dropkicks Aleister right out! Tag to Rusev and Rusev runs Aleister over! The Brute roars while we go picture in picture.
Lana cheers for Rusev as he looms over Aleister. Rusev puts Aleister in and covers, TWO! Rusev stays between Aleister and Ricochet as he stomps Aleister to the ropes. Big elbow drop and Rusev toys with Aleister. Tag to Nakamura and Rusev hoists Aleister up for Nakamura’s Top Shelf Knee! Cover, TWO! Nakamura keeps on Aleister with a chinlock. He digs a knee into Aleister’s back as he shifts to a modified cobra clutch. Aleister flails and fights up, but Nakamura knees low. Nakamura stomps Aleister then tags Rusev in. Rusev drags Aleister up to the ropes and chokes him with a full straddle! Rusev backs off at 4 but Lana SLAPS Aleister! The ref checks on Aleister while fans boo and jeer. Rusev drags Aleister up to kick him against the ropes!
Rusev circles Aleister before stomping his hand! Aleister crawls to a corner, his feet up in a guard. Rusev taunts to “rookie”, and counter punches with big haymakers. Rusev stomps Aleister then drags him back up for a bearhug! Aleister endures the squeeze while fans build to a rally. Aleister drives elbows into Rusev’s head and breaks free! He throws haymakers on Rusev but Rusev shoves to clobber Aleister! Rusev drags Aleister up and lets the fans cheer for Aleister. Rusev back suplexes but Aleister makes it a crossbody! Both men are down but fans fire up. Hot tag to Ricochet! Ricochet rallies on Rusev, and even headscissors him to a corner! Ricochet rams a shoulder in then boots Nakamura down. He swing kicks Rusev away, then springboards for a flying uppercut! Standing shooting star! Cover, TWO!
Lana is furious but Ricochet keeps going. He puts Rusev in a drop zone and climbs up, but Rusev gets clear of the Phoenix Splash! Ricochet rolls through and dodges the Machka Kick, to leap for a crossbody! Rusev catches it for a big urenage! Cover, TWO! Rusev grimaces as Ricochet survives. Rusev roars that he hates the rookies! He stomps Ricochet, but Ricochet slips out the back. Ricochet forearms but Rusev haymakers. Tag to Nakamura and they double whip Ricochet. Ricochet stops himself, elbows Nakamura away then dumps Rusev out. Tag to Aleister! Aleister helps Ricochet FLY and hit Rusev! Aleister gets Nakamura but Nakamura fights him off. Nakamura hits the reverse exploder! Nakamura takes aim, but runs into BLACK MASS! Cover, Aleister & Ricochet win!
Winners: Aleister Black & Ricochet, Black pinning
Another big win for this high-flying and hard-hitting combination! Will Aleister and Ricochet be an unlikely tag team sensation on the main roster?
Backstage interview with AJ Styles.
The Phenomenal One wants to say he’s happy to hear Roman Reigns is in remission. A truly great thing, but on to how Styles is without something to do on the Road to Wrestlemania. this might be the first time he’s ever been in a slump. Styles says there’s nothing anyone else can say he hasn’t already thought. Anything less than perfection is a disappointment. Styles’ standards are what push him to be his best. But he’ll admit he’s not at his best, and that’s what allowed Daniel Bryan to become WWE Champion. Styles could’ve stopped Bryan, but he failed. For now. It took Styles a long time to even reach the WWE, and nothing was ever handed to him. Styles will stop listening to critics, pick himself up, dust himself off and step up to keep this the House that AJ Styles Built.
But in walks Randy Orton. The Viper says this isn’t AJ Styles’ house. Orton then leaves, but will he be back to strike outta nowhere?
Lacey Evans walks out to the ring!
The Model Soldier again “classes up” the show by simply appearing. Lacey leaves again, but when will she spend an extended time on screen?
Kevin Owens & Kofi Kingston VS Daniel Bryan & Rowan!
