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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
APRIL 2, 2019
AIRED LIVE ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
-They opened with a shot of the WrestleMania sign as Phillips introduced the show. Graves said Ronda Rousey, Becky Lynch, and Charlotte Flair were all arrested after “one of the most outrageous moments ever in WWE.” He said they’d show highlights and have an update on their status. Phillips said after a long, arduous road, Kofi Kingston is getting his WWE Title shot at WrestleMania against Daniel Bryan and they’d have the official contract signing tonight.
-The KO Show: Kevin Owens was in the ring on his set as his music faded. He said they are just five day away from WrestleMania. He said his guests are looking to continue to build on their legacy. He introduced Randy Orton first. Boos and some cheers. Graves said few in sports entertainment have done more in WWE than Orton. Graves said he “cannot wait for the physicality” after the “sharpe-tongue exchanges” between them in the lead-up to the match. Owens introduced Styles. They replayed Orton interfering in the Angle vs. Styles match. Saxton said Orton “could have cared less” about that match. (So did he care a lot?)
Orton leaned back in a chair like a kid in class who is too cool for school. Owens asked Orton if he is proud of ruining the Angle-Styles match. Owens noted the smirk on his face. Orton said, “Hell yeah, I’m proud.” Some cheers, then more boos. He said he saved the WWE Universe from watching a washed up old broken down former Olympian beat a guy who still thinks he’s at the top of his game. He said he also saved fans from “watching the match.”
Styles said that comes from a guy who has been there almost 20 years, been in the ring with legends, and has learned one move. He said it’s deadly, but it is just one move. Orton said when you have a move that deadly, you only need one. Orton said the fans think the indy guys have it so hard traveling around the world trying to make a name for themselves and trying to make ends meet wrestling at high school gyms and armories trying to impress dozens of fans for $50. He said he wrestled during that time in front of tens and tens and tens of thousands of people.
Styles said when he was in high school gyms wrestling in front of dozens of people, Orton was in WWE (pause) “getting suspended for failing drug tests.” The crowd ohh’d that one. (Without John Oliver’s HBO segment, would WWE be shining a spotlight on the fact that they test wrestlers for drug usage?) Orton paused, took a deep breath, and said if he was as good as he thinks he is, he would have been in WWE in a long long long time ago. Orton said Styles’s legacy isn’t “hard work pays off,” it’s that of “corporate bitch” now that John Cena has left for Hollywood. Owens heard enough and left the ring. (Not sure that fits KO’s character to walk away from a brewing ruckus.) Styles and Orton stood and faced off. Styles threw the first forearm and then punched away at him. Orton fired back by ramming Styles into the table in the ring. Styles fought back and went for a Phenomenal Forearm. Orton turned it into an RKO out of mid-air instead.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was good. Not great, but good. It served as a reminder to viewers why their first segment promoting this match made people care about a match they didn’t think they’d necessarily care about.)
-They cut to New Day in the back looking over the contract. Xavier Woods and Big E were clowning around while Kofi Kingston looked more serious.
-Aleister Black’s ring entrance took place. Phillips hyped the eight-man tag match coming up. [c]
(1) ALEISTER BLACK & RICOCHET & THE USOS vs. THE BAR (Sheamus & Cesaro) & RUSEV (w/Lana) & SHINSUKE NAKAMURA
Steady action and frequent tags in the opening minutes. Jey fell over the to rope when Rusev pulled the top rope down. Rusev then threw Jey into the ringside steps as his three teammates oddly just stood and watched. Phillips said there wasn’t much they could do about it. (Since when is that a thing?) Back in the ring, Rusev tagged Nakamura back in and the isolation of Jey continued. Sheamus prevent Jey from tagging and threw him to the floor where the heels worked him over during a commercial break. [c]
They stayed with the action on split screen. Back from the break, Jimmy got the hot tag and went after Rusev with kicks and punches and then a Samoan Drop attempt. Rusev escaped, but Jimmy super kicked him and tagged in Ricochet. Chaos followed with Cesaro and Black and Sheamus and Jey taking turns entering the ring. Rusev threw Jey out of the ring then went for a suplex on Jimmy, but Jimmy tagged in Jey and they double-super-kicked Rusev which was good for the three count.
WINNERS: The Usos & Ricochet & Black in 12:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: It was just a lot of rapid tags and some nice moves. Fans like Rusev, so it was awkward when he was being super-heelish here.)
-Alexa Bliss walked out. She said “long time, no see,” but she didn’t want to be there. She said duty calls as she’s the official host of WrestleMania. She said a lot has changed since last night. She said Charlotte, Becky, and Rousey have been released from jail and will main event WrestleMania. She said Kofi will challenge Bryan and also KO is acting like he thinks he’s a better talk show host than her. She then addressed the Usos directly. She said they may have won tonight, but last week they forfeited their match against New Day to help them advance and eventually win. She said that was so noble and so heroic and so deserving of repercussions. She announced that at WrestleMania, they will defend their Smackdown Tag Team Titles against all three teams they just shared the ring with in a fatal four-way tag team match. (Big surprise.) A brawl broke out with all four teams. Ricochet did a flip dive onto a crowd at ringside. His music played to close out the segment as he pointed at the WrestleMania sign.
