There are few things I truly hate in this world: global hunger, disease, intolerance.
I’m tempted to add Shane McMahon to that list.
It may seem trite and perhaps a little dramatic to elevate the SmackDown tag champ alongside those far more serious issues, but Shane is quickly becoming an intolerable presence on the blue brand. He really knows how to grind my gears, to sweat on my buttons. That sounded weird.
SmackDown was a show of two halves this week… as all things are, I suppose. But what I mean is that while the second hour was truly phenomenal, the first was abnormally atrocious. While the three-way women’s tag team bout was perhaps the worst on show last night (and perhaps a worrying preview of their Elimination Chamber encounter this Sunday), Shane O’Mac was by some distance the most tiresome.
Just two months into this so-called “New Era” that promised change, audience guidance and the elevation of new stars, we’ve got a product in which Vince McMahon is the draconian authority figure, Stephanie is the duplicitous schemer and Shane is a main brand champion. It’s 1999 all over again.
It has now become readily apparent that Shane has fully embraced the delusion that Miz has been peddling in recent months. In what was in truth a pretty good face-off with the Usos ahead of their championship clash this Sunday, Shane once again smugly referred to himself and Miz as “the best tag team in the world”. Because they hold fluke victories over the Vegas Boys and Sheamus & Cesaro? By that logic, were Braun Strowman and Nicholas the best team in the world? Was the B-Team the best team in the world?
His pompous delivery and self-delusion really makes me want to see him get beaten senseless by the Usos on Sunday, which I suppose is the marker of a terrific heel. There’s only one problem with that though. He’s meant to be the babyface! While he and Miz were cheering the local Toledo Mud Hens and celebrating quiche (urgh!), the Usos were presented as decidedly more heelish. God, I hate that I’ve spent so much time on this. I just want it to end.
On the other end of the spectrum was Kofi Kingston and his herculean efforts during the gauntlet match to determine the final entrant at Elimination Chamber. Drafted as a late replacement for the injured Mustafa Ali, Kofi was the star of this week’s SmackDown.
The New Day member entered the match second overall opposite current WWE Champion, Daniel Bryan. In a stint that lasted over an hour, the tag team veteran tapped into his singles roots on his way to securing pin falls over Bryan, Jeff Hardy and Samoa Joe.
The highlight of his run however, came against the penultimate gauntlet entrant, AJ Styles. By this point Kofi had been put through the wringer and was barely able to stand, which prompted AJ to suggest that the match be called off. Kofi though stood defiantly, repeatedly slapping Styles and demanding that the match continue. “I’ve waited too long for this; it’s been eleven years” he kept yelling, insisting that Styles fight him.
It. Was. Awesome.
— Seth Rollins (@WWERollins) February 13, 2019
So with much to choose from on both ends of the wrestling spectrum, what did our WrestleTalk writers take away from last night’s SmackDown Live? Keep reading to find out what they enjoyed, what they didn’t and how they rated the show overall.