SmackDown promises that Mr. Vince McMahon will address his treatment of Kofi Kingston while Shane will explain his betrayal of The Miz!
- 8 Man Tag: Aleister Black, Ricochet & The Hardy Boyz VS Shinsuke Nakamura, Rusev & The Bar; No Contest.
- Asuka VS Sonya Deville w/ Mandy Rose; Asuka wins.
- Rey Mysterio & R-Truth w/ Carmella VS Samoa Joe & Andrade Almas w/ Zelina Vega; Mysterio & Truth win.
- Daniel Bryan & Rowan VS Kevin Owens & Mustafa Ali; Bryan & Rowan win.
PLAY BY PLAY
Here comes the Money~!
SmackDown opens with Shane McMahon and a chorus of boos. Dayton isn’t that far from Cleveland, and everyone saw what Shane did to The Miz after their loss at Fastlane. Shane stands in the ring with the Best in the World trophy as he takes a mic. Fans tell Shane “You Suck!” before he speaks. Shane waits for the jeers to die down then asks the ring announcer to join him. He tells the announcer what to say. “Ladies and gentlemen, the Best in the World, Shane McMahon.” Fans boo even harder but Shane isn’t done. He GRABS the announcer and makes him say it like he means it. “The Best in the World, Shaaane, McMahon!” Not good enough! “The BEST in the Wooooooorld~! Shaaane, McMaaaahon!” Fans boo but Shane is finally satisfied.
Shane finally addresses the fans’ questions. Why did he beat down his “Co-Besty?” Because he is sick and tired of the annoyances in his life. He’s not just talking about the WWE Universe, the WWE superstars, but also the WWE employees. “Shane, what can I do for you to help me get ahead in life?” Fans chant “We Want Kofi!” but Shane ignores them. Shane’s entire life, people have kissed up to him for their own benefit. No one knows what Shane does for them behind the scenes each and every day! Everyone else wants Shane to help them, but that stopped Sunday when he “beat the holy hell” out of The Miz in his hometown.
Shane says he’s not the Best in the World because he won a trophy, or because he became a tag team champion. He’s the best because he was born that way. Fans boo because they don’t agree. But Shane says he’s only going to do things for himself. Which is why beating Miz down was so good. Especially choking The Miz out in front of Papa Miz’s “baked potato face”. It was so liberating! And that sparked something in Shane that he won’t let go out. The WWE Universe just has to get used to this. And for The Miz, this is not a request but an order because Shane’s the boss. Shane had such a great time beating Miz’s ass, it will continue on the Grandest Stage of Them All, Wrestlemania! Miz better get ready for another Best in the World beating, because it will be AWESOME!
8 Man Tag: Aleister Black, Ricochet & The Hardy Boyz VS Shinsuke Nakamura, Rusev & The Bar!
The last time the Unexpected Duo was on SmackDown, they ended up having to fight off the Swiss Cyborg, Celtic Gladiator, Bulgarian Brute and King of Japanese Strong Style. Team Xtreme came to their rescue, and now we have a star-studded and internationally flavored opening match! Will Matt & Jeff help Ricochet and Aleister make four major players #FadetoBlack?
SmackDown returns as entrances finish up. The teams sort out and it will be Nakamura and Aleister to start. Nakamura and Aleister square up and give tests kicks. Aleister gets caught but gives back the strike fest! He drags Nakamura over and Ricochet tags in. They double whip and speed things up, Kitchen Sink and standing moonsault! Cover, TWO! Ricochet stays on Nakamura and fires the fans up as he tags in Matt Hardy! Nakamura gets free as fans chant “DELETE! DELETE!” Sheamus tags in and kicks Matt low. Sheamus clubs Matt and scoops but Matt slips out. Matt boots back and hops up for an elbow drop. The shirt comes off and tag to Jeff! The Hardy Boyz work together, leg drop combo! Cover, TWO!
