SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER
APRIL 30, 2019
LOUISVILLE, KY. AT THE KFC YUM! CENTER
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00PM EST
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
Arena and Items Advertised by WWE
WWE Smackdown will pull into the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, KY. The arena opened in October of 2010 and has hosted a handful of WWE events including Smackdown in April of last year. So much changes in a year. Big Cass was still on the roster feuding with a babyface Daniel Bryan. Babyface Charlotte Flair had just recently dropped the Smackdown Women’s Championship to a Money in the Bank cashing-in Carmella. Babyface Randy Orton had just dropped the U.S. Championship to Jinder Mahal in a fatal four-way at WrestleMania. Shinsuke Nakamura was pursuing A.J. Styles for the WWE Championship. That feud was considered a dream feud. Charlotte, Bryan, Orton are all heel now. A.J. is on Raw. Nakamura is now in the tag team division with Rusev.
Nostalgia aside we continue to get ready for this year’s Money in the Bank. Here’s what’s advertised by WWE.com for tonight:
Matches & Segments:
- Shane McMahon will crown new Smackdown Tag Team Champions
- Kevin Owens to respond to Kofi Kingston’s attack from last week
- Massive Six-Woman Tag Team Match to go down on the blue brand
- Ali and Andrade to square off tonight
•Which Raw Superstars will take advantage of the “Wild Card Rule?”
•Shane McMahon to Crown New Smackdown Tag Team Champions
•Last week on Smackdown, Jeff & Matt Hardy had to regrettably surrender the Smackdown Tag Team Championship they had won just weeks ago with a victory over the Usos, who know reside on Raw.
Jeff had been attacked by Lars Sullivan on that same night and “injured” his knee. (In reality, Jeff had been dealing with knee issues and thus the attack was to sell the injury.). The Hardys never defended the titles. Here’s WWE’s YouTube clip from that match which includes the Sullivan attack, and also Jeff in a WWE.com exclusive discussing his knee injury:
WWE advised on their website and on Twitter that Shane McMahon will “crown” new tag team champions. They put up a graphic on their website and Twitter account asking whom should receive the honor:
Frank’s Analysis: Conspicuous by their absence in that graphic are the Colons (Primo and Epico), who are still listed on the Smackdown roster. It’s not that I want to make a big deal out of a team that hasn’t been featured since the Obama administration it feels like, but you would think with a thin roster they’d have a chance to be elevated. The last time they worked on TV to my knowledge was Survivor Series. Also, Finn Balor and Ali are a team? When did that happen? Furthermore, where’s Apollo Crews, Shelton Benjamin, Chad Gable, and Jinder Mahal? Can’t any of them team with Matt Hardy? Matt didn’t get hurt. At any rate if this goes down as advertised it will be the first time a champion is anointed since Eric Bischoff did so with Triple H, giving him the World Heavyweight Championship in 2002. A lot of people think it will be Shane and Elias. Why have a tournament or matches to determine a championship, right? (Eye roll) Granted the tag team division on Smackdown is thin, but it’s not the point. The wild card rule, which I talk about later, could be put into effect here?
Kevin Owens’ Response to Kofi Kingston
Much of last week’s episode of Smackdown involved the ongoing situation with Kevin Owens and WWE Champion Kofi Kingston. Michael Cole … of Raw … began the show interviewing Kofi. Kofi came out flinging pancakes and smiling. Nonetheless, they relived the journey of which Kofi has been over the past few months to get to winning the WWE Championship. They then discussed Owens’ betrayal of a few weeks ago, saying how they thought he had changed but in the end was going to be Kevin Owens. Kofi challenged Kevin at Money in the Bank and will put his WWE Championship on the line. Kevin accepted.
