Tonight’s episode of SmackDown LIVE opens up from The Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut as The New Day’s music hits. We go right to the ring and out comes Kofi Kingston, Big E & Xavier Woods. Tom Phillips then welcomes us to the show. He’s joined by Corey Graves & Byron Saxton.
Fans start chanting for Kofi as soon as the group enters the ring. Xavier Woods asks if they can be serious for a minute and says that the past few months have been an emotional rollercoaster. Big E then says that they have been there for this entire incredible journey from “New Day sucks” to “New Day rocks” for almost five years, and Woods says that it has been incredible being there and traveling around the world. Woods also says that it has been one hell of an experience and they want to say “thank you.”
Big E then says that he & Xavier Woods have spoke and they discussed walking away because of all the obstacles put in Kofi Kingston’s way. Big e then says that they have done a lot of cool things and made a lot of friends, but, uh, he trails off and Xavier takes back over, saying that the hard thing is seeing how Kofi is been treated, and not just recently, for the entire past eleven years. Big E then says that POP isn’t just a catchphrase, and Kofi exudes the power of positivity.
Big E then says that their brother does not know the word quit, and they can’t come to a decision until they get some answers. Unfortunately, the person that has those answers is Mr. McMahon, so The New Day are asking Vince to come out there and address them face-to-face so they can talk about the issues they have. And they have no problem waiting in the middle of the ring until he does.
WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon makes his entrance. He goes to start but is immediately interrupted by WWE Champion “The New” Daniel Bryan making his entrance with Rowan at his side. Bryan tells McMahon to not waste another breath placating The New Day’s fragile egos. Bryan then tells McMahon if they want to quit, let them quit. Bryan then says that The New Day is nothing but a stale novelty act, and one that Vince created, and if he wants to make another one just call three dudes up from NXT, call them Fresh Afternoon and give them waffles to throw to the crowd and the will be more popular than The New Day ever was.
And why? Because Kofi is nothing but a B+ player and let’s face it, he lost last week, he lost at Fastlane, he lost at Elimination Chamber, and don’t let the parasites in the audience get into your head, he says, Vince has been right about Kingston every step of the way, 100%, and these people are wrong. And just like Kofi, these people refuse to accept that reality.
Woods then calls Bryan out and accuses him of being too scared to face Kingston one-on-one and he has turned into everything he used to fight against, a hypocrite, and that is why he is there right now. Bryan starts to respond but McMahon tells everyone to shut up. He wants to talk about “this quitting crap” first. He asks if they’re gonna quit repeatedly before saying that they are not gonna quit.
The power of positivity is psychological crap to make Vince think they are gonna quit, but they were never gonna quit, he says, and he gets it, everybody loves what we have here, or mostly everybody. So Kofi still and always will be, in McMahon’s view, a B+ player, which Bryan chimes in in agreement. McMahon then says that the only question is whether the other two are a B+ tag team.
All this respect for Kofi, he gets it, and he asks if they can put Kingston into The WWE Championship match. All they have to do, and Kofi’s out of opportunities here, but if Big E & Xavier Woods can win a tag team gauntlet tonight, Kingston’s in at WrestleMania.
Commentary then discusses the news and whether or not winning the gauntlet will mean anything more than Kofi winning his gauntlet did and then hype up the news that The RAW Women’s Title match is main eventing WrestleMania.
We then head backstage where Becky Lynch is being interviewed about the news.
She says that she is just out there changing the game and says that she is gonna win at WrestleMania just like she won The Beat The Clock Challenge. Lynch then says that she brings the people, Ronda Rousey brings the title, but what does Charlotte Flair bring to the title? Can you tell her?
The interview gets cut off so Charlotte can make her entrance on the mic and question the notion that she is a third wheel, saying that she is going to show us how deserving she is, on which note we go to a commercial break.
Back from the commercial break and SmackDown Women’s Champion Asuka makes her entrance. We’ve got a SmackDown Women’s Title Match.
