WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER 3/26:  The Olympian vs. The Phenomenal One, The Frustrations of Xavier and Big E, Asuka’s WrestleMania opponent, Saga of The Man and The Queen

By Frank Peteani, PWTorch Specialist

The New Day (photo credit Brian Mathesen © PWTorch)


MARCH 26, 2019

Announcers: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton

Arena, and Items Advertised by WWE

WWE Smackdown returns to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. after a two-year hiatus.  The arena opened for business in 2001 and has hosted many WWE events including defunct shows Heat and Velocity, the WWE incarnation of ECW, and a few episodes of the original version of NXT.  Smackdown’s last appearance was around the same time two years ago in the run-up to that year’s WrestleMania.

Here’s what is advertised by WWE.com for tonight:

  • Fatal Four-Way to determine Asuka’s WrestleMania challenger
  • Kurt Angle to wrestle his final Smackdown match against A.J. Styles
  • What does the future hold for New Day
  • What’s next for Lynch and Flair after an eventful Raw?

Fatal Four-Way to Determine the Challenger for the Smackdown Women’s Championship at WrestleMania: Carmella vs. Naomi vs. Mandy Rose vs. Sonya Deville

This past Thursday morning, WWE announced that a fatal four-way match will take place tonight to determine whom will face Asuka at WrestleMania for the Smackdown Women’s Championship.  Asuka has been champion since defeating Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair in a triple threat TLC match at TLC this past December.  Sonya Deville, her Fire & Desire partner Mandy Rose, Carmella, and Naomi are the four participants.  Here’s the announcement on their Twitter page:

Asuka has history with all women.  Asuka’s first title defense was against Naomi on the Smackdown following her championship victory.  She lost a few PPV matches to Carmella last year following Carmella cashing in her Money in the Bank contract to win the title from Charlotte Flair.  Mandy Rose holds a recent victory over Asuka, and she has also worked with Sonya recently.  One of these four women will punch their ticket to WrestleMania.

Frank’s Analysis:  When was the last time Asuka was on TV or even discussed for that matter.  With Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair tied up with Ronda Rousey for the Raw women’s title, it’s left the cupboard bare as far as challengers for Asuka.  I thought for sure Lacey Evans or Nikki Cross would have been elevated since their callup from NXT, but that has not happened.  There can’t be much interest in any of these women taking on Asuka, no offense to any of them.

Kurt Angle vs. A.J. Styles 

The Kurt Angle farewell tour pays a visit to his old home of Smackdown tonight.  Like Vickie Guerrero, John Laurinaitis, and Stephanie McMahon before him Kurt Angle served as not only the general manager of Raw but of Smackdown as well.

Kurt not only had a Hall of Fame career in WWE, but in TNA/Impact Wrestling as well.  One individual with which he had history was former WWE Champion A.J. Styles.  Here’s a match from TNA from Slammiversary XI which took place in June of 2013:

This is certainly the TNA-themed week as Kurt defeated U.S. Champion Samoa Joe last night on Raw.  Tonight, he takes on A.J. Styles. 

Frank’s Analysis:  My initial thought when I saw this was that it could be on the WrestleMania card.  If anybody can get a good match out of Kurt and carry the load it’s A.J.  Granted A.J. hasn’t necessarily been at the top of his game in recent times, but he’s still as good as any.  That being said this is certainly a treat for the Smackdown crowd and the TV audience, especially for those that didn’t follow Kurt’s career in TNA.

Xavier Woods & Big E of New Day Quitting WWE?

Last week, Kofi Kingston failed to punch his ticket to the WWE Championship match at WrestleMania.  He won the gauntlet match in which he was ordered to participate by WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon.  Upon winning and celebrating with his New Day partners Xavier Woods and Big E with eight minutes to go on Smackdown, Vince appeared and looked to be congratulating Kofi.  He said he was going to WrestleMania, so long as he can defeat one more opponent which turned out to be WWE Champion Daniel Bryan.  Kofi came up short, as we suspected he would

This past week Xavier and Big E have been vocal, both during a WWE.com exclusive video and videos they posted on their personal Twitter accounts.  Here is the video from WWE.com along with Big E and Xavier’s tweets which include the videos of course:

With two weeks to go until WrestleMania, it’s anybody’s guess if and how Kofi gets another opportunity to earn a championship match.  It’s also anyone’s guess if Xavier and Big E are truly considering quitting WWE.  They have been with the company for quite some time and certainly have other ventures into which they can invest their time.  Seeing as WWE is advertising it, they will certainly address all of this tonight.

