It’s the time of year that every WWE fan loves, it’s WrestleMania season and the real trip on the road to WrestleMania has begun.
We started with an action packed Raw on Monday night and now the attention turned to Smackdown Live.
With the card for the Showcase of the Immortals looking to be filled out, many matches were put in place by the end of the night.
Mirror Sports John Isherwood takes a look at the five biggest stories from Smackdown Live.
Best in the World!
A phrase once uttered so much by – whisper his name quietly – CM Punk, has now been adopted by the boss’s son. Shane O’Mac has brought the attitude back. No longer will we see the happy go lucky, dancing McMahon. Now we get a tough, bitter Shane who wants to get his hands on the Miz.
Bringing back the long forgotten ‘Best in the World’ trophy which Shane won at Crown Jewel after Miz’s withdrawal from the tournament, The Money came out to declare that he was truly the man (sorry Becky).
Stalking to the ring with an attitude not seen since his Corporation days, Shane even got in the face of ring announce Greg Hamilton, forcing a reintroduction as the Best in the World – just with a little more emphasis on the new nickname. Once more with feeling, if you will.
Shane said a spark had been set off in him as he beat down the Miz. Claiming that this spark would never go out, Shane said that he was not here with a request, because Miz works for him, he was here to tell the former multi time tag team champion that giving Miz the beating he deserved at Fastlane was one thing, but Shane enjoyed it so much, he wants to do it again… on the grandest stage of them all and it will be Awesome! The gauntlet has been laid down, Shane O’Mac vs The Miz in MetLife Stadium.
New Day Smash
Smackdown Live’s finest tag teams were out to prove what they are made of next in a stunning showcase as the recently called up duo of Aleister Black and Ricochet teamed with the returning Hardy Boyz to face The Bar and the team of Shinsuke Nakamura and Rusev. With all that talent in the ring, this should be something special.
However the match didn’t really get going. Despite all eight men getting in some of their signature offence, the match quickly broke down and turned into a brawl. This is where we saw something no-one expected.
The New Day rushed the ring and started to clean house. Incensed by the recent treatment of Kofi Kingston, the pancake slinging positivity pals were anything but as they ran roughshod over everyone in sight.
The WWE Universe love the New Day anyway, but their appreciation for Kingston has grown and was on display here one more time. Their chants for Kofi in the segment with Shane McMahon had been answered and their man was front and centre as he took out the blue brands top teams along with Xavier and Big E. The New Day are clearly incensed, will their actions help or hinder Kofi’s pursuit of the WWE Title? Vince McMahon is set to address this later in the show.
Who really built this house?
AJ Styles likes to claim that Smackdown Live is that “house that AJ Styles built”. Having reigned as WWE Champion for over a year and defeated a number of the brands top stars whilst defending the title, it would be hard to deal with the former champion.
One other superstar who has taken odds with this claim though is Randy Orton and after weeks of RKO’s out of nowhere and arguments in the locker room, tonight was the night to address the elephant in the room.
Orton believes that Smackdown is actually the house that Randy Orton built. The veteran has long been associated with the brand and is arguably one of the top stars from over the years. Orton even got his debut there in the ‘Ruthless Aggression’ days, so his claim has validity.
With the pair attempting to one up each other on the microphone, claiming that each other’s signature poses, moves and more were all stolen from other performers, the tension mean that it was clear where this was going. There’s a sign and both of them can point at it.
Time to stop the sneak attacks – like AJ’s phenomenal forearm on Sunday at Fastlane and the countless RKO’s, its time to settle it in the ring and why not do it at WrestleMania? The match is set, the Legend Killer vs the Phenomenal One on April 7 as the card for the biggest show of the year continues to take shape.
Is a trip to the 619 in Samoa Joe’s future?
The newly minted US Champion Samoa Joe is always ready to fight and after coming off the back of a successful defence of his title at Fastlane, Joe teamed with one of his opponents from Sunday, Andrade as they took on the other two participants in the fatal four way, R Truth and Rey Mysterio.
The match itself was relatively short, yet gave all four participants chance to shine. There was even time for the subplot of Zelina Vega and Carmella to flourish – maybe hinting at a mixed tag team match on April 7.
The focus though was on Rey and Joe, and as the hard hitting Samoan was looking to put Mr. 619 away with a blockbuster Uranage, the Lucha star rolled up the champion for the shock win.
With Joe putting on his best angry face, it appears we’re looking into the future as Rey could be the one to step up and face the Samoan Submission Machine for the US Title at WrestleMania. With rumours that the title will be defended in a multi-participant match, will we see more contenders come out of the woodwork in the coming weeks?
A roadblock on the way to KofiMania
The chairman of the board was in the house as Vince McMahon arrived to address the Kofi Kingston situation.
To a chorus of boos, Vince said that he had given Kofi a fair chance to compete, and he had failed. So with that in mind, why should he get a chance at the WWE championship?
Incensed by this the New Day marched to the ring doing the unthinkable – interrupting the boss. All three men let the chairman know that they were dissatisfied with the treatment Kofi was getting. As was stated, The New Day are where they are because they earned it and with this Kofi has surely earned his shot at the big one.
Echoing a scenario from the past, Vince claimed that Kofi wasn’t exactly championship material and that is why he’s never really had his chance at the biggest prize of them all.
Vince even said that Daniel Bryan had made the claim to his boss that Kofi was a “B+ player” in a callback to his tussle with the Authourity in the run up to WrestleMania 30. With KofiMania being courted as the new Yes Movement, the similarities of four years ago in New Orleans are striking.
With Kingston telling his boss that he didn’t want to be handed anything instead he’d earn his chance to be at WrestleMania, all he needed to know is how to do it? As with Daniel Bryan in the rub up to his title win, the deck has been stacked against Kofi as Vince announced a gauntlet match for next week. Win this and he faces Bryan in New York.
In his way would be Randy Orton, Samoa Joe, The Bar and Eric Rowan. The road to KofiMania is set, but the eleven year quest for the gold will need another epic performance in order to get that one step closer.
Also on the show Daniel Bryan and Eric Rowan defeated Mustafa Ali and Kevin Owens, Asuka defeated Sonya Deville and the Iiconics teased a future match with the Boss N Hug Connection.