SmackDown Results and Recap: #KofiMania

Kimberly Schueler
AJ Styles, Jeff Hardy, The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Big E, Xavier Woods) (source: WWE)

The February 19, 2019 episode of WWE SmackDown LIVE included fallout from Sunday’s Elimination Chamber pay-per-view featured wrestlers from NXT, and set us on the road to Fastlane with the reveal of Daniel Bryan’s next opponent.

After a video recap of the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view that focuses on Kofi Kingston, Shane McMahon enters the ring to kick off the show with some announcements. He says the main roster debuts of NXT Superstars Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, Ricochet, and Aleister Black the previous night on RAW impressed him so much that all four men will be on this episode of SmackDown.

Then The Miz’s music hits. He says he hasn’t slept in two days and needs to get something off his chest. He confesses that he used Shane McMahon to get the tag titles they just lost because he knew that they had similar feelings about their dads. He recaps their whole team trajectory, then hints that his partner should use his power as a McMahon to give them a rematch with The Usos.

The audience sounds like they support this, but Shane doesn’t immediately grant The Miz’s request. However, the mention of a possible rematch prompts The Usos to enter the arena. They insult The Miz—including calling him an “A-Lister with C-list skills”—and provoke Shane into declaring that rematch for Fastlane.

The second segment of the night is a match between Andrade and Aleister Black. A video package briefly introduces the SmackDown audience—who could easily be unfamiliar with the NXT star—to Black’s goth aesthetic and striking ability. We soon see him force Andrade out of the ring, springboard backflip off the bottom rope, and sit cross-legged in the ring, using his “athleticism and mind games” just before a commercial break. The two men go on to trade strikes and counters, both scoring near falls. Ultimately, Black defeats Andrade after a Black Mass.

Backstage, an interview with fellow NXT up-and-comers DIY (Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa) is interrupted by the purple-clad Bar (Sheamus and Cesaro). Cesaro insults Gargano and Ciampa and tells them to stay away from SmackDown LIVE, but Gargano tells them that “We’re not here to set the bar. We’re here to break The Bar.” The former tag champs laugh off his threat…

The Bar is still laughing at DIY as they wait for them to enter the ring for their match. The commentary team points out the very noticeable size difference between the teams as Sheamus towers over Ciampa in the ring at the beginning of the bout. Additionally, the technical mastery of Cesaro seems to be a match for “Johnny Wrestling.”

The Bar remain confident as they dominate the match in and out of the ring, but their opponents manage to stay alive. Ciampa reverses a White Noise from Sheamus into a sunset flip powerbomb, Gargano locks on the Gargano Escape only for Cesaro to power out and transition it into a backbreaker, but all the back-and-forth ends with Ciampa pinning Sheamus for his team’s second main roster win in a row.

In women’s division news, SmackDown Women’s Champion Asuka is featured on the show this week. In an in-ring interview, she says she is ready for a new challenge and wants to know, “Who is ready for Asuka right now?”

The answer seems to be Mandy Rose, who enters the arena with Sonya Deville at her side. The subsequent match between Rose and Asuka is interrupted by Lacey Evans just walking into the venue and then leaving, but it all turns out to be a surprisingly even fight in which Asuka finds it difficult to put Rose away. The blonde resorts to faking an eye injury, which the referee buys, but the champ does not. Still, during the distraction Rose manages to roll up and pin the SmackDown Women’s Champion.

This ends up being the only lengthy women’s division segment of the week, but the episode also includes a backstage interview with Charlotte Flair in which she reiterates that she is confident her match with Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania will be both the main event and one-on-one.

NXT Superstar Ricochet makes his SmackDown debut against Eric Young—the leader of Sanity—who hasn’t been seen on the blue brand for some time. The crowd is quickly won over by the high-flyer’s incredible athletic ability, but Young is able to ground him using his size and brutality. Still, Ricochet is able to fight off Young and his Sanity teammates at ringside and pins his opponent with his signature 630 Splash for his first SmackDown victory.

To preview the show’s six-man-tag main event, we see Jeff Hardy and AJ Styles pledge to let last week’s bygones be bygones and Kofi Kingston and The New Day extend a pancake branch—an olive branch with pancakes on it—to his soon-to-be teammates. In contrast, Samoa Joe and Randy Orton seem to be eying Daniel Bryan’s WWE Championship a suspicious amount.

Just before the match, The New Day are asked about Kingston’s Elimination Chamber performance. Xavier Woods and Big E point how that Kingston hasn’t just been good for a week but for his whole 11 years in WWE. Kingston feels positive about his momentum, and his teammates point out the #KofiMania Twitter trend that makes him “feel like the whole WWE Universe has my back.”

As Daniel Bryan enters for the show’s main event, he claims that his opponent for Fastlane “will be none of the men in this match tonight, because I defeated all of them inside the Elimination Chamber.” But WWE’s self-proclaimed greatest mind ends up being wrong about part of that statement. Kofi Kingston pins Bryan after Trouble in Paradise to win the chaotic, exciting main event for his team, getting back his win over the champion.

After the match, Shane McMahon enters and declares—after a pause during which the crowd chants “Kofi!”—that Kingston will be Bryan’s opponent at Fastlane. The New Day and the crowd celebrate to end the show with a feel-good moment.

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