This Kofi Kingston story is the best story that I can recall WWE telling in a long, long time. Possibly ever. Yes, I really mean that.
Kofi got humiliated at Fastlane by Vince McMahon and the boss came strutting out and called it a “teaching moment.” Vince said that we all need to start listening to his words better; it’s Kofi’s fault that he was so let down on Sunday, not his.
What a load of crap.
Coming into this show, I was so intrigued to see how the New Day would handle this egregious slap in the face. And honestly, the way they handled it was completely, utterly perfect.
The New Day made their first appearance early in the show to get some quick retribution on The Bar, Rusev, and Shinsuke Nakamura. I’ll get into those guys’ match later, but the New Day ran them off before turning their sights to the bigger problem: Vince McMahon.
My god, there’s so many layers to this. It’s so good. The New Day interrupted Vince and the expressions of the three members were so telling. Big E and Xavier Woods? Their expressions showed righteous anger. For years, they’d toiled for the WWE with the idea that their hard work and dedication would pay off. And on this show, Vince set the record straight: The boss owes no one anything at all. Reading between the lines, that means he’s entitled to the hard work of his employees. Entitlement – man, that was on full display on this episode.
So no, there were no more New Day smiles. With such blatant injustice staring them in the face, the two “young bucks” as Vince called them were ready to rock the boat. Hell, they were going to sink the ship if they could.
Kofi’s expression? It was entirely different. Kofi Kingston has never asked, demanded, or begged for anything in the WWE. Where men like Shane McMahon and Randy Orton expressed more entitlement on this show, Kofi expressed gratefulness and counted his blessings. You see, the WWE has given him the opportunity to support his family, to find brothers like Woods and Big E, to travel the world and work a job he loves and meet so many great people. And that’s precisely why he held Woods and E back. It’s exactly why he said “don’t get fired on my behalf.”
Kofi stood there and listened to his boss as Vince told him all the ways he wasn’t worthy. Hell, Vince even used the phrase “people like you” which is...wow. I know that’s partly a callback to Daniel Bryan’s B+ story, but it’s also an overtly racially-charged phrase that I HAVE to mention it. And yet Kofi stood there, took it all in, looked his boss in the eye and said, “Tell me what I need to do.”
What a f****** hero.
So now Kofi’s in another Gauntlet Match, and it’s must-see viewing next week. You literally cannot be a wrestling fan and miss this. I am mesmerised, ensnared, enraptured, and irrevocably smitten by this story. It’s brilliant and this episode gets an A+. I wish I could interview the New Day at some point and get them to break down everything they’re pouring into this story.
...Oh, and by the way, notice how Vince started his segment. He scolded us for not listening closely and then he ended the show by saying “all you need to do is beat these 5 men.” He never explicitly said he’d give Kofi a title shot after that.
Silver Spoon Shane does what he wants – Remember that entitlement thing? Shane McMahon opened the show waxing on about how he’s the best in the world because he was born that way, and it’s time he started doing whatever he wants.
I actually like that a whole lot. I’m always game for some privileged dude getting what’s coming to him. And while he might be right about Miz wanting something from him initially, Shane lost any argument about morality with what he did at Fastlane.
Whose House? - Another entitled man, Randy Orton, was lucky to be born as a third-generation pro wrestler with the height, genetics, and looks to be considered for WWE as a teenager. And instead of following Kofi Kingston’s example of humility and gratefulness, Orton griped about having to hear about the house AJ Styles built all the time.
Styles and Orton traded some fun verbal barbs to set up their match at WrestleMania – but mainly Styles pissed Orton off enough to be a real headache for Kingston next week.
SmackDown’s Tag Division though – It’s incredible.
The Hardy Boyz, Ricochet, and Aleister Black teamed up to fight The Bar, Nakamura, and Rusev in our first match of the night. These dudes tore it down until the New Day ran down to destroy them all in solidarity with their boy Kofi. And THEN the Usos had an entertaining, concise promo in a stairwell running all the teams we’d just seen thoroughly entertain us and saying they’re ready for all challengers.
This was essentially an elevator pitch of why the division rocks. Well, you sold me, fellas. Where do I sign?
Asuka def. Sonya Deville – Mandy Rose is a petty, petty person and you should have ditched her a long time ago, Sonya.
IIconics rock a promo – Someone gif that thumbs down they did and use it as much as you’d like in the comments, okay? Also - yeah Bayley and Sasha! Stop dodging the IIconics!
(Read that as “yeah WWE! Stop booking them to fight Nia and Tamina!”)
Becky Lynch and Charlotte trade verbal jabs – Becky had a nice line about mind-gaming someone (Rousey) without a brain. Other than that, this was a rehash of a lot of the same talking points we’ve heard from these two. The other notable thing is that Lynch no longer needs a crutch. Hooray?
Rey Mysterio, R-Truth def. Samoa Joe, Andrade – Rey, what on earth are you wearing dude? I’m sure you have a reason for it so I’mma wait for an explanation but...yeah.
Also – oh good another incensed opponent for Kofi next week. Joe was frothingly mad that Mysterio stole a victory from him. Kofi’s got to climb an even steeper mountain.
Daniel Bryan and Erick Rowan def. Mustafa Ali and Kevin Owens – Meanwhile, our champion is just the worst. What a damn hypocrite this man is, calling Kofi a B+ Superstar. You’re making me want to litter, Bryan!
Cageside, what else can I say? I don’t think I’ve ever wanted someone to win as badly as I want Kofi Kingston to win. What about you?