This past week, the New Day joked being ready for anything when it came to the contract signing for the WWE Championship. Hell, Kofi was even practicing his signing speed on WWE’s Instagram. Mr. 24/7 stays ready so he doesn’t have to get ready for more random obstacles, after all.
Well, there were no obstacles left on SmackDown Live. Instead, were faced with a Daniel Bryan who had no defenses left.
So what did Bryan do? He hid his insecurities and fear by preaching.
As Kingston sat down at the table in the ring and the crowd was celebrating with a dancing Xavier Woods and Big E in his corner, Michael Cole tried to speak over them and set the scene. Bryan cut in and quickly paused, letting the crowd have their moment – letting Kofi have his moment. And then he launched into a sermon of life lessons that was so smarmy and self-important that the crowd essentially decided to stop listening to him. Instead, they chanted for Kofi Kingston in a variety of ways as E and Woods egged them on.
It was great! Bryan insulted Kingston with these life lessons by telling the crowd not to be like Kofi. To avoid becoming a bystander in their own lives, to reject complacency, and to understand when a fad is simply a fad.
Then, Bryan turned the tables to give Kofi some advice. He urged Kofi to forget the fans and cited his own experiences as an example. Bryan called the crowd “parasites.” They responded by calling Bryan an asshole.
That was enough for Kofi, though. He snatched the contract away, stood up, and told Bryan to shut up and receive some education of his own. Bryan thinks he has it all figured out, but Kofi wants to set the record straight: their situations as being fan favorites are nothing alike. For Bryan, he became WWE Champion within two years. For Kofi? It’s taken 11 to even get a WWE Championship match.
That’s why Bryan’s running scared. Bryan knows that Kofi is ready, and he knows what that wave of fan-aided momentum can do. He knows what comes next.
Perfection. I have nothing to add other than “nice Týr shirt, Rowan!”
Let’s fight, baby.
Shane McMahon is killing it
I had my doubts, man. When he turned heel, I had my doubts that he’d be able to offer something unique to the product. But the way he’s acted – so sadistic, unnecessarily cruel, and entitled – has been a great curveball to everything else going on with SmackDown Live. On this show, he put Miz in a 3-on-1 Handicap Match against Sanity, called Miz’s father “Potato Face,” and changed the match to Falls Count Anywhere on a whim.
He’s so different from his father as a heel, and I really like that. Vince is pompous and cartoony. Shane almost makes me want to question whether or not he even has a moral compass.
The Miz fought through it all, however. He took the fight with Sanity all the way out into the parking lot and smashed Eric Young’s head with an equipment cart. As he got the pin fall and stood, the camera cut to Shane smirking in the back of a vehicle, unconcerned as he rolled up the window and drove off.
This ain’t bad at all. I could get behind Shane getting progressively more evil and ridiculous with his theatrics. Also, I really like Sanity getting Falls Count Anywhere as a stip. Can we make that their thing? Shane gifts them that stipulation in every match moving forward for doing his dirty work? Just a thought.
The Kevin Owens Show is WWE’s best talk show – It’s not even close, either. Owens is fantastic. He had AJ Style and Randy Orton on to discuss their issues with each other and once the insults got flying, Owens leapt up from his seat and ran to the safety of the back.
Orton mocked Styles for wrestling Angle and claimed that he would have lost. Styles snapped back by calling Orton out for failing drug tests and only having one move. They brawled and sure enough it ended with Orton’s one move: an RKO.
Usos, Ricochet, and Aleister Black def. The Bar, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Rusev. Also, Alexa Bliss is back to being a heel, I guess? - She’s been more of a good gal on Raw, so why is SHE the one to come out and stick it to the Usos for their actions last week? It seemed like a really good time for Vince McMahon to be petty. Either way, the Usos have a date for WrestleMania at last.
IIconics cut a promo – I liked what the IIconics were selling here. Essentially, they’re annoyingly cheerful to a fault and looooooove their chances to win at WrestleMania. Insert IIconics pose here.
Becky Lynch cuts one too – Unfortunately, I have to say the opposite about Lynch’s promo. They showed a recap from Raw of the pull-apart brawl and then Lynch recapped it again in her promo.
I think I’m just kind of sick of recaps, man. Everything’s a recap. And YES, I know this is a recap, okay?! But I don’t need a recap to the video recap for my recap, you feel me?!
Anyway, she talked up how historic this is and how it seemed like everything was aligned for a year to have Charlotte and Rousey fight yadda yadda.
An 18-person tag match is actually pretty fun - With this many people involved, the match basically boils down to people hitting signature moves and delivering all their main stuff – and that’s perfectly fine! Eventually, this thing broke down into your typical “I’m gonna throw everyone over the top rope!” preview of a battle royal. The best parts to me were seeing Mandy Rose and Shelton Benjamin high five, Saxton’s wonderfully trolling sarcasm when Graves geeked out about Lacey Evans, and all things Nikki Cross and Asuka.
Samoa Joe def. Ali – Fun little match but all I can focus on is how weird it is that Mustafa got dropped from Ali’s name and how rough it is that he got hurt and is now merely in the ATGMBR. I hope he wins it.
So what do you think, Cageside? We’re at WrestleMania at last. I love a lot of the things that SmackDown has done for the Mania build, but the Usos thing still sits wrong with me. As does Asuka’s plight, Ali’s role, and the state of the SmackDown women’s division...welp. I guess this is inevitable, no matter how lengthy WrestleMania is.
What did you think of the show? Which match are you most looking forward to on Sunday?