The WWE champion Kofi Kingston kicked off this week’s Smackdown Live. For some reason, we had ANOTHER flashback to Kingston’s journey to capturing the championship that’s eluded him for 11 years.

I like everyone else enjoyed seeing Kofi win the belt at Wrestlemania, but it seems time to move on from what Kofi has done, to who will next be standing in his way.

Luckily we seem to be getting Kingston’s first feud post-Wrestlemania, and that is with the man who betrayed him and Xavier Woods last week, Kevin Owens.

Owens soon enough made his way out to interrupt Kingston, telling him he is not championship material and that he accepts his challenge for Money in the Bank.

Xavier Woods then ran out & attacked Owens from behind, but Kevin quickly overcame the attack to plant Woods on his back. Kingston has quite the first challenger in K.O. and will have to fend off Owens sneak attacks and ruthless personality in the coming weeks.

Below is the rest of what took place on Smackdown this week. I rank the remaining events in order & give my rank at the end.

Bayley takes on Lynch for the first time on the main roster: 

To the surprise of no one, these two women who have incredible chemistry in the ring had quite the match. These two horsewomen traded blows and hit one another with their best shots.

[Side note: Why in the world did this match get a shrink screen ad break? They could not have waited for a Jinder Mahal match?]

Bayley went to the top rope to hit her vintage elbow drop but took too long, and Lynch was able to get her knees up & counter with the disarmher to pick up the win.

But then out of the blue, Charlotte turned up and gave Lynch a big boot to the face & then hurled Bayley into the ring post to stand tall at the end of this segment.

I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again, Charlotte is a great heel, and plays that role exceptionally well. Her and Lynch in the past year have put on some all-time great matches (and some forgettable ones), but this would have been the chance to get Lynch another fresh feud post-Wrestlemania.

IIconics may have their first challengers for the tag team titles:

Kairi Sane & Asuka took on some local competitors, with Billie Kay and Peyton Royce at the desk with the commentary team.

Corey Graves had a money line on commentary after Byron Saxton tried talking bad about the IIconics, he referenced a quote from Ricky Bobby, which was pure gold!

To the surprise of no one, the Asuka/Sane team took out these two ladies rather quickly. This then led to a staredown between the two teams, leading us to believe there will be a match for the women’s tag titles at Money in the Bank.

It’s too soon to take the belts of the IIconics, but it would not look giving Sane & Asuka a loss after just getting together a couple weeks back. WWE may have booked themselves into a corner on this one.

The KO Show is back:

Kevin Owens & Kofi Kingston was made official at the beginning of this segment. Then after Owens promised he would win the WWE Championship, Owens unsuccessfully tried to call out Xavier Woods.

He then pulled out action figures of Woods & Big E to mock the New Day, until Kofi appeared at the top of the ramp, didn’t say a word and made a beeline to the ring.

What we saw here was the best version of Kofi, as he was serious & did not waste any time taking it to Owens. Seeing the fun-loving, pancake-throwing Kofi is fun at times, but seeing the champion come out, defend his friends’ honor, and goe toe-to-toe with KO was GREAT.

This feud is indeed picking up steam & should only get better in the final two weeks before Money in the Bank.

Roman Reigns punch heard round the world: 

Reigns debuted on the blue brand two weeks back by coming after the chairman of WWE, Vince McMahon. He hit the man with a superman punch that left him sprawled out in the ring.

After a quick promo from Reigns (albeit a good one) Shane McMahon, who is pulling double duty now, came out to confront Roman.

WWE seems to be rehashing this whole “Roman vs. the Authority” storyline, and Roman was put in a handicap match against the B-Team and (not so) shockingly enough Elias was brought out as the “special guest referee enforcer.”

Roman got worked over for most of the match but got in some offense of his own (had a nice Samoan drop/DDT combo on both members of the B-Team). However, Elias got involved, costing Roman a potential win & tried to screw him out of a win.

Roman though picked up the ‘W’ and stood tall at the end.

Hardy Boyz relinquish their tag team titles:

As a result of an attack from the newcomer Lars Sullivan, Jeff Hardy is injured, and the Hardy’s had to hand over their newly won Smackdown tag team championships.

From early on in this segment, it seemed clear that Lars would reappear to confront the Hardy’s, and that is what precisely what happened. Sullivan took out Matt before facing Jeff but was saved by R-Truth distracting Sullivan.

Lars seems to have his first actual feud on the main roster, and even though it will likely end in a squash, this is precisely how Sullivan needs to be booked.

Men’s SD Live Money in the Bank participants revealed: 

Unlike Raw, the four men representing the blue brand in the Money in the Bank ladder match were just announced in a graphic.

Ali, Finn Balor, Andrade & Randy Orton, the four men in the ladder match, took part in a tag team match. The biggest thing I took away from this segment is why in the world is Andrade trying to cut a promo when he has a manager? It wasn’t terrible but isn’t Vega there to be his mouthpiece (i.e., Paul Heyman?).

Early on I would put Drew McIntyre and Andrade as the two favorites to win this match, as Vince wants to make this year’s winner look like a star.

SD Live Women’s MITB participants are revealed: 

There was ZERO pomp and circumstance surrounding the four women who were given a chance to compete for the Women’s Money in the Bank briefcase. Bayley, Mandy Rose, Ember Moon & Carmella were the four women chosen, but little was made of this on the show.

From my perspective, there is almost no build around this match, as the focus seems to be more so on the men’s match than the women’s match.

But as to who my favorite would be for this match, I would have to pick Mandy Rose. She has been primed for a breakout for quite some time and giving her the briefcase would start the process of elevating her in the women’s division.

Overall this wasn’t the best episode of SD Live, but there were some noteworthy moments. Feuds were advanced with Becky/Charlotte as well as Roman/Elias, and KO and Kofi began their program.

But the name of the next pay-per-view is “Money in the Bank” and this show did a poor job of elevating either of the two ladder matches, making them feel almost like an afterthought.

My rating: 2.75 out of 5.







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