Later on, in the final segment, Kevin hosted the KO show and was scheduled to have Xavier Woods as his guest. Kevin, who had interrupted Kofi and Cole’s interview earlier, super-kicked Woods who had attacked him during the interruption. Woods did not come out as Kevin revealed both a Woods and Big E action figure. He kicked down the chair on which he rested the action figures. Prior to that he talked about the WWE Championship being a burden on Kofi as he did earlier and was willing to relieve him of that burden at MITB. Kofi came out and went after Kevin. He tossed him around the announce table before Kevin retaliated with a rake to the eye and retreated. Here’s a little jaw jacking on Twitter as they get ready to head towards MITB:
All that talking? I have yet to really say anything. You and Woods made sure of that by both attacking me last night. Woods attacking me from behind like a coward on top of it…
I’m at least man enough to look at you straight in the eyes when I stab you in the back. https://t.co/WWXvU9T1Mv
— Kevin (@FightOwensFight) May 1, 2019
Kevin responds tonight to Kofi’s attack. Kofi remains WWE Champion after successfully defending the title on Raw last night against Daniel Bryan, both of whom appeared on Raw as a result of the wild card rule.
Frank’s Analysis: There seems to be a genuine intensity between these two, although I did not like Kofi coming out smiling and throwing pancakes. He should have been walking out with a purpose during his interview, feeling upset about Owens’ betrayal. Nevertheless, it did pick up and Kofi to me came out at the end like a champion and showed his displeasure at how Kevin was speaking of him. It will be interesting to see Kevin’s response tonight as he will likely play victim seeing as he was attacked by both Woods and Kofi.
Six-Woman Tag Team Match: Bayley & Carmella & Ember Moon vs. Charlotte Flair and Fire & Desire (Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose)
After last week we know of whom will take part in the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match at the aforementioned PPV in less than two weeks. Bayley, Mandy Rose, Ember Moon, Carmella, Alexa Bliss, Dana Brooke, Natalya, and Naomi will all vie for the contract as WWE likes to call it (I call it a briefcase). Carmella was the inaugural winner in 2017 (twice) while Alexa won last year’s offering.
Last week, we got somewhat of a taste of the upcoming show in several ways. Bayley took on Raw & Smackdown Women’s champion Becky Lynch in a non-title match. Bayley came up short, tapping out to Becky’s Disarm Her after an eight-minute match. After the match Charlotte Flair attacked her MITB opponent Becky and then threw Bayley into the corner. Charlotte had defeated Bayley one week earlier in a #1 contender’s match.
Sonya Deville graciously told Mandy Rose to take the spot offered to “one of them” as Mandy put it. Mandy somewhat manipulated Sonya into telling her to take it.
Ember Moon was interviewed and after saying about 25 corporate lines, Carmella interrupted and reminded everyone of her past triumphs and said she will show why ‘Mella is money.
Tonight, we get a variation of the upcoming ladder match as Bayley teams with Carmella and Ember Moon to take on Charlotte Flair and Mandy & Sonya.
Frank’s Analysis: Carmella acted like her old heel persona although I don’t think WWE feels that’s a big deal as eight women will vie for the contract. You certainly can sense there may be issues in the future with Mandy and Sonya as has been teased on several occasions, although I don’t know how satisfying the payoff will turn out. As far as the match tonight it’s fairly straight forward. With Money in the Bank upcoming there will be tension and issues. The winner really doesn’t matter here.
Ali vs. Andrade
The men’s Money in the Bank ladder match also took shape last week as Intercontinental Champion Finn Balor, Ali, Andrade, and Randy Orton were announced as participants. They join Raw’s Ricochet, Braun Strowman, Baron Corbin, and Drew McIntyre. Strowman, Corbin, and Orton are previous MITB winners. Of those three men, only Orton cashed in successfully when he defeated new WWE Champion Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam 2013 with the help of Triple H. That night was the birth of The Authority.
