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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
MARCH 26, 2019
UNCASSVILLE, CT. AT THE MOHEGAN SUN ARENA
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
-New Day made their usual ring entrance as the announcers introduced the show. Then Xavier said he wanted to be serious. He said the last few months have been a roller coaster. Big E said they went from hearing “New Day Sucks” to “New Day Rocks.” Xavier thanked the fans. Big E said as a result of the obstacles put in Kofi’s way, they are considering walking away. Big E said yes, it’s tough because they’ve made a lot of life-long friends around there. They showed fans shouting “no!” Xavier said it’s been difficult to watch how poorly Kofi has been treated. He said it’s not just recently, it’s for the past 11 years. Big E said he exudes the power of positivity. Fans applauded. Xavier said the man who can answer the questions they have is Vince McMahon, so he called him to the ring.
Vince McMahon walked out. As he began to speak, Daniel Bryan and Rowan walked out. Bryan told him not to placate the fragile egos of New Day; he should let them quit if that’s what they want. Bryan said New Day are just a stale novelty act that Vince McMahon created. He said they could replace them with three wrestlers from NXT and “call them ‘Fresh Afternoon’ and they’ll throw waffles to the crowd and they’ll be more popular than New Day ever was.” He said, once again, that Kofi is nothing but a B+ player. Bryan said Kofi lost last week and he lost at Fastlane and he lost at Elimination Chamber. He told him not to let the parasites in the audience get in his head. He said he has been right about Kofi every step of the way and his instincts that Kofi is nowhere near championship material have been 100 percent correct.
Xavier said Bryan has turned into every single thing he used to fight again. “The reality is you turned into a hypocrite,” he said. “And that’s exactly why you’re out there right now.” Vince told everyone to “shut up!” Vince mocked them saying they’re going to quit. He said, “I get it, everyone loves what we have here.” Vince said Kofi is and always will be a B+ player. He said he just isn’t sure whether Big E and Xavier are a B+ tag team. He said he gets the respect they have for Kofi. He asked whether they can put Kofi into the championship match at WrestleMania. Bryan tried to stop Vince. He told Kofi he won’t have any more opportunities, but Big E & Xavier can try to win a tag team gauntlet match tonight, then Kofi is in at WrestleMania. Big E took Vince at his word for some reason and nodded toward Xavier. Bryan protested from afar on the stage to Rowan. Saxton said this could be another ploy by McMahon.
(Keller’s Analysis: The crowd didn’t react to what McMahon said, and part of that was his sub-par performance and jumbled enunciation. I like the serious versions of the New Day wrestlers. They finally seem to be taking something seriously. This is just a superfluous chapter in the story, though, and takes a week away from fans just soaking up Kofi getting the chance at the title. It also makes New Day look bad, in a way, because they just continue to play McMahon’s game instead of taking a real stand against them.)
-They went to the announcers on camera. Graves agreed that you can’t know for sure Vince will live up to his word, but what choice do New Day have. Then they shifted to the Ronda Rousey vs. Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte news regarding their main eventing WrestleMania. They showed corporate media headlines covering the news. Graves said this morning the women took over ESPN Morning SportsCenter.
-An unnamed woman interviewed Lynch backstage. She called the interviewer Sarah. She said she brings the people, Ronnie brings the title, but then asked Sarah what “the third wheel” Charlotte brings to the match. Charlotte’s music played. Becky smiled.
