WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER 3/6: Final Elimination Chamber Hype, Firefly Funhouse, Tag Team Gauntlet Match with Elimination Chamber Implications, Alexa Will Say Hey Yo

By Frank Peteani, PWTorch Specialist


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER
MARCH 6, 2020
BUFFALO, N.Y. AT THE KEYBANK CENTER
AIRS ON FOX NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EST
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH SPECIALIST 

Announcers: Michael Cole and Corey Graves

Top 10 Moments from Last Week

Arena and Items Advertised by WWE

WWE Smackdown to a familiar site in the Keybank Center in Buffalo, N.Y.  The show last appeared in this arena on November 1 of last year, the night after Crown Jewel.  That was the event where WWE’s chartered airplane got stuck in Saudi Arabia and they brought in the NXT wrestlers to work the show.  On that night, Adam Cole retained the NXT Championship over Daniel Bryan.

Tonight’s edition of Smackdown will be the go-home show for this Sunday’s Elimination Chamber.  Here’s what’s on tap for tonight:

  • WWE Elimination Chamber final entrance on the line in Tag Team Gauntlet Match
  • Firefly Funhouse returns after “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt’s WrestleMania challenge
  • Lacey Evans & Naomi team up for rematch against Bayley & Sasha Banks
  • The NWO to appear on “A Moment of Bliss”

Gauntlet Match to Determine Final Entrant in Elimination Chamber Tag Team Championship Match

Last week we learned that Miz & John Morrison would defend their newly won Smackdown Tag Team Championship in an Elimination Chamber match.  Their opponents will be Heavy Machinery, Lucha House Party, New Day, Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode, and the Usos.  They then went on to lose a non-title match to the Usos.  They were none too pleased and expressed as such in a WWE exclusive.  On the other hand, Ziggler & Roode were happy after Roode defeated Kofi Kingston of New Day:

 

Tonight, all parties involved will wrestle a gauntlet match to determine the final entrant into the match Sunday.

Frank’s Analysis:  Shouldn’t the champions be the default final entrant?  What’s the factor that’s determining the order of how teams come out tonight?  The team coming out last in the gauntlet match tonight has the biggest advantage, therefore wouldn’t it make them look bad if they can’t win?  How fair is it to the teams starting the gauntlet match just because they were chosen to start?  These gauntlet and elimination chamber matches are so problematic because there’s no rhyme or reason to the order of entrants.  I’m not saying don’t do them but have a logical way to make that determination.

Firefly Funhouse Returns after WrestleMania Challenge

Last week on Smackdown, 16-time world champion John Cena returned to WWE for the first time since July of last year.  He talked the usual tropes about loving the fans, this was his home, etc. etc.  When he addressed what he was doing for WrestleMania, he said it was the right thing for him not to partake and bet on the future stars of the company.

As Cena was making his way back, well you know what happened.  The lights started dimming and the horror music interlude sounded.  When the lights came back on, former Universal Champion “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt was standing behind Cena on the entrance ramp.  Moments later, he pointed to the WrestleMania sign.  Cena tipped his cap and gave Bray the “you can’t see me” hand motion for which he is famous.  Here he is on Twitter:

It’s like 2014 all over again.  Bray faced Daniel Bryan at that Royal Rumble and went on to face Cena at WrestleMania.  This year, it appears that will happen again.  As we get ready for that match, Bray Wyatt will deliver another episode of the Firefly Funhouse tonight.  Here’s Bray:

Frank’s Analysis:  If Bray Wyatt raps in honor of Cena’s Doctor of Thuganomics character from his early days, I will mark out, believe me.  Overall this is fine. I thought Bray pointing at the sign and Cena tipping his cap was a weird dynamic. Usually all of that would be reserved for wrestlers who respect each other (Triple H and Undertaker in 2011, Sting and Triple H in 2015).  Anyway, I have more of an issue with Cena.  Who the (expletive) are you?  I know you’re great, but you think you’re so special that YOU decide WrestleMania should go on without you because YOU believe in the future, and it’s the right thing because YOU make that decision?  Stop making it about you man and stop patronizing people.  I know it’s storyline and all, but don’t hand me that happy horse(expletive).  Just be honest and say you want to be at WrestleMania, and let’s see somebody step up.  That would have been more honest and non-pandering.  No wonder this guy got booed a lot through the years.

Lacey Evans & Naomi vs. Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley & Sasha Banks

Last week on Smackdown to open the show, Smackdown Women’s Champion Bayley took on Naomi after defeating her to retain her title the night before at Super Showdown in Saudi Arabia.  Before the match started, Bayley called for her best friend and Boston, MA. native Sasha Banks to join her at ringside.  Naomi won the match via DQ when Sasha did an interference spot.  As they were double-teaming Naomi, Lacey Evans came out for the save.  In the spirit of former long-time Smackdown G.M. Teddy Long, they had themselves a tag team match playa!  Lacey and Naomi went on to defeat Bayley and Banks when Naomi sunset flipped Bayley for the win.  Here’s Lacey and Naomi in an exclusive after the match:

It was announced on WWE Backstage that there will be a rematch from last week, and that takes place tonight.

Frank’s Analysis:  I’m getting apathetic about a lot of things in WWE, if I haven’t gotten there already.  Why are champions wrestling previously unadvertised matches on TV?  Why does the challenger that lost get another match with the champion?  Why does WWE constantly do the impromptu tag match?  They can be and are usually cool, but not every week.  If feels like that’s what they do.  It takes away from it happening feeling special.

A Moment of Bliss with Impending Hall of Fame Inductees the nWo

At this year’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony, one of the greatest factions in the history of wrestling will be inducted in the New World Order (nWo).  It’s hard to put into a short paragraph what they meant to the business, but the simplest thing I can say is they changed its course upon their debut in WCW in 1996.  The key to its success was having Hulk Hogan, long-time babyface hero and champion, join the faction and become the top heel in the company.  Many people, including family members and friends of mine, started watching wrestling again when they heard of this occurrence.

If Wikipedia is not lying, Alexa Bliss had not even turned five years old that when Hogan infamously dropped the leg on “Macho Man” Randy Savage and later told everyone “you fans can stick it brother!”  Nikki Cross had turned seven just a few months earlier.  Tonight, all grown-up Alexa & Nikki welcome Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and Sean Waltman into “A Moment of Bliss.”

Frank’s Analysis:  It just brings me a chuckle when Vince brings back the nWo to pop a rating (let’s be honest, that’s what this is about).  Meanwhile, back in 2002, he purposely brought back a watered down nWo and made them look bad.  Anyway, it’s all good.  It’s always fun to see those guys and even cooler to see them with Alexa and Nikki, whom I’m sure adored them as children. 

Other Match Results and News Items from Last Week

  • Roman Reigns challenged new Universal Champion Goldberg for the title.  Later in the show, the match was announced for WrestleMania.
  • Braun Strowman signed a contract to defend his Intercontinental Champion against former champ Shinsuke Nakamura, Cesaro, and Sami Zayn at Elimination Chamber.
  • Daniel Bryan defeated Curtis Axel with Drew Gulak on commentary.

Final Thoughts

It’s been standard operating procedure that the championship that has not been challenged for by the Royal Rumble winner, would have its challenger determined by the Elimination Chamber match.  It’s not that I’m not going to watch the match, but I don’t need that to be in the chamber.  Roman Reigns has been winning his matches, but he just gets the title match at WrestleMania?  Doesn’t a ‘Mania title match have to be earned?  Then again, Goldberg was just gifted a Universal title match.  This is where we are with Smackdown.


Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani.  Questions and discussion are welcome.  Thank you for reading!


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