SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Recap: The show led off with Miz in the ring, recapping Shane McMahon’s prior betrayal. He recounted that due to his singular focus on WrestleMania, he had spent his career taking shortcuts and taking advantage of people. He said he had ruined every relationship other than the ones with his wife and child.
He then recounted how his partnership with Shane directly led to a level of success that caused his dad to tell him that he loved him and was proud of him for the first time ever. He said that the guys backstage had warned him about Shane being different from how he portrays himself on TV, but he didn’t want to believe it. Miz then became emotional as he told the story of Shane attacking his father.
Miz then said he wasn’t born with any privileges, and called himself a genuine success story. He said he was always told that he was average, but that his hard work would beat someone with talent who didn’t work hard enough. He contrasted this with Shane, who he said wasn’t born Best in the World, but was rather the “worst,” just like his father. Miz then gave a plug to Kofi Kingston before wrapping up the promo.
Evaluation: This was very good. Miz’s explanation of his years of treachery was emotional and believable. As fans, we understood why he did all those things. He was an underdog doing anything he could to get ahead.
I liked that Miz explicitly mentioned his wife and child as the relationships that he hadn’t let suffer, avoiding the normal WWE face trope of using a poor relationship with a wife and children as evidence of being a hard worker. On the other hand, the continual references to Miz’s dad never having told him he loved him before makes Miz’s dad out to be a heel.
Forecast: With all the emotion behind this story and the fact that Shane isn’t a full-time worker, Miz really should win at WrestleMania.
BECKY & CHARLOTTE FACE OFF…
Recap: At the bottom of the first hour, Kevin Owens came out for the “KO Show.” His guests were Charlotte and Becky Lynch. Owens read off a variety of prior trash talk from Becky, Ronda, and Charlotte, but finished by saying the fans didn’t want to hear them talk. They wanted them to fight. Owens then left the ring and the two began to brawl.
Referees and backstage hands struggled to get Becky and Charlotte under control. The brawl continued in fits and starts as they would pull apart and escape. Becky threw a security guard into the barricade at one point. Eventually the camera went backstage as the continued to brawl, ending the segment.
Evaluation: Ending this segment by cutting to a backstage interview while the brawl continued was something directly from WCW. Otherwise it was okay, not great, not terrible.
Forecast: Nothing new happened tonight to make me think it’s less likely that Becky defeats Charlotte at WrestleMania.
Recap: Throughout the night, numerous faces (Owens, A.J., Miz) gave Kofi plugs. Just before the scheduled gauntlet, Daniel Bryan came out and disputed Kofi’s status as being held back by the McMahons. He said that Kofi was chosen for an unearned title shot out of the tag division. He said Kofi was a B+ Player and that the fans liked him because to them B+ was good enough.
KOFI IN THE GAUNTLET…
In the gauntlet:
- Kofi defeated Sheamus with Trouble in Paradise, followed by an immediate European Uppercut from Cesaro
- Kofi defeated Cesaro with the SOS
- Kofi defeated Rowan by DQ after an attack with a chair followed by further brutality after the match
- Kofi defeated Samoa Joe by sliding out of a Muscle Buster attempt into a rollup; Joe put Kofi out with a Coquina Clutch after the match
- Kofi defeated Randy Orton with a rollup
After the match Vince McMahon congratulated Kofi, but then stated Kofi must defeat one more opponent to advance to WrestleMania. The opponent was Daniel Bryan. Vince ordered Big E and Xavier to leave ringside and wished him good luck.
Kofi nearly won the match with the SOS, but Bryan ultimately pinned with with a running knee.
Evaluation: Kofi is treated unfairly yet again. This angle has already hit maximum heat, so these additional denials to Kofi are only serving to kill time before WrestleMania.
Forecast: Based on the booking and fan reactions, it’s starting to look more likely that Kofi takes the title at WrestleMania.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: TOP 3 DEVELOPMENTS – SMACKDOWN 3/12: Shane Explains Himself, AJ & Randy Face Off, A Tougher New Day