SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
DENYING THE FANS…
Recap: The show opened with a recap of last night’s suspension of Becky Lynch by VinceMcMahon, as well as his substitution of Charlotte in the match. The show then went to Charlotte in the ring. Charlotte said she thought she had taught Becky better than to be so stupid as to get herself suspended. She reminded the fans that when Becky “dropped the ball” at Survivor Series, she chose Charlotte to replace her. Charlotte referred to herself as the backbone of the division.
Charolotte noted that the fans think she was chosen because she is Mr McMahon’s favorite, but the reality is that it was simply a good business decision. She predicted that the fans would be chanting “This is Awesome,” during her match at WrestleMania. As the fans chanted “You Suck,” she chanted “What!?” back at them. She then said she’d be at ringside observing Ronda Rousey’s title match on Sunday.
Evaluation: A few things are very clear:
- The fans desperately want to see Becky Lynch (working as a face) in a one on one match against Ronda Rousey (working as a heel).
- As ususal, we’re not going to get what we want. Both Ronda and Becky will work face, contrasted by the heelish antics of Charlotte.
- Despite not being wanted in this match, Charlotte is going a great job. She is much better as a heel, and tonight’s promo was very good. Despite being put in a bad position (being the recipient of heat on the promotion rather than normal heel heat), she is making the best of it.
Forecast: Eventually Becky will somehow work her way into this match. WWE will do some sort of begrudging respect storyline between Becky and Ronda as they bond over hatred of Charlotte.
IICONICS FIGURE OUT THE RULES…
Recap: The three women’s teams from SmackDown competed in a match under the same rules as lsat night’s women’s tag match. This time, the IIconics quickly figured out the absurdity of the rules and immediately tagged out. Naomi hit a split legged moonsault onto Mandy Rose for the win.
After the match, the IIconics jumped the winners. The beatdown did not look good.
Evaluation: Tonight was even more ridiculous than last night, since the IIconics essentially forced the announcers to acknowledge the ridiculous rules.
Forecast: The post-match beatdown looked pretty bad. It did not give me hope of a well-wrestled match on Sunday.
Recap: Early in the evening, it was announced that Mustafa Ali was not medically cleared for Sunday’s PPV, and that he would be replaced in the WWE Title match by a New Day member. The final hour was a gaungtlet match to determine who would enter the Elimination Chamber last. At the beginning of the gauntlet, the New Day member replacement was revealed to be Kofi Kingston. The gauntlet went as follows:
- Kofi Kingston def. Daniel Bryan
- Kofi Kingston def. Jeff Hardy
- Kofi Kingston def. Samoa Joe (reversed Coquina Clutch into a pin, after which Joe gave him a post-match beatdown)
- AJ Styles def. Kofi Kingston (AJ attempted to convince Kofi not to compete after Joe’s beatdown, but Kofi angrily refused to quit. AJ submitted him with a Calf Crusher.)
- Randy Orton immediately defeated AJ with an RKO out of nowhere.
Evaluation: The gauntlet was used mostly to put Kofi over very strong. This is interesting considering he was a replacement entrant; I suppose the idea is to counter any perception that he’s in the Chamber simply to take up space as a replacement.
Forecast: I doubt Kofi will be the winner on Sunday, but tonight’s performance adds some interest to the match. Kofi did need assistance leaving the ring, but I take that as putting over the difficulty he faced rather than a potential excuse to remove him from the match.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: TOP 3 DEVELOPMENTS – SMACKDOWN 2/5: Beck Confronts Triple-H, Bryan Plays to His Hometown, Mandy & Sonia Qualify