As I mentioned in my Wrestlemania recap, I’m pretty wrestlinged out. So it’s a marker of what a watchable episode of Smackdown that this was that it was able to keep my attention for the whole two hours, even when all my body wanted to do was sleep.
IDK about the rest of you but I’m still happy crying about Kofi Kingston
Literally the first thing I did waking up this morning (Wednesday) was watch a compilation of reaction videos to Kofi’s Wrestlemania win and start crying. Did I get misty eyed last night when The New Day opened Smackdown with a celebration of Kofi Kingston’s victory? Yes, I did. One reason that professional wrestling is so effective is that, in occupying a liminal space between reality and fiction, it’s able to channel so much viscerally real emotion. I know we’ve all seen The New Day dance around and celebrate before, but it’s a very different experience when that celebration is based in joy and triumph that transcends kayfabe.
This is WWE, so their celebration was cut short by The Bar, who interrupted to take credit for Kofi still being champion after they interrupted what was going to be a winner takes all match between him and Seth Rollins on Raw this week. The Bar challenged The New Day to a three on three tag match, introducing their new ally: Drew McIntyre.
Boys, boys, and Surprise! Some more boys!
Wrestlemania is narratively kind of the season finale of WWE, making the Raw and Smackdown that follow traditionally the season premieres. The fans who attend Raw and Smackdown after Wrestlemania, however, have made that kind of impossible. So now they stretch it out a little bit, and use this post-’Mania week as sort of a preview of things to come.
As far as previews go, Ali, Ricochet and Aleister Black representing the forces of goodness against Andrade, Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev is a nice look at the future of WWE. This three on three matchup was perfectly fun, but undercut by commentary focusing on the Superstar Shakeup that will take place next week. Ali, Ricochet and Black are cute together though! I love imagining Ali coming up to them like, “hey… I really like your candles and fog machines. I saw you like flips… I also like flips.” And then Ricochet and Aleister Black would be like, “oh wow cool lighty helmet, let’s be friends.”
Ali pinned Andrade, but was immediately surprised with an RKO by Randy Orton. Kevin Owens also made a surprise appearance, getting Rusev with a stunner.
In keeping with the apparent theme of the episode, interruptions, R-Truth and Carmella’s celebration of her winning the Women’s Battle Royal Big Uterus Cup was cut short by United States Champion Samoa Joe attacking Truth. Joe got on the microphone to put the locker room on notice, if he was able to beat a legend like Rey Mysterio in under a minute, what chance do those dorks have?
In the third truly exciting post-’Mania surprise (after Sami Zayn’s return on Raw and my new favorite character the Box Monster), Braun Strowman ran out to attack Samoa Joe. Joe tried to lock in the Coquina Clutch, and Braun tried to slam Joe, but neither was successful. I’d be very excited to see them feud over the US Championship for a while. Strowman needs a program with a talent like Joe to legitimize him again after the weeks and weeks he spent working with Colin Jost.
I already have a new favorite wrestler in WWE
And it’s this spooky bird puppet in a box they teased on Smackdown and Raw. If the wrestler is anything other than a spooky bird puppet I will be furious. What do you think its story is? Let me know in the comments. I love this thing.
Peyton Royce and Billie Kay, my favorite tag team on the planet, came out next to celebrate their Wrestlemania win. Billie Kay was rubbing the front plate of her championship belt like a cartoon character rubbing a full belly, and it was very funny to me. They announced that as they are fighting champions, they would be defending their titles immediately against an undefeated local tag team called the Brooklyn Belles.
The IIconics won quickly and Smackdown cut to Paige watching backstage. In a brief interview, Paige announced that she would be bringing a tag team of her own to Smackdown next week. This is very exciting to me! Could it be a team from NXT? Maybe Paige’s mom Saraya and a NXT UK star like Rhea Ripley? Who would you want to see?
Shane McMahon fussing over how he’s announced is an affront to everyone with an actually hard to pronounce name
Shane McMahon gingerly walked to the ring to gloat about his accidental win over the Miz on Sunday in a segment that was kind of a mixed bag. It doesn’t look like his story with Miz and Dad Miz is over, and I’m not sure if I’m warming up to Shane as a heel because he’s actually good at it or because I’m just so relieved people aren’t cheering for him anymore. The bright point was definitely the sarcastic way Shane shut down the crowd’s CM Punk chants with a simple “please,” as the meat of the segment was him bullying ring announcer Greg Hamilton into announcing him more snazzily. It’s a decent bit but Hamilton isn’t very charismatic and has kind of a sleazy local news guy vibe the longer you look at him.
Guys? Are we sure about this?
After retaining the Smackdown Tag Team Championship on Sunday, the Usos put their titles back on the line against the Hardyz to see who the best pair of siblings and the best tag team in WWE is. Does WWE know that National Sibling Day isn’t a real holiday? Watching Matt and Jeff Hardy wrestle these days stresses me out, but this match was alright. I was not happy to see the Usos lose, however. And I was even less happy to see Lars Sullivan attack the new champions afterwards. Maybe this frees up the Usos to go to Raw where they can finally feud with the Revival. I’d be alright with that.
Maybe everyone who isn’t in my circles loves Lacey Evans
Doing damage control for the weird ending of Sunday’s main event by having Becky Lynch get repeatedly bested by a woman who looks like she’s going to argue for segregated bathrooms at swing dancing night “for accuracy” is certainly a choice. It is not a choice I would have made. It makes Becky look weak when more than anything, WWE needs to solidify that she is strong. Before Lacey showed up, Becky Lynch spoke about how, as double champion, she will be on both Raw and Smackdown. (I guess the rumors I had heard about the brand split ending are officially false. Or maybe that’s happening later in the year.) She very deftly kept the balance between cute and badass with her delivery, which is something the Smackdown writers seem to be better at doing than those on Raw. All that went to shit though when Lacey hit her in the face so hard that Becky couldn’t even get up. From one punch!! Ugh.
I’m not sure what the plan is here… but I’m listening
After next week’s Superstar Shakeup, I don’t know if Drew McIntyre, Cesaro, Sheamus, and all three members of the New Day will all be in the same place. But I like McIntyre with the Bar, and I’m somehow not sick of seeing the Bar work with the New Day. This was a cool match, and I would love to see Cesaro challenge Kofi Kingston for the WWE Championship in the next couple of months. Plus I think McIntyre could learn a lot from Sheamus and Cesaro. I’m probably going to regret saying this, but I might be down.
- Kofimania is still beautiful
- Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman could be great
- Paige teasing a new women's tag team debut
- The IIconics
- THE WEIRD BIRD IN A BOX MONSTER!!!!
- Drew McIntyre with the Bar looks promising
- Lacey Evans is clearly Becky Lynch's first challenger
- Kevin Owens is a face and Sami Zayn is a heel? Why though?
- The Usos aren't champions anymore
- Lars Sullivan push is imminent