Welcome to another WWE Smackdown Live Review here on TJRWrestling. This week’s show is the go-home episode for Fastlane on Sunday. Most of the Fastlane card appears to be complete, but there could be some tweaks along the way.
This week on Smackdown, they have advertised The Bar duo of Sheamus and Cesaro vs. Aleister Black and Ricochet, R-Truth issues a US Title open challenge and The Miz faces Jey Uso.
Live from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, this is Smackdown Live for episode #1020. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. If you want to support us at TJRWrestling, here’s a Donate Link for our Paypal where anything you send will go towards building the site. I recently lost a freelance writing job at another website due to budget cuts. If you can help in some way, I appreciate it. Thank you. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top.
This graphic about the late, great King Kong Bundy was shown at the start of the broadcast. Rest in peace, big man. I want five!
We lost a legend. RIP King Kong Bundy. pic.twitter.com/ZRhlYBKzcJ
— WWE (@WWE) March 6, 2019
The show began with the WWE Champion Daniel Bryan making his entrance in street clothes with his buddy Rowan by his side. The Smackdown announce team of Tom Phillips, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton reminded us that Bryan faces Kevin Owens for the WWE Title on Sunday at Fastlane.
Let’s Hear from Daniel Bryan
Bryan pointed to the video screen as a replay aired of last week. It showed Kevin Owens replacing Kofi Kingston in the Fastlane match because Vince McMahon didn’t think Kofi deserved it.
Bryan said that last week he remained silent while everybody gushed about Kofi Kingston. Bryan said he remained silent when Mr. McMahon replaced Kingston in the WWE Championship match at Fastlane, but now it is his turn to speak and your turn (the fans) to remain silent. The fans booed. Rowan told the fans to shut up, so they booed and he told them to shut up again. Rowan told them to open your ears because this man is about to enlighten us all. The fans chanted “Kofi” at them.
Bryan said he wasn’t out there to talk about Kofi Kingston. Bryan said that Kingston is a supporting player, which is why he’s exactly where he should be with his buddies The New Day on a promotional tour of India. Bryan said that Mr. McMahon was right to replace him while noting that Kingston throws copious amounts of pancakes and replaced him with a man that eats a copious amount of pancakes. Classic fat guy joke. Bryan said that Owens is like the people and just like them he doesn’t deserve a shot at his WWE Championship because Owens is a nobody. Bryan said that a nobody is somebody with nothing to lose while Bryan has everything to lose because he is the Planet’s Champion. That drew boos. Bryan: “If I lose, the entire planet loses!” He makes a good point. Here comes Kevin Owens.
Owens said that after his injury for five months, he went home and was a member of the WWE Universe. Owens said that he watched every Raw and Smackdown Live with his family, which led to Bryan saying that’s where Owens belongs. Owens talked about how hard it was to see other people do what he loves to do. Owens told Bryan that what he was doing was awful and said that Bryan was acting like a maniac. Owens said that he can’t stand people who think they are better than everybody else. Owens said it got worse when he watched Bryan throw the WWE Title in the trash and Bryan said that’s where it belongs. Owens claimed that at that moment, he knew he had to come here and go after Bryan. Owens said he speaks for his family and for the WWE Universe when he said that Bryan deserves to have his stupid mouth shut and Owens will be the one to do it. The fans cheered.
Bryan told Owens that it’s not his mouth that needs to be shut up considering what people like Owens consume. Owens wondered if Bryan is an intellectual when all he does is want to make fat jokes while Owens mocked him for having organic carrots. Owens said that if you think Owens is the like the people because he thinks Bryan is a pretentious jackass then YEP…he is just like these people. That led to a “Yep” chant.
Owens said that like these people, they don’t have a “reality” show and a 7-foot tall backup dancer. Bryan said that the reason Owens doesn’t have a 7-footer next to him is because Owens doesn’t have any friends left. Owens said that he lost his friends and it’s his fault. Owens said that last week he didn’t need anybody to help Owens beat Bryan with the Stunner. Owens said that the bottom line (wink, wink) is that he didn’t want to take Kofi Kingston’s title shot away, but he is going to take the WWE Title from Bryan.
