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WWE SmackDown Live results, recap, reactions (April 23, 2019): Trouble in Paradise

Welp. I doubt any of you got particularly good betting odds on this outcome, but feel free to cash in your tickets.

Kevin Owens has already turned on the New Day.

And you know what? I’m totally fine with it.

All throughout this show, champions were interacting with potential challengers. Finn Balor had to hold off Andrade. Becky Lynch was confronted by Charlotte and Bayley. Hell, even the IIconics are working towards a feud...maybe.

But the WWE Champion? Devoid of Daniel Bryan’s presence, Kofi Kingston was suddenly without any challengers. He was still coasting on the high of finally achieving his dream.

Welcome back to reality, champ.

Kofi had a singles match against Shinsuke Nakamura to main event this show, and it was good! Nakamura’s sliding German Suplex thing is cool and they both rose to the occasion of main eventing a show. When Kofi hit Nakamura with an S.O.S., however, Rusev interfered to break up the pin attempt. The match was thrown out and we got a scuffle that left Kofi and KO in the ring. And...well. Kevin Owens did Kevin Owens things.

Now here’s what I like about this: they aren’t throwing softballs at Kofi to pad his reign. He’s facing a legitimate world-class challenger here in KO. And with Big E injured and now Xavier Woods potentially facing a storyline injury, Kofi’s safety blanket has been stripped from him. He’s going to have to sink or swim at the very top on his own.

That’s intriguing. That’s different. We usually don’t get to see guys like Kofi make it to the top and have to deal with this sort of challenge. There’s some actual mystery with how it’ll go. On top of that, Owens foreshadowed this, as he’s always brilliant at doing. When he returned, he mentioned – and I’m severely paraphrasing here – that he got his priorities back in order. He knows what is most important again. Well, that’s always been providing for his family in the past. And now we’ve come full circle.

I’m excited for this feud. It could be really fun.

One more round

Charlotte Flair acting like a snotty entitled brat? Bayley with a backbone? I don’t even need a blazer – I’m in.

There’s not even that much else to say, is there? Charlotte whined about losing her title without being pinned in spite of the “Winner Take All” stipulation, which is exactly what we’ve come to expect from the Queen. Lynch did her best to explain how winner takes all works, but ditched that approach and started talking about what she wanted: to fight new fights and move on to new opponents.

And we all want that to some degree, right? I’ve been waiting for Ember Moon to get a shot at a title, personally. And what Lynch is proposing sounds perfectly reasonable.

...Well here’s the problem. These new opponents she has in mind? They need to be able to defeat Charlotte. And despite her whining and complaining, despite a serious edge to Bayley and a very competitive match, Charlotte still came out on top.

So here we go. One last time, perhaps. Charlotte vs. Lynch at Money in the Bank. But here’s the narrative on SmackDown going forward: To face The Man, you’ve got to beat The Queen.

The Rest

Roman Reigns accepts Elias’ challenge – The thought that WWE would ever punish Reigns is stupid, okay? As a viewer, I’m not going to accept that idea because I know better in reality. I thought that hurt all of their interactions on this show.

With that said, if they really lean into the absurdity of a McMahon’s ego and let Shane and Elias play off of one another, this could be really good in the upcoming weeks.

Finn Balor def. Andrade – I’m not really a fan of how this match was framed in the end, but these two can really tear the house down. They didn’t even do anything out of the ordinary, did they? And yet by the end, the crowd was completely invested and celebrating a dub for the good guy.

Back to that framing for a second; this was basically the inverse of their match last week and Tom Phillips concluded the segment by basically saying “well, they’re both on SmackDown!” And I get it, the whole roster and company is in chaos these days. It would still be nice to have some clear direction for champions, though.

Kairi Sane def. Peyton Royce – I honestly get a huge kick out of the IIconics cutting promos and losing quickly. It’s freaking hilarious. Also? Get you someone who has your back like Billie Kay has Peyton’s. Dehydration is a serious issue.

I’m also pretty down for this feud between Paige and her former teammates in Absolution. That should lead to a fun match here soon.

I’m intrigued, Aleister Black – Black got an interesting promo backstage where he sat down and talked about perception. We’ve all seen him wrestle by this point, but what do what do we know of him, exactly? According to Black, the appearance of who he will inevitably evoke a judgmental reaction. Which, if you look at the guy...yeah. Makes sense.

Here was the interesting bit, though. Black claimed that if we give it time, we’ll see “the world [we] grew up in condemn him.” Setting up as a bit of an anti-hero? A heel? Who knows, but he’s bringing some much-needed intrigue to the show.

Lars Sullivan beats up everybody – He beat up Chad Gable who found Balor’s old baby oil stash, the Singh Brothers, and R-Truth who made a run in after the fact. And then, if I read his lips correctly, said, “that was so stimulating.” Good lord, Lars!

Firefly Fun House rerun! - It’s still awesome!

Solid show. I think that they need to work on making the Elias/Reigns feud more engaging and work on giving some champions clear directions moving forward, but this was another good outing from SmackDown.

Grade: B

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