Jeff keeps on Sheamus with a chinlock but Cesaro distracts. Sheamus hits Jeff then tags to Cesaro. Cesaro stomps away then mocks the Hardy leg drop. Cover, TWO! Cesaro drags Jeff by his hair and bumps him off buckles. Tag to Rusev and they mug Jeff on the ropes. Rusev rams his shoulder in over and over but backs off at 4. The rest of his team choke Jeff in the distraction! They let Jeff go and Rusev wrangles him into a chinlock. Fans rally and Jeff endures. Jeff fights up but Rusev drags him back down. Fans continue to rally and Jeff fights his way back up. Jeff elbows free but Rusev pulls him down by his hair! Rusev plays innocent while fans boo. Rusev stomps Jeff then puts him back in the corner.
Tag to Sheamus and they mug Jeff more. Tag to Nakamura and he stomps away. It becomes a stomp cycle! Jeff fights back on Rusev, and hot tag to Ricochet! The One and Only rallies but Rusev reverses the whip. Ricochet rolls off his back then handsprings to headscissor! Dropkick, too! Ricochet rams his shoulder in and fights off Nakamura. Rusev intercepts the slingshot with a haymaker! Aleister defends Ricochet as Cesaro and Nakamura come over while we go to picture in picture.
Ricochet shakes the cobwebs out and Cesaro fetches him. Cesaro bumps him off the announce desk then gut wrenches him back into the ring! Cesaro wraps another chinlock on but fans rally up for Ricochet. Ricochet fights but Sheamus tags in. The Bar mug and whip Ricochet for the Bar Lariat! Sheamus drops the knee and puts on a chinlock of his own. He bends Ricochet back but Ricochet finds a way out. Rusev tags in and clubbers Ricochet down. Rusev drops elbows and covers, TWO! Ricochet crawls but Rusev is on him. Rusev brings Ricochet up to the top rope and tags in Nakamura. Nakamura struts before hitting the Top Shelf Knee! Cover, TWO! Nakamura keeps on Ricochet with his own chinlock. Fans rally again as Ricochet endures the knee in his back. Nakamura drops a knee on Ricochet’s front!
Tag to Cesaro and the mugging resumes. Cesaro rocks Ricochet with a big European Uppercut! Cesaro drags Ricochet up and shoves him back. Ricochet fights out of the corner with furious forearms! But Rusev tags in, and he kicks Ricochet’s legs out. Cesaro and Rusev stomp away then Rusev hits Matt Hardy for good measure! Rusev drags Ricochet back and tags in Sheamus. They mug Ricochet more, then Sheamus gives Ricochet a backbreaker. Sheamus returns to his special chinlock as we return to single picture.
Fans continue to rally but Sheamus shoves Ricochet. Ricochet dumps Sheamus out! Cesearo hurries to help him back in, and then tags in. Cesaro goes right at Aleister with a boot! But Ricochet back drops him! Ricochet crawls, hot tag to Matt! Matt rallies on everyone as fans chant “DELETE! DELETE!” Matt gives “DELETE!” buckle bumps! Tag to Jeff and the brothers double whip Cesaro corner to corner. Poetry in Motion to a Side Effect! BROGUE for Matt! Pump knee for Sheamus! Roundhouse for Aleister! Springboard flying uppercut for Rusev! Dynamic Dropkick for Ricochet! Twist of Fate for Nakamura! Roll up for Jeff, TWO! Twist of Fate for Cesaro! Jeff tosses the shirt aside and climbs up top. SWANTON BOMB! Cover, but Sheamus, Nakamura AND Rusev break it!
Matt and Sheamus brawl with haymakers, and then more brawls break out! All eight superstars throw haymakers and kicks! So here come THE NEW DAY!? They attack EVERYONE!
Big E, Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston toss out anyone they can and stomp the rest! Fans are as fired up as they are, as Woods wrecks Sheamus with a dropkick! Big E grabs Sheamus and throws him into steel steps! Then Big E comes around to wreck Cesaro with help from Kofi! Woods and Kofi keep Nakamura and Rusev down with stomps. They sit Nakamura up for Woods to hit the Shining Wizard! Then they drag Rusev up for Kofi to hit Trouble in Paradise! The New Day stand tall and Dayton is right behind them! Will this influence Vince McMahon’s supposed Wrestlemania opportunity?
