The March 5, 2019 episode of SmackDown LIVE kept the WWE Universe speeding down the road to Fastlane. We saw the crowning of a new United States Champion, escalations of several feuds for the upcoming pay-per-view, and more.
The show opened with a speech by WWE Champion “The New” Daniel Bryan, backed by his “seven-foot insurance policy,” Rowan. After a video recap of last week’s corporate corruption that took Kofi Kingston out of their title match at Fastlane, Bryan cut a promo insulting Kingston, the fans, and his new challenger, Kevin Owens.
The mention of Owens’ name called out the Canadian prizefighter, who more than held his own against Bryan on the mic. He vowed to win the WWE Championship at Fastlane and made an attack on his rival, but he was ultimately laid out by Rowan. Bryan held his eco-friendly title over Owens as the crowd booed and we later learned that Owens would face Rowan in a singles match later in the show.
But before that, the champions and challengers for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship at Fastlane exchanged words and blows. The first match of the night was Jey Uso vs. The Miz, in which both wrestlers had the opportunity to gain important momentum for their team going into the title match. The Usos basically destroyed their opponents on the mic, busting out some quality impressions and burns, but The Miz—supported by the crowd in his home town of Cleveland—picked up the win in the ring with a Skull-Crushing Finale.
This week also turned out to be the last week of R-Truth‘s United States Championship Open Challenge. Truth admitted that he hadn’t realized John Cena did this every week, and “I did this once and I’m already tired.”
But he issued the challenge anyway, and Lacey Evans‘ music hit. Truth looked ready for an intergender match, but, like Evans has been doing the past few weeks, she just entered, waved at the crowd, and sashayed her way back out of the arena.
Truth thought that got him out of the challenge, but Carmella told him it didn’t count. Then the call for an opponent was answered for real by Samoa Joe… then Rey Mysterio… then Andrade, kicking off a Fatal Four-Way match for the United States Championship.
The group of very different competitors fought hard in and out of the ring, Andrade and Mysterio’s rivalry continued, and Zelina Vega tried to take out Truth, only for Carmella to defend him with a superkick. The match ended when Mysterio hit a 619 and a frog splash on Andrade, but Joe broke the pin and hit Andrade with an
United States Champion Samoa Joe left the ring holding his first main roster championship and cut a fiery promo backstage. Further fallout of this match was later revealed to include a Mysterio vs. Andrade match on the Fastlane Kickoff Show.
Before their RAW Tag Team Championship match at the upcoming pay-per-view, NXT newcomers Ricochet and Aleister Black defeated former tag champs of the blue brand, The Bar. The Bar managed to maintain an advantage as Cesaro grounded Ricochet, preventing him from using the high-flying moves in his arsenal. The momentum of the match shifted when Black was tagged in to deliver devastating strikes to Sheamus. Ricochet ultimately won the match for them after a 630 splash to Cesaro, but he and his partner were quickly attacked by Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura after the match. They were joined by The Bar, but Black and Ricochet were saved by The Hardy Boyz, leading to a standoff between two surprising tag team alliances.
Ahead of her upcoming SmackDown Women’s Championship match against Asuka, Mandy Rose entered the arena for a match with her recent rival Naomi. She ended up defeating Naomi very quickly with the help of a distraction by Sonya Deville. However, Rose still didn’t come out of the encounter looking great. Asuka snuck up behind “Fire and Desire” on the entrance ramp and beat up both women while screaming in Japanese, which looked like it made Naomi feel a little better about her loss.
This week also included another moment of tension in the slowly escalating feud between AJ Styles and Randy Orton. In a backstage interview, Styles expressed his support for Kingston getting a shot at the WWE Championship. “The Viper” slinked up to him and said this type of attitude is why it took Styles “15 years to get here.”
The final match of the night was the previously set-up bout between Rowan and Kevin Owens, for which Daniel Bryan was sat in on commentary. The fight was cut short when, after Owens rolled out of the ring to recover from an impressive dropkick from his giant opponent, Bryan berated him for being “a lazy coward his entire career.” Owens attacked Bryan and Rowan and Bryan retaliated, leading to the match being thrown out. Their attack continued, but Owens was saved by the returning Mustafa Ali.
Earlier in the show, Charlotte Flair, in a backstage interview she had requested, was (sarcastically) nice to her former best friend and—as of last night—Fastlane pay-per-view opponent Becky Lynch and invited her to have a “friendly discussion” about her physical and mental health.
That discussion ended up being the show’s main event and, unsurprisingly, quickly turned violent. You can read more about that confrontation here.