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WWE SmackDown Live results, recap, reactions (April 30, 2019): Sink or Swim

After the New Day lost Big E to injury, Kevin Owens saw his chance. And now, one week removed from yet another betrayal of friendship, he’s removed Xavier Woods from the equation as well. Kofi Kingston is going to have to sink or swim on his own.

And that’s how we started this show. Michael Cole, for some reason, was interviewing Kingston in the ring and going over the entire thing. We had another round of the “hey man congrats on achieving your dream!” stuff, which...I mean, it’s 3 weeks past WrestleMania. At some point, that stuff just gets old and I tune it out.

I did love Kofi’s explanation for accepting KO into their group. He said that maybe they were fools, but they were willing fools. The New Day believes people should have the opportunity to change themselves for the better. And it sucks that KO went this route because all he had to do for a title shot was ask.

Owens interrupted at that point to say he thinks Kofi’s in over his head and that he’s going to drown in this position. Xavier Woods, clearly still less than 100% from last week, ate a Superkick as Owens fled.

We had two more segments from this feud throughout the night and the backstage one between Kofi and Xavier might have been the most interesting. Xavier almost seemed scared of having to let his friend go it alone. However, Kofi is confident and doesn’t want his friends risking their health, not even for the top title. That’s a touching little moment, and a cool thing for Kofi to say.

And he backed it up too. As Owens was talking trash to end the show, Kofi quietly entered the arena to stare the challenger down before charging Owens and forcing him to flee. Owens may be talking about drowning and trying to make Kofi doubt himself, but it’s clearly not working.

So...that’s good! It’s not revolutionary or a big moment, but it’s solid. I’d like to see what tact Owens tries next to get into Kofi’s head.

SmackDown’s MITB Ladder Match Contestants

SDL got the same treatment as Raw for the MITB stuff, but the match is much more impressive on this brand. Finn Balor and Ali vs. Randy Orton and Andrade? Sign me up!

What was most notable about this was Andrade mouthing off to Randy Orton before the match. Andrade said he didn’t respect either of the other two men, but his arrogance was perhaps even greater towards Orton. Andrade acknowledged Orton’s numerous world titles before saying “tag me in if you want to learn something.”

Orton, needless to say, was not amused.

The match was fairly short but it was still very entertaining. Balor and Ali diving out of either side of the ring was fun. The one thing that bugged me though is that they didn’t follow up on Andrade’s claim at all. Zelina Vega was at ringside helping him get a leg up on Balor, but it didn’t really help El Idolo. He ended up taking a 450 splash from Ali and suffering the pin fall. If he’s going to say stuff like this, they need to at least give us more if he’s going to eat a pin.

Orton hit Balor with an RKO afterwards because he’s Orton and that’s what he does. Ali ran the heels off to stand tall.

The Rest

Becky Lynch def. Bayley - Very fun match, and the first match of the week I actively sat up and enjoyed. I like how Bayley’s got this little bit of a story going on here – or at least one that’s implied. She’s trying to strike out on her own without Sasha and she’s brought a new edge to try to reach the heights of people who she used to be on par with like Lynch and Charlotte. If done well, I could really start digging it, too.

Becky won by countering Bayley’s top rope elbow drop but got attacked by Charlotte after. The not-at-all subtle message is “BUT CAN SHE HANDLE TWO OPPONENTS IN ONE NIGHT?!”

Roman Reigns def. The B-Team - Someone gif Roman’s expression when Elias strummed his guitar. Use it liberally in the comments as well, please.

I liked Roman’s promo for the most part. He punched Vince because he wanted to make a point and an impression on the new brand, and the truth is he could have punched anyone. He was just going to come in and hit someone.

That’s good!

The quick return to “The Big Dog” schtick and “This is my yard” stuff, though? I’m not a fan. This is a man who poured his heart out to us about a real-life situation and to go back just seems disingenuous. And that’s not to say it ALL has to just needs to change a bit.

Anyway this was some silly fun. It was comical, really, but Roman’s got nothing else going on yet.

A new Aleister Black promo – We’re only two weeks in, but I’m still enjoying what Black’s doing with these promos. He called fear a “tool,” which is interesting because it means it’s something he intentionally cultivates. He said that fear paralyzes opponents and implied that he uses it to defeat his opponents.

There was some cool imagery, and I really like subtle things that Aleister does in these promos. It’s completely silent except for his voice, for example, with that “abyss” of black behind him. His gaze flickering around the room is neat, too. My only issue is that the end result isn’t exactly apparent. As long as they lead this into a feud that complements these promos, it should be fine.

Hardy Boyz relinquish titles, Lars Sullivan still my jam – It almost seems an inevitability for the Hardys at this stage in their careers and that really, really sucks. With that said, I do like how they used Jeff’s injury to help build up one of their healthy superstars in Lars Sullivan.

Lars obliterated Matt Hardy before turning to Jeff who was trying his best to hobble out of the ring. And there was a moment where I wondered if Jeff was even capable of taking a bump at the moment and if they’d actually let Lars hit him with something. Instead, R-Truth tried to slow Lars down with a chair. Instead, Lars punched the damn chair and destroyed R-Truth again.

My issue is that while Lars is entertaining and certainly acts the part of the monster, there’s no real intrigue to what he’s doing. When will he go after a bigger name, for example? When will we get some motives or intent? We certainly don’t need it yet, but that’s the next step with him that they need to get right.

The SmackDown Women’s MITB contestants – Ember Moon, Camella, Bayley, Mandy Rose. This didn’t really get much time other than a small backstage promo before the main event that

Kairi Sane and Askua def. Local Talent – The music mashup is a bit odd and Corey’s “Sue Mac” joke made me groan aloud. Beyond that, it was fine, I guess.

Mandy Rose doesn’t deserve Sonya Deville – Deville saw through Rose’s dumb act and still was kind enough to give Rose the ladder match spot. Rose doesn’t even come close to deserving Deville in her corner.

This show was definitely better than Raw, but I still feel like everything is just...okay? Nothing is really clicking and making me invest. And reading back over my review, I can see multiple times where I’m asking for more than what we’re getting. From nearly every story, frankly.

Grade: C+

Sound about right to you, Cageside?

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