-They went to the announcers on camera who talked about WrestleMania Weekend and what had Bliss said. They then commented on highlights of the angle with Charlotte, Becky, and Rousey on Raw with the police officers.
-The IIconics began their ring entrance. [c]
-After the break, the IIconics talked about battling for “the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles” (Championships!!) and made a case that they’re going to easily win.
-Back to the announcers at ringside, they hyped that the main event of WrestleMania will be a women’s match. They went back to more footage of the angle with the women with the police and police cars last night. Graves pointed out the mistake of the police locking Rousey and Becky into close quarters in the back of a squad car. Graves noted it’s a “Winner Take All” match.
-Miz began his ring entrance. They announced that Shane McMahon booked him to wrestle three opponents at once: Sanity. [c]
-Graves announced that Sports Illustrated broke the news yesterday that Brutus Beefcake is the latest inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame. (It’s amazing how each major corporate branded website breaks these Hall of Fame stories, but nobody gets two in a row or two in one season? What’re the odds?)
-Miz stood in the ring and talked about WrestleMania being a chance to make history. He mentioned Kofi. Fans chanted “Kofi!” He said Kofi can finally break through. He said for him, it means retribution. He said recently he’s been able to take stock in who he is as a father and a son. He said he has an incredible family. He told people to tune in to “Miz & Mrs” tonight after Smackdown to find out. He said he’s proud of the show and his family. He said he fights with a full heart and he is more motivated than he has ever been in his entire career. He said that’s why he wanted his match with Shane to be “Falls Count Anywhere.” He vowed to beat Shane anywhere and everywhere. He said he now fights for the honor of his dad. He told Shane he has a dad, “which I guess makes you a son of a bitch.” Sanity’s entrance then began.
Shane danced out before the match began. He said he wanted to watch this up close and personal. He told ring announcer Greg Hamilton to do his thing. Hamilton enthusiastically introduced Shane as “best in the world.” Shane smiled broadly, then called for the bell.
(2) SANITY (Eric Young & Alexander Wolfe & Killian Dane) vs. MIZ
Young went after Miz first. Miz mounted him in the corner and hit him with a barrage of punches. When Dane and Wolfe distracted Miz, Young gave him a sorta-flying-neckbreaker but was largely off target and missed. They cut to a break. [c]
Shane walked out again. Hamilton began to introduce Shane again, but Shane told him no, that would be overkill, everyone knows he’s best in thew world. He told Miz that this match is also Falls Count Anywhere and no DQ and no countout. He showed off on the big screen him grabbing Miz’s dad by the mouth and called him Mr. Potato Face again. Sanity then attacked Miz three-on-one. Miz side-stepped a charging Dane and then backdropped Young over the ringside barricade. Then he tossed Wolfe onto Young and met him in the crowd and punched away at him. They bumped into some fans sitting as they brawled past them. Miz dropped Wolfe through a table set up by the production area. He scored a near fall, broken up by Young.
Miz controlled the brawl as they made their way backstage. He rolled a plastic storage bin into Young, who blocked it with his arms, and the announcers reacted like he dropped a piano on him from five stories above. Miz scored the three count.
WINNER: Miz in 12:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Not that Sanity had much of a WWE career, but that kind of puts an end to any credibility they might have.)
-Suddenly a squad car drove up with sirens blaring and dropped off Becky. She thanked the cop and walked into the arena. She was all smiles. (So was she in jail overnight and just dropped off in Baltimore by D.C. police? That was mighty nice of them. Or did she befriend Baltimore police somehow today after what she was part of in D.C.? I’m confused.) [c]
-An extended video package aired on the Charlotte-Becky-Rousey angle last night on Raw. Graves said all three women were released from the precinct today on their own recognizance. Becky then came out to the ring to her music. Becky stood on the announce table and said, “It’s good to be free in Baltimore.” She said no disrespect to Corey, but she answers to the fans, not him. He said she was thinking while in the back of the cop car what a difference a year makes. She said a year ago she and Charlotte were the best of friends and Ronda was about to make her debut at WrestleMania. She said the stars seemed aligned to get The Queen and the Baddest Woman on the Planet into the main event of this year’s WrestleMania “that was until I smacked the smugness off of Charlotte Flair’s face at Summerslam.” She said that one strike changed everything. She said she was determined to do whatever it took to get into this year’s WrestleMania. “And look at us now!” she said. A “Becky! Becky!” chant broke out. She talked about their match. She said the real revolution that started at Summerslam is going to explode this Sunday. She said she’ll make “one of those dopes tap.” She said she’ll be double-champ the next time they see her. She dropped the mic and extended her arms, then pointed at the WrestleMania sign.
