By Jake Barnett, ProWrestling.net Co-Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)
WWE Smackdown Live on USA Network
Aired live from Brooklyn, New York at Barclays Center
New Day Opened the show and made their entrance. Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton joined in on commentary. Byron said that Kofi with the WWE Championship just feels right. There was a rainbow of balloons stretching from the floor on the ramp side of the ring to the opposite side by the announce table. Some stills were shown of the WrestleMania match with Daniel Bryan.
Big E said that there was a man who made the WWE Universe cry tears of joy, a man who was an A+ player with extra credit, and that man Kofi Kingston broke his foot off between the vegan cheeks of Daniel Bryan and became the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Woods screamed at the Brooklyn crowd that they were still our boys. Big E spoke briefly about being on Raw last night, and then re-enacted his split to big applause.
Big E then mentioned that Kofi was close to becoming a dual champion like Becky Lynch (they stopped for applause), but it was good to be home on the blue brand. They said tonight wasn’t about their humor, it was about their celebration. Woods then said that they were there to celebrate the career of their friend and brother Kofi Kingston. Woods spoke about watching Kofi’s debut, and then getting a chance to meet him when he joined WWE, and that it was like meeting one of his heroes.
Big E said they came together in an effort to reshape culture and change history, and that’s exactly what Kofi did on Sunday. Woods then said congratulations and we love you on behalf of himself, Big E, and the WWE Universe. Kofi said he was at a loss for words, and it was all incredible. He called it an impossible moment, because it wasn’t in the script or on the cards, but here we are. Kofi gave a shout out to his family at ringside. His wife ChiChi got a chant. They said they inspired him and supported him from day one.
They were then interrupted by The Bar. They said Kofi owed them a big thanks for saving his skin last night, because Seth was mopping the floor with him last night and would have had his championship. Sheamus said he would have lost his first title defense, and he would have cemented himself as a B+ player if it werent for them. He then said Kofi wouldn’t be anything without his buddies, and offered a challenge to take them all on with even odds in a six man tag. Big E said their math was off, because there was only two of them. The Bar said they had made a friend on Raw last night, and brought out Drew McIntyre as their partner for later on tonight.
The Usos will face The Hardys later on as well. Aleister Black then made his ring entrance…[c]
My Take: A very genuine celebration from the New Day members. You can tell Kofi’s win and title reign mean a lot to all of them, and the positive reaction given to Kofi’s family was heartwarming. The Bar and Drew McIntyre would seem more threatening if they hadn’t been punching bags on Sunday and last night on Raw.
1. Nakamura, Rusev, and Andrade vs. Ali, Ricochet, and Aleister Black: Ricochet and Nakamura began the match and worked a fast paced sequence. Ricochet landed a kick and covered for a near fall. Nakamura returned the favor and tagged out to Rusev. Lana and Zelina watched on from ringside. The heels worked quick tags and isolated Ricochet. Nakamura and Rusev hit an impressive knee strike and suplex combo. Rusev focused his attacks between Ricochets knees and ankles, but got caught with a neckbreaker. Ali tagged in and hit a dropkick, and then tagged Black in.
The babyface squad then put the heel strategy to use and used rapid tags to isolate Rusev. They cleared the heels from the ring apron and had a cross legged sit in the middle of the ring…[c]
After the synchonized sitting competition, The heels took over again and worked over Ali’s knee. Rusev knocked Black and Ricochet off the apron, but got caught with a tornado DDT from Ali. Andrade and Aleister Black both tagged in, and Black hit a nice combination of strikes. He caught Andrade with a springboards moonsault, but Nakamura and Rusev broke up the pin. Ricochet then took them out with a splash, and sent them both to the outside.
Ricochet took out Rusev on the floor, and Nakamura took out Ricochet. Black took down Nakamura with Black Mass. Andrade hit a back elbow on Black, who fell back into his corner and tagged Ali. He took down Andrade with a kick and hit a 450 for the win.
Ali, Ricochet and Black defeated Nakamura, Rusev, and Andrade at 12:33
After the match, Orton ran down and hit an RKO on Ali. Kevin Owens then made a surprise entrance a moment later to hit Rusev with a Stunner. Kayla Braxton was backstage speaking to the Usos about that Championship Match with The Hardys later on tonight. They congratulated Kofi first and foremost. Jimmy said they need a win tonight, because they need to prove they are the best brothers in WWE, and that they are the best tag team in WWE history…[c]
My Take: They went for chaos after that match was over, and they succeeded. I’m assuming Ali, Orton, and Kevin Owens will end up in the MITB match, but beyond that it’s anybody’s guess where the rest end up next week.
