Smackdown Live Review 02/26/2019
SmackDown Live Review: February 26th, 2019
Live from the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina
In-Ring Segment – WWE Contract Signing: Shane McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, The New Daniel Bryan, Erick Rowan, Kofi Kingston, The New Day, Vince McMahon
Stephanie and Shane McMahon welcomes the Charlotte crowd to SmackDown Live. Stephanie introduces the WWE Champion, The New Daniel Bryan and Shane adds on by showing a highlight video of Kofi Kingston’s accomplishments. Stephanie adds on how Kofi Kingston was able to take Bryan to his limits and defeat the champion last week, proving to the world that he is the eleven year, overnight sensation. Shane then introduces Kofi Kingston. Kingston and the New Day appear and celebrates with the WWE Universe. Kingston grabs the microphone and states that this is a long time coming. If it was not for the New Day, it would not have been possible. Then a roar of “you deserve it” chants emerges. Kofi then states that at Fastlane, he will beat Daniel Bryan and become WWE Champion. The New Daniel Bryan is the first to sign the contract. Kofi is about to sign the contract until Vince McMahon appears out of nowhere! Vince then comes and states that he acknowledges how much he has accomplished a lot in this business. Vince then states that Kofi is replaced. Vince McMahon then announces that Kevin Owens will be facing The New Daniel Bryan at Fastlane. A returning Kevin Owens appears and signs the contract. On the outside, a disappointed Kofi Kingston exits with his New Day brethren to end the segment while Kevin Owens and The New Daniel Bryan have a stare down.
KOFI MANIA IS DEAD AND KO MANIA LIVES!!!!! I get it people, you are mad because Kofi Kingston’s opportunity was taken away from Vince. However, as a biased Kevin Owens fan, I absolutely loved it all! But aside from my bias views, I really enjoyed Kofi’s promo tonight. His hard work for eleven years along with huge support from the crowd proved that this was truly the moment that will set the tone for WrestleMania in April. Kofi spoke from the heart and I felt the passion that this man has for this business. Having the crowd behind him is something very rare considering the last time I heard this much support was Daniel Bryan during WrestleMania season in 2014. Loved the kickoff to the show!
Match #1: The Bar (Cesaro and Sheamus) vs. The Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff Hardy)
The bell rings and I am immediately in awe with the return of The Hardy Boyz! Jeff Hardy and Cesaro start the match off. Jeff takes control and tags in Matt. However, it is not long when Cesaro finds an opening and tags in Sheamus. It is not long until The Hardys get rolling and take the offense. Matt sets Jeff up for an assisted swanton bomb springboard maneuver to take out The Bar to send us into commercial break. Coming back from television intermission, Sheamus takes control of Jeff Hardy and the Bar dominates the recently reunited Hardy’s. Hardy comes back by hitting the Bar with a whisper in the wind. Sheamus and Jeff Hardy make the hot tag to their respective teams. Matt Hardy comes in hot and hits a side effect. Cesaro sends Matt into the ropes. While it looked like Matt was in trouble, Jeff Hardy makes the save, which helps the returning Matt to hit the Twist of Fate, which sets up Jeff to hit the swanton bomb for the victory
Result: The Hardy Boyz via pinfall
If this night was not filled with surprises, you can sure as hell call me a fool! I seriously did not expect Matt Hardy to return and reunite The Hardy Boyz! Well, now that I think about it, maybe it was expected since they are in their hometown of Charlotte, NC. But nonetheless, seeing them reunite their rivalry with The Bar! I do not care what anyone else says, these two teams absolutely killed it in 2017 with their pay-per-view championship matches. Maybe this will be a rivalry resurrected with the same amplitude! Plus, Matt Hardy looked absolutely great. I cant tell if he was playing the role of Version One or if we got the vintage 2005-06 Hardy. Either way, I LOVED IT!!! Welcome back Matt.
Backstage Segment: Ricochet, Aleister Black, and Lana
Aleister Black and Ricochet are seen backstage, preparing for their tag team match against Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura. Lana appears and claims that she does not know what the hype about them is about. Ricochet responds by stating that Lana did not witness Raw last night when they beat The Revival in tag team action. Aleister adds on by stating that Rusev and Shinsuke will fade to black.