(Keller’s Analysis: It’s good to hear Becky just hold court like that. It doesn’t feel like a movement or a revolution, though. She seems like a modestly over babyface who’s been poorly booked this year who has managed to retain some of her edge.)
-They showed Daniel Bryan and Erick Rowan looking over the WWE Title match contract backstage.
-They cut to a gathering of wrestlers backstage preparing for an 18-person tag team match. They are representing the participants in the men’s and women’s battle royals at WrestleMania. They stayed with the ring entrances on split screen during the break. [c]
-After the break, EC3 was shown walking to the ring.
(3) EC3 & ANDRADE & ZELINA VEGA & LANA & SHELTON BENJAMIN & KARL ANDERSON & LUKE GALLOWS & SONYA DEVILLE & MANDY ROSE vs. JEFF HARDY & MATT HARDY & NAOMI & ASUKA & HEAVY MACHINERY & NIKKI CROSS & R-TRUTH & CARMELLA
Phillips said Otis is his pick to win the Andre Battle Royal. Otis splashed EC3 in the corner. EC3 staggered out of the corner and bumped right into proper position for the caterpillar. After landing the move, they cut to a break. [c]
Back from the break Truth and Carmella did a Seven Second Dance Break. Anderson broke it up. They suddenly began throwing each other over the top rope and the bell rang. Graves fantasized about Mandy winning the battle royal. Nikki freaked out Shelton. He pointed at her face and turned his back. She jumped onto his back. Shelton dove over the top rope and tried to shake her off of his back. She held on tight. EC3 then snuck up behind Jeff Hardy, but he gave EC3 a Twist of Fate. Asuka then kicked EC3 in the face. Asuka and Jeff were the last two standing in the ring. Asuka hugged Jeff and celebrated, but then tossed him over the top.
WINNERS: Doesn’t matter.
-The announcers ran down the WM line-up.
-Backstage New Day were getting psyched up for the contract signing. Big E had a giant tray of pancakes.
-Samoa Joe’s ring entrance began. [c]
(4) SAMOA JOE vs. MUSTAFA ALI
Phillips talked about Ali’s journey in 2019. Graves noted that Rey hurt his ankle in his match against Baron Corbin on Raw. Joe dominated early. Ali fought back, but Joe avoided his 540 splash. Then he applied a Coquina Clutch for the win.
WINNER: Joe in 4:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: It feels like Ali’s moment has passed, but that said, it was good to give Joe a strong win going into WrestleMania. Joe was intense and vicious.)
-Bryan and Rowan walked out to the ring. [c]
-Bryan and Rowan sat in the ring at the contract table. Michael Cole for some reason was hosting this segment. New Day danced to the ring. Bryan told Cole he’d take things from here. He said he had life lessons for everyone. He said fans should learn not to be complacent. He told Kofi not to mistake a fad for the truth. Fans wildly chanted “Kofi! Kofi!” and “Kofimania” and other various chants. Bryan told Kofi he was in the place where Kofi is now. He said the fan support makes him feel stronger, but the truth is they don’t feed off of the fan support, but rather the fans feed off of Kofi. “Because they are parasites!” he said. “They need you to fulfill whatever fantasy they have in their life, but once they’re one sucking all the positivity out of you, they will discard you.” Fans chanted “asshole” at Bryan. Bryan said that’s what they said to all the truth tellers throughout history. Bryan told Kofi to suck it all in “because for you, this is the best it’s ever going to be.”
Kofi stood and banged the table. He said for months they’ve had to listen to him educate them. He said now it’s time for Bryan to shut his mouth while he educates him. He said Bryan claims to know what he’s feeling, but the more he talks, he realizes he doesn’t know a damn thing about him. He said he became World Champion within the first two years of him arriving in WWE. He said he watched it and observed it and understood it. He began breathing heavily. He said Bryan hasn’t been through what he’s been through because in 11 years he hasn’t had a singles match for the WWE Title, but that’s okay because it all has led to this. He said he can tell Bryan can see the the is ready, and it’s why he trembles when he watches him. Fans chanted “You deserve it!”
Kofi said it’s true Bryan knows what this feels like and he’s scared as hell because he knows what comes next. He said he beats him at WrestleMania and he becomes the WWE Champion. He signed the contract and Xavier and Big E cheered him on. Kofi’s music played and he stood and stared down at a sitting Bryan. Saxton said Kofi has been treated as a second-class citizen, but he has a chance to write his championship story after 11 years at WrestleMania. Bryan stood slowly and returned the stare at Kofi as the show ended.
(Keller’s Analysis: That felt like a hot finish for a babyface challenger’s path to winning a title on a huge show against an effective heel champion.)