KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (12/5)
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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
MARCH 5, 2019
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
-They acknowledged the death of King Kong Bundy.
-Daniel Bryan and Rowan walked out to Bryan’s music. A recap aired of Vince McMahon stripping Kofi Kingston of his title shot and replacing him with Kevin Owens. Back live, Bryan said he sat back silent last week as Vince replaced Kofi. Fans chanted “Kofi!” He said it was now his time to speak and the fans’ time to remain silent. Rowan added, “Shut up!” He repeated himself, but it didn’t work. “This man is about to enlighten us all.” More “Kofi!” chants. Bryan said Kofi is “a supporting player” and is exactly where he should be. He said Kofi is with his buddies in New Day on a promotional tour of India. That took the wind out of the fans, realizing Kofi wouldn’t be there. He said they replaced the man who throws out copious amounts of pancakes with a man who consumes a copious amount of pancakes. He said he knows why fans cheer Owens. He said KO is just like them – he looks like them “which is self-explanatory,” he thinks like you, and just like the fans, he doesn’t deserve a shot at the WWE Championship. “Kevin Owens is a Nobody.” He said that is what makes him so dangerous, “because a nobody is a somebody with nothing to lose.” By contrast, he said, he has everything to lose because he is the Champion of the Planet. He said if he loses, the entire planet loses. He said he doesn’t want fans to call him a martyr, but the weight on his shoulders is great. He was interrupted by KO.
Owens stepped onto the stage. He said when he returned to being a member of the WWE Universe five months ago, he watched every Raw and every Smackdown Live from his couch. Bryan interrupted: “That’s where you belong.” KO said the time off with his family was great, but it was also hard to watch other people do what he loves to do. He said it wasn’t hard to watch Bryan, though, it was awful. He said he walked around like a maniac, talking down to everybody. He said he can’t stand people who think they’re better than everybody else. KO said the last straw was watching Bryan throw the WWE Championship belt in the trash. He said at that point he knew who he was going after. He said he deserves to have his stupid condescending mouth shut, and he’s the one who’s going to do it. Bryan said with all the garbage he and the people shove down their throats, he’s ready to provide valuable wisdom about empty calories. Owens asked if this is the ever-so-intelligent Bryan who is resorting to lowbrow easy fat jokes. He asked if Bryan thinks he’s better than him because he only buys organic carrots. He said he can shove those carrots… at which point Bryan asked, “Who’s low brow now?” Bryan said the people are low-brow like him. Owens said he’s just like the people because those people agree with him that Bryan is a pretentious jackass.
Owens said he doesn’t have a reality show or a seven foot backup dancer watching his back. Bryan said the only reason he doesn’t have a seven-footer next to him is because he doesn’t have any friends left. Owens said that’s true. He said it’s his fault that he lost all friends. Owens said he didn’t need anyone to hit him with a Stunner and pin him 1-2-3. Owens said he never meant to take Kofi’s opportunities, but it’s his 100 percent intension to beat him again and take the WWE Title from him on Sunday. Rowan got in KO’s face. Owens said, “Do we have a problem, red wood?” They exchanged some punches. Bryan went after KO, but KO tackled Bryan and set up a Stunner. Rowan intervened with a palm to the forehead slam. Bryan held up his belt over Owens as his music played.
(Keller’s Analysis: I was confident Bryan and Owens exchanging words to hype their feud would be top shelf content, and this was really good. It helped solidify Owens as a babyface, and what Owens said helped define Bryan’s character better than anyone had done to date.)
-They showed The Miz and Shane McMahon chatting enthusiastically backstage. [c]
-Graves plugged the official Fastlane theme, ‘Teach Me To Fight” by Yonaka.
-The Usos came out to their full entrance theme and then talked about facing The Miz & Shane McMahon at Fastlane, “the Best Tag Team in the World.” They could barely keep a straight face that. They mocked their friendship over their daddy issues. Jey mocked Shane saying he’s going to jump off of things. He said at Fastlane they’re about to hit real hard. Shane’s music played. He danced out and pounded his heart with his fist. He was joined on the stage by The Miz.
Shane and Miz entered the ring. Shane asked, “How is everybody doing today?” (Did he not know the city? Was he nervous about mispronouncing it? Is he embarrassed by it? Did he hear Triple H say how that’s classic cheap heat last night?) He said he and Miz wear their hearts on their sleeves, and that helps make them the Best Tag Team in the World. (Scattered boos.) He said they’ll be laughing last on Sunday. Miz said he will make Shane and his dad proud in his hometown. The Usos charged at them, but Shane and Miz ducked and knocked them to the floor. Phillips said Miz would face Jey one-on-one next. [c]
(1) THE MIZ (w/Shane McMahon) vs. JEY USO (w/Jimmy Uso)
They stayed with the match on split screen. Jey clotheslined Miz over the top rope early and then dove through the ropes to take him down. Miz made a comeback and then settled into a chinlock. Back to full screen after the break, Jey took over again. Jimmy helped leverage Miz’s shoulders down on a pin attempt, but Miz still kicked out. Shane leaped off the ringside steps with a flying clothesline. Miz gave a distracted Jey a Skull Crushing Finale for the win.