Match #2: United States Open Challenge – R-Truth (with Carmella) vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade (with Zelina Vega)
R-Truth and Carmella are in the ring and Truth claims that John Cena is his hero. Truth then states that he wants to continue the tradition of the United States Championship open challenge. He then does a seven second dance break. In the process, Andrade responds to the challenge. However, at the same time, Rey Mysterio drops Andrade and answers the call. R-Truth then becomes baffled and makes the decision to defend the United States championship against both Andrade and Rey Mysterio! The bell rings and Rey automatically takes Andrade out of the equation. R-Truth tries to take advantage of Andrade and attempt a pinfall but is unsuccessful. Rey Mysterio comes back and takes out both men. Rey then hits a springboard plancha on both Andrade and Truth to send us into commercial break. Coming back from commercial, Rey Mysterio hits a hurricanrana on Andrade with a huge assist to Truth. Andrade hits the double knees on Mysterio but R-Truth makes a comeback and attempts to gain some offense. Truth hits a five knuckle shuffle in homage to John Cena on Andrade. Rey Mysterio his a hurricanrana on Andrade and attempts a 619 but is reversed. Andrade hits a hard hitting back elbow. Rey is then able to hit the 619 on Andrade but R-Truth sneaks up on Mysterio and rolls him up for the three count. Post match, Andrade attacks Rey but Rey comes back. Andrade rolls away and walks away with Zelina.
Result: R-Truth retains via roll up pinfall
That match turned out better than what I originally thought it would be. Seriously, what the hell? Truth held his own, being in the nix of a heated Andrade and Rey feud! I can already tell that these two will be on the main card of Mania this year considering how each match outdoes the last one. I believe that the resurrection of the U.S. Open Challenge was great but I was not too sure if dedicating it to John Cena was that great of a decision. Well, my doubts were proven wrong thankfully!
In Ring Segment – Charlotte Flair
Charlotte Flair appears and acknowledges that the decision to make Kevin Owens the main event of FastLane. Flair states that she knows her lane and claims she will not quit or walk out, saying that she will deliver! She then puts the WWE Universe in their place as she states that Ronda and Becky fear Charlotte Flair. She goes onto say that a true champion does not walk out and plays Ronda Rousey’s promo from Raw last night. Flair states that the difference between her and Ronda is that she is not a quitter. Flair then makes the announcement that she will show up on Raw to be crowned the Raw Women’s Championship by Vince McMahon.
This promo in particular really caught my eye in a lot of ways I did not expect it to! First, having Charlotte Flair not being interrupted? That is shocking. But the way she carried herself in an arena that gave her major heat was very impressive. I think having her announce that she will show up for Raw will be interesting to see. But the question I have in my mind is, what is she still doing on SmackDown Live? What is the point if your main focus is the red brand? I love the hype towards the main event of this year’s Mania. I personally hope that there will be an establishment of which brand this rivalry will be based around consistently. Of course it is for the Raw Women’s Championship but why focus that n SmackDown? I cannot wait to see where they go on from here!
Match #3: Aleister Black and Ricochet vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev (with Lana at ringside)
Think about this, Aleister Black and Shinsuke Nakamura start the match off and two of WWE’s vicious strikers go at it! Aleister hits Shinsuke with an arm drag and tags in Ricochet, who hits a springboard senton. It is not until Shinsuke hits a strong strike to Ricochet’s knee to stop his momentum and the offense starts. Rusev and Nakamura get consistent tags in and out, weakening the NXT upstart. Rusev attempts a pin attempt but is unsuccessful. Ricochet escapes trouble and tags in Black. Black makes the come back but is distracted by Lana, which leads Nakamura to hit him with a strong knee strike to the back of the head to lead us into commercial break. Coming back, Rusev hits Black with a strong strike to the back. Rusev then applies a bear hug to Aleister Black to weaken the already battered competitor. Although he was trying to come back, Rusev stops him with a huge lariat. However, Black finds an opening to tag in a hot Ricochet. The One and Only takes the tandem of the match with high altidue. In the process of a high-flying maneuver, Rusev reverses with a strong reverse STO. Rusev tags in Shinsuke. Ricochet tags in Black and takes out Rusev. Shinsuke catches him and hits an exploder suplex. While going for the Kinsasha, Shin is caught with black mass to end the match!
Result: Aleister Black and Ricochet via pinfall
Another great display by the NXT callups! I loved everything about what Black and Ricochet brought to the table. I especially loved the dream matchup between Shinsuke and Aleister, as I mentioned, two of NXT’s greatest strikers. To see them collide and put on a solid back and forth exchange was phenomenal! I really think that the chemistry between the two NXT stars is absolutely amazing. No wonder why they will end up in the finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic this year!