R-Truth and Carmella were in the ring together. Truth did some crowd interaction. He said he would tell them what’s up, and gave Becky Lynch and Kofi a plug. They said they had the world’s biggest 7 seconds dance break, and Carmella defeated Andre the Giant in the Royal Rumble. Carmella then spoke about cashing in her Money in the Bank briefcase, and even though she lost the title, she gained a friend and learned to cut loose again. She then thanked Truth for playing his part. Samoa Joe then ran down and cut them off.
Truth held his ground for a moment against Joe, but got put to sleep after missing an Axe Kick. Joe asked for a mic and said he destroyed Rey Mysterio in 60 seconds at WrestleMania. He said this will serve as warning that he’ll take even less time to destroy any Superstar in WWE. Braun Strowman then made his entrance and they started to brawl. Braun splashed Joe in the corner, but Joe managed to lock in the Coquina Clutch. Braun surged to his feet and broke the hold. He went for a powerslam, but Joe wriggled free and made an quick escape. Strowman walked up the ramp and pumped his fists. He was interrupted at the top of the ramp by the Iconics, who made their way to the ring with their Women’s Tag Team Championships. They will defend their titles next…[c]
My Take: An entertaining whirlwind of a segment. The shake up should make for some interesting changes of pace. Seeing different guys shows up on Smackdown may be testing the waters on a few crowd reactions. We’ll see where people end up next week.
We got our weird Birdbox reference again with the Bray Wyatt Buzzard popping out of a smoky cardboard box. The Iconics bragged about defying the odds at WrestleMania. They said when people become champions, they talk a big game about becoming fighting champions, but they don’t just talk, they walk. They then introduce two jobbers name Karissa and Krysten, the Brooklyn Belles, with a record of 45-0. They then said the Women’s Tag Team Division is and always would be Iconics.
2. The Iconics vs. The Brooklyn Belles: The Iconics destroyed the jobbers while Paige was shown observing them at an awkward diagonal angle. The Iconics debuted a double team Chicken Wing Knee lift Combination for the win.
The Iconics defeated The Brooklyn Belles at 3:11
Backstage, Paige was asked what she was doing there by Kayla Braxton. She mentioned the Superstar Shakeup, and said she wanted to observe the new Women’s Tag Team Champions up close. She said their win was impressive, but next week she would be bringing in a very impressive tag team of her own. In the arena, Shane McMahion made his entrance…[c]
My Take: I hope Paige is going to introduce a new team, but I fear she may just be managing her old pals Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville. The Iconics looked good in their squash.
Stills were shown of Shane and The Miz’s WrestleMania match. Shane danced around the ring, where his stupid Best in the World Trophy was on a table. Shane said it’s been an amazing Smackdown Live, and an amazing week in WWE. Shane said he wanted to reflect on WrestleMania, and mentioned the highlights of the show, and then took credit for them all by claiming the crowd had paid to see Shane McMahon defeat The Miz.
Shane said The Miz was in his rear view mirror, and said he wasn’t there tonight because he was tending to Mr. Miz. Shane said Mr. Miz had the audacity to get involved in his match, and gave him a black eye. Shane pointed to a bunch of eye makeup and the crowd said he deserved it. He said he was forced to defend himself, and as far as he’s concerned the 68 year old baked potato face and his son got exactly what was coming to them. Shane said he is exactly what he says he is, and that is the best in the world.
The crowd started a stupid CM Punk chant, which Shane dismissed with a yawn. Shane then invited Greg Hamilton into the ring, and said his introduction was lacking. He asked Greg what the problem was, and Greg replied that he had been threatened by fans and was fearful if calling Shane Best in the World. Shane told him not to worry about the fans, instead he should worry about the one in front of him. He yanked his tie and demanded he get the call right.
Shane wasn’t satisfied and he dragged him towards the stage entrance by his tie. Shane gave him one more opportunity, and said he better make it count, because there would be consequences. Shane was finally satisfied, and sent Greg back to his spot. Shane danced to the back without music. The announce team then threw to footage of the Undertaker’s surprise appearance from Raw. The Hardys then made their entrance…[c]
My Take: Shane remains a rather wishy washy heel. One moment he’s praising the fan pleasing moments at WrestleMania, and the next he’s being an asshole to Greg Hamilton. I still remain unsold on his character, especially as the other McMahons have mostly disappeared from TV and it’s not part of some larger overarching angle.
The Usos were already in the ring.
