Date: April 2, 2019
Location: Royal Farms Arena, Baltimore, Maryland
Commentators: Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, Tom Phillips
It’s the final final show before Wrestlemania and with five days to go before the longest event in history, I’ll set the over/under for matches being added at two. Tonight in theory should be the first time we get to see the strong promos between Kofi Kingston and Daniel Bryan because less than two weeks is enough time to build a WWE Championship match at Wrestlemania. Let’s get to it.
We open with the Kevin Owens Show with two guests: Randy Orton and AJ Styles. Orton turns his back on AJ and talks about saving the fans from having to watch Styles vs. Kurt Angle last week. AJ says Orton has been here for nearly twenty years and has learned one move. That makes Orton laugh because AJ spent years wrestling in front of dozens of people in high school gyms and armories while Orton was wrestling at Wrestlemania in front of tens of thousands of people.
AJ: “You were in WWE. Getting suspended for failing drug tests.” Orton ignores that and says if AJ is as good as he thinks he is, AJ would have been in the WWE years ago. Now that John Cena has gone off to Hollywood, AJ is WWE’s corporate b****. That’s enough for Owens, who immediately leaves as the fight is on. AJ knocks him back and loads up the Phenomenal Forearm, which dives straight into the RKO. That finish looked great and I could go for seeing this match.
Ricochet/Aleister Black/Usos vs. The Bar/Rusev/Shinsuke Nakamura
Cesaro blocks Ricochet’s early hurricanrana attempt so it’s a headscissors for two instead. An uppercut allows Sheamus to come in and Ricochet is already in trouble. Ricochet slips out of a gorilla press and brings Black in for the rapid strikes. It’s off to Ricochet vs. Jey but Rusev low bridges Jey to the floor, setting up a whip into the steps. Back in and Nakamura gets kicked down, drawing Sheamus in to break up the hot tag as we take a break.
We come back with Jey still in trouble as Rusev and Nakamura make a wish with the legs. Nakamura’s front facelock is broken up with a Samoan drop and it’s off to Jimmy to clean house. Everything breaks down and Cesaro gives Ricochet Swiss Death with some great height. A double superkick gives Jimmy the pin on Rusev at 10:28.
Rating: D+. The ending was good but there was only so much to get out of the match with so many people getting such a limited amount of time. You can see the four way title match from here, even if it makes very little sense when Rusev just took a fall from the champs. It makes no sense, but that’s never stopped WWE before.
Post match here’s Alexa Bliss to talk about how things are getting ready for Wrestlemania. After rolling her eyes at Kevin Owens for thinking he’s a better talk show host, Alexa brings up the Usos forfeiting against New Day last week. That was disgusting, so it’s going to be a four way for the titles at Wrestlemania with the Usos defending against everyone else in the match. The fight is on because the match we just saw meant nothing.
Here are the IIconics for a chat. The talk about how huge it’s going to be when the Usos have to be the champions before moving on to their important match. There are several ways to become champions so on Sunday, it’s a no brainer that they’ll win the titles and make Wrestlemania ICONIC!
We look back at Ronda Rousey, Becky Lynch and Charlotte being arrested last night. They’ll be out of jail in time for Sunday.
The Miz vs. Sanity
Courtesy of Shane McMahon. Before the match, Miz talks about how Wrestlemania means different things to different people. It’s going to make him the best Miz he can be because he’s fighting for his father and his family. Shane has a father too and that makes him a son of a b****. Shane McMahon comes out to watch and gets his own introduction before Eric Young (cleanshaven) jumps Miz to take us to a break.
Back with Miz doing what he can but Shane makes this Falls Count Anywhere. Shane also puts up the shot of him attacking Miz’s dad, which fires Miz up enough that he knocks Sanity into the crowd. Wolf gets slammed through a table for two with Young making the save. They fight tot he back with Dain getting rammed into an electrical box. Young takes a knee to the face and Miz rolls a garbage bucket into his face for the pin at 9:28.
Rating: D. Just let Sanity go already. They can barely make it onto the show and now they’re losing a three on one handicap match to The Miz: Hardcore Specialist? And all of this is for the sake of Miz vs. Shane? The match was nothing, and Miz winning was as much of a stretch as you can get.
