Date: February 19, 2019
Location: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
Kofi Kingston! Rhythmic Clapping! Sunday’s Elimination Chamber match for the Smackdown World Title was one of the most dramatic moments WWE has presented in years. Kingston was on the verge of becoming WWE Champion and while he came up short, the question now is can he actually pull off the upset. With the nothing Fastlane coming up, Bryan is going to need a challenger. Let’s get to it.
Shane McMahon comes out but during his entrance, let’s go to the video on the Elimination Chamber match. Back in the arena, Shane brings up the NXT names who made their debuts last night. They impressed him so much last night that they’re going to be here tonight as well. Cue Miz to interrupt, saying that he hasn’t slept in two days because of the guilt he’s feeling over Sunday’s loss. Miz admits to using Shane to make his dad proud (still one of the dumbest stories going today) and then Shane brought his dad out here.
That made his dad say how proud he was of Miz and that he loved him. It was one of the best moments of his life and now he needs something. There are no more automatic rematches but this is Shane McMahon. If anyone can do anything about it, Shane can. This brings out the Usos to say whoa whoa whoa. Jey is willing to give them a chance to admit that Miz is a joke and a loser. Shane doesn’t want to hear his partner insulted like that so the rematch is on for Fastlane in Miz’s hometown.
So to recap: Miz is the weak link of the team and his dad is the worst parent of all time because main eventing Wrestlemania doesn’t mean a thing compared to teaming with Shane McMahon. I’m still not sure how this story is supposed to make sense but WWE is likely riding it all the way through Wrestlemania.
Video on Aleister Black, talking about everything he’s gone through to get here. Now, this show is two hours long and has the time to do this, but the three hour Raw can’t have something like this?
Aleister Black vs. Andrade
Black took the NXT Title from Andrade in this same building back in April, which thankfully is mentioned. They start fast with Black sliding between his legs but getting chopped down as Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano watch from the back. A running knee drops Black again but he sends Andrade outside for the moonsault into the sit as we take a break. Back with Black busting out the strikes but the springboard moonsault gets shoved out to the floor for a crash.
Black is fine enough to hit a Meteora and get two off a German suplex. Almas sends him into the corner for the running knees (with Graves saying Black is seeing shadows for an in-joke) for two of his own but the hammerlock DDT is blocked. Black Mass finishes Almas at 8:41.
Rating: C+. Well it wasn’t quite their Takeover classic but it was an entertaining match with the fans being way more into things than they were before. That’s the kind of thing that gives me some hope here, though it does make me wonder why they didn’t have these debuts in New Orleans, which has been a good town for WWE over the last few years.
Gargano and Ciampa say they’ve made a career out of defying expectations and Ciampa does his best work under the spotlight. Gargano talks about how they went to war here a year ago in this building and now they’re here together as the future. So yeah, NXT storylines are officially non-cannon on Raw and Smackdown. The Bar comes in to say no one knows or cares who they are. Johnny says they’re here to break the bar.
Jeff Hardy and AJ Styles agree to work together tonight. Kofi Kingston comes in and offers a pancake branch for the sake of peace.
The Bar vs. Johnny Gargano/Tommaso Ciampa
Sheamus shoves Ciampa around to start before it’s quickly off to Cesaro for a big uppercut to Gargano. Everything breaks down and the Bar gets sent outside for a suicide dive from Gargano. Ciampa’s dive off the apron is countered with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker as we take a break.
Back with Ciampa getting uppercutted out of the air and it’s off to Sheamus to take him up top. The super White Noise is countered into a sunset bomb but Sheamus lands on Ciampa’s knee, which seemed to buckle. The hot tag bring sin Gargano to clean house, including a flip dive off the apron to Sheamus and a slingshot DDT for two on Cesaro.
The spinning faceplant sets up the Gargano Escape but Cesaro powers out as he knows how to do. Some backbreakers set up Sheamus’ top rope knee with Ciampa having to dive in (knee seems ok) for the save. A superkick gets two on Sheamus and Ciampa tags himself back in for a slingshot into a rollup to pin Cesaro at 11:37.
Rating: C+. Thankfully the knee seems ok as he’s walking around without much of a limp. You knew the win was coming here though I’m still not sure what to expect from these NXT names, though at least the crowd was hotter here. Now if only they could acknowledge the NXT storylines, things would be that much better.
Video on Ricochet, showcasing a lot of his flip dives.
D-Generation X is going into the Hall of Fame.
Here’s Asuka to have her resume listed off but right now, does she feel lost in the shuffle? Right now all she wants is a fresh challenge because she wants to know who is ready for Asuka RIGHT NOW. This brings out Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville with Mandy saying that she’s ready.