When Owens got closer to Bryan, Rowan got in his face and that turned into an exchange of punches. Owens dumped Rowan out of the ring. Owens tried to do a stunner, but Bryan got out of the way and Rowan went back in the ring to palm the head of Owens leading to a slam. Bryan’s music played as he left with Rowan.
Analysis: I thought that was great because Bryan and Owens are two of the best talkers in WWE. They did an excellent job of getting across the idea that Bryan doesn’t respect Owens and Owens did well to cater to the fans as a new babyface. Bryan and Rowan getting the upper hand is fine. I think this story needed a good promo exchange like that to show that Owens is in a face role for the first time in his WWE career. The fans were behind him. It was an effective segment that likely sets up a match for later.
The Miz and Shane McMahon were shown backstage because Miz is in action up next.
PLUG TIME: Here’s my WWE Raw Deal review from Monday night. It was a solid show as they built to Fastlane and set up some things for WrestleMania as well…Following Raw this week, there was a “WWE Chronicle” documentary about Roman Reigns that ran for about 30 minutes. It covered his return from leukemia. I wrote a review here. I thought it was interesting especially when he talked about his treatment for leukemia. I’m glad he’s doing better and that he’s back in WWE…The WWF in 2000 section on TJRWrestling is the home for my reviews of every Raw, Smackdown and PPV from my favorite year in WWE, which was 2000. I’m into April now and on the road to Backlash 2000, which was an outstanding show. I’ll get the next Smackdown episode up in a day or two.
The Usos made their entrance with the Smackdown Tag Team Titles. They did a pre-match promo saying that they became champions again at Elimination Chamber and now they are on the Fastlane against the best team in the world, The Miz and Shane McMahon. They mocked Miz and Shane with Jimmy mocking Miz for having coffee dates with his dad, he gets to say BFF and say it’s your best friend. Jimmy talked about how Shane likes to talk about things he likes to jump off including the WrestleMania sign. Jimmy said that Shane thinks that he has the best sneakers in WWE and Jey admitted that the shoes were great. The Usos were fired up at the end as they welcomed us to the Uso penitentiary.
Analysis: That was outstanding. Nice mix of comedy with the Miz imitation, it was also funny with the shoe line and then they ended it with intensity. The Usos have become awesome promo guys when they get a chance to show what they can do.
Shane McMahon made his entrance followed by The Miz. When they got into the ring, Shane said that they are passionate guys that makes them the best team in the world. Miz said if Jey loses focus, Miz will beat them. Miz said that he’ll make Shane proud and make his dad proud in his hometown of Cleveland at Fastlane. The Usos tried an attack, but Miz and Shane clotheslined them out of the ring.
Analysis: Those promos were just a quick way to show that Shane and Miz are a cohesive unit, at least for now.
The Miz (w/Shane McMahon) vs. Jey Uso (w/Jimmy Uso)
Jey took control with an enziguri kick to the head. Jey with a clothesline. Miz came back with running double knees to the chest against the turnbuckle and Jey got a backslide cover on Miz for a two count. Miz came back with a DDT on Jey for a two count. Jey avoided a Skull Crushing Finale attempt, he hit a Samoan Drop and a running butt splash against the turnbuckle. Jey up top, he jumped off, Miz got the foot up, Jey stopped and Jimmy tried to cheat on a rollup pin, but Miz kicked out. Shane took out Jimmy with a clothesline on the floor. Jey tried to dive out of the ring on Shane, but Miz stopped him and hit a Skull Crushing Finale for the pinfall win after about three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: The Miz
Analysis: *1/2 A quick match to put over Miz ahead of their tag team title match on Sunday. The finish was booked well, but it would have been nice if they got more time. I don’t expect The Usos to lose the titles at Fastlane. I think Miz/Shane will come up short and then Miz will attack Shane after the loss to set them up Miz vs. Shane at WrestleMania.
A new match was announced for later on Smackdown: Kevin Owens vs. Rowan.
Charlotte Flair was interviewed backstage by Kayla Braxton, who claimed that Flair requested it. Flair said she invited her “best friend” Becky Lynch to Smackdown. She noted that if Flair beats Lynch at Fastlane then Becky is done, but if Becky wins then she is added to the WrestleMania title match. Flair wondered if Lynch was “man enough” to show up and said that she just wanted to have a friendly discussion.
