This was a fantastic episode of WWE television. One huge benefit of half the show being taken up by a gauntlet match is that there was almost nothing in the episode that didn’t feel essential. Okay, sure Rey Mysterio brought his tall son to work to announce that he’s having a match against Samoa Joe at Wrestlemania and AJ Styles cut a short promo. That’s literally it. How are they going to make a 90 minute version of this for Hulu?
I Would Like to Officially Apologize for Doubting the Miz
Dear Mike “the Miz” Mizanin,
In a previous recap (also on the pro wrestling podcast Tights and Fights), I professed disappointment that you are working as a face right now. I said that you, as a heel, are the glue that holds the WWE together. I went into this episode of Smackdown feeling doubtful.
The promo that you kicked off the show with put all my doubts to rest. I was wrong. The angle of you being bad, knowing you’re bad, but knowing that Shane McMahon is much, much worse, is perfect. I will never doubt you again and I hope you can forgive me. Also I hope you kick Shane McMahon’s ass all the way back to stupid Connecticut.
…This Is Starting to Look Like an Actual Women’s Tag Division
After The Miz got me all pumped with his fantastic promo on Shane McMahon, Sasha Banks’ music hit and I legitimately lost my mind with excitement. As they promised Monday night, the Boss N Hug Connection came to Smackdown Live to face the Iiconics. Sasha Banks, Bayley, Peyton Royce and Billie Kay are four of my favorite people on the WWE roster right now and I have been dying for a match between the two teams. I did think this was a title match, and I guess it wasn’t, so I may have been more excited than I needed to be, but who cares? It was funny, exciting, frustrating, and most importantly, it left me wanting more of these two teams.
Peyton Royce pinned Sasha Banks with Billie Kay’s (very illegal) help, which means they have grounds to ask for a title shot. I wouldn’t be remotely mad at my orange queens being added to the Wrestlemania match. Either way, it means more Iiconics and Boss N Hug.
(Also Lacey Evans interrupted the match and made me very angry.)
Rey Mysterio (and His Tall Son?) Will Face Samoa Joe at Wrestlemania
Speaking of people getting Wrestlemania matches based on pinning title-holders, Rey Mysterio brought his son on TV to announce that his Wrestlemania match will be against Samoa Joe for the United States Championship.
The Kevin Owens Show Returned!!
If you were to ask me last week what my ideal first half of a Smackdown would be, there’s a good chance I would have said “a great Miz promo followed by an awesome tag match of my favorite teams followed by a Kevin Owens Show segment with Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair.” I mean, maybe not. I’m not very good at predicting things. But as someone who has watched every episode of both The Kevin Steen Show and Kevin’s Weekend Escapades, I was delighted.
I still think they’ve allowed too much time for the Becky Lynch energy to cool off, and worry that we have to get through two more weeks of TV before Wrestlemania. That being said, Kevin Owens encouraging Becky and Charlotte to just start brawling was fun. Did it make a ton of sense that the only thing keeping them from tearing each other apart is that no one said “fight” to them yet? Not really. But everyone here is charismatic enough that I kinda don’t care.
“B+ Is Not Good Enough!!!!” – Daniel Bryan (but also your parents, right kids?)
Before I get into the gauntlet match, can I just say that Daniel Bryan looks terrible? It’s really working for me. Yeah the hemp belt and recycling symbol Titantron are all well and good, but it wouldn’t really hit the spot if he didn’t look like he uses Dr Bronners as shampoo, body wash, toothpaste and laundry detergent. Thank you Bryan for all that you do.
Daniel Bryan reiterated that Kofi Kingston is a “B+ player” (echoing the McMahons doesn’t really work with his anti-corporate eco-dickhead character, but whatever, we’ll look past it) and that B+ may be good enough for the WWE Universe, but it’s not good enough for him.
I know this isn’t real and I’m being worked, but who cares. Shut up and condition your hair Bryan. You look like you sell tempeh out of a van in Olympia. How dare you.
Dangerous Driving Conditions on the Road to Kofimania
The entire second hour of last night’s Smackdown was dedicated to Kofi Kingston’s gauntlet match against Sheamus, Cesaro, Rowan, Samoa Joe, and Randy Orton. It was the right amount of compelling, nerve wracking, and hard to watch. I really recommend watching the whole thing, but my obvious highlights were the Cesaro and Samoa Joe segments. Cesaro and Kofi have long had excellent in-ring chemistry together, and if there’s anyone who can make a great babyface look even better, it’s Joe. (I really hope to see more of Samoa Joe working with Kofi Kingston in a singles setting in the future.) It was just a really good hour of Smackdown. Even Randy Orton decided to wake up enough to make the ending of the gauntlet feel really special. When Big E and Xavier Woods ran to the ring to celebrate Kofi’s rollup victory, I was crying. Weren’t you?
There’s still two more weeks of TV to fill before Wrestlemania though. So Vince McMahon came out to announce that Kofi can have his Kofimania… as long as he defeats one final opponent. Kingston was unable to defeat Vince’s choice of a sixth man: the champ himself, Daniel Bryan, which was heartbreaking, but the right kind of heartbreaking. I can’t see why WWE wouldn’t follow through with Kingston vs. Bryan as the Wrestlemania match, and stretching out the tension making everyone angry just looks like it’s making us all care about it even more.
- The Miz
- Boss N Hug vs Iiconics
- Kevin Owens Show segment
- Charlotte Flair's goth Forever 21 wardrobe
- Seriously even the way Kevin Owens stands is funny
- Gauntlet match was Killer
- Kofimania angle still going strong
- Where is Asuka?
- Becky's stuff probably should have been drawn out longer like they're doing with Kofi to keep it feeling fresh and exciting