-Charlotte walked onto the stage and said: “Third wheel? Undeserving? I’m about to show you how deserving I am.” They abruptly cut to a break. [c]
(1) ASUKA vs. CHARLOTTE – WWE Smackdown Women’s Title match
When ring announcements said the Smackdown Women’s Title was on the line, the announcers went bonkers, acting shocked that the title was on the line. This apparently answers what Charlotte might be bringing to the match, and it could mean the belts will be unified at WrestleMania. The announcers wondered how Charlotte got this match on Smackdown, speculating she used her pull with the McMahons. They noted that Asuka had been lobbying for a title defense at WrestleMania. Graves, oddly, said if Charlotte is impressive enough tonight, there might be “another rematch at WrestleMania from last year.” (Did Graves not get that the title was on the line? I didn’t really get what he was saying.) Phillips said that could mean Charlotte is in two title matches at WrestleMania. Graves said anything is possible. Asuka kicked Charlotte to the floor and they cut to an early break. [c]
They stayed with the action on split screen and Charlotte took over. Asuka then made a comeback, but Charlotte cut that short with a clothesline. Charlotte began concentrating on Asuka’s legs with stomps. Asuka came back and landed a hip attack and a basement kick for another near fall. Charlotte avoided a hip attack and then kicked her in the side of the head leading to a near fall.Asuka avoided a moonsault and surprised Charlotte with an Asuka lock. Charlotte rolled Asuka’s shoulders down for a two count. Asuka landed a spinning wheel kick for a near fall. [c]
Charlotte chopped away at Asuka after the break. Charlotte went for a figure-four leglock. Asuka kicked out of it. Charlotte went for it again. Asuka kicked her off of her. Charlotte countered Asuka’s move off the ropes and landed a Spanish fly off the ropes for another near fall. Then she landed her own roundkick for a near fall. Charlotte came back and mounted Asuka and pummeled her with elbows. Asuka went for an Asukalock, but Charlotte rolled through. Asuka applied a triangle armbar mid-ring. Charlotte lifted Asuka and slammed her down for a two count. Charlotte applied the figure-four and bridged into her signature Figure-Eight for the tapout win. Graves said that suddenly the main event of WrestleMania has two champions in it. Charlotte got emotional as she held the belt over her head.
WINNER: Charlotte in 18:00 to capture the Smackdown Women’s Title.
(Keller’s Analysis: Really good match. I assume WrestleMania’s triple threat main event becomes “Winner Takes All” and, like the Women’s Tag Team Titles, there is just one champ for both brands.)
-The announcers reviewed the New Day gauntlet match later and what’s at stake. Saxton said it’s a more difficult ladder than Kofi had to climb last week.
-As Charlotte walked to the back, Kurt Angle began his ring entrance. Angle acknowledged Charlotte as he walked past her on the stage. Charlotte didn’t seem appreciative of having her moment stepped on, as Graves put it. [c]
-Sarah interviewed A.J. Styles backstage and asked if he understands how important this moment is – having Angle’s last televised match. He said he’s honored to be Angle’s last match on Smackdown. He said he feels privileged to have been part of his career and he’s proud to be in the ring with him tonight. He said Angle has done more in his career than most could dream of, and he’s not taking the match lightly. “This isn’t an exhibition match,” he said. He closed by saying that Angle might have laid the foundation, but this is still the house that A.J. Styles built.
(2) KURT ANGLE vs. A.J. STYLES
They hugged before the match and exchanged a few respectful words. Angle gave Styles a hard German suplex to start the match. Styles caught Angle with an early calf crusher. The announcers played up the drama of the moment. Angle teased tapping, but then rolled through and applied his own ankle lock. Styles yelled out in pain and rolled out, sending Angle head-first into the turnbuckle. Randy Orton then entered and gave Styles an RKO out of Nowhere. Orton stomped away at Styles. Angle gave Orton an Angle slam to send him to the floor. Angle’s music played. Graves said Orton was trying to get into the head of Styles less than two weeks before WrestleMania.
WINNER: No contest in 2:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Well, that was a letdown, but also probably for the best. Angle shouldn’t be having this many matches in his physical condition.)
-The announcers threw to an interview Kayla conducted with Rey Mysterio, and his son Dominic “courtesy of WWE.com.” (So nice of WWE.com to let Smackdown have access to the clip!) Dominic said Samoa Joe only cares about himself. Rey said he’ll teach Joe a lesson in humility when he stands up for himself and his family when he becomes U.S. Champion.
(Keller’s Analysis: Okay, that was close to pointless. This is obviously heading somewhere, but it’s awkward in the mean time. It just seems out of nowhere that Dominic is now being put on TV next to his dad in promos and at ringside for his WrestleMania match.)