Analysis: It’s a smart move to put Charlotte and Becky on the show to help build to their Fastlane match, which was only announced on Raw.
R-Truth and Carmella entered for Truth’s US Title open challenge after a break.
R-Truth stood in the ring with Carmella with Truth saying he wants to be like his “childhood hero” John Cena, which is funny because he’s older than Cena. Truth said that he didn’t realize that his hero Cena did this open challenge every week and he’s already tired. Carmella told him to “never give up” like Cena. Truth said Cena says “you can’t see me” but Truth sees Cena all the time like in his poster in his room. Carmella told him to do it after a dance break. Truth said it’s time for the US Title Open Challenge.
Lacey Evans’ music hit as she walked down to the ringside area and then she walked to the back. She was introduced as the “Sassy Southern Belle, Lacey Evans” again. What a gimmick. Now that’s sarcasm.
Truth: “Come back, Miss Sexy Claus.” Truth said that she didn’t want none. Truth said let’s really do this. Carmella said that the WWE Universe wants to see him defend the US Title. Truth looked up and said: “Damn you, John Cena!”
Analysis: That last line by Truth was funny. I laughed during a few parts of that promo. Truth is good at comedy and the fans are into everything he does.
Samoa Joe answered the open challenge. When he got in the ring, Rey Mysterio also ran out to be in the match and so did Andrade with Zelina Vega. It was announced as a Fatal 4-Way match for the US Title after the break.
Analysis: That’s an interesting twist after doing a triple threat last week.
United States Championship: R-Truth (w/Carmella) vs. Samoa Joe vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade (w/Zelina Vega)
The match began during the break. Mysterio missed a cross body block off the turnbuckle because Joe moved out of the way. Joe dumped Andrade and Truth out of the ring. Joe with a body slam on Mysterio followed by an elbow drop. Joe left the ring to toss Truth into the barricade, Joe with a hard chop to Mysterio and a hard chop to Andrade as well. Joe hit Andrade with a forearm while they were in the ring. Andrade hit a back elbow on Joe, but then Andrade missed a corner attack, which led to Andrade going over the top to the floor. Joe hit a suicide dive with a forearm that took out Andrade on the floor. Joe does that move so well. Joe whipped Mysterio into the ring post. Joe kicked Andrade to keep him down. Joe picked up Mysterio, but Rey came back with punches and Truth dropkicked Joe into the barricade while Rey landed over the barricade and into the crowd. That led to a break.
The show returned with Andrade hitting three vertical suplexes on Mysterio. Andrade did an Eddie Guerrero taunt while on the top and Mysterio knocked Andrade down to crotch him on the top. Sorry Charlotte. See what I did there? Anyway, Mysterio and Andrade battled by the apron, Truth put Andrade on his shoulders and Mysterio hit a springboard cross body block on Joe while Andrade pinned Truth for two. Mysterio with a headscissors on Andrade. Truth got back into it with corner splashes on all three guys. Joe caught Truth and took him down with a uranage slam. Andrade sent Joe out of the ring. Mysterio went for a seated senton on Andrade, but Andrade dropped him with a Powerbomb. Joe sent Andrade into the ring post. Truth came back with a jumping side kick to Joe, a forearm to Mysterio and a spinebuster by Truth on Joe. Truth slammed Mysterio on Joe and Truth hit a Five Knuckle Shuffle fist drop on Joe for a two count. Truth went for a scissors kick, Joe avoided it and slapped on the Coquina Clutch submission. Mysterio broke that up with a 619 kick to Joe. Truth got a rollup on Mysterio for two. Andrade back in with a dropkick that knocked Truth to the floor. Mysterio hit a splash under the bottom rope onto Truth on the floor. Andrade hit a sunset flip over the top into a Powerbomb on the floor as the fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. It was a move that wasn’t all in one motion because that kind of Powerbomb would probably hurt a lot. Vega hit a hurricanrana on Truth on the floor, so Carmella decked Vega with a superkick to a good pop. That distracted Andrade, so Mysterio hit a modified Canadian Destroyer on Andrade followed by the 619 on Andrade. Mysterio up top with a Frog Splash on Andrade. Joe broke up the pin attempt with a senton splash on Mysterio’s back. Joe hit a one-armed uranage slam on Andrade for the pinfall after 15 minutes. Joe wins the US Title!
