SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Recap: The show opened with Stephanie and Shane McMahon in the ring for a Fastlane title match signing ceremony. They briefly introduced Daniel Bryan (to boos) and then gave Kofi a long intro detailing his career and accomplishments. It was accompanied by a video package. The fans cheered loudly.
Bryan signed the contract, but before Kofi could follow Vince McMahon appeared. He complimented Kofi, calling his career remarkable and thanking him for all he had done in WWE. He then rolled into a “however,” saying that he had a duty to deliver the biggest box office, and was therefore replacing Kofi in the match with Kevin Owens.
Later backstage, Owens approached Stephanie and Shane. He told them that he empathized with Kofi, and asked to team with him against Daniel Bryan and Rowan tonight. Stephanie said she’d take it under advisement.
In the main event, Owens scored the pin on Bryan with a Stunner. Owens and Kofi looked fairly smooth as a team.
Evaluation: This was definitely a surprise. Owens has clearly been framed as a face in video packages leading to his return, and Owens didn’t even approach any heel behavior.
It’s interesting that Vince McMahon’s new character seems to be the guy that pulls the rug out from under the fans.
Forecast: It’s nearly impossible to see where this is going. Sometimes when that happens it stems from lack of consistency or logic, but that’s not the case here. That makes this a situation where it’s good rather than bad that the fans are slightly in the dark.
HARDY BOYZ RETURN…
Recap: After the opening segment, the Bar stood in the ring awaiting their opponents. To the surprise of all, the Hardy Boyz came down the ramp.
At the end of a fairly short match, Matt hit the Twist of Fate on Sheamus followed by a Swanton by Jeff for the pin.
Evaluation: Tonight was a night of surprises. I had been under the impression that Matt’s career was essentially over other than special “legends” type appearances.
Forecast: The tag division has gotten somewhat stale, so this should change things up a bit.
ANOTHER GOOD PROMO FOR CHARLOTTE…
Recap: At the top of the second hour, Charlotte Flair came out for a promo. She referenced Vince McMahon’s replacement of Kofi Kingston, saying it made the match better. She said it was almost as good of a replacement as her replacing Becky Lynch at WrestleMania. She emphasized that unlike Becky, “she knows her lane and stays in it,” doing everything she’s asked. She also called Ronda a quitter for abandoning the title on Monday. She said that she would never quit, and that she’d be on Raw on Monday to be crowned champion.
Evaluation: Charlotte’s heel promos have been great, and tonight was no exception.
Forecast: It’s very unlikely that Ronda and Becky will allow the title to be handed over to Charlotte, I expect a heated confrontation involving all three in order to keep progressing toward a Triple Threat.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: TOP 3 DEVELOPMENTS – RAW 2/18: DX in the HOF, Callups, Random Thoughts