-Miz made his ring entrance. [c]
-Fans chanted “Miz is Awesome!” as Miz stood mid-ring. He said he agrees with the fans. He said he is usually excited about WrestleMania, but this year it’s different because Shane McMahon made it personal. He said he wants to be sure everyone in Met Life Stadium sees up close and personal him destroy Shane in a “falls count anywhere” match. Shane McMahon’s music interrupted. Seven security guys walked out. Then Primo Colon, Shelton Benjamin, and all three Sanity members walked out onto the stage. Shane then danced onto the stage looking cocky. He asked ring announcer Greg Hamilton to give him a proper introduction and to say it with conviction. Hamilton introduced “Best in the World, Shane McMahon!” with enthusiasm. Shane liked it. He told Miz that security is out there for his benefit: “It’s to protect you from me,” he said with a straight face.
Shane said he couldn’t believe Miz would want a “falls count anywhere” stipulation, but apparently he’s as dumb as his father looks. He showed a picture on the big screen of Shane grabbing his dad’s face. Shane said he’s put the clip on his phone of him beating up his father so he can watch it over and over because it makes him so happy. He said the feeling is euphoric and he’s addicted to it. He accepted his stipulation request. He said it’s the biggest Miz-take since his father impregnated his mother. He said his regret is he didn’t punish Miz’s dad more for that Miz-take.
Miz charged at Shane, but was slowed by security. Shelton attacked Miz, but Miz broke free and shoved him into the ringpost. Sanity then swarmed him. Shane watched from the stage with approval. Miz mounted a comeback, so Shane made a deliberate retreat to safety in the back. Miz dove onto Killian Dane and Alexander Wolfe in the seating area. This was designed as a tease of the “falls count anywhere” fighting style Miz will have to employ.
(Keller’s Analysis: Shane is a natural heel and Miz is solid babyface so far. Fans seem to be buying into both in their new roles.)
-The announcers threw to clips of the New Day-Vince segment and also Charlotte’s win over Asuka. Graves said Charlotte’s win changes the complexion of WrestleMania. Then they talked about Colin Jost and Michael Che being added to the Andre the Giant battle royal which also includes Braun Strowman. A clip from Raw aired.
-New Day made their ring entrance. [c]
-The IIconics excitedly said the biggest news of the night isn’t about New Day or Charlotte or Miz-Shane; it’s that they’ll be competing in a Fatal Four-way match at WrestleMania for the Women’s Tag Team Titles.
(3a) XAVIER WOODS & BIG E vs. KARL ANDERSON & LUKE GALLOWS – Gauntlet Match
Phillips said they learned during the break that Kofi has been banned from ringside. Big E tagged into the match early and clotheslined Gallows out of the ring, then Xavier and Big E landed the Up Up Down Down for the three count on Anderson. They showed Rey Mysterio, Becky Lynch, Kofi Kingston, Matt Hardy, and Jeff Hardy celebrating backstage.
WINNER: New Day in 1:00.
(3b) NEW DAY vs. RUSEV & SHINSUKE NAKAMURA – Gauntlet Match
Graves said New Day did the right thing by defeated their first opponents quickly. (Isn’t there always incentive to do that?) Rusev threw Xavier out of the ring and they cut to a break. [c]
They stayed with the action. Nakamura entered and kicked Xavier illegally. Rusev then scored a two count. Big E eventually tagged in and tossed around Nakamura. He found time to gyrate with all that is at stake before running and landing his splash. He led the crowd in a “New… Day Rocks!” chant. Then he went for a slam, but Nakamura escaped and threw Big E to the floor. Nakamura tagged in Rusev, who immediately went after Big E at ringside, but Big E reverse-whipped Nakamura into the ringside steps. Everyone brawled in the ring a minute later. Xavier kicked Rusev through the ropes on the floor. Nakamura meanwhile charged at Big E, but Big-E side-stepped him. Xavier tagged in and they gave Nakamura the Up Up Down Down for the win.