Post match Miz sees Shane leave in his car. At the same time, a police car comes up and lets Becky Lynch out.
We recap Stephanie McMahon announcing the Winner Take All stipulation as well as the brawl involving the police.
Here’s Becky to stand on the announcers’ table for a chat. She talks about what a difference a year makes. A year ago she and Charlotte were best friends but then she slapped Charlotte in the face at Summerslam and everything changed. Now we’re coming up on 80,000 people watching the Queen, the Baddest Woman on the Planet and the Man going head to head to head. It started with a slap and it’s ending with her as a double champ.
Carmella/Nikki Cross/Asuka/Naomi/Hardys/R-Truth/Heavy Machinery vs. Mandy Rose/Sonya Deville/Zelina Vega/Lana/Anderson and Gallows/EC3/Andrade/Shelton Benjamin
GOT ALL THAT??? Nikki and Zelina start things off and here’s Lacey Evans to interrupt. Nikki suplexes Vega into the corner and it’s off to EC3 vs. Matt with the latter hitting a Side Effect for two. Otis comes in for the Caterpillar and we take a break. Back with Naomi hitting a sitout jawbreaker on Mandy and a double tag bringing in R-Truth and Andrade. Truth sends him into the corner though and it’s time for a Dance Break as everything breaks down for the double DQ at 9:08.
Rating: D. This was a way to throw in as many people as you could into one match for the sake of pretending that they have a chance to actually win anything on Sunday. Asuka is a possibility, though at this point Lacey walking out at the end and winning in a surprise wouldn’t surprise me.
Post match the big fight is on with Asuka being the only one to not be thrown out.
Video on Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar.
Samoa Joe vs. Ali
Non-title. Joe backs him into the corner to start for the snap jabs but gets dropkicked outside for the suicide dive. Back in and Ali avoids a charge in the corner, setting up the rolling X Factor. Ali’s 450 (not 054) misses and it’s the Koquina Clutch for the win at 2:24. I really hope that’s not all Ali gets to do anymore.
It’s time for the contract signing between Daniel Bryan and Kofi Kingston. Bryan and Rowan are already in the ring as New Day come out, complete with pancakes. The fans’ KOFI chants are shushed by Bryan because he’s here to educate the masses. The fans need to stop thinking that a few months of success make up for eleven years. Their life lesson: DO NOT BE COMPLACENT. Also, don’t be a bystander in your own lives like Kofi has been doing.
He’s sat and watched while New Day pushed him to the top. The Kofi chants keep going as Bryan rants his final lesson: don’t mistake a fad for reality. Bryan has been where Kofi is now but with YES chants instead of KOFI chants. The reality is that the people feed off of him because they are parasites. Bryan wants Kofi to soak this in because it’s as good as it’s ever going to get. Kofi grabs the mic and says it’s time to educate Bryan. He can claim to know what Kofi is feeling but it’s become clear that Bryan knows nothing about him.
Kofi watched Bryan become champion in two years but not as a bystander. Bryan hasn’t been through eleven years with no singles title matches because it’s all led here. Kofi sees Bryan trembling because Bryan knows Kofi is ready. The one common thread is that Bryan knows what Kofi is feeling and knows what’s coming. At Wrestlemania, Kofi becomes WWE Champion. Kofi signs and we’re set. Kofi sounded nervous, but the fire was there and that’s what mattered.
Overall Rating: D+. Some of the build was acceptable but the wrestling was so bad with very little from Smackdown looking important for Sunday. The ending was good with Bryan and Kofi finally getting to bring it but egads man did it take them long enough to get there? This Wrestlemania build has been so uneven and it’s really not helping things given how long the show is going to be. They needed something strong here and didn’t get that, but at least there were a few good parts here and there.
Usos/Ricochet/Aleister Black b. Shinsuke Nakamura/Rusev/The Bar – Double superkick to Rusev
The Miz b. Sanity – Garbage bucket to Young’s head
Carmella/Nikki Cross/Asuka/Naomi/Hardys/R-Truth/Heavy Machinery vs. Mandy Rose/Sonya Deville/Zelina Vega/Lana/Anderson and Gallows/EC3/Andrade/Shelton Benjamin went to a double DQ when everyone brawled
Samoa Joe b. Ali – Koquina Clutch
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