WINNER: The Miz in 7:00.
-Kalya Braxton interviewed Charlotte. She said Charlotte requested the interview time. Charlotte asked if anyone else noticed that her best friend, Becky Lynch, isn’t around. She said she misses seeing her hobbling around on a crutch. She said if she beats Becky on Sunday, Becky is done. She laughed as she said the match becomes a triple threat if Becky beats her. She wanted to know if Becky was “man enough” to come speak to her about her mental and physical capabilities. She offered “a friendly discussion.”
-R-Truth and Carmella made their way to the ring rapping together. [c]
-Saxton wondered if Becky would accept Charlotte’s challenge.
-In the ring, Truth said he wants to be just like his hero John Cena, but he didn’t realize he issued a U.S. Title Open Challenge every week. He said he’s already tired. Carmella said his hero said you can never give up. Truth said he also said “You can’t see me.” He said he sees Cena all the time, including on his poster in his bedroom and his Cena bedsheets. He said he saw a movie about a car that was also an alien robot and Cena showed up there. Carmella said he has to be brave… right after this seven second dance break.
Lacey Evans came out and waved at the crowd. Carmella told Truth that didn’t count. Then Samoa Joe came out. Then Rey Mysterio came out. Then Andrade came out. Suddenly the ring announcer said it would be a Fatal Four-way for the U.S. Title. After formal ring introductions, they cut to a break. [c]
(2) R-TRUTH (w/Carmella) vs. REY MYSTERIO vs. ANDRADE (w/Zelina Vega) vs. SAMOA JOE – U.S. Title match
They joined the match in progress after the break with Joe battling Rey while Truth and Andrade were down elsewhere in the ring. Joe threw Andrade to the floor and then threw Truth to the floor. He took turns battling each of the wrestlers. He leaped through the ropes with a flying elbow at Andrade at ringside. As Joe lifted Rey into the air at ringside, Truth kicked him from behind. [c]
Several minutes later, after some non-stop action with all four, Truth gave Joe a spinebuster. Truth dropped Rey onto Joe and then went into the You Can’t see Me routine. He gave Joe a Five Knuckle Shuffle for a two count. Joe applied the Coquina Clutch and Truth dropped to his knees. Rey gave Joe a 619 to break it up. Truth then schoolboyed Rey for a near fall. Rey was upset with Truth. Andrade entered and dropkicked Truth off the ring apron. Rey then slide-splashed onto Truth on the floor. Andrade then sunset flip bombed Rey off the ring apron to the floor. Back in the ring Andrade was slow to make the cover. Zelina gave Truth a head scissors off the ring apron. Carmella superkicked Zelina. Andrade was momentarily distracted, but turned back to Rey. He lifted Rey, but Rey countered and then hit the 619. He climbed to the top rope and landed a frog splash, but Joe broke up the cover with a Senton and then a one-arm urinage slam to become U.S. Champion.
WINNER: Joe in 10:00 to capture the U.S. Title.
(Keller’s Analysis: Joe needed this. He was slipping into irrelevance storyline-wise, having had a run as a World Title challenger and facing other top tier stars, but seeming to get lost in the mid-card mix lately. Not that a U.S. Title win is always a certain move up the card, but Joe eventually needed to win a title to keep his credibility as the badass he is otherwise framed to be. I am a little sad to see the end of R-Truth’s U.S. Title reign, though.)
-They showed Becky chatting with a worker backstage.
-The announcers hyped KO vs. Rowan coming up later. They went to the announcers on camera. Phillips threw to a video of The New Day in Mumbai, India earlier in the day. They stepped into the street surrounded by people and yelled that they’ll be at Fastlane on Sunday. Graves said it was a smart business decision to send New Day to India. Saxton thought something was up.
-Aleister Black made his ring entrance. [c]
-Kayla interviewed Joe backstage. She said his colleagues have accused Joe of “not being able to win the big one.” Joe took exception and said they weren’t accusations, but rather unanswered prayers. He said they all know what he’ll do to win gold and what he’ll do to keep it. He said he doesn’t do dance breaks or “pander to the masses of the unexceptional.” He said his opponents will find disrespect for any man who has the audacity to come for the king and his crown. He ended with a sniff and a stare into the camera lens.
(Keller’s Analysis: It’s so simple, but so often forgotten or left off – the post-title-win promo. It cements that what happened is important and gives the new champ, when sweaty and full of adrenaline, a chance to establish his mission as champion.)