Asuka (c) vs. Charlotte Flair: The SmackDown Women’s Title is on the line in this one. Charlotte starts off strong and pulls Asuka down to the mat by her hair. Asuka fights back and hits a kick to the midsection and Charlotte rolls outside for a breather. Back in the ring, Charlotte fights back and hits some knee drops on Asuka. They run the ropes and Charlotte looks for a spear, but Asuka shuts her down with a version of the Codebreaker. Asuka & Charlotte trade strikes in the middle of the ring now. Asuka throws Charlotte in the corner for a splash, then she hits a German suplex and a superkick. Asuka hits a running kick to the face for a two count. Asuka follows up with a series of kicks, but then she misses a running hip attack. Charlotte comes back with a big boot to the face for a two count. Charlotte looks for a Moonsault off the top, but Asuka blocks it and looks for the Asuka Lock, but Charlotte quickly fights away. They trade strikes and pin attempts, then Charlotte looks for the Figure Eight. Asuka fights out and connects with a kick to Charlotte’s face for a two count. They fight up to the top rope and Charlotte hits a flying Spanish Fly for a two count. Charlotte wastes some time and Asuka applies a triangle choke. Charlotte reverses into a sit out powerbomb for a two count. Charlotte looks for the Figure Four, but Asuka fights out and looks for the Asuka Lock. Charlotte fights out and applies the Figure Eight for the win via submission. Winner & The New SmackDown Women’s Champion: Charlotte Flair
After the match, Flair takes the title and gets emotional as her music hits. Flairs sits up on her knees and clutches the title as we see The WrestleMania 35 sign in the background. Flair is headed to WrestleMania with The SmackDown Women’s Title as she faces Becky Lynch & RAW Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey in the main event. We go to replays. Flair stands tall to cheers, raising the title in the air. Asuka looks on from the corner, still down on the mat.
Commentary hypes up tonight’s Tag Team Gauntlet Match with The New Day.
As Flair leaves, holding her title high, Kurt Angle makes his entrance, giving The Queen a little nod of approval and a clap. His match will take place after the commercial break.
Back from the commercial break and AJ Styles is interviewed ahead of his match.
He says that he is honored to be Kurt Angle’s last match on SmackDown LIVE, privileged to be part of his career, and proud to be in the ring with him tonight. Styles then says that Angle has done more with his career than most have dreamed of, and he is taking this seriously. Styles then says that Kurt may have laid the foundation, but this is the House That AJ Styles Built.
AJ Styles vs. Kurt Angle (Kurt Angle’s Farewell Tour Match): AJ & Kurt shake hands before the match. Kurt starts off with a German suplex on AJ early on, then he looks for the Olympic Slam but AJ escapes. AJ looks for the Calf Crusher and locks it in. It looks like Kurt is going to tap, but he reverses the hold into an Ankle Lock. AJ fights out and slams Kurt into the turnbuckle. Randy Orton then runs in and hits The RKO on AJ Styles. Winner via DQ: AJ Styles
After the match, Angle comes back up and lays Orton down with an Angle Slam. Angle stands tall as his music hits and the others are still down.
We get a replay of a WWE.com interview from earlier today with Rey Mysterio and his son Dominic where they are confident that Rey will beat Samoa Joe at WrestleMania and become The New WWE United States Champion.
The Miz makes his entrance and we go to a commercial break.
Back from the commercial break and we are informed that The Triple Threat RAW Women’s Title Match at WrestleMania 35 now has two champions in it, plus Joan Jett will be playing Ronda Rousey’s Bad Reputation live for Rousey’s entrance.
The Miz is in the ring and he gets on the microphone.
He says that we are just 12 days away from WrestleMania and usually he has a rush of emotion but this year it’s different, because the only image he sees is him ripping Shane McMahon apart piece by piece on The Grandest Stage Of Them All. And he knows how he wants to do it – Shane’s lit a fire under him by making this personal and attacking his father. The Miz then says that he wants everyone to see him destroy McMahon up close and personal in a Falls Count Anywhere Match.
The Miz then says that he is gonna take Shane all over the stadium and showcase everything he can do.