Asuka vs. Mandy Rose
Non-title. Mandy gets knocked down…and here’s Lacey Evans to interrupt. The distraction lets Mandy grab a Russian legsweep get two as Lacey leaves without incident. Asuka kicks away and sends her outside though as we take a break. Back with Asuka grabbing a kneebar, sending Mandy straight to the rope. They head outside with Mandy hitting a great jumping knee to the face to take over again.
Asuka beats the count and kicks away, followed by a middle rope dropkick. The spinning strikes to the face get two and a sliding knee gets the same. Another shot seems to hurt Mandy’s eye but she’s goldbricking of course, sending Asuka throat first into the middle rope. That’s enough to set up a rollup pin for the huge upset at 9:49.
Rating: D+. Asuka needs to stay out of New Orleans. I get what they’re going for here but they couldn’t have Mandy win via countout off that knee or something like that? Mandy is only a step up the ladder from Carmella and that’s not enough to have her pin Asuka like this. I’m not a fan of this kind of booking but WWE seems to love it, probably over how easy it is.
Charlotte recaps Becky Lynch attacking her over the weekend and says she’s going to the main event of Wrestlemania. It’s the main event because she’s in it, which is a good line.
Miz’s dad will be in the front row at Fastlane. Shane gives that a bit of a weird look.
Ricochet vs. Eric Young
Joined in progress with Ricochet speeding things up until a Killian Dain/Alexander Wolfe distraction lets Young punch him in the face. A middle rope knee to the back sets up the chinlock for a bit, only to have Ricochet fight up and avoid a charge in the corner. Another running shoulder to the ribs in the corner sets up the springboard uppercut. Ricochet’s running shooting star gets two and a dropkick knocks Wolfe off the apron. The big running flip dive hits Young and Dain, followed by the 630 to finish Young at 6:29.
Rating: C-. That’s the kind of match Ricochet needed to have last night: fighting against the odds and making the comeback with the face paced, high flying offense. It worked well here and I had a good time watching him here. If nothing else, it’s nice to see Sanity getting a spot on the show. There’s no reason to not have them around, at least once in awhile.
New Day says Kofi’s rise hasn’t been over seven days, but over eleven years. That’s longer than Instagram has been around! Xavier and Big E. push for Kofi to get the Wrestlemania title shot, but Kofi says they deserve the thanks for letting him be in the Elimination Chamber in the first place. Tonight, they need to meet his friend Momentum, so Big E. hits the intro.
We see the same Kevin Owens movie theater promo from last night.
Kofi Kingston/AJ Styles/Jeff Hardy vs. Daniel Bryan/Randy Orton/Samoa Joe
During his entrance, Bryan talks about how ignorant everyone here is for not knowing Thomas Beckett. These people put him inside the Elimination Chamber but he survived. Bryan is going to educate us on his opponent for Fastlane but he won’t be saying who it is. The only thing he’ll tell us is that the opponent is NOT in this match. Bryan tags out to Joe at the bell, leaving him to face Kingston. An exchange of shots to the face allow the tag off to Hardy for the legdrop between the legs.
Orton comes in and grabs the chinlock, which is quickly broken up with a jawbreaker. It’s already back to Kofi to pick up the pace as things break down a bit. Orton drops Kofi onto the announcers’ table and we take a break. Back with Bryan hammering on Kofi until a dive allows the tag to Styles. AJ unloads on Bryan and cleans house, allowing the hot tag off to Kofi. That means the real comeback is on, including a pair of dives. Trouble in Paradise hits Bryan for the clean pin at 12:11.
Rating: C. The wrestling wasn’t the point here, at least not until the very ending. This was all about Kofi getting the pin on Bryan to set up what has to be the title match at Fastlane. There’s no reason for it to be anything else either before or after this match and there’s nothing wrong with that, especially after how things went over the last week.
Post match Shane comes out to make Kingston vs. Bryan for Fastlane to end the show.
Overall Rating: C+. As usual, it’s almost impossible to believe that Smackdown and Raw come from the same company. Tonight had some vignettes for the new stars, a new challenger for Asuka (method of setting up the challenger aside) and, above all else, the World Title match that the fans want to see. Kingston is on fire right now and deserves the title shot, so that’s what they get. It’s going with what makes sense rather than “here’s what we’re doing, get used to it.” Good, efficient show tonight and I’ll take that every night.
Aleister Black b. Andrade – Black Mass
Johnny Gargano/Tommaso Ciampa b. The Bar – Slingshot rollup to Cesaro
Mandy Rose b. Asuka – Rollup
Ricochet b. Eric Young – 630
Kofi Kingston/AJ Styles/Jeff Hardy b. Randy Orton/Samoa Joe/Daniel Bryan – Trouble in Paradise to Bryan
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