The Usos speak in the bowels of the arena.
They like The New Day’s new attitude. But which team is gonna run up to Jimmy & Jey? Is it “Swiss Cheese and the Light Mayo?” What about Rusev & Shinsuke? Aleister & Ricochet? It don’t matter anyways! That leaves one last team. The brothers like the Usos, but they ain’t like the Usos. The Usos want any and all teams to run up and get done up! They’ll welcome EVERYONE to the Uso Penitentiary!
Randy Orton is here!
The Viper heads to the ring and he has something to say, after the break.
SmackDown returns and Orton stands in the ring with a mic. “There’s something I gotta get off my chest.” This is the House that AJ Styles Built? Well then in 2002, Styles was wrestling in some high school gymnasium while Orton was here making his WWE in-ring debut. In 2004, Styles was shaking hands with opponents in bingo halls while Orton was the youngest WWE Champion ever. In 2005, Styles was in Florida getting a tan with Dixie Carter while Orton was here facing The Undertaker at Wrestlemania. Orton continues on to say that 2006, 2007 all the way to 2014, Orton was champion! This isn’t the House AJ Styles Built, it was the house built long before Styles was ever here! This is the House Randy Orton Built! But speaking of AJ Styles, he appears!
The Phenomenal One heads to the ring and picks up a mic to retort. “Wow, Randy. For someone who looks down on the indies, you sure did follow my career pretty closely.” But Styles is flattered. And he’s right, he’s indy made and damn proud of it. It’s been said that guys like Orton weren’t made for that world but for the WWE. Which is good because Orton wouldn’t have made it in Styles’ world. Not with things like his weird pose and a “knockoff Diamond Cutter.” Wait a second. Is Styles saying that none of those indy pals of his never ripped anybody off? Too Sweet. Good one, good one. But take a look around backstage: Orton is surrounded by those indy pals. They all earned the right to be in the WWE. They didn’t have their daddy get them a job.
Styles talks Orton’s career now. Orton had the stroke of Triple H, the intelligence of Ric Flair and the muscle of Batista backing him to make sure he didn’t fail. Orton says he’s accomplished more before he was 24 than anyone in this industry could ever dream! A 13-time world champion and two-time Royal Rumble winner who has been to 15 Wrestlemanias and any other PPV! But Evolution was where it started. And the Legacy. And Rated RKO! No wait, better yet, the Wyatt Family. Orton sure had a lot of babysitters. Stylse knows Orton is exactly what he is. He is a viper who uses everyone else up. Which is why Styles made sure to get the jump on Orton, so he won’t be another victim.
Orton says Styles has no choice. As long as Styles is renting a room in Orton’s house, he has to answer to him. And rent is due. Make it out to the three most destructive letters in sports entertainment: R K O. Well if Orton wants his rent, come take it at Wrestlemania! Whose house will it be after these two meet on the Grandest Stage of Them All?
Asuka VS Sonya Deville w/ Mandy Rose!
The Empress of Tomorrow put away God’s Greatest Creation because the Gladiator Gal was doing too much on the outside. But now Asuka looks to show Fire & Desire that neither of them are ready for her! Will that be true when Sonya puts her hair up and squares up?
SmackDown returns as Fire & Desire make their entrance. The bell rings and Sonya circles with Asuka. They tie up and Asuka avoids Sonya’s takedown but Sonya slips out of the facelock. They go around and Sonya gets a ropebreak before Asuka gets the heel hook. Sonya kicks Asuka back but Asuka catches one to hit back. Asuka gives kicks now, then bounces Sonya’s head off the mat! Sonya counters the buzzsaw to a roll up, TWO! Asuka kicks and whips but Sonya reverses. Asuka runs the ropes but misses the dropkick, Sonya SPEARS! Cover, TWO! Sonya knees Asuka’s ribs and covers, TWO! Sonya stalks Asuka to the corner while fans rally up. She toys with Asuka but Asuka gets mad. Asuka SLAPS Sonya, then throws forearms. Asuka fires off palm strikes and body shots, then the pop-up knee! Sliding Wizard!
