So much hype was made heading into SmackDown LIVE last night following the Fightful report and WrestleVotes confirmation that there would be a big change to the SmackDown Women’s Championship scene, and even before that everyone wanted to know and see if Kofi Kingston would finally get his match a WrestleMania. To say the least, it was a big show. Here are the highlights:
Charlotte Flair Wins Record 8th Women’s Championship
It has been said for weeks that Charlotte Flair was the third wheel of the WrestleMania main event. In a backstage interview last night, Becky Lynch would continue with that notion, discussing how in no way should she be in the match where the clear feud is between Lynch and Ronda Rousey. As she would continue, the music of Charlotte would hit as she would head to the ring. Charlotte would say she has to prove herself as they would cut to commercial. When we got back, the SmackDown LIVE Women’s Champion Asuka would head to the ring and it would be announced that this match was for the championship, to the shock of everyone. Despite the anger of many fans, these two have incredible chemistry with one another and it showed. The ultimate physicality between these two was incredible, bringing the best out of each other. At one point in the match, Charlotte would hit Asuka with a Spanish Fly from the top rope, resulting in a near two count. For much of the match, Asuka’s leg would get attacked by Flair, resulting in her stumbling for most of it. Charlotte became angered towards the end of the match, raining down elbows on Asuka before Asuka would lock on a triangle. As Charlotte looked to fade, she would gain her power back, powerbombing Asuka for a close two once again. The fans were on their feet for this one as these two were having such a phenomenal match. They would then go through a series of counters, including Asuka attempting to lock on the Asuka-Lock. Charlotte would turn it into a devastating Figure 8, where Asuka would tap out and just like that, Charlotte was the new SmackDown LIVE Women’s Champion. All match long, Charlotte could be heard saying “Give up, I need this!”. Now as we head into the main event of WrestleMania, will the women’s division be unified? It looks as though we will have to wait until Raw next week to find out. But what we do know is that Charlotte now has the most reigns for a woman wrestler in WWE history with eight.
The Miz Fights EVERYONE
Like it or not, Shane McMahon and The Miz are facing each other at WrestleMania in one of the best-built stories heading into the show. And last night, another cog got added to the match. The Miz got “MIZ IS AWESOME” chants as he prepared to talk, and when he finally did, he had one point. He demanded that their match at WrestleMania has the stipulation of Falls Count Anywhere, in which would get the attention of Shane. Out came security guards, Shelton Benjamin, Primo, and Sanity to protect Shane even if he said it was to protect Miz from Shane. Shane would get on the mic, accepting the Falls Count Anywhere match in the process, but also bringing up Miz’s father. Shane said he wanted to make him pay for impregnating Miz’s mother, which set off the former WWE and Intercontinental Champion. This would be the most dominant The Miz had ever looked, fighting off all of the security and the superstars. Miz would go around the arena fighting Sanity and continue to look strong in the process. Somehow, this company continues to make this match one of the most hyped and interesting stories going into the grand show.
SmackDown LIVE MVP: The New Day
It’s a New Day… Oh yes it is! SmackDown LIVE kicked off with The New Day heading into the ring with one thing on their mind: Calling out Vince McMahon before possibly leaving the company. The treatment of Kofi Kingston had been enough for both Xavier Woods and Big E, who noticed it may not be worth it anymore. The desire in the voice of Woods and Big E showed such real emotion that not everyone can really do. They were standing up for their brother because after 11 years, it is time for him to get treated right. The New Day would ask Vince to come out to the ring and answer their questions before they just let it all go to prove a point. And before Vince could really even talk, Daniel Bryan and his protector Rowan would head begin to deny any opportunity that Kofi would deserve to face him at WrestleMania. Bryan would tell Vince to let them go, because they can make a new novelty act of B+ players from NXT and call them “Fresh Afternoon” (this was hysterical). He would continue to call Kofi a B+ player, with Kofi showing such true emotion of sadness and disgust on his face. Finally, Xavier Woods would step in, telling Bryan he is a hypocrite since this is exactly what he fought against at WrestleMania 30, and now he is trying to hurt Kofi. Vince would call the bluff of The New Day, bringing up how they wouldn’t quit, they were never going to. He would continue by saying that Kofi continues to be a B+ player in his eyes, then wondered if the team of Big E and Xavier Woods were a B+ team. Vince would lay down the gauntlet once again, informing E and Woods that they will have to run the gauntlet, and if they can, Kofi Kingston would finally get his shot at the WWE Championship at WrestleMania.
