Smackdown – March 19, 2019

Smackdown
Date: March 19, 2019
Location: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
Commentators: Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, Tom Phillips

It’s a Kofi Kingston night as he has to run a gauntlet match to get to the main event of Wrestlemania. In theory, with so few shows left to go before the pay per view, they’ll finally announce the match and let us have a few weeks to build. There’s a lot of other stuff to build on the way there too though and I’m not sure how much time everything else is going to get. Let’s get to it.

Here’s the Miz to open things up (Not the gauntlet match, which was announced as opening the show. It doesn’t mean anything, but why announce it if you’re just going to change it within a few days? How hard can it be to keep something that straight?). We see a video on Shane McMahon’s explanation from last week, including the announcement of his match with Miz at Wrestlemania.

Miz talks about being focused on the Road to Wrestlemania for his entire career and, other than his wife and daughter, he has sacrificed every relationship he has to make it there. Over the years he has worked to make his father proud of him and Shane McMahon helped make that happen. He had been told that Shane was a little different behind the scenes and then Shane turned on Miz and even attacked his father. Shane was born into the McMahon Family so he was born the Worst In The World.

Vince and Shane may own the company but they don’t own Miz and they don’t own Kofi. Miz wasn’t born into privilege and he was destined to flip burgers at his dad’s restaurant. Then he defied everyone and became WWE Champion on his own. You can boo him or cheer him but you can’t deny his work ethic. He’s a proven success story and it took him thirteen years but now he feels like he has earned that respect. The fans give him a YOU DESERVE IT chant and Miz agrees that he does.

It was a good face turn promo, though tying it into his month long friendship with Shane is about as tough of a sell as you’re going to go. Also, again, it’s really hard to buy the idea that Miz’s dad wasn’t proud of him for the World Title, the nine Intercontinental Titles or anything else, but a nothing tag team with Shane. The moral of this is that Miz’s dad is a pretty horrible parent and that’s not enough to turn Miz into a huge face.

Boss N Hug Connection vs. IIconics

Non-title. Before the match, the IIconics mock the champs for playing it safe, including going back to NXT to make themselves feel better. Bayley chases Peyton to the floor to start and it’s off to Sasha, with Bayley lifting her up for a dropkick. Billie comes in and gets taken down, allowing Sasha to mock the pose.

Hang on though as here’s Lacey Evans for a distraction and Billie gets in a discus lariat for two. Back from a break with Bayley and Billie hitting a faceplant for the double knockdown. Banks and Peyton come in off the double tag and it’s a Meteora for two on Royce. Kay boots Bayley in the face on the floor and helps Peyton roll Sasha up for the pin at 8:25.

Rating: D+. I’m so glad that we had the champs lose in one of their first matches together for the sake of setting up the title match. With Bayley and Banks saying that they’ll fight anyone, why not just have them fight everyone? Or let this be a singles loss or something like that? Or, for a change, just have some challengers win a few matches to get their shot? Crazy talk I guess.

Rey Mysterio is in the back and has an announcement. He brings in his son Dominic (of THE FOLLOWING LADDER MATCH IS FOR THE CUSTODY OF DOMINIC fame), who will be in the front row when Rey challenges Samoa Joe for the US Title at Wrestlemania.

Wrestlemania rundown, with nothing new added.

It’s time for the KO Show with Kevin Owens talking about how tonight is all about Kofi Kingston. He’ll be watching the gauntlet match closely, but for now we need to get to the guests. That would be Becky Lynch and Charlotte with Owens talking about how Becky is willing to fight Charlotte and Ronda Rousey at the same time.

As for Charlotte, Becky has said that she was shoehorned into the match and doesn’t belong. What Owens knows is that everyone is sick of hearing them talk and want to see the two of them fight. They stand up, Owens, leaves, and the fight is on. Security and referee get beaten up as well as the fans are very pleased with Becky.

AJ Styles talks about Randy Orton having some advantages. Yeah Orton is 6’4 and 250lbs. He’s a first round draft pick and AJ is a walk-on. That’s ok though, because at Wrestlemania, AJ is proving that this is his house. Oh and good luck to Kofi tonight.

Here are Daniel Bryan and Rowan to talk about how Kofi’s gauntlet match is an injustice. Daniel doesn’t buy this idea that Kofi is being held down because he was put in the gauntlet match and the Elimination Chamber. It was nothing he had earned because he was handed a spot. Both times, Kofi lost and he has earned nothing.

Kofi really is a B+ player but that’s ok with the fans because a B+ is good enough. Hey that could be a New Day shirt. No amount of chanting changes the fact that Kofi keeps losing. This brings out New Day because it’s time for the gauntlet match. That’s an interesting way to go with Kofi vs. Bryan and something that could have some legs in the promos.

