PWTorch editor Wade Keller presents a special Thursday Flagship edition of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast featuring a WrestleMania 36 Preview with ex-WWE Creative Team member and professional stand-up comedian Matt McCarthy.
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WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER
MARCH 12, 2019
DAYTON, OH. AT THE NUTTER CENTER IN WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00PM EST
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH SPECIALIST
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
Arena, Fastlane Results Pertinent to Smackdown, and Items Advertised by WWE
WWE returns to Dayton, Ohio (a city they might or might not acknowledge) for Smackdown. The Nutter Center at Wright State University will be the facility for tonight’s festivities. The arena opened for business in 1990 and has hosted several WWE shows including Superstars of Wrestling, the King of the Ring PPV in 1993, and several Raw and Smackdown episodes including the last offering of Smackdown in June of 2017. That brings back fond memories of Jinder Mahal being the WWE Champion.
Here are the results from Fastlane pertinent to Smackdown:
The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) defeated Shane McMahon and the Miz to retain the Smackdown Tag Team Championship. Shane attacked Miz and his father following the match.
Asuka defeated Mandy Rose to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship
The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) def. Kofi Kingston in a handicap tag match.
Daniel Bryan defeated Kevin Owens and Mustafa Ali in a triple threat match to retain the WWE Championship
Samoa Joe defeated R-Truth, Rey Mysterio, and Andrade in a fatal four-way to retain the U.S. Championship
The New Day (Xavier Woods & Big E) defeated Rusev & Shinsuke Nakamura (pre-show match)
Here’s what is advertised by WWE.com for tonight:
Shane McMahon to address his actions at Fastlane
R-Truth to challenge Samoa Joe for the U.S. Championship
Mr. McMahon to address Kofi Kingston
The Hardys and Black & Ricochet to face the Bar and Rusev & Nakamura
Shane McMahon to Address His Attack on Miz
At Fastlane, Shane McMahon & the Miz came up short in their attempt to regain the Smackdown Tag Team Championship from the Usos. Miz’s father George was at ringside, as they were in Miz’s hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. They lost the match when Miz, encouraged by his father, attempted a frog splash on Jey but he would raise his knees and pin Miz
Following the match Shane & Miz consoled each other and were leaving the ring. Miz hugged his dad and Shane raised his hand. Shane would then proceed to run and clothesline Miz from behind and continue to attack him. He would also go after Miz’s dad and shove him down.
Tonight, Shane McMahon explains his actions.
Frank’s Analysis: All options were truly on the table for what would be done here, but this is the scenario to which I kept coming back. It will be interesting to see how they justify Shane’s actions, as most of the logic rested in a Miz turn. They could go the route of Shane saying he got frustrated with the Miz ruining his dream of being a tag team champion, especially listening to his father taking that risk at the end of the match. They could obviously tie in the World Cup situation, what they do is anybody’s guess. Miz has been a heel for quite some time, and thus having a run as a babyface will be refreshing. His first run from 2012-’13 failed, but that was due to the booking in my opinion and likely the opinion of many. He and Maryse have a second child coming and Miz and Mrs. premieres around WrestleMania. A babyface run makes sense.
Vince McMahon to Address Kofi Kingston
Kofi Kingston of New Day has had quite the roller coaster ride lately. The latest chapter took place at Fastlane, where we though WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon was adding Kofi to the WWE Championship between champion Daniel Bryan and Kevin Owens and making it a triple threat. As we recall, Kofi was originally supposed to face Bryan at Fastlane until Vince replaced him with Owens.
When Kofi was in the ring, he was advised he would instead be facing the Bar (Sheamus and Cesaro) in a handicap match. To top it off, both members of the Bar would be allowed to be in the ring at the same time. Basically, we got a handicap Texas Tornado tag team match for those who remember those back in the day. Nonetheless, the Bar dispatched of Kofi in about five minutes.
To add insult to injury, Mustafa Ali was added to the Owens-Bryan match to make it a triple threat after all. Technically when Vince was having a conversation with Kofi, he said “the match would be a triple threat.” He never specifically said Kofi would be in the match. Here’s Kofi on Twitter yesterday:
What is Vince’s problem with Kofi? Tonight, we shall find out.
Frank’s Analysis: It’s a circuitous route but one that will likely land Kofi in a WWE Championship match at WrestleMania. Hopefully that’s the case, as we’ve seen multiple changes in WWE booking these days and not necessarily in a good way especially with what they did at Fastlane. They didn’t need to put Kevin Owens and Mustafa Ali in tough spots to make Kofi a bigger star. Kofi was already a big star, but WWE likes to complicate things and tell stories that they want to tell. They rarely go the organic route and just roll with what’s working. Why couldn’t we see a two-part series with Kofi vs. Bryan at Fastlane and WrestleMania? Where does this leave Owens and Ali? Above everything, what exactly is Vince’s problem with Kofi? It’s not like he’s bothered to explain it to us. At least when they were messing with Daniel Bryan, they told us he was a B+ player.
