PWTorch editor Wade Keller presents a special Thursday Flagship edition of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast featuring a WrestleMania 36 Preview with ex-WWE Creative Team member and professional stand-up comedian Matt McCarthy.
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WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER
FEBRUARY 12, 2019
TOLEDO, OH. AT THE HUNTINGTON CENTER
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00PM EST
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH SPECIALIST
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
Arena and Items Advertised by WWE
WWE Smackdown returns to the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio after appearing in June of last year. The arena celebrates its 10-year anniversary this coming October. It has hosted many Raw and Smackdown events and even some of the early versions of NXT.
Here’s what is advertised by WWE.com for tonight:
High-stakes Gauntlet Match to take place to decide who enters last in WWE Championship Elimination Chamber Match
The Co-Besties host The Usos on “McMiz TV”
Will Andrade start to end the legend of Rey Mysterio?
What does Charlotte Flair’s WrestleMania shocker mean for Team Blue?
Gauntlet Match to Determine Final Entry into WWE Championship Elimination Chamber Match
Last week, we built towards the upcoming Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship in a lot of ways. Mustafa Ali took on multiple-time Champion Randy Orton and came up short, falling victim to the RKO as he was attempting his signature 054. After the match, Samoa Joe arrived and gave Randy Orton a Coquina Clutch followed by kicking Ali out of the ring. Later on, Joe proclaimed he will be the one holding up the WWE Championship.
WWE Champion Daniel Bryan talked to his hometown Washington state crowd with Rowan by his side. He talked about what he’s been talking about lately which includes people stuffing their faces with “deep fried animal carcasses,” killing the planet, how his belt is a symbol of change, and how he is the planet’s champion. Rowan spoke of how people fear them because of their ideas. Bryan said the ignorant masses need him as WWE Champion.
Jeff Hardy was being interviewed about his upcoming match with Bryan, when A.J. Styles interrupted. He questioned whether Hardy was the right guy to represent the title given recent history. Hardy responded by saying with with A.J.’s recent history, he can’t beat the new Bryan.
Later on, Bryan took on Jeff Hardy in a non-title match. It ended with Hardy winning via DQ when Rowan interfered. After the match Joe showed up and attacked Rowan. Orton came out and attacked Joe. Ali came out and drop kicked both Orton and Joe. A.J. Styles came out and went after Orton, followed by Joe, and then Hardy. Bryan and Rowan retreated to the back.
The show closed out with Bryan and Rowan interviewed in Gorilla by Kayla Braxton. He doubled down on his being champion is what the planet needs. When she questioned why he needed Rowan, Bryan angrily said he is the greatest and won the match himself.
Tonight, we get a gauntlet match involving Hardy, A.J., Ali, Orton, Joe, and Bryan to determine who enters the chamber last. WWE is not clear as to which wrestlers will start the match.
There are numerous reports out that Ali could miss Elimination Chamber due to a concussion, but nothing is 100 percent confirmed. WWE.com still shows him in the gauntlet match tonight and the Elimination Chamber match Sunday. Here’s a photo he tweeted out showing an eye injury.
Just trying to catch your eye. #SDLive pic.twitter.com/vAnm8wgRhi
— Mustafa Ali / Adeel Alam (@MustafaAliWWE) February 6, 2019
Frank’s Analysis: While there’s no expectation for Ali to win the title, it would be a shame to see him miss the match. If he’s written out look for Orton to be the reason, setting up something down the line for them.
It was odd to see how the show ended last week, given that you would expect what they did to happen on the go-home show for Elimination Chamber. Nonetheless the gauntlet match is a clever way to mix things up before the PPV, and have stakes rather than a pedestrian six-man tag or something to that nature. The problem is how are the first two participants determined and aren’t they at a disadvantage? If one of the two wrestlers that start the gauntlet are to win the final spot going into the chamber they will have had to of won five matches. The final entry into the gauntlet match is at a clear advantage. It’s hard to know a good way of determining the order of the participants, but there should be some logic applied.
McMiz TV with Guests The Usos
At the upcoming Elimination Chamber PPV, “The Besties” Miz & Shane McMahon defend the Smackdown Tag Team Championships against former champs the Usos.
Last week, the Usos talked backstage as they have frequently done in the past and talked about struggling together and being hot and cold together. They said that MizTV is about to get “locked down,” and then they did their signature “Welcome to the Uso Penitentiary.”
Tonight, Miz and Shane host their first episode of McMiz TV with the Usos as their guests.
Frank’s Analysis: Putting aside that Shane McMahon doesn’t need to be in this spot occupying a championship and having to face arguably the best tag team of the past six years, the story with the Miz is oddly entertaining. They seem to have a chemistry and genuinely like to be a tag team. The Usos just flat out know how to cut a promo, and thus their working with Miz & Shane should be interesting to watch. It’s unfortunate that if Miz and Shane are to retain the titles at Elimination Chamber, the Usos would be doing the job unless they protect them by using a countout or DQ.
Andrade and the Legend of Rey Mysterio
Now that sounds like a movie. Last week, following a week where he attacked Rey Mysterio prior to his match, Andrade and his business manager Zelina Vega proclaimed the beginning of his legend begins with the end of Rey Mysterio’s. Mysterio and Andrade have traded wins on Smackdown in recent months and fought to a no-contest in a two-out-of-three falls match a few weeks ago (well really a DQ in fall three but, ya know, WWE’s on-the-fly rules). Here’s the YouTube clip of last week’s promo with Andrade and Zelina:
Tonight, WWE indicates there may be follow-up on this feud from Mysterio or Andrade & Zelina.