Sonya bails out but Asuka runs in. She wrecks Mandy instead! Sonya puts Asuka in and forearms Asuka back. Mandy drags herself up but pulls the apron skirt down! It causes Sonya to stagger, Asuka rocks her with a roundhouse! Then the Asuka Lock! Sonya taps, Asuka wins!
Winner: Asuka, by submission
Fire & Desire cost each other again! The Empress sweeps and leaves them behind on the Road to Wrestlemania, but will Sonya and Mandy be able to patch things up?
The IIconics speak.
“Oooh… Sonya and Mandy are always in each other’s way.” That’s definitely not IIconic. But Billie Kay & Peyton Royce claim Sasha Banks & Bayley are ducking them. The WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions are still champions, congrats! Pbbbt. They can’t run forever, they will have to come to SmackDown, where the future is IICONIC! Strike the pose. Billie & Peyton want to go BFF’s VS BFF’s, but will The Boss & Hug be too busy for the Blue Brand?
Becky Lynch is here!
And she tosses aside her crutch! The Man may not be 100% but she feels so much better after Fastlane. What will she have to say about Ronda Rousey’s assistance? We find out after the break.
SmackDown returns, and Becky shares how great it feels to be walking down the ramp on her own. Everyone got brave when she got hurt, then suspended, then un-suspended, then re-suspended and arrested and out of the biggest match of her career. “But The Man is back!” She’s back on her feet and back in the main event of Wrestlemania! This was the match she set in motion when she picked Ronda Rousey only for Charlotte to be shoehorned in. And then Becky had to earn her way back in her match twice! “Lads, do you know how hard it is to play mind-games on a woman with no brain?” But Becky did it! She got “Ronnie” so wound up, she did all this for her. Thanks, ya lil’ weirdo. Becky will pay her back by taking her arm and her title.
Becky doesn’t care if it’s the golden girl or the rowdy one, she will reclaim what they’ve tried to give someone else. And speaking of, here comes Charlotte! The Queen has a mic of her own. “First off, congratulations.” Becky finally gets in Charlotte’s main event. While Becky was suspended and arrested, Charlotte put in all the work. Charlotte’s resume speaks for itself, but she tells Becky it’s one thing to be hot for six months. Charlotte’s been hot for four years! That’s why Vince chose her! So she could get the job done. But does Becky know why the fans love her? Because they pity her. Charlotte pitied Becky. Ronda pitied her.
And no matter how much Becky spins it, that was a hand-out at Fastlane. Charlotte has never seen someone do so little yet take credit for so much. That’s why Charlotte will make Becky and Ronda relevant when they bow down! “Aw shut yer face, ya dope!” Becky’s the reason women are main-eventing at Wrestlemania. They don’t need a Queen, they need The Man. Fans agree as they chant for Becky. Will Becky stand tall against Queen and Baddest Woman?
Backstage interview with Daniel Bryan and Rowan.
What was going on in Mr. McMahon’s office? It was a private discussion. Did it have to do with Kofi Kingston? Yes, actually. As WWE Champion, Planet’s Champion, and a winner in a surprise Triple Threat, Bryan wanted to give Vince some feedback before the announcement tonight. What was Vince’s reaction? Bryan and Rowan are in a match tonight, against Mustafa Ali and Kevin Owens. Will the Beacon of Light and Prizefighter be able to get even on Bryan and Big Red tonight?
Rey Mysterio & R-Truth w/ Carmella VS Samoa Joe & Andrade Almas w/ Zelina Vega!
After two Fatal 4 Ways for the United States Championship, these four men choose sides for a tag match! Will the King of Lucha Libre and John Cena’s biggest fan be able to overcome the Destroyer and El Idolo?
SmackDown returns as entrances finish and teams sort out. Truth starts against Almas and they circle. They tie up and Almas elbows Truth hard. Almas whips Truth tot he corner but Truth goes up and over to hip toss Almas down! Truth does the splits and runs, and hits Almas with the elbow! He asks the fans “What’s up?!” and tags in Mysterio. Wheelbarrow assist for headscissors on Almas! Mysterio runs but Almas blocks the destroyer. Mysterio makes it a huricanrana to put Almas on the ropes! But Joe tags in to slam Mysterio down! Joe jabs away and stomps Mysterio, to then toss him out of the ring! Zelina taunts Mysterio while we go picture in picture.
