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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
FEBRUARY 12, 2019
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
-The screen noted former WWWF Champion Pedro Morales died.
-They opened with a replay of Vince McMahon announcing at the end of Raw last night that they were replacing Becky Lynch with Charlotte in the WrestleMania main event just because he could. They went to Charlotte’s ring entrance live. No banner in the corner for Toledo, Ohio nor a mention by the announcers.
She strutted to the ring as the announcers plugged the Gauntlet Match to earn final entrance into the Chamber on Sunday. Graves said a New Day member will be replacing Mustafa Ali and said there’d be more on that later. Charlotte then said since day one she said this was her destiny. She said she’d like to say her heart breaks for Becky Lynch, but it doesn’t. (This is reminiscent of Stephanie McMahon mockingly doing the “Yes!” chant during The Authority’s reign of terror as Daniel Bryan was a breakout star.) She said she thought she taught Becky better than to be dumb enough to get suspended. She said Becky “dropped the ball” before Survivor Series by getting hurt, and Becky picked her to replace her against Rousey. She said she is the backbone and franchise player and a winner.
She said the fans think Vince McMahon has chosen her because she’s his favorite. She said that’s not the reason. She said he made a smart business decision. Charlotte said while she’s a future Hall of Famers, Becky has just had a few good months. She said McMahon chose her because the main event of WrestleMania is the biggest match of the year “and you’re not going to risk it on a flash in the pan like Becky Lynch.” She said WrestleMania will be like every other PPV she’s main evented and fans will be chanting “This is awesome!” She dedicated her WrestleMania main event victory to her best friend Becky Lynch. “Wooo!” She began to leave the ring, but because her music didn’t play, no one believed the segment was over. Fans chanted “You suck! You suck!” She “what’d” the fans (nice touch). She bragged that she is headlining WrestleMania. She also noted to Ronda Rousey that she has a front row ticket to her match against Ruby Riott at Elimination Chamber. She said she’s scouting the match and promised not interfere. Then she said maybe there will be a new champion at WrestleMania. “Who knows?” she said.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really good promo. However you feel about the decision to add her to the match – well, at this point “replace Becky” – having Charlotte play a strong heel is the best case scenario. And this was one of her better promos. She commanded the ring, improvised with a level of comfort and confidence she hasn’t shown consistently, and even weaved in a new hook for Elimination Chamber’s Rousey-Riott match.)
-Carmella made her ring entrance. Naomi made hers. The announcers hyped the match up next. [c]
-The announcers hyped the gauntlet match later with the winner gaining an advantage on Sunday’s EC match.
-They cut to New Day backstage. Big E was wearing a hockey jersey and helmet while holding a hockey stick. Kofi was eating from a giant plate of pancakes.
-Phillips said all three teams are ready to make history. They showed the soundbite with The IIconics from Raw last night talking about working hard to get to this point. Then they aired Rose & Deville’s soundbite. Carmella & Naomi then talked about their advantage of not having teamed before because no one can scout them.
(1) MANDY ROSE & SONYA DEVILLE vs. THE IICONICS vs. NAOMI & CARMELLA – Losing Team Enters Chamber First on Sunday
Royce tagged out immediately to Mandy who faced Billie Kaye first. Graves immediately pointed out the ridiculous rules where winning means nothing, but losing comes with a hefty price, so it’s smart to not even participate or at least tag out as quickly as possible. Naomi landed a splits-splash early. Phillips said Sasha Banks re-aggravated her shoulder and advised fans to check WWE digital media for updates throughout the week. Mandy didn’t want to face Naomi, so she tried to tag out to the IIconics. The IIconics dropped to the floor. Naomi then leaped over the top rope onto Rose. [c]
They showed the action on split-screen during the break. Naomi landed a split-legged moonsault on Rose to win.
WINNERS: Carmella & Naomi in 9:00.
-The IIconics beat up Naomi afterward, then turned their attack to Carmella. They threw Carmella shoulder-first into the ringpost.
-They showed a graphic of the Chamber and each of the teams including that Rose & Deville will start against Bayley & Sasha Banks.
-An interview aired from WWE.com last night with Bayley who said Sasha has heart and passion. Bayley said what happened to Sasha tonight won’t stop her. She said they have each other’s back… Nia Jax and Tamina said they’re not worried about the teams ganging up on them. Tamina awkwardly interjected a few comments as Nia talked… Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan talked about how no team will stand more loyal or enter the match more hungry…
-They went to the announcers on camera to plug WWE Network.