One thing to think about is you wonder if the actions of Shane and Vince are related, and perhaps a bigger story at the upper management level is developing where they will be positioned against Triple H and Stephanie. The McMahons as a family “took back control” of Raw and Smackdown back in December and promised a fresh start. What we have gotten are Kofi Kingston and Becky Lynch pulled from matches on the whim of Vince McMahon, and Shane McMahon involved in the Smackdown Tag Team Championship picture. Shane will now likely have a feature match at WrestleMania as he has for the past three events.
U.S. Championship Match: Samoa Joe (champ) vs. R-Truth
At Fastlane, we expected a match on the kickoff show between Rey Mysterio and Andrade. They had both battled in a fatal four-way for the U.S. Championship match last week with Samoa Joe and R-Truth, who had been champion at the time. Samoa Joe won the title by pinning Andrade.
During the kickoff show we were told that the one-on-one would not take place, but instead Samoa Joe would defend the U.S. Championship against R-Truth, Rey Mysterio, and Andrade on the main show. Here’s a YouTube clip of what lead to this happening:
Joe would go on to retain the championship, this time getting Mysterio to pass out to the Coquina Clutch. Here’s Joe after the match with Kayla Braxton in a WWE.com exclusive. Joe continues to deliver fantastic post-match promos, just like the old days for lack of a better term:
Frank’s Analysis: Unless something changes, and these days anything is possible with WWE booking, this should be a fairly straight forward win for Joe. Look for something to be set up or at least the groundwork laid for a match at WrestleMania for the championship. There’s a lot of chatter about Joe facing John Cena. The two have known each other since 2000 when they were in Ultimate Pro Wrestling together, two years before Cena debuted on WWE television. They went their own ways as Joe would have main event runs in both Ring of Honor and TNA, while Cena became the top guy in WWE. It would be a match that could work and given their promo abilities the build would be something to watch.
Eight-Man Tag Match: Hardys (Matt & Jeff) and Aleister Black and Ricochet vs. the Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) and Rusev & Shinsuke Nakamura
Oh, those eight-man tag matches.
Future WWE Hall of Farmers Matt and Jeff Hardy reunited a few weeks ago to defeat the Bar. Aleister Black & Ricochet since being called up from NXT have been quite busy on both Raw and Smackdown. They hold a victory over Rusev & Nakamura and last week defeated the Bar. Following that match, both the Bar and Rusev & Nakamura ganged up on Ricochet & Black when the Hardys would make the save.
Tonight, we get an eight-man tag match with all parties involved.
Frank’s Analysis: This is fairly straightforward as it furthers what happened last week. This could be a way to plant the seeds for what is done with the Smackdown Tag Team Championship. A lot of people want to see the Usos vs. the Hardys, but a multi-team match seems to be more likely.
Items to Anticipate Tonight:
•Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville had tension after Mandy coming up short in winning the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Sonya pulled up the ring apron, but Mandy tripped on it as she was whipped into the ropes. They could further the issue tonight and plant seeds for something that could culminate at WrestleMania or perhaps afterwards. I foresee a Deville face turn, but who knows. Here’s a WWE.com exclusive after the match with Asuka and Mandy:
•After Elias’s final performance at Fastlane, he was hit with an RKO out of nowhere from who else but Randy Orton (heel Randy Orton). Orton was then hit with a phenomenal forearm, out of nowhere, from A.J. Styles (babyface A.J. Styles). There’s no doubt we are headed for Styles and Orton to have a WrestleMania match, considering Orton’s recent interruptions of Styles’ interviews.
•Luke Harper returned at a house show recently. It would be interesting to see if he makes his way back to WWE television tonight or sometime enroute to WrestleMania and involved himself with Daniel Bryan & Rowan
•Mustafa Ali was put in a tough position being inserted into the WWE Championship match with Daniel Bryan and Kevin Owens. He was not well received by the crowd, but certainly through no fault of his own. Ali was recently added to the Smackdown roster and has had competitive matches especially with Bryan. Here’s a tweet following the match Sunday, where he took a significant bump:
Everything is fine. pic.twitter.com/PuARFMC5oL
— Mustafa Ali / Adeel Alam (@MustafaAliWWE) March 11, 2019
Start Time & Matches Advertised on the Arena Website
The Nutter Center’s website advertises a start time of 7:45 p.m. local with doors opening at 6:15. They show the following matches:
Kevin Owens vs. WWE Champion Daniel Bryan
A.J. Styles vs. Randy Orton
They also show Asuka, Rey Mysterio, New Day, Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville, and the Hardy Boyz appearing. Just in case you didn’t know, the card is subject to change at any time.
205Live will follow the main show.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions and discussion are welcome. Thank you for reading!