Smackdown – February 12, 2019

Smackdown
Date: February 12, 2019
Location: Huntington Center, Toledo, Ohio
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves

It’s the go home show for Elimination Chamber and we have some big matches to get through. As was the case last night on Raw, we’ll have some kind of a match to determine the other team starting the women’s tag team Elimination Chamber match. On the opposite end, there is also a gauntlet match to determine who will enter the men’s Elimination Chamber match last. Let’s get to it.

In Memory of Pedro Morales. I’m sure we’ll get the full video tribute on Raw.

We see the end of last night’s Raw with Charlotte replacing Becky Lynch in the Raw Women’s Title match at Wrestlemania. Still works for me.

A member of New Day will replace the injured Mustafa Ali in the Elimination Chamber. It was going to be one of them or Rey/Andrade so that’s fine.

Here’s Charlotte to open things up. After mocking the BECKY chants, Charlotte talks about how Becky screwed up last night, just like she always has. It was Becky who got hurt in November and gave Charlotte the spot instead, all so the myth of the Man could continue while Charlotte went to battle. She’s the background of the women’s division so Vince McMahon made a business decision so everything could work.

Becky isn’t coming out here right now because she’s a flash in the pan and not the kind of person Vince is taking a chance on. You can boo her now because she’s dedicating her win to Becky Lynch. Charlotte will be her in the front row at Elimination Chamber because we might have a new champion and she might have a new Wrestlemania opponent. Great heel promo here, as Charlotte plays that character to near perfection.

Carmella/Naomi vs. IIconics vs. Fire and Desire

The losers start the Elimination Chamber with Bayley/Sasha Banks. Before the match, all three teams talk about how they should be champions and how they have an advantage. Mandy and Carmella trade waistlocks to start as Graves praises the IIconics for being smart enough not to start since losing is all that matters here. Sonya comes in and gets kicked in the ribs a few times, allowing Naomi to grab a quickly broken armbar. Naomi’s splits splash gets two and it’s back to Carmella, who gets taken down without much effort. Of course her response is to dance because it’s all about showing off rather than hurting someone.

Mandy tags herself in but has to run from Naomi, who catches up to her on the floor as we take a break. Back with Carmella caught in a waistlock because Carmella seems to exist to dance and be in trouble. They both hit crossbodies at the same time (well Carmella just stood up straight instead of jumping or turning for a double knockdown). Mandy and Naomi come in off the hot tags to clean house, including the spinning jawbreaker from Naomi. The split legged moonsault finishes Mandy at 8:58.

Rating: D+. When did I start not liking Carmella that much? She’s just kind of there as a person to fill in a spot but she’s still the woman that was beating Charlotte and Asuka last year despite there being no reason for that to have happened. It’s hard to let go of that, though it’s not like she and Naomi have any real chance of winning the titles.

We get a graphic showing which two teams will be starting the match, which looks like it was made in 2004.

Bayley says Sasha will be in the Chamber on Sunday.

Tamina and Nia Jax say no one is walking out of the Chamber once they get done with them.

Liv Morgan will walk through fire for Sarah Logan and it’s going to be a new side of the Riott Squad on Sunday.

Mustafa Ali talks about the big hits he’s been taking and he’s upset about not having an opportunity at the WWE Championship. This is not the end and he’ll be back because he writes his story.

Here are Miz and Shane McMahon for McMizTV (take me now). Last week Miz was doing a photo shoot for his reality show and Shane was filming a guest spot for NCIS: Los Angeles. With that out of the way, here are this week’s guests: the Usos. They’re going to stand instead of having a seat and talk about how Miz and Shane may be champions but they don’t know each other. We get the Tag Team Test, which is listing off various facts about your partner, though Miz whispers the answers in Shane’s ear. Miz: “WHAT’S MY FAVORITE FOOD? Quiche.” Shane: “QUICHE! Quiche?”

They bring up the Mandy Rose issue before Shane threatens to hit Jimmy so hard that Jey will feel it. The Usos hit their catchphrase and drop the mic but Shane says the titles are the only things that are real. Shane: “You dig?” Double superkicks leave the champs laying, as it somehow becomes more obvious that they’re retaining the titles on Sunday. You know, because Shane McMahon as a champion is just something that happens in 2019.

Video on the Million Man March.

Here are Daniel Bryan and Rowan, with the former calling the fans fickle. He doesn’t need to be in the Elimination Chamber because it’s far more important that he keep the WWE Championship and help the world. He’s cut off though and we have a lot of time for the main event.