(3) RICOCHET & ALEISTER BLACK vs. THE BAR (Sheamus & Cesaro)
They aired Ricochet’s ring entrance, then The Bar’s. Sheamus said Ricochet & Black are “NXT’s shiny new toys.” He wished them the best of luck in their Raw Tag Team Title match on Sunday, but none of the Raw teams measure up to them. Fans chanted “NXT” at the start. They cut to an early break. [c]
They stayed with the action on split screen during the break with The Bar isolating Ricochet. Black eventually hot-tagged in and flip-dove onto Sheamus. Ricochet then landed his 630 on Cesaro for the three count.
WINNERS: Ricochet & Black in 6:00.
-As Black & Ricochet celebrated, Shinsuke Nakamura & Rusev attacked them in the ring. The Hardy Boyz made the save. Jeff leaped over the top rope, but The Bar caught him. Ricochet then leaped over the top rope and knocked everyone down. The Hardys, Ricochet, and Black, stood in the ring together.
-They recapped the Bryan and Rowan segment earlier with Owens. Then they showed Bryan giving Rowan a pep talk in the locker room.
-Mandy Rose made her ring entrance accompanied by Sonya Deville. [c]
-The announcers acknowledged Torrie Wilson’s Hall of Fame announcement. Graves said Mandy should be inducted this year, too.
(4) NAOMI vs. MANDY ROSE (w/Sonya Deville)
Naomi hit a jaw-breaker. Sonya distracted her. Mandy then kneed Naomi and hit her face-plant finisher for the win. Phillips said if she does that on Sunday, she could be the new Smackdown Champion.
WINNER: Rose in 1:00.
-Asuka walked out onto the stage and came up behind Rose and Deville. She kicked Deville and then threw elbows at Rose.
-Saxton plugged KO vs. Rowan.
-Kayla interviewed A.J. Styles backstage. She asked about Bryan defending against Owens on Sunday. She asked how he would have handled KO’s situation. Styles said championship opportunities don’t grow on trees, so you take them when you can. He said he wouldn’t want to be in either one of their positions. He said Kofi was robbed. He said the McMahons said they were going to listen to the WWE Universe, and fans are literally screaming for Kofi. Orton interrupted and asked if he is actually saying someone other than him deserves a title opportunity. “Man, I see why it took you 15 years to get here.” He walked away as fans “ohhh’d.” That abruptly ended the interview. Graves said Orton has earned the cache to say whatever he wants to whomever he wants.
-KO’s ring entrance took place. [c]
(5) ROWAN (w/Daniel Bryan) vs. KEVIN OWENS
Bryan joined the announcers on commentary. Bryan said he hangs out with Rowan because they are intellectual equals. He said Owens is an elite athlete with the laziest work ethic he’s ever seen. He said Owens is a coward. He stood and berated Owens a few feet from him after Rowan knocked him to the floor. Owens attacked Bryan. Rowan grabbed Owens and threw him into the ringside steps. Rowan charged at Owens and knocked him down with a cross body block. Bryan mounted KO and pounded away at him. The ref called for the bell.
WINNER: Owens via DQ in 2:00.
-As Bryan and Rowan double-teamed KO, Mustafa Ali ran out for the save. It didn’t seem to get the pop they’d likely hope for. He went on a flurry of offense against Bryan and Rowan. He leaped off the announce table and head scissored Rowan into the ringpost. Rowan shoved him into a flying knee off the ring apron by Bryan. KO recovered and gave Bryan a Stunner from behind. Not a huge pop for that, either. KO’s music played as he and Ali stared at each other and got a sense of whether they could trust one another. Bryan and Rowan backed up the ramp.
-They showed Charlotte backstage. Graves said Smackdown is about to get a dose of royalty. [c]
-Charlotte made her to way the ring. They replayed the final segment on Raw last week including Ronda Rousey flipping out. Charlotte called Becky to the ring. Becky came out. She said she’s hurt, but she’ll do anything to stay in Charlotte’s head. She said Ronda doesn’t know what she wants – one week she wants to face her at WrestleMania, the next week she’s trying to take her out of the match. She said her ribs are bruised, her arm was almost broken last night, and her knee is damaged. She said those who are damaged are the most dangerous because they have nothing left to lose. Charlotte kicked the crutch and slapped Becky, then slammed her hard to the mat. Charlotte stomped away at Becky’s leg. Graves called it a brilliant strategy. Becky swung at Charlotte with the crutch and took her down. Fans began to cheer. Becky then applied her Disarm Her. Referees ran out to break them up. Charlotte rolled to the floor and retreated with a smile on her face as she clutched her arm. Graves said Becky showed there’s still a glimmer of hope she can topple the Queen and go on to WrestleMania.
(Keller’s Analysis: Solid closing angle to hype what feels like the main event of Fastlane right now.)