Joe fetches Mysterio and gives him headbutts. Joe puts Mysterio back in the ring and scoops him for a big slam. He drops a big elbow, then kicks Mysterio around. Joe tags Almas and Almas runs to dropkick Mysterio back down. Cover, TWO! Almas drags Mysterio away from Truth to stomp him out more. Almas tags Joe and they mug Mysterio while Zelina applauds. Joe drags Mysterio up for a neck wrench but fans rally up. Mysterio fights out but Joe knees back. Joe powerbombs Mysterio down! High stack cover, TWO, to Boston Crab! Joe pulls back on Mysterio then shifts to a crossface while we return to single picture.
Mysterio endures being pulled back as Joe shifts to a Rings of Saturn. Truth kicks Joe to save Mysterio! Joe tags Almas as fans chant “What’s up!?” with Truth. Zelina is annoyed by those chants but Almas knees Mysterio. Almas hits Uno Amigo, then Dos Amigos. Almas goes for Tres but takes time to gloat. Mysterio slips out, Mexican Destroyer! Both men are down but fans rally up. Mysterio crawls for Truth but Zelina grabs his feet! Carmella yanks Zelinda down! HOt tag to Truth! Truth references Cena with the shoulder tackles and spin-out bomb! And “You Can’t See Me!” Five Knuckle Shuffle! Truth fireman’s carry but Joe tags in! Almas slips out so Truth dodges and calf kicks Joe. Truth kicks then tags Mysterio.
Joe dodges to SUPERKICK Truth! Mysterio springboards and dropkicks to put Joe on ropes! Dial it up, but Almas intercepts, only to end up beside Joe! DOUBLE 619! Mysterio splashes Almas but Joe sentons! Urenage, but victory roll! Mysterio & Truth win!!
Winners: Rey Mysterio & R-Truth, Mysterio pinning
The King of Lucha pins the United States Champion! Does this mean Mysterio gets the next shot at Samoa Joe’s title? Joe takes his anger out on Truth with an URENAGE! And one for Almas, too! Mysterio helps Truth get away before anything worse happens. Will Joe be the one to destroy Mysterio’s legacy instead of Almas?
Daniel Bryan & Rowan VS Kevin Owens & Mustafa Ali!
The Planet’s Champion survived two opponents at Fastlane, but did have help from his Redwood Bodyguard. Now the Prizefighter and Beacon of Light team up to exact some revenge! Will they be denied or satisfied after tonight?
SmackDown returns again as Mustafa Ali makes his entrance, followed by Bryan and Rowan. Teams sort out and Kevin starts against Bryan. They tie up and Kevin gets a headlock. Bryan powers out but Kevin runs him over. Things speed up and Kevin runs Bryan over! Back senton, too! Kevin drags Bryan up but Bryan scrambles away to tag Rowan. Rowan and Kevin brawl and Rowan puts Kevin in the corner. Kevin still hits back but Rowan runs him over with a shoulder! Bryan cheers Rowan on as he drags Kevin up by his face. Rowan grinds his forearm in but Kevin elbows and PELES! Hot tag to Ali! Ali leaps in but Rowan catches him easy. Rowan suplexes but Ali slips out to bait him into the corner. Ali roundhouses then somersaults for Rowan’s tackle! Rowan hits Kevin for good measure.
Rowan stands on Ali’s chest, then tags Bryan. The Planet’s defenders mug Ali, and Bryan goes after his leg. Bryan wrenches the knee then pulls Ali’s face into a chinlock. Fans rally and Ali fights out. Ali runs but Bryan elbows him down. Bryan brings Ali up fast for a snap Half Hatch suplex! Cover, TWO, but into a sideways Bow ‘n’ Arrow! Bryan uses torturous innovation while we go to break.