Frank’s Analysis:  Considering they did a WWE.com exclusive video, I highly doubt they are quitting.  Whatever the case may be, I think this is bigger than we ever could have imagined.  WWE is basically admitting through New Day that they are racially biased.  That they are racially biased is not an opinion, it’s a fact.  Just look at the history of the treatment of black wrestlers.  Unless something crazy happens, Kofi is going to win in the end.  The problem is that it looks like WWE wants to be patted on the back for changing their ways, instead of just doing what should have been done and let Kofi go into WrestleMania off his big gauntlet match win.  This does make Kofi an even bigger star, but it’s for the wrong reasons.  They’ve backed themselves into a corner because not only will Kofi have to win the title, but his reign needs to last a while and be strong rather than just giving him a token win, which will come across as placating the audience and it will only make things worse.  You also hope they haven’t taken this story too far, and when Kofi gets his win the audience won’t care as much.  You can push people too far to the point of apathy.

Next for Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair

Last night on Raw it was announced rather close to showtime that Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, and Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey would take part in a Beat the Clock challenge against all three women of the Riott Squad (Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, and Sarah Logan).  Ronda set the pace by defeating Logan in 1:25.  Charlotte could not defeat Ruby in said time, but Becky pinned Liv in under 1:25 to win the challenge and … yeah, I don’t know what the point of it was but yay Becky!

It was announced later in the show that Ronda, Becky, and Charlotte but team together in a six-woman tag against the Riott Squad next week on Raw.  If any woman betrays the team, they forfeit their WrestleMania opportunity.

According to WWE.com there will be reaction from Becky and Charlotte tonight in regard to the upcoming match on Raw.  This morning, all three women were on ESPN.  Here’s that clip:

C’mon, did you really think I’d cut a primer without some Becky tweets?  She even called her out at a Warriors game:

Finally, there’s clip from ESPN where she talks about her journey to WWE:

Frank’s Analysis:  You can really appreciate Rebecca Quin talking about being determined to be in WWE.  If Vince still doesn’t understand why people like the Becky Lynch character, perhaps he should give the ESPN clip a watch.  Every fiber of her being wants to be here and she is so appreciative of the opportunity to be in the main event of WrestleMania.  The clip of the three women on ESPN was cool because they didn’t act chummy, even though they spoke as real people.  Ronda was a bit arrogant saying she expected to main event ‘Mania, but that’s fine as that’s who she is.  The truth is, this main event is not happening without her, and that’s not an ounce of disrespect meant towards Becky or Charlotte.   

As far as the Beat the Clock as the six-women next week, and as far as potential reaction tonight it’s too much.  What was the point of last night and why are they teaming next week?  It doesn’t matter as ultimately, it’s about the match at WrestleMania.

Items to Anticipate Tonight:

  • It was announced on Raw last night that Kurt Angle will face Smackdown’s Rey Mysterio on Raw next week.  Rey is challenging Samoa Joe for the U.S. Championship at WrestleMania.  After Joe’s loss to Angle last night, look for Joe to get his heat back in some way tonight.
  • As I speculated previously, the IIconics (Peyton Royce & Billie Kay) will challenge the Boss ‘n Hug Connection (Sasha Banks & Bayley) for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship along with Natalya & Beth Phoenix and Nia Jax & Tamina in a fatal four-way.  Look for build-up towards this tonight.  WWE announced it on their WrestleMania Twitter account after Raw last night:


  • Kevin Owens, Ali (the artist formerly known as Mustafa Ali), and Andrade still don’t have WrestleMania matches.  Perhaps that comes to fruition tonight, as well as what’s going on with Smackdown Tag Team Champions the Usos and the Hardys.  It’s been speculated the Hardys will challenge the Usos for the belts.

Start Time & Matches Advertised on the Arena Website

The Mohegan Sun Arena’s website shows a start time of 7:30 p.m.  They advertise a double main event, but oddly show only one match:

  • Kevin Owens vs. WWE Champion Daniel Bryan for the championship

They basically list the whole Smackdown roster appearing.  Just in case you didn’t know, the card is subject to change at any time.

205Live will follow the main show.

Follow me on Twitter @FrankPeteani or e-mail me at fpeteani@gmail.com.  Questions and discussion are welcome.  Thank you for reading!

1 Comment on WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER 3/26:  The Olympian vs. The Phenomenal One, The Frustrations of Xavier and Big E, Asuka’s WrestleMania opponent, Saga of The Man and The Queen

  1. I’d just as soon see Sonya Deville win that 4 way match. Carmella, Naomi aren’t going to be it, Mandy Rose sucks, so that leaves Deville.

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