Backstage Interview: Kayla Braxton and AJ Styles
Kayla Braxton is backstage and asks AJ Styles why he has been in a slump since losing the WWE Championship. Styles responds by saying he will block the critics and step up to the next challenge brought forward to him. Randy Orton appears and asks that how his Smack Down Live is the house that AJ Styles build? Orton walks away.
Match #5 (Main Event): Kofi Kingston and Kevin Owens vs. The Daniel Bryan and Erick Rowan
The match begins with Kofi Kingston squaring off with The New Daniel Bryan, a match that should have occurred at Fastlane. However, Bryan tags in Rowan and Rowan displays his power with a scoop slam to Kofi. Kofi comes back but is stopped by a new Erick Rowan. Kofi is sent to the corner which leads to Kevin Owens tagging in. Owens and Rowan battle it out until Rowan hits a huge dropkick to stop Owens. Bryan is tagged in but luck is not on his side as Owens gets the advantage and tags in Kofi. Kofi sends Bryan over the top rope, which leads Owens to hit a springboard senton to takes us into the first break of the main event. After a brief break, we witness Rowan throw Kingston back into the ring and starts to dominate. Rowan hits Kofi with his vintage pumphandle backbreaker. Rowan tags in Bryan and takes advantage. Bryan then hits Kofi with a apron dropkick which sends him onto the outside. Rowan tis tagged in hen hits Kofi with a scoop slam onto the exposed floor. He then hits a body splash on Kofi and takes control. Bryan is tagged back in and hits a superplex on Kofi which leads to two unsuccessful pinfall attempts. Bryan and Kofi battle each other which leads to a rollup attempt. Bryan reverses it into a LaBelle lock. After Kofi escapes, Bryan hits a series of dropkicks to the corner which leads to Owens tagging himself in. KO hits a backdrop on Bryan as well as a dropkick. He also takes out Rowan from the equation and hits the KO cannonball on Bryan. After hitting Rowan with a superkick, he then hits Bryan with a new pop-up batista bomb to get a unsuccessful two count. Rowan is taken out by Kofi Kingston. Bryan throws Owens back in the ring and is caught with an homage to Stone Cold with a Stunner to pin the WWE Champion.
Result: Kofi Kingston and Kevin Owens via pinfall
If I said this once, I will say it a million times more. WHAT A HELLUVA MAIN EVENT!!! All opinions towards the greatest Universal Champion in its history aside, I loved everything about how SmackDown Live ended tonight. To see so many combustible elements in the ring at once was incredible. I also loved how big of a factor Rowan was in this match! He became from the behind of the Wyatt Family and the Bludgeon Brothers to a real threat in WWE. Now I what everyone is thinking: “Kevin Owens is the heel, why is he acting all innocent?” I believe that no matter if he is a heel, tweener, or a babyface, Owens will become the greatest champion that WWE ever had! Yes, I am bold making that statement. Although it will take some time to get used to, Owens has set the hype towards Fastlane next Sunday night!
Before I say my final thoughts, I want to first and foremost thank The Wrestling Classic for giving me the opportunity to write a review on SmackDown Live each and every week for you guys! I actually might even say that I hit the jackpot with writing these because ninety nine percent of these shows have been great! Take tonight for example. How could you not be excited for WrestleMania, let alone Fastlane with the announcement of Bryan vs. Owens for the WWE title? It really established Mr. McMahon as the major heel power figure who can change something within a snap! Plus, the passion and love for Kofi only proves to us fans that the WWE Championship is not impossible to have. Also, how could you not love the tag team chemistry with NXT’s hottest stars? Plus, THE HARDY BOYZ ARE REUNITED!!! Seeing Matt Hardy return was another huge shocker as I did not expect to see him as 2005-06 Hardy again. There are so many highlights I can name for tonight that it would be longer than the List of Jericho! If this does not tell you that this is WrestleMania season, I do not know what in the blue hell you are doing as a fan. Watch the product and absorb how much awesomeness is within it! Sure, Raw had a Batista return but this was the night where your mouth would stay open the entire night from awe! This is why I love doing what I do. It are episodes like this where the unexpected happens that bring me back to where it all began as a five year old watching Eddie Guerrero beat Brock Lesnar. Here is to WrestleMania season, a season where all hell breaks loose and there are no stops! Here is to everyone who tune in every Tuesday night just like myself who appreciate consistently awesome material in only a two hour timespan. See you next week fellow fans and to those who disagree, to quote the 2019 Hall of Fame inductees, if you are not down with that, I got two words for you!