Back to current events, last week Ali & Balor defeated Orton & Andrade. They won the match in about eight minutes when Ali hit his 450 Splash on Andrade. Tonight, in another variation of the upcoming ladder match, Andrade takes on Ali one-on-one. The match was announced on WWE’s website and on Twitter over the weekend. Here’s a little social media exchange between them and Ali in a WWE.com exclusive with Dasha Fuentes in regard to Money in the Bank:
— “EL IDOLO” ANDRADE (@AndradeCienWWE) May 5, 2019
Frank’s Analysis: This should be a good match. I would suspect Andrade would go over, although it’s hard to say given how he’s become a victim of the 50/50 booking club (including trading victories with Finn Balor recently). Ali has jobbed a lot but has looked competitive. Bear in mind he was meant to be in Kofi’s spot at Elimination Chamber. You wonder what may have been had he not got hurt.
In For “Wild Nights”
As a result of Roman Reigns, Daniel Bryan, and WWE Kofi Kingston showing up on Raw last night during the opening segment in which Vince McMahon was out to talk with the fans, Vince (due to an epiphany he suddenly had) has instituted the “wild card rule.” Initially he stated that rule allows any three wrestlers from Raw to show up on Smackdown and vice versa. Last night, Roman Reigns defeated Drew McIntyre via DQ as a result of Shane McMahon and Elias’ interference. Yes, I said Elias, bringing the total number of Smackdown wrestlers appearing on Raw to four.
Later on, Lars Sullivan attacked No Way Jose as he his conga line were making their way to the ring. Yes, I said Lars Sullivan. That brought the total to five folks.
Later on, Vince was on his cell phone talking to someone. He said Elias doesn’t count as someone showing up because he was with Shane (now is that any way to talk about someone you framed as Smackdown’s greatest acquisition a few weeks ago?). Nonetheless, he said he may suspend or fire anyone that would break the rule. In walked Lars. Vince, looking intimidated, amended the wild card rule to allow four wrestlers to appear.
I’m glad we got that straight. Tonight, we’ll see who takes advantage of the wild card rule.
Frank’s Analysis: So, I understand they cancelled a Smackdown house show last night. Are we to believe that Vince suddenly had this epiphany with everyone showing up during the opening segment? Give me a break, he knew he was instituting the wild card rule. How does Elias not count as a result of being with Shane and how did Lars know he wasn’t going to get fired or suspended by showing up? This is sloppy, idiotic writing, which is the real issue in this company. Listen, I would be lying if I didn’t say the wild card rule has potential, but it’s not the point. The problem in this company is not who is on what show, it’s the writing. They’re content with 50/50 booking, not making anyone but Roman Reigns feel like a star, comedy segments that are not funny (Usos and Revival last night), segments like they did with Braun Strowman and Sami Zayn last night that just make you roll your eyes, not utilizing their entire roster, making the tag team division a joke, having impromptu matches that people don’t believe deserve to be impromptu giving the impression they had no plans for the show, inconsistent writing from week-to-week, and taking crowds and people out of ring introductions & matches with preposterous commercial breaks. Did I miss anything? Moving people from show to show is not going to solve WWE’s problems. It’s looking at the root cause of the issue, which unfortunately starts with the boss, and he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
Not Advertised for Follow-Up:
•Kairi Sane & Asuka won a squash match with the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions the IIconics doing guest commentary.
•Roman Reigns defeated, I guess now heel, the B-Team (Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas) with Elias as the special outside enforcer. Reigns takes on Elias at Money in the Bank.
•Bray Wyatt’s new show the Firefly Fun House episode two aired last week. Episode three aired on Raw, on which Bray is listed as a wrestler. If episode three airs tonight as well, does Bray count as one of the four taking advantage of the wild card rule?
Start Time & Matches Advertised on the Arena Website
The KFC Yum! Center’s website advertises a start time of 7:45 p.m. local time with doors opening at 6:15 p.m. They advertise Kofi Kingston defending the WWE Championship against Daniel Bryan.
205 Live will follow the main show.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome. Thank you for reading!