Winner by pinfall: Samoa Joe
Joe celebrated with the United States Title as he went up the ramp. Graves mentioned it was Joe’s first title on the main roster. It’s about damn time, I say.
Analysis: ***3/4 That was an awesome match that was full of action and a lot of fun. We know the Mysterio/Andrade duo are excellent together while Joe and Truth did an excellent job as well. They even incorporated the women outside the ring in some spots that made a lot of sense. The crowd got into it with the “this awesome chant” and the last few minutes were very exciting. It seemed like they did everything perfectly as they intended with nothing going wrong. I enjoyed it a lot. I’m happy for Joe as US Champion because he probably should have won the WWE Title last summer. The US Title getting passed around by midcarders is fine because it’s not as big of a deal as the other titles. Joe vs. John Cena at WrestleMania would be cool. Just saying.
There was a shot of Becky Lynch backstage in the arena with the crutch on the left side.
The New Day trio were shown in Mumbai, India where they were on a promotional tour. They were shown in a market in Mumbai with people. Kofi Kingston said they weren’t at Smackdown, but they will be at Fastlane.
The announcers talked about things with Saxton complaining about New Day not being there and Graves said that New Day are good ambassadors for the company.
Aleister Black made his entrance for a tag team match.
A commercial aired for Fastlane that said The Shield will team up “one last time” against Corbin, Lashley and McIntyre. It ended saying that the Shield will reform for the “last time ever” so they are trying to hype that as a big deal because Ambrose is likely leaving soon…unless he changes his mind.
Samoa Joe was interviewed backstage by Kayla Braxton. Joe: “Hustle, loyalty, and respect…no, no, no. All my opponents will find is disrespect for any man who comes for the king and his crown.” Joe said that the champ isn’t going to do dance breaks and he sure as hell doesn’t like John Cena. Joe said to every Smackdown superstar thinking about facing him, he’s going to make them go night night.
Analysis: Joe is one of the best talkers in WWE. I am all for giving him a title and more TV time. I don’t want to say he’s underappreciated because he’s a 20 year pro who is proven to be great, but I felt like he has been lost in the shuffle for a few months. Putting the US Title on him now is a smart move. The Cena reference makes me think we might get Joe vs. Cena at WrestleMania, but that could be wishful thinking from some of us.
Ricochet made his entrance to a good pop. The Bar entered and then did a quick promo to let us know they are The Bar.
The Bar (Sheamus and Cesaro) vs. Aleister Black and Ricochet
Ricochet started with Sheamus with Ricochet hitting a standing Shooting Star Press on Sheamus. When Ricochet went to the apron, Cesaro distracted and that led to Sheamus kicking Ricochet to the floor. There’s the break one minute into the match.
The match returned with Cesaro grounding Ricochet with an armbar. Ricochet broke free with a DDT. Black got the tag against Sheamus with a kick to the face of Sheamus and a moonsault press off the middle ropes. Black with a jumping knee to the face of Sheamus for a two count. Cesaro made the save. Sheamus with a backbreaker on Black and Cesaro jumped off the ropes with a knee drop. Black avoided a move, he hit the Black Mass kick. Black sent Sheamus out of the ring, Ricochet got the tag, Black hit a dive on Sheamus and Ricochet hit a 630 Splash off the top on Cesaro for the pinfall win after about six minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Aleister Black and Ricochet
Analysis: **1/2 Good match for the time given. It was effective in terms of putting over Black and Ricochet ahead of their Raw Tag Team Title match at Fastlane. That Black Mass by Black and then the Ricochet 630 Splash is a nice combo to do to finish off a match.
Post match, Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura attacked Black and Ricochet from behind. Sheamus and Cesaro joined the attack. The Hardy Boyz showed up with the save as they took out Sheamus and Cesaro in the aisle. The Hardys each hit a Twist of Fate to take care of Rusev and Nakamura. Jeff hit a dive over the top on the heels, but he was caught. Ricochet hit a moonsault-like dive over the top to take out the heels. The four babyfaces including the two Hardys, Ricochet and Black stood tall in the ring.