-The Miz began his ring entrance. Then Shane McMahon joined him on the stage. Graves said he couldn’t be more excited about what was about to go down. [c]
-They went to the announcers on camera who said Mustafa Ali was informed that he is out of the Chamber due to an eye injury. A soundbite aired with Ali who was standing outside in the snow. He said it’s disappointing his body gave out before his heart did. He said this isn’t the end, but he still holds the pen and will tell his story. He said it will take more than Samoa Joe, Randy Orton, and Erick Rowan to stop him. He said he will not stay down.
(Keller’s Analysis: I like that they gave Ali a chance to address being taken out of the match and didn’t just mention it in passing.)
-Miz and Shane introduced the segment and called it McMiz TV. Miz said last week The Miz was doing a photo shoot for his upcoming “Miz & Mrs” while Shane was filming “NCIS L.A.” Shane didn’t want Miz to say that yet. Miz said Shane told him not to tell anyone not in the family, “but we’re all family.” Shane then introduced The Usos.
The Usos wouldn’t sit, but decided to “stand in this area.” Fans chanted “U-So!” The Usos mocked them a bit. Shane said they’re the Best Tag Team in the World. Then the Usos asked if they ride together and eat together and train together. They even wondered if they bathe together. Shane made it clear that wasn’t happening. The Usos showed off how much they know about each other. Miz and Shane then showed off how much they knew, but Miz whispered the answers to Shane. Miz’s favorite team is the Toledo Mud Hens. The crowd popped. “Holy Toledo!” they shouted. The Usos interrupted. Miz asked if they should be talking about Mandy Rose. Things got tense. Jey slapped Shane’s arm away as he stepped between Miz and Jimmy. Shane got in Jey’s face and threatened to hit him so hard that his brother feels it. Miz told him to save it for EC. Jimmy yanked the mic out of Miz’s hand and told him to shut up. They closed with their penitentiary line and dropped the mics. Shane and Miz held up their tag belts and predicted victory over the Usos. The Usos then superkicked Shane and Miz.
(Keller’s Analysis: They’re making fans choose between two teams they like, so the crowd heat wasn’t big. They seemed to mostly boo when the Usos superkicked Miz & Shane, though. Good verbal exchanges, though, which built anticipation for their battle on Sunday.)
-Phillips threw to a Black History Month video. [c]
-Daniel Bryan made his ring entrance with Rowan. He wore his eco-belt. Bryan said there are a lot of people who want him to lose his WWE Title this Sunday. Fans chanted “Yes!” He said they are fickle and they need him to be their WWE Champion. He said he doesn’t want to be in the Elimination Chamber because it will shorten his career. He said he has to sacrifice, though. “I don’t want any of you people to call me a martyr, but my sacrifice is necessary for me to win the Elimination Chamber and stay the WWE Champion.” He was then interrupted by Big E on the mic and the New Day ring entrance. [c]
(2a) KOFI KINGSTON (w/Big E, Xavier Woods) vs. DANIEL BRYAN – Gauntlet Match
Graves said being champion comes with perks, including sharing your thoughts and beliefs with the WWE Universe. Saxton said: “There’s a difference between sharing and chastising and telling the WWE Universe what they should be doing.” At 7:00 Kofi leaped over the top rope onto Bryan. They cut to a break. [c]
Back from the break Bryan eventually went for a top rope diving headbutt. Kofi moved. Xavier played the trombone at ringside as fans chanted “New… Day Rocks!” Kofi rallied and dropkicked Bryan and then clotheslined him. He followed up with a Boom Drop and somersault senton for a soft two count at 15:00. Graves said this has been a grueling match, but the winner still has to face a series of opponents waiting in the wings – Randy Orton, Samoa Joe, Jeff Hardy, and A.J. Styles. They cut to another break. [c]
They stayed with the action on split screen during the break. Bryan and Kofi exchanged chops and uppercuts. Bryan took Kofi down with three headbutts and a series of roundkicks to the chest for a two count. Bryan went for the LeBell Lock. Kofi grabbed the bottom rope to force a break. Bryan climbed to the top rope and leaped off, but this time Kofi caught him with a dropkick. Rowan yanked Kofi off his feet. Big E went after Rowan at ringside. Rowan headbutted him down. Xavier kicked Rowan into the security barricade. The ref ordered Xavier and Big E to the back. Bryan rolled up a distracted Kofi for a near fall. Bryan hit Kofi with a barrage of kicks to the chest. Kofi caught a charging Bryan with a kick. Rowan yanked Kofi out of the ring and threw him into the time keeper’s area. The ref didn’t see it, but figured it out and booted him. Graves said the ref didn’t see anything so he shouldn’t be kicking Rowan to the back. Bryan set up a running knee, but Kofi met him with a Trouble in Paradise for the pin.