Frank’s Analysis: Despite being on TV, this feud has been very well-handled. All indications point to a bigger match perhaps this Sunday at Elimination Chamber or down the line. Let’s hope we get more build and anticipation if that’s the case. Depending on what happens in the WWE Championship chamber match, Rey and Andrade could be in the mix to determine the #1 contender for the title at WrestleMania. Rey vs. Bryan has certainly been discussed as a possibility and would be worthy of a spot on the “grandest stage of ‘em all.”
Charlotte Flair Tabbed to Face Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania and the Implications for Smackdown
Last night, WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon flipped the script for WrestleMania when he suspended Becky Lynch for 60 days. This caused her to be removed from her match with Ronda Rousey for the Raw Women’s Championship at ‘Mania due to her suspension running through that time period (Titus O’Neill 2016 all over again). The suspension was due to Vince not being willing to accept Becky’s apology to Triple H & Stephanie McMahon for her recent actions, as well as her “bad attitude” and thinking she’s bigger than WWE. He also said the same goes for Ronda, who wasn’t suspended though, but we won’t get into that. Yes we will later. (Maybe Vince realized he couldn’t suspend someone with a bad attitude if they already have a Bad Reputation… ;o)
Vince went on to say WWE needs someone who “knows their lane and stays in it,” and tabbed Charlotte Flair to face Ronda at WrestleMania. She came out much to the dismay of the crowd and Becky. He proceeded to raise Charlotte’s hand endorsing that she will be victorious.
In two weeks on Raw, we celebrate Charlotte’s father & WWE Hall of Farmer Ric Flair’s 70th birthday. That WWE has been advertising that ahead of time is undoubtedly going to be sewed into the storyline. As for tonight, we will learn the implications of this decision as it relates to Smackdown.
Here we go on Twitter already. At least Charlotte’s cast in the right role as a heel:
Complete and utter bullshit.
— The Man (@BeckyLynchWWE) February 12, 2019
Frank’s Analysis: I understand the original plan was Charlotte vs. Ronda. I understand it was likely going to be a triple threat after everything that’s happened recently with Becky. It’s far from the point. Vince between you, your daughter, your son-in-law, and even your son with the Miz nonsense (not relevant to this situation but part of a bigger problem) all of you can’t help yourselves but get involved in storylines in which you don’t need to be a part. You also have a match that people clearly want to see in Becky vs. Ronda, and what do you do? You do the same thing you did to CM Punk in 2011 and Daniel Bryan in 2013-early ’14. You do everything possible to squash someone who got over in an organic way with the fans. If you wanted Charlotte in the whole time, you should have just had her win the Rumble and not waste the fans time. Have Becky get screwed somehow in the Rumble and then find her way into the match at ‘Mania. You have effectively pulled a bait and switch. I understand we have two months until WrestleMania, but come on. Does anybody think they’ll go back to Becky vs. Ronda one-on-one?
Also Vince, if Ronda has the same bad attitude as you pointed out to the people in the Van Andel Arena and the likely two million watching at home, why wasn’t she suspended? It’s another inconsistent and frustrating part of the story.
How you people got all that money from FOX and NBC Universal is amazing, so what do I know. All I know is after 15 years of sticking people like John Cena, Roman Reigns down our throats in ways we don’t genuinely enjoy, it doesn’t surprise me that the ratings continue to decline. Sooner or later this has to work against them.
Overall, we probably shouldn’t be too upset because we knew Charlotte would be in the match anyway and we still have two months until ‘Mania. It is just frustrating that we get messed with as fans when we devote our time and money to this company.
Items to Anticipate Tonight:
• Rusev and Nakamura defeated the Good Brothers (Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson). Rusev sneered at Nakamura while raising his hand in victory. Look for them to continue to work as a tag team and possibly weave their way into the Smackdown Tag Team Championship picture.
• We learned that Naomi & Carmella would be the final team in the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship. They are calling themselves Fabulous Glow. Naomi said that Mandy Rose’s sob story she talked about from Tough Enough was ridiculous. In an interview with Kayla Braxton, Mandy pointed out that Naomi has never pinned her. Later on we had a triple threat tag team match between Fire & Desire (Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose), the IIConics (Billy Kay & Peyton Royce), and the newly formed Fabulous Glow. Mandy pinned Naomi to earn a win for her team. Look for continuation of this feud tonight perhaps in the form of a tag team match with Fab Glow vs. Fire & Desire.
• None of the NXT callups (Heavy Machinery, Nikki Cross, Lacey Evans, EC3, and Lars Sullivan) appeared on Smackdown last week. Nikki lost to Ruby Riott on Raw last night while EC3 lost to Dean Ambrose. There’s no change in Lars Sullivan’s status. It’s unknown if any of them will appear tonight and their permanent shows have not been decided.
Start Time & Matches Advertised on the Arena Website
The Huntington Center’s website is advertising a start time of 7:45 p.m. local time. They don’t advertise any matches. They show Rey Mysterio, Randy Orton, The Miz, A.J. Styles, Becky Lynch (whom they still have listen as Smackdown Women’s Champion), and Daniel Bryan appearing, subject to change of course.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions and discussion are welcome. Thank you for reading!