There’s very little positivity left after the title match was stolen from Kofi by Vince McMahon’s executive decision. However, can Kofi put that aside long enough to win tonight’s main event match? Or is this going to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back?
SmackDown returns as Bryan and Rowan make their entrance. The teams sort out and Kofi starts against Bryan. Fans are strongly behind Kofi and Bryan tags out to Big Red. Rowan circles with Kofi and they tie up. Rowan shoves Kofi down and gloats in his strength. Fans boo and Kofi keeps calm. Kofi and Rowan circle and tie up again, and Rowan scoop slams Kofi hard. Fans boo again while Bryan applauds. Kofi dodges and fires off kicks on Rowan in the corner! Kofi runs but gets run over! Rowan roars and Bryan applauds but Kevin tags in. Kevin circles with Rowan and starts throwing fast hands! Rowan runs Kevin over, too! Kevin kicks back and CHOPS. He throws forearms and chops but Rowan turns things around. Rowan runs into a boot, but then dropkicks Kevin down! Cover, ONE!
Rowan brings Kevin over and Bryan tags in. Bryan kicks Kevin then whips. Kevin reverses and things speed up, Kevin runs Bryan over! Fans actually cheer the Prizefighter as he bumps Bryan off buckles. Kevin throws body shots, then tags Kofi in. Kevin snapmares Bryan down for Kofi to Penalty Kick! Cover, TWO! Kofi throws forearms on Bryan and whips but Bryan reverses. Kofi grabs ropes and dumps Bryan out. He tags Kevin in? Kofi wants Kevin to prove what he can do, and Kevin actually FLIES! Kevin mildly impresses Kofi while we go to break.
SmackDown returns again and Rowan puts Kofi in the ring. Rowan covers, TWO! Fans rally for Kofi as Rowan drives knees into Kofi’s back again and again. Rowan wraps Kofi into a chinlock and Bryan shouts for Rowan to “grind him down!” Rowan shifts to a neck wrench, but Kofi fights his way up. Kofi throws hands but Rowan shoves and runs him over! Fans boo as Rowan drags Kofi up into a pumphandle. Rowan lifts and gives Kofi a backbreaker! Cover, TWO! Rowan tags in Bryan for Bryan to snapmare Kofi and stand on his face! Bryan then drags Kofi up, but Kofi fights back with body shots. Bryan rocks Kofi with a European Uppercut! “You see that?!” Bryan pulls Kofi against the ropes then backs off at 4 to dropkick him down! The referee reprimands Bryan, but he goes out to dropkick Kofi all the way down!
Tag to Rowan, and Rowan fetches Kofi. Rowan scoops and slams Kofi to the ground! Fans tell Rowan and Bryan “You Suck!” but Rowan just scoops and puts Kofi in the ring. Cover, TWO! Rowan stomps Kofi then runs to drop a big splash! Cover, TWO! Rowan wraps Kofi up in another chinlock and then shifts to the knuckle vice. He squeezes Kofi’s head, then rakes the eyes! Kofi gets to ropes but Rowan drags him back over. Rowan lifts Kofi to the Canadian rack, then rams him into buckles! Bryan tags in and Rowan hits Kevin for good measure! Kevin protests but Bryan throws hands on Kofi. Bryan climbs up to join Kofi, then SUPERPLEXES Kofi! Cover, TWO! Kofi still lives but Bryan tries another cover, TWO! Bryan drags Kofi up for a wristlock and twists the arm.
Kofi hits back with haymakers! But Bryan kicks and back suplexes. Kofi lands on his feet and rolls Bryan, TWO, into the LaBell Lock! Bryan pulls Kofi back but Kofi scrambles to get the ropebreak! Bryan lets go and drags Kofi back up to bump off buckles. He gives No Kicks to Kofi in the corner, then runs corner to corner, for a big dropkick! Bryan keeps going for a second dropkick! Bryan goes again, but gets double stomps! Kofi and Bryan are down and crawling for their corners. Hot tag to Kevin! Kevin rallies on Bryan with CHOPS and forearms! He whips Bryan and tosses him with a back drop! Kevin runs in for a big corner clothesline, then hops up for a missile dropkick! Kevin hits Rowan back then drops a senton on Bryan! He boots Rowan out then aims at Bryan in a corner. CANNONBALL!