Security and several secondary members of the heel roster fill the ramp ahead of Shane McMahon’s entrance, getting between him & The Miz. Shane starts by yelling at Greg Hamilton for a proper introduction and when he gets it he says that his security is there to protect Miz from him. Shane then says that when he heard about the stipulation he couldn’t believe it, but he guesses The A-Lister is as dumb as his father looks and he gets an image of him grabbing Mr. Miz’s face on the tron.
Shane then says that he has had a lot of time to reflect about what happened, downloaded every camera angle to his phone to watch over and over again, and the more he watches it, the better it makes him feel. Shane then says that when he beat the holy crap out of The Miz in front of his home town and his father it made him feel great, down to his bones. Then, to really elevate it, when he put hands on his dad’s face, he paralyzed him with fear.
Shane then says that he couldn’t imagine what was going through Mr. Miz’s head and that took him past feeling good all the way to feeling euphoric and he has a taste for it now. He then says that the greatest mistake of Miz’s dad’s life was impregnating his mother and The A-Lister’s had enough.
The Miz exits the ring now and fights his way through the security guards on the ramp, but they are able to hold him back. The Miz finally fights them off, then he comes face to face with Shelton & Primo. They start brawling on the ramp and Miz drops Shelton & Primo. SAnitY then runs over and pummels on Miz at ringside, as Shane briefly watches from the stage and then leaves. The Miz starts fighting back and they brawl into the crowd. The Miz fights them off and heads to the back.
We then get a recap of the opening segment with The New Day & WWE Chairman Vince McMahon.
A recap of The Women’s Title Match follows, as well as one for last night’s Moment Of Bliss setting up the first three entrants for The 6th Annual Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania.
The New Day make their entrance and our gauntlet match will presumably begin after the commercial break.
Back from the commercial break and we get a promo from The IIconics about being in The WWE Women’s Tag Team Title Match at WrestleMania and how they are gonna win.
The New Day (Big E & Xavier Woods) vs. Rusev & Shinsuke Nakamura vs. The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) vs. The Good Brothers (Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson) vs. The Usos (Jey & Jimmy Uso) vs. WWE Champion “The New” Daniel Bryan & Rowan (Tag Team Gauntlet Match): Xavier Woods & Big E start off in their first match of the gauntlet against Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson. Woods & Anderson start this one off trading blows and Woods stuns Anderson with a superkick. Big E gets the tag and cleans house. They hit the Up Up Down Down on Anderson for the three count within moments of starting the match. Anderson & Gallows are now eliminated. We see members of The SmackDown locker room watching on a monitor backstage with Kofi.
The second team in this gauntlet match is Shinsuke Nakamura & Rusev. Lana is at ringside. Nakamura starts off against Woods and hits a hurricanrana on him. Nakamura comes back with some knee strikes for a two count, then Rusev tags in and pummels on Woods. Nakamura tags back in and puts the boots to Woods until Woods reverses a suplex attempt and tags in Big E. Big E drops Nakamura and hits the running splash on him. Big E misses a shot and Nakamura dumps him outside, then Nakamura tags in Rusev. Rusev follows Big E out to ringside and Big E slams Rusev into the ring steps. Back in the ring, Nakamura cheap shots Big E and Rusev kicks him in the head. They hit a double team suplex on Big E, then Nakamura knees him in the face. Woods runs in and drops Nakamura, then he dumps Rusev out to ringside and hits a baseball slide dropkick on him. Back in the ring, Nakamura looks for the Kinshasa, but Big E dodges it and throws Nakamura into the ring post. Woods tags in and they hit the Up Up Down Down on Nakamura for the three count. Rusev & Nakamura are now eliminated.