Gauntlet Match

Of course Kofi starts and gets Sheamus first, with Big E. and Xavier Woods barred from ringside. Feeling out process to start with Kofi getting caught in a headlock on the mat. Sheamus gets armdragged into an armbar before Kofi sends him outside. That means a no hands dive but Sheamus pounds away with the ten forearms to the chest. Back in and Kofi stomps away until Cesaro gets in a cheap shot from the apron. The chinlock doesn’t last long and we take a break.

Back with Kofi hitting the Boom Drop and getting two off a spinning middle rope crossbody. Sheamus is right back with the Cloverleaf, which gets rolled up for two. A knee to the head rocks Kofi for two and we see the Usos joining the New Day watching in the back. The Brogue Kick is blocked and Trouble in Paradise gets rid of Sheamus at 13:41.

Mustafa Ali and the Hardys are watching as well as Cesaro jumps Kofi from behind with a gutwrench suplex getting two. Cesaro works on the leg and back but runs into a boot in the corner. A springboard is countered with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker as we take a break. Back again with R-Truth joining the locker room crowd and Cesaro swinging Kofi into the Cloverleaf. That’s broken up so it’s a half crab Liontamer for a bit before Kofi has to backdrop out of the Neutralizer. The SOS gives Kofi the pin at 21:31.

Rowan is in next and runs Kofi over with a knee, followed by shots in the corner. Another shoulder drops Kofi on the floor and Rowan whips him hard into the corner. Rowan goes with the long form plan by hitting Kofi in the back with a chair for the DQ at 23:13. A bearhug keeps Kofi in trouble and it’s the Iron Claw through the announcers’ table. Kofi is mostly dead as Samoa Joe is in next.

Back from another break with Joe cranking on the neck and saying Kofi will never go to Wrestlemania. Those are incorrect fighting words so Kofi strikes away, only to get caught with the enziguri in the corner. The neck crank goes on, followed by a heck of a clothesline for two. We hit another chinlock and the locker room viewing party has grown even more. The Koquina Clutch is countered with a jawbreaker but Joe gets the Rock Bottom out of the corner for another near fall. Joe loads up the Muscle Buster but Kofi rolls him up for the pin at 35:25. You couldn’t have Joe take the DQ instead of Rowan?

Post fall Joe chokes Kofi out and here’s Randy Orton as the last entrant. Back again with Orton in control and talking trash to Kofi. A whip into the steps gives Kofi a breather but he can’t follow up, allowing Orton to slap on the chinlock. Kofi fights up and throws a dropkick, which Orton slaps away with ease.

The RKO is countered though and Kofi hits Trouble In Paradise but Orton rolls outside as we take another break. Back again with Kofi in trouble but managing to hit a high crossbody. That’s rolled through for a near fall and there’s the hanging DDT to make it even worse. Orton takes his time loading up the RKO but Kofi rolls him up for the final pin at 53:43.

Rating: B. Hang on a second.

Post match Big E. and Woods come out to celebrate and here’s Vince McMahon to interrupt. Vince congratulates Kofi, who is going to Wrestlemania….if he can beat one more person. That would be Daniel Bryan, who kicks away in the corner to start. A knee to the ribs cuts off Kofi’s comeback and Bryan ties him in the Tree of Woe for more kicks to the ribs.

Bryan gets two off a top rope belly to back superplex and we hit the LeBell Lock. Kofi gets a foot on the rope for the break The YES Kicks are countered into the SOS for two and the fans gasp on the kickout. Some running corner dropkicks connect with Kofi reversing the third into another rollup. Bryan avoids a spinning high crossbody and stomps away at the head and it’s the running knee for the pin at 1:00:06 total.

Rating: B. It was long and exactly as advertised, but if this company EVER stopped moving the goalposts, I think my head would explode. It’s the same thing as the Becky Lynch story where the evil boss just feels like being evil and changes the match. I’m sure Kofi will get the title shot, but we’re long past the point of this being surprising. It’s just the move that WWE makes and that’s not a good thing.

The match itself was however a good thing with Kofi showing that he can hang in there for a long time at a high quality, which is exactly what he’s done for years. The fans want to see him, but you can only keep doing this “HAHA EVIL BOSS” stuff before it stops mattering. Considering that it’s happening in two big matches, it’s rather taxing and downright annoying.

New Day checks on Kofi to end the show.

Overall Rating: B-. This was almost a one match show and while that’s ok, they need to start adding some stuff to the pay per view. If that seventeen match card is going to be correct (and I don’t believe it’s going to be that high), they need to get on with it. They have eight official matches (Cruiserweight Title match is announced but an opponent is needed) and that leaves a lot of stuff to make official with two weeks to go. I know WWE likes to add in a bunch of twists but it would be nice if they could announce more stuff and let it build instead of saying “well maybe next week” every week.

Results

IIconics b. Boss N Hug Connection – Rollup to Banks

Daniel Bryan won a gauntlet match last eliminating Kofi Kingston

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