Smackdown – April 23, 2019

Date: April 23, 2019
Location: Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln, Nebraska
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton

We’re officially into the new era of Smackdown after last week’s brand split and believe it or not, Roman Reigns is the focal point of the show again. Last week saw Reigns attack Vince McMahon, which has started off rumors that he might be fired. In other words, it’s McMahon time again and that’s likely to be the case for the time being. Let’s get to it.

Here’s Shane McMahon to get things going. After making Greg Hamilton do the big intro, Shane wants to talk about Roman Reigns. We see the clip of Reigns hitting Vince last week, which is like disgracing the American flag or defacing Mount Rushmore (which Shane stumbles over). That man is a national treasure and it’s time for payback.

Shane lists off some options before saying that he’ll deal with Reigns right now in this ring. Reigns comes out and they both drop their mics. Cue Elias from behind and the beatdown is on. Drift Away leaves Reigns laying. Great. More McMahon Family Fun as Shane and Vince like each other again.

Post break Elias and Shane promise more to come for Reigns.

We look back at Kevin Owens becoming an honorary member of the New Day.

Kofi Kingston is proud to be WWE Champion and Owens comes in to shout a lot. He’s happy to be part of the team and wants to do them proud.

Finn Balor vs. Andrade

Non-title. During the entrances, Vega and Andrade say Balor can’t run and promises to extend Andrade’s legacy with the Intercontinental Title. A very early Vega distraction lets Andrade kick him to the floor, setting up a corkscrew dive to send us to a break. Back with Balor reversing a powerbomb into a DDT. The Coup de Grace is broken up so Balor gets in a sunset flip for two instead.

Andrade is sent outside and that means the running flip dive (good looking one too) to crush Andrade again. Back in and Andrade elbows him in the face, setting up the running knees in the corner for two. Vega tries to interfere with a high crossbody but Andrade catches her instead, allowing Balor to hit the shotgun dropkick into the corner. Now the Coup de Grace can finish Andrade at 7:51.

Rating: C+. This has been WWE telling you that their first match didn’t matter, as Balor should have no reason to face Andrade again. Now of course he will because we need a trilogy match between two people whose first two matches might have been fifteen minutes combined. Just make sure the title is on the line next time because losing to the champ gets you a title shot.

Elias sings a challenge to Roman for Money in the Bank. Shane pops up and likes the idea before they leave together.

Earlier today, Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville told Paige that they were above her now and Absolution wasn’t happening again.

Kairi Sane vs. Peyton Royce

Before the match, the IIconics declare Kairi and Asuka super lame-os instead of superheroes. Last week, Peyton only got pinned because she was dehydrated. Tonight though she’s had a whole GALLON OF WATER (Billie: “Really? A whole gallon?”) so she’s ready to give Kairi her first loss on Smackdown. Kairi kicks her in the arm to start and kicks Peyton in the back, setting up the Interceptor spear. The Sliding D in the corner sets up the Insane Elbow to finish Peyton at 1:35.

Post match Sonya and Mandy come out to applaud Kairi.

Aleister Black sits down in a dark room and says he won’t explain his tragic backstory. You’ll learn about him soon enough.

Jinder Mahal vs. Chad Gable

Mahal is another bonus Superstar Shakeup move. And never mind as Lars Sullivan jumps Gable from behind during his entrance. Mahal runs so Sullivan beats up the Singh Brothers. R-Truth runs in and tries to go after Sullivan but gets laid out as well. No match.

We look at the Shane/Reigns/Elias segment again.

Reigns accepts the Money in the Bank challenge.

Here’s Charlotte for a chat. She talks about the main event of Wrestlemania but there’s a problem: Ronda Rousey lost the Smackdown Women’s Title for her and now Becky is carrying it around without beating Charlotte. This brings out Becky, who says it was Winner Take All at Wrestlemania. Becky did what Charlotte couldn’t and now she’s Becky Two Belts. Charlotte laughs it off and says that every time Lacey Evans knocks her out, it’s Charlotte in her head.