WINNERS: New Day.
(3c) NEW DAY vs. THE BAR (Sheamus & Cesaro) – Gauntlet Match
They joined the match in progress after the break. Big E eventually hot-tagged Xavier which got a nice crowd pop. The crowd backstage grew to include Mustafa Ali, R-Truth, Nikki Cross, and Naomi. Xavier rallied against both Sheamus and Cesaro. Xavier landed a DDT and then a top rope legdrop on Cesaro, but Sheamus broke up the cover. They cut to a break. [c]
Back live, Cesaro had Big E in a half crab. Xavier was hurt at ringside. Sheamus took an extra shot at him, then leaped off the top rope. Big E ducked and gave Sheamus a powerbomb. Both were slow to get up. Xavier tagged in. Cesaro gave Xavier an uppercut out of mid-air and scored a two count. The Bar continued to dominate. Phillips said they don’t know how many teams are lined up or if this is it. Big E yanked Cesaro off the top rope, and then Xavier rolled up Sheamus for the win. They showed the group backstage celebrating.
WINNERS: Xavier & Big E.
-Afterward, Sheamus and Cesaro attacked Big E. Cesaro pulled a table out of the ring and set it up mid-ring. They lifted and slammed Big E though the table. The Usos then came out.
(3d) NEW DAY vs. THE USOS – Gauntlet Match
Graves said there is no way The New Day can beat the Usos. Saxton said Big E is completely out. The ref cleared the ring of the table. Jey Uso said one wrestler deserves to wrestle Bryan at WrestleMania, and that’s Kofi. Fans chanted “Kofi! Kofi!” Jimmy said he’s already earned their respect and that of the locker room. They forfeited the match. Saxton said it’s a class move.
WINNERS: New Day via forfeit.
-They cut to Bryan and Rowan backstage reacting to that. Bryan kicked the TV (not good for the environment) and threw stuff around with Rowan. [c]
-Xavier tried to help Big E sit up as referees and trainers tended to Big E. The ring announcer said New Day must face one more team. Bryan’s music played.
(3e) NEW DAY vs. DANIEL BRYAN & ROWAN
Bryan and Rowan attacked a vulnerable Big E and and an exhausted Xavier. Rowan slammed Xavier into the edge of the ring. Bryan wrapped Big E’s leg around the ringpost. Big E powered out of a leglock by Bryan. Xavier interfered to break up the hold. Rowan charged at Xavier, but Xavier ducked and then dove over the top rope with a flip dive onto Rowan. Bryan charged at BigE with a knee, but Big E caught him and one-arm slammed him. Big E then gave Bryan his Big Ending, but Rowan broke up the pin. Xavier tried to get into the ring, but Rowan knocked him off the ring apron. Rowan legally tagged in and then gave Big E a side slam for a near fall. Rowan began tossing aside everything on the announce table. He threw the chair. Xavier gave Bryan a flying DDT into the ringside barricade. Rowan then set up a claw slam, but Xavier ducked and knocked him into the ringpost. Big E clotheslined Rowan over the announce table, then tipped the table onto Rowan. Phillips acted like he just beheaded him or something. The ref then counted Rowan out. Graves declared, “Kofi is going to WrestleMania!” Fans celebrated, standing and cheering. Saxton said he can’t believe they did it. Kofi ran to the ring to celebrate with them. Saxton said New Day have overcome tonight. Phillips called it a miracle.
WINNERS: New Day to send Kofi to WrestleMania.
-Kayla caught up to Mr. McMahon as he was about to get into his limo. He said New Day’s win was impressive. She asked if this means Kofi is going to WrestleMania. He said the real question now is whether a B+ player can defeat Bryan for the championship. He got into the limo and it drove off. Graves said he thinks the answer might be yes.
-Back to the ring, the locker room emptied with wrestlers celebrating and congratulating Kofi led by Kevin Owens. They surrounded the ring as Bryan soaked up the ramifications on the stage.