Analysis: That was really quick, so I may have missed something in the recap. It’s a nice reminder of how good and deep the Smackdown tag team division is. Raw could use some help, but that’s what the Superstar Shakeup in April is for.
Daniel Bryan was giving Rowan a pep talk in the locker room because Rowan faces Kevin Owens later.
Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville made their entrance because Mandy is in a match up next.
It was mentioned that Torrie Wilson is the next name in the WWE Hall of Fame. They showed some tweets from some WWE people like Triple H, Mickie James, Trish Stratus, Natalya, Michelle McCool and others congratulating Wilson.
Naomi made her entrance as Graves asked when Mandy gets to be in the WWE Hall of Fame. Phillips said that she’s only been competing for a few years.
Mandy Rose (w/Sonya Deville) vs. Naomi
Naomi hit a jawbreaker, Deville on the apron to distract and Rose hit a big knee to the face. Rose hooked the arms of Naomi and hit a sitout face first slam for the pinfall win after about one minute.
Winner by pinfall: Mandy Rose
Analysis: 1/2* It was rushed and a classic “numbers game” finish to give Rose the win. She needs a name for that finisher. The two women’s matches on Raw got about five minutes total, so three women’s matches got about six minutes.
When Rose and Deville got to the top of the ramp, Asuka whipped Deville into the screens. Asuka also whipped Rose into the screens. Asuka kicked Rose in the head to leave her laying. Asuka’s music played to end it.
Analysis: It was a quick way to build to Asuka vs. Rose at Fastlane. I don’t expect Asuka to lose the title.
Still to come: Charlotte invites Becky to the ring and Kevin Owens vs. Rowan.
AJ Styles was interviewed by Kayla Braxton backstage. Styles said that there’s no love lost with him and Kevin Owens while Kofi Kingston was robbed last week. Styles said that the WWE Universe is screaming for Kofi Kingston and it’s his moment to be WWE Champion. Randy Orton showed up wondering why Styles was saying that somebody other than him deserved a title opportunity. Orton: “Now I see why it took you 15 years to get here.” Orton left.
Analysis: It’s likely building to Orton vs. Styles at WrestleMania as I have mentioned for a few weeks now. Great line by Orton at the end.
Kevin Owens vs. Rowan is next.
New match for Fastlane: Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade on the Kickoff Show. I guess I’m watching the Kickoff Show because they always have great matches.
Analysis: I would put that match on the main card over the Women’s Tag Team Title match especially, but it doesn’t bother me that much. I’ll still watch it.
Rowan was in the ring for the match. Daniel Bryan was a guest on commentary.
Rowan vs. Kevin Owens
Rowan with a running splash on Owens against the corner followed by a dropkick. Bryan said that Owens is a great athlete with a lazy work ethic. Bryan called Owens a lazy coward, so Owens attacked Bryan with punches. Rowan whipped Owens into the steel steps at ringside. Rowan with a running cross body block on Owens on the floor. Bryan attacked Owens with punches, so that’s the end of the match after two minutes because it’s a DQ.
Winner by disqualification: Kevin Owens
Analysis: 1/2* It was an angle more than a match. The DQ finish was not a surprise.
Post match, Bryan told Rowan to take the top of the table off. Mustafa Ali’s music hit and he went down to the ring with a dropkick on Bryan. Ali jumped on Rowan, who tried a slam into the table again, but Ali broke free. Ali with a headscissors that sent Rowan into the ring post. Bryan hit a running knee off the apron onto Ali on the floor. Back in the ring, Owens saved Ali and hit a Stone Cold Stunner on Bryan, which Bryan sold great. Bryan and Rowan left while Owens and Ali stared at eachother in the ring.
Analysis: Welcome back to Ali, who missed a few weeks with a concussion, but the storyline reason was Rowan putting him through the table. Owens got the advantage on Bryan for the second week in a row. I don’t expect Bryan to drop the WWE Title to Owens at Fastlane.
Charlotte Flair was shown walking backstage for the main event segment.