They start talking over each other with Becky saying she wants fresh challengers but management keeps putting Charlotte in front of her. If Charlotte wants to work her way up, Becky can beat her again and still be Becky Two Belts. This brings out Bayley, who says Becky has never beaten her. Charlotte tells Bayley to get in the back of the line so Bayley calls her out for always getting title shots. Bayley slaps the mic out of her hand and says earn a title shot for a change.

Bayley vs. Charlotte

Bayley shoves her down to start and hits the running elbow to the back. That’s shrugged off and Charlotte chokes on the ropes, only to get rolled up out of the corner for two. A middle rope crossbody gives Bayley the same and she hits a running shoulder in the corner. Charlotte pops back up and goes after the knee as we take a break.

Back with Bayley kneeing her in the face but holding the knee in pain. Charlotte runs her over again but misses the moonsault. A belly to back gives Bayley two and the running elbow in the corner gets the same. Bayley gets pulled off the ropes but is fine enough to small package her way out of the Figure Eight for two. The spear finishes Bayley at 10:38.

Rating: C. Why yes, they did bring Bayley over to Smackdown to lose to Charlotte to set up another Becky vs. Charlotte match. I mean, they haven’t gone one on one on pay per view in over a month so it’s time to do the same thing all over again. Someone really needs to introduce WWE to the law of diminishing returns as it seems to be a very foreign concept.

Post match Becky says that she’ll give Charlotte a title shot at Money in the Bank, meaning she’s working twice that night.

We see the Firefly Fun House video, though they make sure to cut to a shot of the crowd watching it, just in case you started to get into what they were presenting.

Kofi Kingston vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

Non-title, Rusev and Lana are at ringside and Owens and Woods have their own announcers’ table. Nakamura misses an early kick to the head and gets sent to the floor. Kofi teases a dive so Nakamura can get back in, where he takes Kofi down into a cross armbreaker. That’s switched into a cross armbreaker but Kofi stacks him up for two and the escape. Kofi’s top rope splash to the back gets two and a dropkick puts Nakamura on the floor again. A dive is cut off with a kick to the face though and Nakamura adds the knee drop off the apron.

Back from a break with Nakamura hitting more knees, followed by a kick to the head. They head outside with Nakamura kicking him out of the air for two as we go to New Day for more commentary. Kofi flips to his feet and goes to the middle rope but Nakamura hits the sliding German suplex to take him down again. Kinshasa is countered with the standing double stomp. Trouble in Paradise misses so Kofi settles for the SOS, drawing in Rusev for the DQ at 13:23.

Rating: B-. The ending wasn’t exactly in doubt as WWE isn’t about to push Nakamura into the World Title scene all of a sudden. Kofi not winning isn’t the biggest problem in the world as it’s basically a matter of time until he loses the title. Good match from two good workers, but what comes after is probably what really matters.

Post match Owens and Woods make the save with Woods being taken down. Owens cuts the nonsense and superkicks Kofi, setting up the big beatdown. He shouts that Kofi’s kids better have had a good time because Owens is coming for the title. Kofi tries to fire up but gets stomped down in the corner. Woods breaks up the apron powerbomb so Owens gives it to him instead to end the show. I know it seemed obvious from the beginning, but that’s because it was obvious from the beginning. Why stretch it out for another few weeks instead of just getting to the point already?

Overall Rating: C+. I don’t know if it’s the lack of Baron Corbin or the show just not trying to feel so big and important but this is such an easier night to watch than Raw. Kofi vs. Owens isn’t the most interesting in the world but it’s fine for Kofi’s first feud, especially when it’s a very strong possibility that Owens could win the title. The rest of the show had some questionable decisions but the action was good and nothing was all that bad. Or maybe it is just the lack of Corbin.


Finn Balor b. Andrade – Coup de Grace

Kairi Sane b. Peyton Royce – Insane Elbow

Charlotte b. Bayley – Spear

Kofi Kingston b. Shinsuke Nakamura via DQ when Rusev interfered

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