3, The Usos vs. The Hardys for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships: There was a tie up early on with Jey and Matt starting. The action spilled to the outside, where Jey threw Matt into the barricade. Jey talked trash in the ring and tagged in Jimmy, who hit some chops and setup Matt for a modified Demolition Doomday Device with Jey coming off the top. Both Usos turned to Jeff and talked more trash…[c]
Jeff Hardy tagged in, but got clipped with a kick to the face by Jey. Jimmy tagged in, but got hit with a Whisper in the Wind for a near fall. Matt entered the ring and set up for Poetry in Motion. Matt hit a Side Effect for another near fall. Matt set up for Twist of Fate, but Jimmy hit him with a superkick. Jimmy then hit one on Jeff. Jey tagged in and hit a Superfly Splash from the top for a near fall. The Usos sold shock at the kickout. The Usos lined up for a double splash, but Matt bought Jeff enough time to get out of the way.
Matt tagged in and hit Twist of Fate. Jeff hit a Swanton and covered for the win.
The Hardy’s defeated The Usos to capture the Smackdown Tag Team Champions at 10:31
Matt celebrated with his family at ringside. Kayla Braxton stood in the ring for an interview, but was immediately interrupted by Lars Sullivan. He quickly dismantled both men, and hit a diving headbutt from the top onto Matt. The six man main event was plugged for later, and Becky is up next…[c]
My Take: Hopefully this means The Usos are headed to Raw, and The Revival can come to Smackdown to feud with the Hardys. Lars is an intimidating force, but that Diving Headbutt is some dumb shit and WWE knows better about persistent sub-concussive head trauma. There’s zero reason to make it worse than it already is in the inherent nature of taking bumps.
Becky Lynch made her entrance to a great reaction. Footage and Stills were shown of the WrestleMania Main Event. Becky told the crowd they have the voices of angels as they sang her theme for her. She said what a week, as chants broke out. She said that she did exactly what she said she was going to, and became the first ever dual champion by defeating both Charlotte and Ronda Rousey. She said that was worthy of celebration, and that’s what she tried to do, but she then threw to footage of her brawl with Lacey Evans from Raw.
She said she knows she’s walking around with two targets, and as long as she’s got them she’ll be working double duty. She said she’s walked through hell to get her Championships, and she’s prepared to walk sleep with one eye open for the rest of her career if she has to. She said she’s had to walk through hell to get where she is, and anyone who wants to take it away from her will have to get past a red devil.
Becky walked up the ramp and celebrated, and was then ambushed with a big right hand from Lacey Evans. Becky staggered back to her feet as Lacey looked on pleased with her work. Becky walked to the back after Lacey walked away…[c]
My Take: A nice mission statement promo from Becky. Lacey Evans using a punch as a finisher is stupid and they should rectify it easily. You had Becky taking multiple right hands from a professional MMA fighter two days ago, and basically walk off the same punch last night and get the better of Lacey on Raw, so this felt inconsistent to a degree. I like the premise and potential of this feud quite a bit, but they’ve done nothing to establish Lacey as some kind of stone handed puncher.
Sami Zayn walked out on stage as the crowd sang his music. He looked disgusted. He said “Yeah…you’re not worth it”, and walked away. All the entrances for the Main Event were completed during the break.
4. The New Day vs. The Bar and Drew McIntyre: Woods and Sheamus started. New Day made quick tags and hit some quick offense to stagger Sheamus. Woods ended up back in the ring and was dumped to the floor by Cesaro after a ref distraction. Drew McIntyre walked over to ringside and hit his reverse Alabama Slam on Woods into the announce table. Woods writhed in pain as Drew talked trash to him on the floor…[c]
Big E hit overhead belly to belly suplexes on Cesaro, followed by a big splash. He then ran into a knee. Cesaro jumped at him with a splash, but Big E couldn’t catch him, and it ended in an awkward pin sequence. Sheamus and Cesaro then hit Double White Noise on Big E. Xavier Woods broke up the pinfall. Sheamus set up for a Brogue Kick, but Big E countered with a big clothesline. Kofi tagged in and took out Cesaro at ringside with a splash over the top rope. He then fired up for Trouble in Paradise, but Sheamus caught him. He wiggled free and hit it on the second try for the pinfall victory.
New Day defeated The Bar and Drew McIntyre at 8:29
After the match, Kofi brought his kids into the match to celebrate. I’m not certain if something happened to Drew McIntyre, but he was not a factor after the commercial break. The show went off the air with a big Kofi chant.
My Take: A nice celebration to close the show, and the right finish to WrestleMania week. I hope Drew McIntyre was selling something that happened off screen during the commercial, because he was curiously absent down the stretch in this match. Next week should bring some excitement and some changes to Raw and Smackdown, and I’m looking forward to covering some fresh characters and stories.