SmackDown returns yet again as Rowan rams Ali into a corner, Canadian torture rack style! Tag to Bryan and Bryan throws hands on Ali as he climbs. Bryan hits a Butterfly SUPERPLEX! Cover, TWO! But Bryan goes right for the Lebell Lock! Ali scrambles for ropes and gets them with a foot! Bryan lets go at 4, and reminds the referee of the rule. Bryan drags Ali up for a big EuroUpper. He trash talks Ali as he gives him another. Bryan soaks up the heat before bringing Ali up to whip. Ali kicks back then runs for a flapjack dropkick! Fans rally as Ali crawls for his corner! Bryan intercepts and drags him back, but Ali slips out of the back suplex to a backstabber! Cover, but Rowan breaks it!
Kevin goes after Rowan but the stunner is denied. Kevin denies the claw slam and SUPERKICKS! Ali and Kevin DOUBLE SUPERKICK! Kevin aims at Rowan but Rowan intercepts the cannonball to toss Kevin itno barriers. Ali wrecks Rowan with a dropkick but Bryan has a waistlock. Ali standing switches and rolls up, TWO! Bryan has it, TWO! Tag to Rowan, but Ali elbows Bryan away. Ali hops up but into Rowan’s paws! CLAW SLAM! Cover, Rowan & Bryan win!
Winners: Rowan & Daniel Bryan, Rowan pinning
The Redwood does his part to protect the Planet’s Champion, and now both roll down the Road to Wrestlemania.
Vince McMahon appears!
The Chairman walks out to the ring because it’s finally time to hear what he has to say to Kofi Kingston. We’ll find out what that is, after one last break.
SmackDown returns once more, and Vince McMahon stands in the ring with a mic. He says he’s here to give the fans and Kofi Kingston what he wants. Vince is here to give Kofi an opportunity to compete for the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania. Now Vince wants to explain the misunderstanding at Fastlane. The New Day reasoned with Vince to make the title match a Triple Threat. Vince agreed, but he forgot to mention how it wasn’t with Kofi. And he forgot to mention that Kofi’s match at Fastlane would be a Tornado Handicap Match against The Bar. Vince says fans hear what we wanna hear, because he never said explicitly that Kofi would be in a title match. Kofi had a match and he lost. Vince did it for a reason. Everything is a teachable moment, but The New Day is done listening! They come out to confront Vince!
The New Day is still steaming even after wrecking eight other superstars at the start of the night. Kofi has the fans behind him as he and the others have mics. Big E says they’re not in the mood to be taught a damn thing. And Woods says they’re done holding their tongues. The New Day do everything for this company! They’ve never complained or threatened to live and yet they’re still treated like garbage! Kofi has been here for 11 YEARS! He deserves better! He deserves more! Vince says Kofi doesn’t deserve a damn thing! Neither do the fans! Even Vince doesn’t deserve anything, and he created the WWE! No one deserves anything. No, this is bigger than just opinion. This is bigger than the New Day, or even Vince’s massive ego. There’s nothing bigger than that.
Well if no one deserves anything, but they’ve earned this! Kofi has defeated great WWE champions when they were champions, yet he never got his shot! And that’s just one of many reasons why Kofi IS deserving of a match for the WWE Championship. The WWE Universe has one demand: Kofi Kingston gets his fair shot for the title! And fans let Vince hear it directly! Vince wishes Kofi did deserve that, really. Vince has known Kofi a long time and is a pretty good judge of talent. If Kofi was worthy, it would’ve happened by now. Vince knows Kofi is impressive, extraordinary, and has reached incredible heights. “But let’s face it, Kofi.” Kofi will be in the Hall of Fame, but only as part of The New Day.
Kofi’s smart, right? He’s the older man, he can just coast with Big E and Woods doing the work. Vince wishes Kofi was up to par, but he’s just not. This is not an insult, but Vince was speaking with Bryan, and Bryan hit it on the mark: Kofi’s awesome, but he’s a B+ Player. Kofi keeps Big E and Woods calm as he says that he’s not asking for a free ride or a hand-out or demanding anything. But 11 years ago, Kofi was a kid with a dream. That dream has all but come true. He provides for his family while doing what he loves. But Kofi would hope that somewhere along those 11 years, that he proved himself worthy. Yet Vince says he doesn’t see it?
