WWE returns to its home state of Connecticut tonight when SmackDown Live takes over the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT. Let’s preview this thang.
Despite the predictions and wishes of fans, Kofi Kingston was not put in the WWE Championship match at WrestleMania last week.
Not that he didn’t earn it. He did exactly what was asked of him and won a gauntlet match consisting of Cesaro, Sheamus, Erick Rowan, Samoa Joe, and Randy Orton. But Vince McMahon wasn’t done toying with the man and added the last minute stipulation that Kofi had to beat WWE Champion Daniel Bryan as well.
A worn down Kofi couldn’t defeat a fresh Bryan so SmackDown went off the air leaving fans dejected and disappointed.
But it wasn’t a disappointment aimed at the booking but one intended by the story they were telling. (OK, so there are some people always angry at the booking, but all in all, the disappointment felt at the end of SmackDown last week was more of a gut punch with a side of “I can’t wait to see how New Day responds next Tuesday.”)
That was all Point A. With WrestleMania only two weeks ago, tonight they need to get to Point B, which is Vince being forced to change his mind and give Kofi his match. So how do they do it?
Throughout the week, Xavier Woods and Big E publicly mulled the idea of quitting given the way they’ve been treated. Kofi himself has been silent since last week. New Day are too important to WWE public relations wise. Hell, they were just representing WWE on Drop the Mic. They did PR in India a few weeks back. Perhaps threatening to walk could affect Vince’s business and bottom line enough to convince him to change his mind.
Or maybe more people step up in solidarity with the New Day. Every babyface on the roster was pulling for Kingston last week. They worked Kofi into their own promos throughout the night. They all watched backstage as he competed in the gauntlet match. Could they all threaten to walk until justice is served?
A third option is a fan revolt, akin to the Occupy Raw tactic Daniel Bryan used to get his WWE World title match at WrestleMania 30. Using it against Bryan, who is now playing the villain in that very story, would be quite the poetry.
All of these options would work. It just needs to make sense. It made sense last week that Vince would not stay true to his word. He is way more likely to toy with Kofi and the fans before pulling the rug out like the twisted bastard that he is. That’s why it’ll need to be a new tactic. It just needs to be a tactic that makes sense.
Connecting Point A to Point B is crucial to the story. Having Vince change is mind for a reason that doesn’t fit would be disappointing, especially given how great this story has been. It wouldn’t ruin the moment of Kofi getting his match at WrestleMania, but it would ruin the chance for WWE to tell a near-perfect story headed into the big one. That’s not something we get often, so it’d be nice to see them pull it off for Kofi and Bryan.
The Title Scene
If you have forgotten, and who would blame you if you had, Asuka is the SmackDown Women’s champion. Tonight, they will decide who she faces at WrestleMania with a fatal 4-way match consisting of Naomi, Carmella, Sonya Deville, and Mandy Rose. Fatal 4-way matches are no DQ so they’re going to have to do some work if they want to have this end in a non-finish to get to a multi-woman match in
the shadow of New York New Jersey on April 7. But if they plan on another Women’s WrestleMania Battle Royal, they’ll at least have something for the losers of this match to do if they are going with a one on one bout. And this WrestleMania does seem to be running more one on one matches than in year’s prior.
Last week, they announced a banger of a United States title match for WrestleMania. Samoa Joe will face Rey Mysterio. It didn’t get much fanfare given all the attention rightfully given to the WWE title match, but that’s a really good match between two men who have never faced each other before.
Last week, the IIconics picked up a win over the Women’s tag team champions, Sasha Banks & Bayley. This being WWE, that pretty much guarantees them a championship match down the road. Expect it at WrestleMania, but expect other challengers as well as Sasha seemed to issue the challenge to all comers last night on Raw.
Other stuff to keep an eye on
– Kurt Angle’s farewell tour of matches we’re more interested in than his actual farewell match continues. Tonight he faces AJ Styles in a match that could be one of Kurt’s best in WWE. (Even though Kurt’s age is showing, AJ Styles can up everyone’s game.) They’ve fought plenty in TNA, but this is a first in the realm of WWE. Given AJ has a Mania date with Randy Orton, keep an eye out for an RKO outta nowhere ending this bout in a no contest.
– Miz’s babyface run is off to a great start as seen by his passionate promo directed at Shane McMahon last week. It doesn’t change the fact that Mr. Miz is kind of a terrible father.
– Despite it being over a Raw title, the Raw Women’s championship match, and now main event of WrestleMania 35, will often be represented on Tuesdays as well. This is partially because Charlotte and Becky Lynch are technically still SmackDown stars and partially because it’s the biggest story at Mania this year. Ronda never drops by, but Charlotte and Becky’s issues often spill into Tuesdays.
Two Weeks Until WrestleMania!
Let us know what you’ll be watching for as SmackDown plays its next hand tonight.