Cesaro & Sheamus are the next team in the gauntlet. Sheamus & Cesaro trade tags frequently in the opening moments and take turns working over Big E on the mat. Big E starts to fight back, but Sheamus shuts him down and prevents him from getting the tag to Woods. Big E finally fights back and knocks both Sheamus & Cesaro out to ringside. Cesaro gets back in and Big E hits a back body drop on him. Xavier finally gets the tag and he knocks Sheamus off the apron, then hits some kicks on Cesaro in the ring. Woods dumps Cesaro outside, then Sheamus runs in but Woods shuts him down with a DDT. Woods hits a suicide dive on to both Sheamus & Cesaro at ringside. Back in the ring, Woods hits a flying leg drop off the top on Cesaro, but Sheamus breaks up the pin attempt. Big E tags in and hits a powerbomb on Sheamus. Woods & Cesaro tag in and Cesaro hits an uppercut on Woods for a two count. Cesaro chokes Xavier over the middle rope, then Sheamus hits a cheap shot behind the referee’s back. Sheamus tags in for a double team attempt, but Big E breaks it up. Woods rolls up Sheamus in a small package pin for the three count. Sheamus & Cesaro are now eliminated. Sheamus stomps on Woods, then Sheamus & Cesaro beat down Big E. Cesaro slides a table in the ring and Sheamus sets it up. Cesaro & Sheamus hit a double chokeslam on Big E through the table.
The Usos come out next and it appears that they are the next challengers in the gauntlet match. The Usos wait while the referee throws the broken table pieces out of the ring. Woods tries to help Big E to his feet, but Big E is still down. The Usos get on the mic and talk about the wars they fought against The New Day and they know Kofi deserves to fight for The WWE Championship. The Usos say they forfeit, then they leave the ring. We see Daniel Bryan in his locker room freaking out and kicking chairs and kicking his TV. Rowan then starts smashing chairs too.
Daniel Bryan & Rowan are the next team in The Gauntlet match and ring announcer Greg Hamilton tells us that they are the last team in the gauntlet. Rowan & Bryan hit the ring and immediately start beating down both Big E & Woods. Rowan takes Woods out to ringside and slams him face-first into the ring apron and on the other side of the ring Bryan is slamming Big E’s knee into the ring post. Back in the ring, Big E starts to fight back, until Bryan takes him down and applies a half Boston crab. Woods comes flying in with a dropkick on Bryan to break up the crab. Woods then dumps Rowan outside and hits a suicide dive on him. Back in the ring, Bryan looks for a running knee strike in the corner, but Big E dodges it and hits a side suplex. Big E picks up Bryan and hits the Big Ending, but Rowan breaks up the pin. Rowan knocks Woods off the apron, then tags himself in. Rowan hits a version of the Rock Bottom on Big E for a two count. Bryan yells at Rowan to clear off the announce table. Bryan walks over to Woods and Woods hits a tornado DDT off the apron on Bryan. Rowan comes over and looks for the Iron Claw on Woods, but Woods shoves Rowan into the ring post, then Big E comes out and shoves Rowan into the ring post. Big E clotheslines Rowan over the announce table and then he flips the whole announce table over on top of Rowan. Big E & Woods get back in the ring and the referee counts out Rowan who is pinned under the announce table. Winners: The New Day (Big E & Xavier Woods)
After the match, Hamilton officially announces that Kofi Kingston is going to WrestleMania 35. The New Day’s music hits as Kofi runs down to the ring from the back for the celebration with Woods & Big E. Fans start chanting Kofi’s name as we go to replays.
Kayla Braxton approaches Vince McMahon backstage as he is getting into his limousine. She mentions The New Day winning their Gauntlet Match and he said it was impressive. She asks Vince if this means Kofi is going to WrestleMania and he said it does. Vince says the question now is if a B Plus Player can defeat Bryan for The WWE Title. Vince says goodnight and gets in the limousine. We see him drive away. The camera cuts back to the ring as The New Day continues to celebrate. Becky Lynch, Kevin Owens, The Hardy Boys, R-Truth, Carmella, Naomi, Ricochet, Aleister Black, Ali, The Miz & other Superstars come down from the locker room. They surround the ring and Byron Saxton gets up from the announce table to join them. The Superstars surround the ring, shake the ropes and beat on the apron to cheer Kofi on. We see Bryan down on the outside, against the barrier and clutching The WWE Title as he looks on at the celebration. SmackDown goes off the air with The New Day celebrating.