But Rowan’s back, and grabs Kevin by the head! Kevin fights out and dumps Rowan out. Rowan is up fast, but a SUPERKICK sends him back down! Pop-Up Powerbomb on Bryan! TWO!! Kevin can’t believe it, but fans know “This is Awesome!” Kevin climbs up high, but Rowan yanks him down! Rowan throws Kevin over the announce desk! And then he tears the desk cover off! Kofi slingshots onto Rowan but is caught! Kofi slips out to shove Rowan into the post! Then Kofi climbs up top to LEAP for a Trust Fall! Kofi wipes Rowan out but Bryan puts Kevin in the ring. Bryan takes aim, runs out, but misses in the corner! Kevin hits a STUNNER! Cover, Kevin and Kofi win!
Winners: Kevin Owens & Kofi Kingston, Owens pinning
The Kevin Owens Show returns already as Kevin gets the pinfall on the world champion! Can Kevin do it again when it’s 1v1? Will Kofi ever get his fair shot at the title?
A pretty wild but pretty fun episode of SmackDown. It was very surprising to see the contract signing open the night, but the moment Vince McMahon came out, it was pretty clear why. Vince copy and pastes the idea from the Raw Women’s Championship for the WWE Championship, yet far less justified in kayfabe. In a vacuum, it puts way more heat on Vince and some instant heat on Kevin Owens. But because we’re already getting this with Ronda, Charlotte and Becky, it seems a bit lazy. Speaking of Charlotte, her promo tonight was good, and it makes sense she just assumes she will be given the title since she was simply given the match. I’m pretty sure this move will prompt protest from Ronda, and she might even end up a challenger in the inevitable Triple Threat because of that.
Another crazy thing is that we didn’t get Gargano VS Cesaro tonight. That match would’ve been amazing, but The Bar VS Hardy Boyz was a great surprise, a great match, and a great win for Matt & Jeff. Ricochet & Aleister continue to win, too, in a great match with Nakamura & Rusev. It seems WWE might be trying to bolster their main roster tag divisions again, to further appease The Revival’s disgruntled feeling. I can’t be sure if Aleister and Ricochet will really stay a team, but they’re doing pretty well so far. I’m sure we can get Gargano VS Cesaro next week as the Fastlane go-home, and more DIY on either show once we’re past Wrestlemania Weekend.
I’m a little disappointed that we were hyped for Usos but then didn’t get Usos, but perhaps the time constraints caused their segment to be scrapped. That might also be moved to next week for the go-home, to further hype the Usos VS Miz & Shane rematch. The United States Championship Open Challenge was a lot of fun, and it was great to see R-Truth copy John Cena’s moves. Truth retains but the match does a lot to keep the Almas VS Mysterio story alive. Chances are there will be a big multi-man match for the US title at Wrestlemania, and it’d be pretty great if Truth finds a way to retain again. Or if Mustafa Ali returns in time, he can take the title in a match with him, Truth, Almas, Mysterio and maybe even two others.
Clearly Orton VS Styles is still going to happen, that was made clear by Orton basically questioning everything Styles said in his promo. And while Kevin VS Bryan is happening at Fastlane, that doesn’t mean Kofi won’t get his shot. The tag team main event was a great match, too. The story was obvious and well-done, and both Kofi and Kevin were strong in this match. Kevin currently occupies an odd space that by default is Tweener. He’ll be cheered as Face against Bryan but likely booed as a Heel against Kofi. In fact, Kevin VS Kofi should happen in the go-home to really get some hype and heat going, since that’s apparently what WWE wants for this story. I’m confident Bryan retains, especially with Rowan ringside to get involved. And even if Kevin wins, hopefully Kofi goes to Wrestlemania, wins, and finally get the grand slam he deserves.
My Score: 8.5/10