SmackDown LIVE followed an up and down Monday Night Raw, with a chance to capitalize on some hot angles coming from WWE Fastlane. From Shane McMahon turning on The Miz, to what is next with the WWE Championship, it was a guarantee that this episode would be must see. And it ended up being very good, with lots of questions answered and matches made. Let’s get into it.
The Viper goes after The Phenomenal One
For weeks now, Randy Orton has inserted himself in multiple AJ Styles interviews, either leaving a comment that doesn’t sit well with Styles or would seemingly look down on Styles in the process. At Fastlane, AJ Styles got Orton back finally after all these weeks when he surprised him with a Phenomenal Forearm. When it comes to last night on SmackDown, Randy Orton went for the kill with some of the words he said. He didn’t understand the thought that SmackDown LIVE was the house that AJ Styles built considering Orton has been there since 2002 while Styles was wrestling in front of 12 people for $10 a night. And how he became the youngest WWE Champion in history in 2004 while Styles was shaking hands with opponents in the bingo halls. Finally, when Orton brought up 2005, the line that had fans buzzing said. “In 2005, AJ was in Florida getting a tan with Dixie Carter and I was facing The Undertaker at WrestleMania.” While this comment was far and away from the last burn of the night between these two, it was certainly one that brought the buzz that the WWE wanted. Randy would relay that he was here until Style’s arrival in the WWE being a world champion in the biggest company in the world while it took him so long to even get there. Orton was on fire here, getting to the point that he built this house, not Styles, long before he even got there in fact. Styles finally had enough and made his way out to the ring. Styles would make the point that guys built like Randy Orton couldn’t hang with guys on the indies. He would even continue to say that Orton’s RKO was just a knock off Diamond Cutter. But Orton wasn’t going down silent, asking Styles if he could really say that he and none of his “indie pals” never ripped anyone off, hitting him with the “Too Sweet”. They continued in what was an awesome back and forth, discussing how Styles’ indie pals are surrounding Orton in the backstage now, how they earned their way while Randy always had help by the likes of Evolution, Legacy, Rated RKO, and even The Wyatt Family. Orton said Styles doesn’t get to choose if he has the upper hand or not, and hit Styles with the best line of the night; “As long as you want to rent a room out in my house, see I’m the landlord and rents due you son of a bitch” which had the crowd gasping. Styles would response in the best way possible, saying he can get his rent, but it will be at WrestleMania. This entire segment was money by both Orton and Styles, as it becomes very clear that this may already be one of the hottest feuds heading into the biggest show of them all.
Becky Lynch Drops the Mic on Charlotte Flair
“The Man” Becky Lynch was out to finally talk about her opportunity that she earned back, as she also seemingly laughed at the number of roadblocks she faced despite winning the Royal Rumble back in January. She continued saying how this match was always her, she put it in motion when she chose Ronda Rousey, and of course Charlotte was added by Vince McMahon but that would not stop her. She brought up playing Rousey like a fiddle, getting her so riled up that she eventually did Becky’s bidding for her. Lynch continued to go at Rousey because the rivalry here is still between these two and no one can truly understand Charlotte’s spot. Charlotte made her way out to bring up the fact that while Becky was getting suspended, she was there putting in all the work. She continued down the road she used months earlier of how being hot for six months is nothing, while being hot like she has been for four years is why this is her main event. Charlotte said she will raise up Ronda Rousey and Becky at WrestleMania when they bow down to “The Queen”. Becky would come back with the point of the night, saying how Charlotte has had the division by a chokehold for four years, however it took “The Man” to get into the main event of WrestleMania. She would drop the mic on Charlotte, saying they don’t need a Queen, they just need “The Man”. This feud continues to stay hot despite continuous changes to the story, and that is a credit to the three involved, the three who will make history in the main event of WrestleMania.
SmackDown LIVE MVP: The New Day
All night long it was wondered what was Vince McMahon’s WrestleMania proposal to Kofi Kingston. And before we even got told of that announcement, fans were cheering “We Want Kofi” from the start. Earlier in the night, an eight-man tag was going on and before the match could finish, The New Day had no problem taking every single man out to send a message to Vince that they were not going to stop until Kofi Kingston gets his justice. As Vince McMahon headed to the ring at the end of the night, The New Day would cut him off. And they weren’t having fun like usual, but they were showing a legitimate edge to themselves. Big E and Xavier Woods would go after Vince, saying how they do everything they possibly can for this company, and it is ridiculous that they can’t give Kofi the right opportunity. And the key part of all of this is that Kofi Kingston never takes his eyes off of Vince McMahon. What made this segment so great was the feeling of how truly real Big E and Woods were coming off here. There is no one in that company that has wanted success for Kofi Kingston more than those two, and it truly showed. Vince would say how Kofi deserves nothing; Kofi would have been in a championship match a long time ago if he deserved it. He would continue saying he will be in the hall of fame, but not as a single competitor, but as a member of The New Day. Vince would bring up his conversation with Daniel Bryan earlier in the night, and they would bring back a very familiar term. Vince agreed with what Daniel Bryan had said, which was simply that Kofi was a B+ player, exactly what Bryan was called back on his road to the championship at WrestleMania 30. Kofi would finally talk, saying that he isn’t asking for a handout. He loves his job, the fact he can provide for his family, saying he is blessed. Kofi said he wasn’t going to complain, but all he wanted was to know what he had to do in order to get the singles match that he feels he has earned after all this time. Unexpectedly, out came Randy Orton, Samoa Joe, The Bar, and Rowan. Vince said that next week, Kofi has to get through the gauntlet of all these men, and if he does, he receives his shot at WrestleMania. They’d run to the ring to try and take out The New Day, however they would stand tall as Kofi Kingston prepares for the biggest match of his career.
In a great WWE.com Exclusive, The New Day discussed next week and what is coming. Kofi said that all he needed was this opportunity, and while it is a tall mountain to climb, he is ready to do so. Big E followed up saying that the fun and games are being put aside here, it is time for them to take what they deserve. Woods would also follow, saying that this was why The New Day was made originally, to be seen as equals, and you can guarantee that Kofi Kingston will be the next WWE Champion.
SmackDown LIVE continues to deliver as we head into WrestleMania. Can Kofi Kingston survive the gauntlet and get a shot at the WWE Championship? We will see.