There was a commercial for Triple H and Batista in a “Face to Face” on Raw next week.
Main Event Flair and Lynch Promo Time
Charlotte Flair made her entrance in black street clothes. There are about ten minutes left for this main event segment.
When Flair got into the ring, she pointed to the video screen as a replay aired of Raw’s main event where Ronda Rousey beat up Becky Lynch while Flair chose to not get involved.
Flair said let’s see how she can get her “best” friend Becky, no she means “The Man” and to get her out there for a discussion. Flair suggested a “Becky” chant, the fans joined and here comes Becky Lynch.
Lynch made her entrance in street clothes while walking with a crutch on the left arm to support her left knee injury that is a storyline. There’s no real injury for Lynch.
Lynch said that it’s good to be back, the fans cheered and Lynch said that’s the sound you hear when The Man comes around. Lynch said Flair wants to know about her well being. Lynch said that her body hurts, but that’s okay if that’s the price it takes to be in her head. Lynch said that she is in Ronnie’s head while claiming that Ronnie hit her with her absolute best, but Lynch is still here. Lynch said she’s still standing and she’s still ready to fight again. The fans chanted “Becky” for Lynch as Flair yawned. Funny reaction.
Lynch said that the fans know that she beat Flair on one bad leg (at the Royal Rumble). Lynch said that her ribs may be bruised, her arm was almost broken and her knee is damaged, but damaged people are the most dangerous because they have nothing left to lose.
Flair kicked the crutch of Lynch and whipped her down by the back of the head. Flair used her knee to attack the left knee of Lynch. Flair grabbed the crutch and hit Lynch in the leg with it. Lynch fought back by using the crutch to hit Flair in the leg and Lynch slapped the Dis-Arm-Her armbar on Flair. Two referees ran down to the ring to break the hold. Flair left the ring selling her arm.
Lynch stood tall in the ring pointing at the WrestleMania sign while telling Flair that she’ll see her at Fastlane. The announcers shilled the top matches at Fastlane while the women had a staredown and that was the end of the show.
Analysis: It was a good segment, but not great. I think the point was that Lynch has a lot of fight left even though she is dealing with a few injuries…in the storyline. It was basically what you would expect from them as a way to promote the Fastlane match that could be the main event of that show. I would be surprised if Lynch doesn’t win at Fastlane although if they have Flair win then that just means another twist is coming.
Three Stars of the Show
- Samoa Joe
- Rey Mysterio
- Daniel Bryan
There were a few others worth recognizing as well such as Kevin Owens, R-Truth, Andrade, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch.
7.5 out of 10
Last week: 8.5
2019 Average: 7.2
Last 5 Weeks: 8.5, 8, 7, 7, 6.5
2019 High: 8.5 (February 26)
2019 Low: 5 (January 15)
I give this week’s Smackdown a 7.5 out of 10.
Good show as usual from Smackdown. The highlight was the US Title match. I’m happy for Samoa Joe as the new US Champion and it means more when you can win it in an exciting match like that Fatal 4-Way match was. I thought the Daniel Bryan and Kevin Owens segments were effective in terms of setting up their WWE Title match at Fastlane. The main event of Flair/Lynch having another altercation was fine, but nothing we haven’t seen many times from them.
A lot of the other stuff was well done as they built to Fastlane while also teasing some matches for WrestleMania. Some things felt rushed, though, so that hurts the show a bit. It’s still a 7.5 out of 10 from me. I haven’t gone below a 7 for Smackdown in the last five weeks.
The next WWE pay-per-view is Fastlane on March 10 in Cleveland. Here’s what we know so far.
WWE Championship: Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Kevin Owens
Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch (If Lynch wins then she will be added to the Rousey vs. Flair match at WrestleMania for the Raw Women’s Title)
Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose vs. Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Usos (c) vs. Shane McMahon and The Miz
Raw Tag Team Championships: The Revival (c) vs. Bobby Roode & Chad Gable vs. Aleister Black & Ricochet
Women’s Tag Team Championships: Bayley and Sasha Banks (c) vs. Nia Jax and Tamina
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Asuka (c) vs. Mandy Rose
Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade (Kickoff Show)
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