Gauntlet Match

Non-title but the winner gets to enter the Chamber last. Bryan and….Kofi Kingston start things off. I do love how they tease that it’s going to be anyone other than the singles member of the team. Bryan takes him down with a headlock to start and flips backwards into a leglock. Kofi sends Bryan outside, only to have Bryan come back in with a wristlock. Some knees to the ribs keep Kofi in trouble and it’s the surfboard double stomp to the knees.

Kofi fights up and kicks Bryan to the floor, setting up a big dive as we take a break. Back with Kofi in trouble again as Bryan hits a running dropkick to the back, sending Kofi to the apron. A middle rope knee to the back looks to set up the Swan Dive but Bryan only hits mat. Kofi is right back with a Boom Drop and a flipping splash for two.

Kofi’s springboard spinning crossbody gets two but Bryan ties him in the Tree of Woe for a sliding dropkick. A belly to back superplex is countered with Kofi landing on Bryan’s face as we take a break. Back with Bryan winning a strike off and hitting the YES Kicks, including the big one for two. They hit the pinfall reversal sequence but you don’t grapple with Bryan, who reverses into the LeBell Lock. Kofi manages a rope though and Bryan goes up, only to dive into a dropkick (despite landing on his feet before Kofi hit him).

Rowan trips Kofi so Big E. and Xavier go after him, earning a triple elimination. Bryan kicks away but misses the running corner dropkick, allowing Rowan, who I guess just stayed, to pull Kofi outside and send him into the timekeeper’s area. That means another ejection (or maybe a first) and it’s Bryan charging straight into Trouble in Paradise for the big upset at 24:30.

Jeff Hardy is in third and we come back with Kofi missing a dive into the barricade. Hardy jumps off the steps to take him out but the Swanton misses. Kofi can’t follow up though, allowing Jeff to hit the basement dropkick, which is countered into a rollup for two. The slingshot dropkick in the corner misses but Jeff catches him on top. That means a high crossbody for two, followed by the SOS to get rid of Hardy at 33:18.

Samoa Joe is in fourth and we come back with Joe hitting his corner enziguri for a close two. The abdominal stretch goes on, followed by a chinlock but Kofi sends him outside and hits a dive for a double eight count. Back in and Joe blasts him with a clothesline, followed by an atomic drop to put Kofi down again. The running backsplash gets two and Joe is incredibly frustrated.

Kofi gets to the apron for a springboard but Joe shoves him down, allowing him to stand next to the ropes and calmly count with the referee. It’s only an eight count again though and the neck crank is on. Kofi fights up and tries some clotheslines but gets caught in the Koquina Clutch. That means a climb up the corner though and Kofi flips back to pin Joe at 46:22.

Joe isn’t done though and suplexes the heck out of Kofi, followed by a Koquina Clutch on the floor. Shouldn’t that be a DQ since the next fall begins immediately? AJ Styles runs out fifth for the save and punches Joe to the back. We come back with Kofi barely able to get in the ring and AJ saying he doesn’t have to do this. Kofi says he can do this and shoves AJ, who slugs him down to start the next fall. A backbreaker gives AJ two and he starts in on the knee, followed by a snap suplex for two.

They hit a quick pinfall reversal sequence until AJ gets an STO backbreaker to really put Kofi down. Kofi fights back again and they head to the apron with Kofi missing a hard charge to slam knee first into the post. Somehow Kofi dives back in at nine and blocks a super hurricanrana to send AJ crashing to the mat. A top rope splash to AJ’s standing back (kind of like Shadows Over H***) gets two but AJ pulls him into the Calf Crusher. Kofi finally taps at 59:57 so here are Big E. and Xavier to carry him out. RKO outta nowhere finishes AJ at 1:00:58.

Rating: B-. You knew this was going to be long but the important thing is that it didn’t feel long. Kofi’s performance was great and you could make a case for him getting the Fastlane title shot assuming Bryan retains on Sunday. A nice celebration of his career is a fine idea and something that would work fine on a nothing pay per view like Fastlane. The ending was pretty clear, but there’s nothing wrong with something like that in this case. Good match, with Kofi getting a very nice rub.

Overall Rating: C+. This was a really different kind of show with only two matches, though both of them mattered for Sunday. That made this show feel WAY more like a go home show because it wasn’t spending time on stuff for Wrestlemania. Aside from the opening promo, this was all about Elimination Chamber and that’s what Monday should have felt like. There’s time to set up Wrestlemania later and putting some material in here is fine, but treat Sunday like it matters, even if it really doesn’t all that much.

Results

Carmella/Naomi b. IIconics and Fire and Desire – Split legged moonsault to Rose

Randy Orton won a gauntlet match last eliminating AJ Styles – RKO

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