WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER
FEBRUARY 19, 2019
NEW ORLEANS, LA. AT THE SMOOTHIE KING CENTER
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00 P.M. EST
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH SPECIALIST
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton
Arena, Elimination Chamber Results Pertinent to Smackdown, and Items Advertised by WWE
WWE Smackdown arrives in a familiar and frequently used location tonight as the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, LA. plays host. Last year’s episode following WrestleMania emanated from here, which saw Carmella cash in her Money in the Bank contract on then-Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair. That night also saw the debut of the Iiconics, as well as the introduction of Paige as Smackdown General Manager. She would hold that position until the McMahon family “took back” control of Raw and Smackdown in December of last year and gave us that “fresh start.” This arena holds many other special memories on the night after WrestleMania for Paige. She won the Divas Championship, as it was known, in her debut match against then champion A.J. Lee in 2014. She also sadly announced her retirement from active competition last year.
Here are the results from Elimination Chamber pertinent to Smackdown:
- The Usos regained the Smackdown Tag Team Championship defeating Miz & Shane McMahon.
- Daniel Bryan retained the WWE Championship defeating Randy Orton, Kofi Kingston, Jeff Hardy, A.J. Styles, and Samoa Joe in an Elimination Chamber match.
- Becky Lynch attacked Charlotte Flair & Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey following Ronda’s retention of her title over Ruby Riott.
Here’s what is advertised by WWE.com for tonight. No matches are advertised as of this writing (what else is new):
- “The New” Daniel Bryan’s WWE Fastlane opponent to be revealed
- The Miz to issue a public apology to Shane McMahon
- How will Charlotte Flair react to Becky Lynch’s assault?
- Can Kofi Kingston rebound from tough Elimination Chamber defeat?
- Will the NXT takeover continue?
“The New” Daniel Bryan’s Fastlane Opponent
Next Up for Kofi Kingston
For the purpose of this report, I will discuss these items together as it’s a bit of a “tell” as to whom Daniel Bryan will probably not face at Fastlane. Bryan still holds the WWE Championship following his victory at Elimination Chamber. He and Kofi Kingston were the finalists in a match and went around 40 minutes and they went about 12-13 minutes themselves. You certainly felt like Kofi had a chance, but ultimately it was Bryan who would retain his title hitting Kofi with a running knee for the second time and scoring the pin.
Tonight, WWE will reveal Bryan’s opponent at Fastlane and also show what is next for Kofi Kingston. Kofi has held multiple championships, but never a world championship as part of WWE. Over the better part of the past five years, he has held multiple tag team championships on both Raw and Smackdown with New Day. He’s also been an Intercontinental Champion four times and a U.S. Champion three times. In addition to New Day, Kofi has held tag team gold with C.M. Punk, Evan Bourne, and R-Truth. He’s also famous for several stunts at the Royal Rumble through the years.
Frank’s Analysis: The fact that they’re advertising these as separate items suggests to me that we won’t get Kofi vs. Bryan for the WWE Championship at Fastlane. If so, that’s fine since if they are going to do that, you’re better off putting some obstacles in Kofi’s way with the ultimate goal of having the match at WrestleMania or at some point down the line. You just hope he doesn’t just go back to doing silly antics with New Day and they forget about what happened in the match. It’s interesting that they are saying they will reveal Daniel Bryan’s “opponent” at Fastlane and not necessarily revealing a number one contender for the championship. Perhaps I’m reading too much into it, but if there’s going to be a title match you would think WWE would say as much. Perhaps a tag team match is in the offing? New Day vs. Bryan & Rowan? Now if it is going to be a title match, you can’t help but wonder if the opponent is Kevin Owens. They left the door open for him to come back to either brand in the recent selfie videos he’s put on and he keeps saying he’s about a month away. Fastlane is just under three weeks from now, which is close to the timeframe. Outside of Kofi, I don’t see any opponents from the Elimination Chamber match that would get a whole lot of people excited.
Miz’s Public Apology to Shane
Sunday was a tale of two emotions for Miz. Before he and Shane McMahon’s Smackdown Tag Team Championship match with the Usos, he and his wife Maryse revealed that they will be having a second child. Then, Miz and Shane went on to lose the titles to the Usos. Jimmy Uso pinned Miz while Shane was lying on the announce table following his giving Jey Uso an elbow off the top rope onto said table.
Following the match, Miz went out to help Shane and apologized. They walked out together. Later on, in the back, Shane was getting medical attention with Miz standing by. Miz was frustrated with the result, himself and continued to try and apologize. Shane told him to go home and he’ll see him Tuesday. Here’s a YouTube clip from the match itself:
Tonight, Miz issues and apology to his tag team partner.
Frank’s Analysis: Many people expected Miz to turn on Shane after the match. Logic would dictate that Miz ultimately turns on Shane and they have a match at WrestleMania. I’m still wondering if it’s the other way around and Shane turns on Miz. The story could line up where Shane is sick of Miz and reminds us that he’s the best in the world and wants to settle things once and for all in a match on the big stage. You don’t have to do a long-term thing where Shane is a heel. While short-term heel turns generally aren’t the best of ideas, it could work here. When Miz beats Shane, Shane could be the good sport and shake Miz’s hand and go off television for a while. Meanwhile, Miz can have a babyface run. His first attempt as a babyface back in 2012-’13 was lackluster but could work here if handled right.
As far as the Usos go it was interesting to see the titles go back on them considering Jimmy and his wife Naomi’s run-in with the police last week. As of now they haven’t signed a contract extension, and thus you wonder if WWE is doing all possible to hang onto them. They are great pieces of talent and would be a significant loss if they decided to go elsewhere.
