Kofi Kingston’s riding it. And with positivity and momentum on his side, he’s getting one more shot at Daniel Bryan’s WWE Championship.
WWE put together a 6-man tag match featuring all the men from the Elimination Chamber, and it’s the sort of move that usually makes me cranky. A match like that – a pseudo rematch from a PPV – doesn’t usually do much to progress the story. But when it’s all a ploy for Kingston to pick up another win on Bryan and declared the #1 Contender for the WWE Championship? Sign me up!
For starters, I want to talk up the New Day. Xavier Woods and Big E rallied to their friend and helped him to keep his head up after Elimination Chamber. They were back singing their friend’s praises on SmackDown and you could see how much that support meant to Kofi. Hell, he told the two of them in a backstage interview.
And with that positivity, Kofi went out and killed it. Again. He got a hot tag and brought a flurry of offense to Bryan, including his signature dive to the outside that we saw from a really cool low angle. Nice job, WWE camera guy!
And in the end, the crowd’s still 100% behind this dude – as they should be. I must admit that I’m doing mental arithmetic to see how Kofi could get another shot for WrestleMania, but who cares? If it’s got to happen at Fastlane, I’m fine with Fastlane. Let’s get Kofi that WWE Championship.
*Pokes with stick* ...Asuka?
I haven’t been too concerned about Asuka in the past few weeks simply because I get it. WWE wanted to keep Becky Lynch’s story uncomplicated and there was no real need for Asuka to jump in and mess stuff up. There would be plenty of time to find her a WrestleMania opponent.
But now that she’s back and immediately losing to Mandy Rose? Alright, I’m willing to sound the sirens a little bit.
Asuka got a pre-match promo where they asked her if she felt overlooked in all the Raw Women’s Championship ruckus. It’s a fair question obviously, and one that the fanbase had already kicked around. Asuka responded in a way you’d expect from the strategy WWE’s employed; she briefly mentioned beating Becky Lynch before dismissing it all and focusing on new challenges.
Mandy Rose certainly counts as that, but I’m not exactly happy with the way they’re building Rose up. She benefited from a distraction by Lacey Evans and feigned an eye injury in this match to steal a pin fall off of the champion.
I have no issues with WWE trying to get some heat and legitimacy for both Rose and Evans. My issue, however, falls on the fact that Asuka is a big freaking deal...and you win with some cheap tricks we see in matches all the time? There’s nothing truly significant about the way Rose beat Asuka; Asuka just got beaten.
And that’s not horrific...yet. But consider me officially worried about this feud. We need Rose to rise to Asuka’s level, not the other way around.
Usos vs. The Miz and Shane McMahon rematch set for Fastlane – This was some killer storyline progression. In the build to Elimination Chamber, the Usos questioned whether the World’s Greatest Tag Team were a true tag team. And now look at the Miz, looking for shortcuts after one loss.
Miz spun a sob story about letting Shane down and begged Shane to use his authority to grant them a rematch for the titles. Keep in mind that WWE did away with automatic rematches in December – that means Miz is starting to meander off the babyface path.
Aleister Black def. Andrade – This match was a lot of fun but didn’t have enough time to truly be great...but of course, it didn’t need to be. The New Orleans crowd made Black feel like a much bigger deal than the previous night and Black started the show off by picking up the 4th straight victory for NXT Superstars in two nights. And on the heels of a “big announcement” planned on NXT this week? Now this whole thing has some sort of story to it rather than feeling like some random addition to the show. That makes a world of difference.
DIY def. The Bar – Another match, another win for the NXT crew. I enjoyed DIY much more on this show simply because the backstage interaction with another tag team was a thousand times better. The Bar got in their faces and openly mocked the duo and laughed when Johnny Gargano vowed to break The Bar.
(Nice line, Johnny!)
The match was good but featured a very scary moment in the corner when Sheamus fell on top of Ciampa’s leg. I was so certain that Ciampa had torn something live, but the NXT Champion was able to shake it off and finish the match.
Ricochet def. Eric Young – Sanity lives!!! But not for long, with Ricochet around. This wasn’t as good a showing for The One and Only as last night. He ooh’d and aah’d the crowd, but I don’t think he got as strong a response as the other NXT gentlemen. But that’s fine; keep hugging kids like you did in your entrance, Ricochet, and you’ll make even the most grounded heart grow wings.
I think I have SmackDown bias. I enjoy SmackDown’s commentary more, SmackDown’s storytelling more, and I can’t help it. This wasn’t even the strongest show but I’d still grade it above average.
What about you, Cageside? Have you caught KofiMania fever yet?