Kofi doesn’t complain about anything, like showing up week in and week out but other people pass him up. He doesn’t complain that Vince needs Kofi here instead of home for weddings, birthdays and holidays! He’s never been trick-or-treating with his kids, because he’s been here. Two days ago, Kofi’s son lost his first tooth! But Kofi missed that happiness when the Tooth Fairy gave him money for the tooth. Kofi never complains about those who go ahead of him, about the time away from home, or how Vince never seems to let people like Kofi compete for the title. He won’t complain, but he just needs Vince to say here, man to man, what it is that Kofi needs to do to earn a shot, so that he can go and do it! The fans believe in Kofi.
But here comes Randy Orton!? Vince says that all Kofi has to do is beat The Viper. Then he’s in! Samoa Joe comes out, too? Well, yes, beat that man, too. But then The Bar appears?! Oh, and them. And even Rowan!? Kofi has to run the gauntlet to get to Wrestlemania!? And the gauntlet goes after them! The New Day fight off The Bar, they fight off Samoa Joe, and they fight off Rowan! Bryan gets Rowan clear and Orton stays out of it completely as Kofi gives Cesaro a Trouble in Paradise! “That could be YOU, Daniel!!” Kofi is fired up, but can he make it through five intimidating opponents in one night to finally have his shot?
A really great SmackDown here, with some good stuff to move us further towards Wrestlemania. Shane’s explanation for why he turned on Miz wasn’t exactly what I expected, but it’s not a bad reason. It at least works with how Miz more or less used Shane to make good with his own father. Miz VS Shane will be fun, and I would think Miz wins as the hero of this story. That opening 8 Man Tag was great, and The New Day attacking didn’t even really ruin it. It was great to see The New Day show some aggression after all this time. The Usos have another great backstage promo, and I’m wondering if there will be a big tag match to determine contenders. Saving the Hardys for last, I wonder if it’ll be Usos VS Hardys in the end, and that match could go either way.
I was hoping for a bit more out of Asuka VS Sonya, but it sounds like we’re building to Sonya VS Mandy given the passive aggressive revenge Mandy got on her. And if that’s the case, it sounds like Lacey Evans will still be available for facing Asuka for the title. For that matter, if the Women’s Wrestlemania Battle Royal is to return, Sonya and Mandy could work together to be the final two, forcing them to fight out their problems. The IIconics call out Sasha Banks & Bayley, as I hoped, but only time will tell if there’s a response. With only three weeks left now, perhaps the IIconics should show up on Raw to go after the champs while they’re busy with Nia Jax & Tamina.
Randy Orton and AJ Styles did great with their promos, and I’m enjoying this new take on WWE original product VS independent grown talent. Orton VS Styles as a match is going to be great, but I would hope Styles wins. But chances are he won’t, there seems to be a lot of moments where Faces could triumph and WWE never likes to let all their heroes win at the same time. The tag match around the US title story was great, and it’s a nice surprise that Mysterio wins. Mysterio VS Joe could happen at Mania, or it could happen before. I’m still personally hoping for Joe VS Cena. Plus, Almas will still want after Mysterio so who knows how that affects things.
Becky and Charlotte have a good segment, but they’ve always been good. Kevin & Ali VS Rowan & Bryan was another good tag match, but Rowan continues to do the heavy-lifting for the champion. The entire Vince McMahon and New Day segment was incredible. I get people are upset this is just a new Daniel Bryan VS Authority thing, but they need to get over it. Tropes are a thing, enjoy the ride. Kofi has quite the gauntlet ahead of him, but I’m thinking there’s a good chance one of the opponents is softened up by their story counterparts. Orton has Styles, and there’s a chance Kevin or Ali goes after Rowan. Either way, I would think Kofi finds a way to win and force Vince’s hand. This just has to lead to Kofi finally getting his world title and Grand Slam at Mania.
My Score: 8.4/10