Charlotte Reaction to Becky Lynch Attack
I covered the Becky Lynch attack on both Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey in yesterday’s Raw primer. To quickly recap, Ronda retained her Raw Women’s Championship over Ruby Riott at Elimination Chamber. Charlotte was confronting Ronda following the match when suspended Becky Lynch emerged from the crowd and attacked both Charlotte and Ronda with a crutch. No Frank Peteani primer is complete without a Becky tweet. Here she is yesterday morning:
Ronnie, did you feel that excitement and passion when The Man came around again? That’s what a main event is supposed to feel like.
Although I’m sure Char shouting into the mic, and you scowling for the next 2 months will keep the people invested too.
You think? pic.twitter.com/ndrtF73PWv
— The Man (@BeckyLynchWWE) February 18, 2019
As of now, and as we were reminded several times over the past few days, Charlotte is tabbed to face Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania. Last night on Raw, the man of many hats Triple H said if Becky does what she does again she will be arrested and prosecuted. He also acknowledged what she did was pretty cool. Nevertheless, the announce team extraordinaire reminded us of the potential consequences for Becky later in the show. Tonight, we’ll see if there’s a response from Charlotte.
Frank’s Analysis: WWE is sure going out of their way to make us believe Becky won’t be in this match at WrestleMania, given the suspension and the storyline knee injury she suffered at the hands of Charlotte during a house show last week. I provided a clip of that video in yesterday’s Raw primer. They also made sure to remind us that Becky and Ronda wouldn’t be friends during the attack at Elimination Chamber, which I take as a positive if in fact they maintain that part of the storyline. Ultimately it will be all about how Becky gets into this match to determine how well the story was told. I still feel they got away from the organic issue which was between Ronda and Becky. Charlotte’s involved and for better or worse, we may as well enjoy the ride and see how it plays out ultimately on the “big stage.”
NXT Talent on the Main Roster
We thought it was only going to be EC3, Nikki Cross, Lacey Evans, Heavy Machinery, and Lars Sullivan coming up from NXT. Sullivan has not made the main roster yet due to personal issues. EC3 has done a 50/50 spot with Dean Ambrose on Raw. Nikki Cross and Heavy Machinery have wrestled on both Raw and Smackdown. Lacey Evans took part in the Royal Rumble and did an odd bit with Heavy Machinery last night of Raw.
Speaking of odd, at the onset of Raw last night Triple H revealed that four wrestlers from NXT would make their debuts on Raw including Ricochet, Aleister Black, North American Champion Johnny Gargano, and NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa. This was previously unannounced until yesterday afternoon just a few hours before Raw on WWE’s Twitter account:
— WWE (@WWE) February 18, 2019
— WWE (@WWE) February 19, 2019
Ricochet teamed with new Intercontinental Champion Finn Balor and defeated Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush in an impromptu tag team match. Gargano & Ciampa teamed up to take on new Raw Tag Team Champions the Revival. Aleister Black, to whom Michael Cole referred to as “moody” (my ears are still stinging), defeated Elias who just can’t seem to finish a song these days.
WWE suggests on their website that all wrestlers could be appearing on Smackdown tonight.
Frank’s Analysis: So, let me be real. When Triple H was announcing this talent at that onset of the show, I was excited. As the night went on though that feeling changed. Ricochet and Balor’s tag match was mostly fine, but Ricochet looked lost in his post-match promo. They announce Ciampa & Gargano vs. the Revival. Ciampa and Gargano have been teaming together on NXT but not in the way they teamed last night. It was as if the last two years between these two hasn’t happened. You just don’t trash a story like that. There was no reaction for Aleister Black. I realize there are fans that will enjoy seeing these guys for the first time on Raw, but there are ways to debut special talent. Promote them ahead of time and make sure you present it as a big deal. Just bringing up talent and not using them the right way is not going to boost the ratings or improve the product overall. They go out of their way to promote Ric Flair’s 70th birthday next week that I’m pretty sure nobody cares about, but they drop debuts of four of the biggest NXT characters on us at the last minute. It doesn’t make sense.
Items to Anticipate Tonight:
- New Women’s Tag Team Champions Bayley and Sasha Banks said last night on Raw that they will defend their titles there, Smackdown, or even NXT (really?). Be on the lookout for them tonight and response from the unsuccessful Smackdown teams from the Elimination Chamber match Sunday (Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville, Carmella & Naomi, and the IIconics).
- Last week’s gauntlet match took up most of the show, and thus one item WWE advertised last week was not addressed and that’s the dynamics between Rey Mysterio and Andrade. Rey could be another candidate to face Bryan at Fastlane, but Andrade could have something to say about that. It’s not crazy to have a match between those two to determine a #1 contender either tonight or in the coming weeks.
- Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura were also not on the show following their victory over the Good Brothers (Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows) two weeks ago. They raised each other’s hand while giving each other the “stink eye” if you will. Look to see something with those guys tonight as a run as a tag team can’t be out of the question.
Start Time & Matches Advertised on the Arena Website
The Smoothie King Center’s website advertises a start time of 6:45 p.m. local with doors opening at 5:00 p.m. They advertise a “double main event,” which is likely not accurate:
- WWE Championship: Daniel Bryan vs. A.J. Styles
- Smackdown Women’s Championship: Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair
They show Becky Lynch, Rey Mysterio, Randy Orton, New Day, and “many more” appearing. 205Live follows Smackdown.
Follow me on Twitter @FrankPeteani or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions and discussion are welcome. Thank you for reading!