WWE SmackDown results from February 26 as the show aired from Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC
Vince McMahon Screws Over Yet Another Wrestler, Kevin Owens Returns
Shane and Stephanie were in the ring for the WWE Championship contract signing along with Daniel Bryan and Eric Rowan. Kofi Kingston was introduced via a highlight reel of his career and Kofi along with his New Day buddies made his way to the ring.
Kofi was almost about to the sign the contract when he got interrupted by Vince who replaced Kofi with a returning Kevin Owens at Fastlane with the flimsy premise that he was doing what was best for business. Kofi was given a thunderous applause on his way back.
Our take from it: Screwing wrestlers over was the thing that made the Vince McMahon character so remarkable. It began with Bret Hart and was a big reason behind the successes of Stone Cold and Mick Foley.
However, in each of those cases there was a concrete reason behind the said “screwing”. Even if it was something unfair like pushing one of Vince’s guys, it was still something that explained his actions. “Best for business” is at best a cop out and while Kofi Kingston might have never been in a one on one world title match but he more than deserved this chance.
What is worse is that Kevin Owens, the guy replacing Kofi, is behaving like a face which totally defeats the purpose of Vince screwing over another wrestler.
It could be a way to get the New Day to turn heel but even that is not a good enough reason to undermine the only world title regularly seen in the WWE. This was a very sour way to start SmackDown.
There is however, the possibility of adding Kofi in to the match later and make it a triple threat.
The Bar Face a Nostalgia Act, Matt Hardy Returns
The Bar weren’t aware who their opponents were and were surprised by the music of Hardy Boyz hitting and the brothers making their way to the ring. The match was a bit slow to start off but had all the typical Bar and Hardy Boyz tropes with Sentons and hot tags until the Hardy Boyz hit an Extreme Combination for the win.
Winners: The Hardy Boyz
Our take from it: The Bar and by extension the tag division in WWE is in decline and invariably when WWE finds itself in such a situation, it turns to something from the past.
This time it is the Hardy Boyz but sadly, they weren’t able to create enough excitement. That might have partly due to their uncountable unions in the past. Also, these were four aging men trying to live up to their past but clearly having to wage a losing battle against their broken bodies. This was almost sad to watch but that is what the tag division has come to now.
R-Truth Is Turning Out to Be a Great US Champion
R-Truth called John Cena his childhood hero and idol. He would go on to say that he was starting the US open challenge to honor his idol. The call was answered by Andrade after a dance break obviously.
Rey Mysterio joined in and this got R-Truth confused as to who he should face. Carmella said that John Cena would face both of them and R-Truth decided to do the same.
The match turned out to be pretty even with Rey Mysterio setting up and hitting a couple of 619s. Andrade and R-Truth also got a few offensive moves. Even Carmella got involved as she thwarted the distractions of Zelina Vega before Mysterio got rolled up by R-Truth to retain. Andrade tried to attack Mysterio after the match but Rey ended up chasing him away.
Winner and still the US Champion: R-Truth
Our take from it: When WWE put the US title on Nakamura and he failed to live up to expectations and the US title experienced its worst lows, who would have thought that R-Truth would be the answer to it all. He has awesome chemistry with Carmella, is actually funny and is proving to be a legitimate though slightly unconventional champion.
The angle with Andrade and Mysterio is also interesting and the two could throw down in an entertaining manner in any situation and this current direction seems good enough. Overall, this was the first enjoyable segment of the night.
Charlotte Flair Spews Nonsense, Aleister Black and Ricochet Humiliate Another Tag Team
Charlotte Flair did her usual shtick about Rousey being afraid and Lynch being a fluke and that she is the real deal and that next week she would be given the RAW women’s championship. It was met with almost zero reaction.
This was followed by Nakamura and Rusev teaming up to take on Aleister Black and Ricochet. Nakamura did his weird antics but Black was unfazed. Ricochet got caught up with the heels beating him up followed by Black suffering a similar fate.
Ricochet got the hot tag and he kicked into another gear taking out Rusev allowing Black to avoid a Kinshasa and hit the Black Mass on Nakamura for the win.
Winners: Aleister Black and Ricochet
Our take from it: Charlotte’s segment proved yet again why she should not be part of the match with Rousey and Lynch. Even the boos she was getting were half-hearted. She would spoil the entire dynamics of the match. Also, it seemed a little weird that she had nothing to say about her father being viciously attacked. Lazy writing by the creative team at its best.
Aleister Black and Ricochet are indeed gelling as a tag team and the main stream audience has started to get behind them. Whether they proceed as a tag team or one of them will turn on the other needs to be seen but for now they are entertaining and putting on a different style of wrestling than what regular fans are used to seeing.
Kevin Owens and Kofi Kingston Work Together?
Kevin Owens earlier requested for a tag match against Daniel Bryan with Kofi Kingston by his side and he got his wish. Kingston started against Eric Rowan and got pummeled. He then managed to tag in Owens who too got manhandled by Rowan but the tables turned as Bryan tagged himself in.
The match then went back and forth with Kingston taking out Rowan with a top rope dive to the outside towards the end allowing Owens to hit the Stone Cold Stunner to pick up the win.
Winners: Kofi Kingston and Kevin Owens
Our take from it: The match was decent with Owens showing a bit of ring rust towards the start but from a purely technical standpoint, there was nothing monumentally wrong with this match.
It was just weird to see Kofi having no problems to team up with the man who usurped his opportunity of a lifetime. This is not logical and if WWE is playing a long game here then this is a silly way to do it.
At the end of the day, wrestling is all about great storytelling and this angle is something that even first graders will laugh at. SmackDown ended almost as weirdly as it started.
Overall SmackDown Review: SmackDown continued its downward spiral. Apart from the NXT guys and R-Truth, nothing else that happened seemed to make any sense.
It was a given that Kofi Kingston’s title shot was always going to be in danger but this was the most humiliating and stupid way to take away something from a wrestler who has given more than his fair share for the business and it does not benefit anyone.
Kevin Owens just doesn’t feel like a legitimate challenger at this point and pretty much everything on SmackDown is in disarray. What a shame!
Moment of the Night: R-Truth calling John Cena his idol
Overall Rating: 3/5