WWE SmackDown Live review (Feb. 12, 2019): Kofi’s Pride

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Well, I’m sold. I want Kofi Kingston as a World Champion and I want it yesterday, please.

Mustafa Ali was pulled from SmackDown’s Elimination Chamber match due to injury and WWE advertised that a member of the New Day would get a spot in this episode’s Gauntlet Match. When I read that news, I expected it to be Kingston and I’m betting you did as well. How long has New Day talked about this? How long have they pled their case and swore to help Kingston become the WWE Champion?

I was always for that end result…but it was a pipe dream, you know? I’d like a million dollars, too; that doesn’t mean I’m going to get it.

…And then WWE had Kofi Kingston go out and wrestle his ass off for over an hour. They had him pin the WWE Champion AND THEN GO ON TO DEFEAT TWO OTHER MEN ON THE SAME NIGHT. No words, man. I’m speechless. This is the sort of stuff I’ve been wanting on the way to WrestleMania. We finally got it.

Shout out to everyone involved. Commentary was awesome all the way through the performance. They started by displaying skepticism of Kingston’s chances before switching to surprise, awe, and then a grim sort of resignation. On a career night, the threat of the Elimination Chamber loomed large in defeat.

As for Kingston, he played his role to perfection. He gave us the high-flying stuff early and used his energy and counters to dethrone the Daniel Bryan. He had to match Jeff Hardy’s fresh legs while running on fumes, and then clawed from underneath Samoa Joe to steal a victory by reversing a Coquina Clutch into a pin.

And then, utterly exhausted and beaten to bits, Kofi Kingston shoved away AJ Styles’ concern and told the former champion to bring it. And he damn near got Styles, too!

In defeat, the rest of New Day – god bless ‘em – sprinted to the ring and carried their friend out as if he were already champion. New Day’s pure, unbridled support of each other is something else. It’s something we probably all need more of in our lives and it just solidified my desire to see Kingston as WWE Champion.

Randy Orton won, but who cares. I’m not expecting Kingston to win on Sunday, but I want to see him become the champ. Soon.


The Usos are underrated

Is there any better talent in WWE at creating bad blood than the Usos?

These dudes do it with every team they meet. Remember the battles with New Day, with The Bar. They talk trash, they get up in your face, and they do wrestling so well.

We don’t need soliloquies. Make your point and throw fists. On McMiz TV, the Usos did just that.

They declined Shane McMahon’s offer to sit, for starters, and immediately mocked the Tag Team Champions for coining themselves “The Greatest Tag Team in the World.” The Usos then took them to task for not being a true tag team. Are they really all in on this thing?

The Miz and McMahon didn’t take their “tag team test” too seriously which just pissed the Usos off more. They started snatching mics and pointing in faces before leaving the champions laying in the right with superkicks to end the segment.

I love how you can root for either side here. The Usos’ argument is solid, but could probably be construed as elitist. As for the champs, they’re fun, but you can still see this being a short-term pairing. Will they actually stick together for the long haul?

One of my biggest issues with Raw was how it did nothing to sell Elimination Chamber. Leave it to the Usos to do the job properly.


The Rest

Charlotte trolls everyone – There’s some interesting character work going on with Charlotte these days. Becky Lynch has absolutely owned her over the past several months and in response, she began to take credit for Lynch’s success a few weeks ago. On this show, she called Lynch stupid, essentially, to put herself in a position to get suspended. And in keeping with her sense of denial, Charlotte did what most privileged people do; she denied that Vince McMahon favored her at all. No that could never be the case, could it? She’s simply better than all the other options.

Charlotte’s detestable. It’s brilliant.

Naomi and Carmella def. Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville, and the IIconics – SmackDown ran the same story as Raw with their women’s tag teams: the loser of this triple threat tag match would enter the Elimination Chamber first. And despite not wrestling, the IIconics were the story here. They did the smart thing by not tagging in at all.

The whole premise of this match is flawed to begin with, so why on earth would you willingly tag in? Instead, the IIconics stood on the apron and flittered about before beating up both teams after the bell. It was pretty awesome, actually.

Mustafa Ali with a fantastic, heartbreaking promo – Mustafa Ali is the most endearing rookie that I can remember. He’s so easy to empathize with and it sucks that he had to be pulled from this Chamber match. The setback has the potential to make his successes down the line even sweeter, though.


Don’t watch Raw, folks. Watch SmackDown.

Grade: A

Are you on the Kingston bandwagon with me, Cageside?




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