WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER 5/14: (SPOILER-FREE), Hey Champ We Need to Talk, MITB Men’s Fatal Four-Way, Fire & Desire vs. The Empress & The Princess


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.

(Search “wade keller” to subscribe in podcast app or CLICK HERE to subscribe in Apple Podcasts.)

MAY 14, 2019

Announcers: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton

Arena and Items Advertised by WWE

WWE Smackdown, as I mentioned in yesterday’s primer, will emanate from the O2 Arena in London, Eng. This is the finish of a two-night stay as WWE has done for the last 11 years in the arena’s existence. Last year, Raw & Smackdown emanated from this arena during the same week in May.

Like yesterday, this episode will be pre-taped. There may or may not be spoiler reports available.

Here’s what’s advertised by WWE for tonight’s show:

Matches & Segments:

Will Kofi Kingston accept KO’s invitation to come on The Kevin Owens Show?
Smackdown LIVE’s Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match participants to throw down in pivotal Fatal Four-Way Match
Can Fire & Desire scorch Asuka & Kairi Sane on Tuesday night?

Storyline Follow-Up

Nothing specific.

Kofi Kingston Invited to Kevin Owens Show

Kofi Kingston of New Day will defend his WWE Championship against Kevin Owens at Money in the Bank in less than one week.

These two gentlemen have had an interesting 2019 going back to when Owens returned from injury back in February. He was appointed by Vince McMahon to challenge Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship at Fastlane, when that match was originally planned for Kofi Kingston. Fast-forward just three months and of course Kofi is now champion having defeated Bryan at WrestleMania.

We all thought Owens was aligning himself with New Day until he turned on Kofi three weeks ago. He explained last week that he felt being champion was a huge burden on Kofi and wanted to relieve him of that burden. As Kofi was defending his title against both Sami Zayn and A.J. Styles, both of whom arrived on Smackdown via the Wild Card rule, Owens attacked Xavier Woods. He had done so after Xavier jumped him from behind two weeks ago after Owens interrupted Kofi’s interview with Michael Cole. Here’s that clip and a clip of Kofi’s title defense last week which shows the Owens interruption:

Tonight, Owens has invited Kofi to the Kevin Owens Show in advance of their match at Money in the Bank.

Frank’s Analysis: I didn’t think about something until listening to Wrestling Night in America, in which this week regular host Greg Parks had Torch contributor and PWTorch columnist and podcaster Zack Heydorn. WWE didn’t connect the factor of McMahon appointing Owens to replace Kofi a few months ago to what’s happened between these two recently. We frequently talk about story continuity in WWE and there was certainly an opportunity to link those situations. Owens could have explained how Vince appointed him knowing Kofi couldn’t handle the burden of being champion, but Owens held back because he wanted the pleasure of beating him rather than Daniel Bryan. Either way, hopefully Owens can bring out a toughness in Kofi. Thus far I’m personally not happy with Kofi still doing the New Day antics while being champion.

Fatal Four-Way: Andrade vs. Ali vs. Intercontinental Champion Finn Balor vs. Randy Orton

Similar to last night, we will get a fatal four-way match with the Money in the Bank participants this time from the Smackdown side with the aforementioned men in the headline.

There is some history amongst the four men involved. Ali and Randy Orton did have a one-on-one match pre-WrestleMania which saw Orton come out on top. Ali was close to victory, but as he was attempting his 450 Splash, Orton hit an RKO to score the pin. Ali last week battled Andrade to a no-contest when Orton attacked him mid-match (technically that’s Ali winning via DQ, but you know, that’s WWE not acknowledging it for whatever reason).

Andrade defeated Balor in a non-title match on Raw the week of the Superstar Shakeup (Andrade’s only Raw appearance) before both moved to Smackdown and Balor got his win back. Balor and Ali defeated Orton and Andrade two weeks ago.

There’s a handful of history between the men involved and in advance of Money in the Bank, they go at it in a fatal four-way tonight. Bear in mind from the Raw side now, Sami Zayn has replaced Braun Strowman as a result of Sami’s winning his falls count anywhere match last night.

Frank’s Analysis: I don’t much to add as this is typical WWE booking in advance of matches like this. They like to give you variations to give you a taste of what you’ll see. I don’t have a favorite for Money in the Bank. I like Ali winning and turning heel eventually, as he’s not the type of babyface Vince McMahon likes to push. Andrade is a sensible choice and fits the MITB profile. I don’t really see Balor, not so much because he’s IC Champ, but he’s like a mechanic in these matches. Orton has won it before, and it’s not out of the realm of possibility he wins, but WWE would be wise not to go in that direction. You have plenty of other options even from the Raw side. Drew McIntyre is a definite favorite. Sami Zayn could actually win now that he won his match with Braun Strowman last night to get in and kick Strowman out. It’s not crazy to imagine Strowman showing up tonight via the Wild Card rule. Ricochet strikes me as another mechanic in this match. I think I’d rather watch paint dry than sit through another time period where Baron Corbin holds MITB although I worry Vince wouldn’t mind seeing him win.

Fire & Desire (Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville) vs. Asuka & Kairi Sane (with Paige)

Last week on Smackdown, Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville defeated Carmella and Ember Moon in what was essentially a squash match. They won when Mandy hit Ember with a face-plant (God forbid they name the move) and scored the pin. Mandy is set for the Money in the Bank ladder match along with Carmella and Ember as well as Bayley.

Following the match, Asuka & Kairi Sane came out with their (manager?) Paige. Paige talked about previously representing Mandy & Sonya (it was more like teaming with them in Absolution, but whatever) and how she traded up. She then said Asuka & Kairi are ready to rip through the tag division (all two-three teams of it) and it starts next week with them (according to … Yeah, I don’t know either). Asuka & Kairi take on Mandy & Sonya tonight. Here’s the clip of the match from last week which shows Paige issuing the challenge:

Frank’s Analysis: Ember Moon is obviously low on the totem pole; otherwise why would she take the pin in basically a squash match against Mandy Rose? You have Carmella in the match, and I don’t see big plans for her unless I’m missing something. Correct me if I’m wrong but they just moved Ember to Smackdown in an attempt, I would think, to give her a push. At least have the match go a little and have Mandy work for the win. It’s hard to know anymore what they’re doing with the women’s division and whom they view as top stars other than Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, and apparently Lacey Evans. Mandy could be heading up that totem pole.

Not Advertised for Follow-Up:

Daniel Bryan and Rowan won the Smackdown Tag Team Championship by defeating the Usos, who arrived on Smackdown via the Wild Card rule. Heavy Machinery (Otis & Tucker) would stare down the new champs in the back.

Miz attacked Shane McMahon as he was about to make an announcement in regard to Money in the Bank. The B-Team (Curtis Axel & Bo Dallas), Miz’s former MizTourage partners, helped Shane as the brawl went to the stage.

Start Time & Matches Advertised on the Arena Website

The O2 Arena’s website is advertising a start time of 7:00 p.m. local with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. By the time this report drops the event will likely be underway. They advertise Kofi Kingston vs. Kevin Owens and Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton.

205 Live will follow.

Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome. Thank you for reading!