On to the gauntlet, where Big E and Xavier Woods would fight for their brother, first off against The Good Brothers, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. Woods and E would be all business from the bell, running right through Gallows and Anderson. They would almost immediately hit Anderson with the UpUpDownDown for the three count and were immediately ready to keep going.
Next for Big E and Woods would be a matchup with Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev. They would prove to be a bit tougher than the first, as they would take advantage of Woods early on in the match. Woods would continue to try and fight back but many times it would all be for not. Finally, he would fight off Rusev enough to get to Big E, who came in hot. He would throw around Shinsuke with multiple belly-to-bellys before landing his big splash. Shinsuke and Rusev would again the upper hand however, leading to a close fall after a knee to the head of E that was broken up by Woods. Rusev would be taken out by Woods on the outside. Inside, Shinsuke would set up for the Kinshasa, but he would miss not once but twice leading to another UpUpDownDown for the victory and advancing further.
The Bar would make their way to the ring. Sheamus and Cesaro have been one of the only teams to ever really have a number over The New Day. They would remain physical all match long, really bringing it to The New Day, specifically Big E. As Big E would free himself from Cesaro, he would tag in Woods who would be shot out of a cannon. Woods would take out both Sheamus and Cesaro, including a splash to the outside. He would role Cesaro into the ring, planting a leg drop on him for a close fall that Sheamus would break up. They would get the upper hand finally, going for the assisted White Noise finish that they have used in the past, just for Big E to pull Cesaro outside of the ring. This would allow Woods to roll up Sheamus for the three count, giving them a third straight victory. Unfortunately, The Bar would continue to beat them down following the match, putting Big E through a table and all but eliminating Kofi’s chance at going to WrestleMania.
The New Day’s greatest rivals, The Uso’s, would be next. The reigning SmackDown LIVE Tag Team Champions would get into the ring but grab microphones. Jey and Jimmy Uso would get on the mic, brining up how they went to so many wars with The New Day, and if there is anyone who deserves to compete at WrestleMania for the WWE Championship, it is Kofi Kingston. This would result in such a cool moment as the Uso’s would forfeit, giving The New Day some hope once again for their man Kofi Kingston. This would leave Daniel Bryan in the back freaking out, leading to the final match of the gauntlet.
Daniel Bryan and Rowan would be the last matchup for Big E and Xavier Woods. The WWE Champion would dominate for much of the match, attacking Big E’s knee for most of this one. Bryan would lock in a deep one-legged Boston Crab, torqueing back on the knee. Out of nowhere off the screen however would be Xavier Woods nailing Bryan with a missile drop kick. Woods would take out Rowan with another splash to the outside, sacrificing his body for his brother Kofi Kingston. Bryan and E were left in the ring, as Bryan would go to hit E in the corner, but it would all be for not. Big E would catch Bryan with a look on his face many never have seen from him, planting Bryan on the mat. He would even hit a Big Ending on Rowan, which would all be for not as he would kick out. Towards the finish, Rowan would try and take out Woods on the outside, putting him through the announce table. Woods would get out of the hold however, smashing him off the ring post. Big E would then throw him into the post one last time, clotheslining him over the announce table. Big E would then use his strength to cover Rowan with the announce table, resulting in Rowan being counted out and the New Day winning the match, and Kofi Kingston going to WrestleMania. The scene at the end of the match would be a beautiful one with stars like Becky Lynch and Ali heading to ringside to cheer on The New Day and Kofi as finally after all these years, Kofi will get his big match at WrestleMania.
Like most weeks, WWE.com would have an exclusive reaction from the New Day following SmackDown, and this may have been the most special one yet. The pure love and emotion that these men would showing following the show could make anyone feel good for someone like Kofi Kingston if they didn’t before. From discussing the reasons of why The New Day exists, to the point where E would call the future “greatest moment in WWE history” alluding to Kofi’s hopeful championship win. Big E would be on the cusp of tears here. Woods would talk about their longevity and how Kofi being at WrestleMania is his dream. The love and emotion between these three can’t be put into words, watch it here:
What an episode of SmackDown LIVE. A new champion and a dream coming true. Join us next week for the go home shows heading into WrestleMania, as well as stay tuned all week long for continuous updates and stories on WrestleMania week.