ELIMINATED: Bryan in 25:00. [c]
(2b) KOFI KINGSTON vs. JEFF HARDY – Gauntlet Match
The match was in progress after the break. Graves said Kofi was exhausted from wrestling 30 minutes already. Kofi went after Hardy at ringside, but when he leaped off the steps, Hardy ducked. Hardy then took Kofi down with a flying front wheel kick. Back in the ring, Hardy went for a Swanton, but Kofi moved. Hardy led the crowd in a “Delete!” chant. Kofi countered Hardy into a leverage pin after a double legdrop for a two count. Later, Kofi landed a top rope crossbody, but Hardy rolled through for a near fall. Kofi then blocked a Hardy attempt at a Trouble in Paradise with an S.O.S. and scored the three count.
ELIMINATED: Jeff Hardy in 8:00.
(2c) KOFI KINGSTON vs. SAMOA JOE – Gauntlet Match
Joe dominated from the start. Kofi took a flip bomb on a clothesline, but still kicked out before three over 40 minutes into the match. Joe settled into a headlock. Kofi avoided a charging Joe a minute later and then slingshot himself over the top rope onto Joe at ringside. Both were slow to get up. As they replayed Kofi’s dive, Joe and Kofi re-entered the ring and Joe gave Kofi a sudden hard clothesline for a mere one count. Graves said he was starting to believe in Kofi. Phillips wondered if Kofi could pull off a miracle. Joe grounded Kofi and twisted his head into the mat. Graves said Joe is enjoying every second of this. Joe applied a sleeper. Kofi struggled and then flipped backward with a push-off of the ropes and leveraged Joe’s shoulders down for a three count.
ELIMINATED: Samoa Joe in 9:00.
Joe attacked Kofi afterward with a urinage and then put him in a sleeper at ringside. Styles’s music played. He drove show to the back, then checked on Kofi. [c]
(2d) A.J. STYLES vs. KOFI KINGSTON – Gauntlet Match
Styles told Kofi that he doesn’t have to do it and he can just stop. He talked to the ref. Kofi yelled at Styles to fight. He told the ref to ring the bell and he slapped Styles, then shoved him in the head. He got in his face and told him not to tell him to go home. He shoved Styles. Styles fired at Kofi with an elbow to the side of his head. He rammed him into the top turnbuckle and then gave him a backbreaker for a two count. Phillips said Kofi has been in the ring for 52 minutes. He said this might be the longest “a Superstar has been in a singles match in Smackdown history.” (He’s going to get bombarded with fans telling him about the history of the show he hosts now, noting the Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar 60 minute match in particular.) They fought back and forth with Kofi showing great fighting spirit. Styles delivered a vicious backbreaker. Kofi fought back and ran the apron with flying double knees, but Styles moved and Styles hit the ringpost and was slow to get up. Back in the ring, Styles went for a huracanrana off the top rope, but Kofi held on and Styles crashed. Kofi leaped at Styles with a splash to Styles’s back for a believable near fall. Styles surprised Kofi with a sudden calf crusher as a counter to an S.O.S. and Kofi tapped out.
ELIMINATED: Kingston in 8:00.
Big E and Xavier ran out to help Kofi to the back and congratulate him for the effort. Some fans stood and applauded, but also anticipated what Styles did not – the RKO out of Nowhere from behind.
(2c) A.J. STYLES vs. RANDY ORTON – Gauntlet Match
As Orton’s music played, Styles stood and waited for him. Orton gave Styles an RKO from Behind for the three count.
WINNER: Orton in five seconds to win.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really good main event. Kofi’s gotten by for years working tag matches, and getting roughly every third match off. In one night he made up for a lot of those off-nights. The finish was a bit predictable, but not necessarily in a bad way. They ran really short on time there as they cut away almost instantly after the pin.)