SmackDown returns to us tonight (Nov. 8) from the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. This will be taped earlier given the time difference so this episode is not live.
2019 is going to go down as a banner year for Kofi Kingston. No matter what events transpired at the tail end of the year, it was a great year for his career.
He won the WWE championship at WrestleMania after a groundswell of fan support, starting when he was placed in a match he wasn’t even scheduled to be part of. He got to take that title to his home country of Ghana. He held it for six months. All great things that no one can take away from him.
But things started going down hill early October.
On the first SmackDown on Fox, Kofi was scheduled to defend his title against Brock Lesnar. He lost immediately. F5 & 1-2-3, that was it. He never got a rematch and was quickly relegated back to the tag team division.
No matter how good the year had been, this is something that should fire up Kofi, at least Kofi the character. Something to get angry about. And it’s something that works both in story and without.
In the story, Kofi never got a rematch after a six month reign. He never even got the chance to earn one. And now Brock Lesnar has made off with the title to Raw, leaving Bray Wyatt and the Universal title on SmackDown. That’s a title Kofi has no claim to. Going from the top of the world to back to tag team work should frustrate him.
It’s also something fans can get angry about looking at the bigger picture. Kofi was fed to Brock Lesnar in seconds, making him look like a complete chump. That was to set up a big Lesnar feud with Cain Velasquez and in the end, Cain looked like a massive chump too! So Kofi was sacrificed to build a story where Brock makes someone else look foolish. And Lesnar he goes off to Raw, and it’s like nothing has changed.
Now they can’t get into the behind the scenes aspect on TV, but it’s there to add to a source of anger for Kofi and the fans.
Kofi has already been showing some frustration. Once in a backstage with Heavy Machinery, he definitely seemed a bit irritated that Tucker brought up his title loss. A week later, he and Big E lost to Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode, with it being Kofi who took the pin. Heavy Machinery saved E and Kof from a post match beat down from Ziggler/Roode & the Revival, and Kingston even acted frustrated at them.
Tonight, Kingston will team with Big E to challenge for the SmackDown tag team championships against the Revival. The New Day actually defeated the Revival in the gauntlet match in Saudi Arabia, but then Dash & Dawson attacked them afterwards, causing the New Day to lose to the eventual winners, the OC.
With Xavier Woods out with an achilles injury, they could opt to delay whatever story they were telling so they can continue to work in the tag division. Hell, championships change hands often prior to Survivor Series so a win tonight isn’t out of the question. But it’s still a good time to explore Kofi’s frustration. If anything, he should be more because of Woods’ injury, losing a travel companion for many months.
We’ll see how they play it tonight. But Kofi has every right to be pissed, and it would be a logical follow up from his sudden loss to Brock Lesnar. It certainly would be better than doing nothing with it and setting everything back to how it was.
The Title Scene
We’re getting most of the advertised segments for last week before the show had to get re-written due to travel issues, but one segment isn’t advertised again is Universal Champion Bray Wyatt appearing on MizTV. Perhaps his WWE Backstage bit where he revealed his side plates is the replacement for that. I do hope that we see Fun House Bray out of the Fun House soon though.
The SmackDown Women’s champion isn’t advertised for tonight, but Bayley will surely be in the corner of her BFF Sasha Banks when she takes on Nikki Cross. But the bigger question is now that Sasha is wrestling again, is she perfectly content with her friend holding the brands title?
Shinsuke Nakamura had been working with Sami Zayn to try to convince Daniel Bryan to forsake a return to the Yes Movement. That was put on hold last week as the Intercontinental champion was also stuck in Saudi Arabia, but perhaps it picks back up this week. There’s also word of a midcard titles match at Survivor Series, which as of right now would pit Nak against Roderick Strong and AJ Styles.
Other things to keep an eye on:
- Tyson Fury will make one last appearance. Given he has a fight in February, I doubt he’s setting up anything for the immediate future, but he’ probably cutting a promo to leave that door open.
- Roman Reigns will face King Corbin, stemming from an attack backstage (aired on Backstage) two weeks ago.
- Both Raw and SmackDown are taping tonight so it’d be quite easy to do an invasion angle between the two brands. I don’t expect a ton of NXT talent to travel for these shows, so I don’t think we’ll get an NXT invasion again. But Finn Bálor is advertised (though we don’t know where he stands), and I wouldn’t be surprised if they have someone like Pete Dunne on tour since it’s in his home country.
Will SmackDown be united if there’s an attack? Or will they be caught off guard tonight? Tune in tonight at 8 ET on Fox to find out.