Last night we caught a glimpse of WWE at its self-indulgent, derivative worst. And as a devout fan of SmackDown Live, I don’t say that lightly.
In a move ripped straight from WWE’s glory days, Vince ‘the age of authority figures is over’ McMahon trotted out at the top of the show to announce that Kofi was an undeserving challenger and that he would be replaced in the Fastlane main event by a returning Kevin Owens. And by “WWE’s glory days”, naturally I mean two weeks ago when they did the exact same thing to Becky Lynch.
Now of course the possibility remains that Kofi could still get his shot at Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania, which is undoubtedly a bigger stage better suited for the feel-good babyface victory. But in today’s climate it’s so critical to capture lightning in a bottle when given the chance. At a time when fan support can be fleeting, it’s crucial to capatilize when wrestlers are at their peak. Drag out this underdog tale too long and you risk letting all that electricity dissipate.
The obvious truth is that as much as we love seeing Kofi in the WWE Championship frame now, three weeks ago he was little more than a likeable member of an entertaining stable. And the risk is his star could easily fade if WWE fails to follow through on this push. Just like Rusev, EC3, Bobby Roode, Lashley, Bálor, Nakamura, Braun Strowman and countless others who may have seen their best days in WWE pass them by.
Everyone thinks you made the right decision and loves you for it, @VinceMcMahon!
P.S. Don’t check your mentions.
— Now. (@FightOwensFight) February 27, 2019
With that said, you don’t have to be a genius to figure out where this is heading. In fact, it probably makes more sense if you aren’t. A McMahon family civil war.
Vince has seemingly made a habit recently of undermining his children and Triple H, ruthlessly doling out suspensions, threatening imprisonment and unilaterally changing main events. These rash decisions have not only showed up his family members, but have already led to some dire consequences. Becky Lynch was arrested, Ronda Rousey has vacated the Raw Women’s Championship and the SmackDown audience feel cheated over Kofi’s Fastlane removal. One would expect this to boil over at some point in the near future, most likely over the Raw Women’s title picture which appears certain to main event WrestleMania.
None of this overly excites me, but I’m willing to see it out. Perhaps I’ll be pleasantly surprised. One thing I can’t forgive however was the manner in which SmackDown’s announcers covered Kofi’s removal from the Fastlane match. Aside from the usual back-and-forth over whether Kofi’s eleven-year tenure made him deserving of a title shot, Tom Phillips had one puzzling line.
“Kofi is a professional. Many other Superstars would have quit. They would have hopped on social media and griped, but Kofi’s in here fighting.“
Was that a shot at the much publicised dissatisfied talent on the roster, many of whom were recently released? If so, that’s pretty low.
Perhaps by the time WresleMania rolls around, this will all be a distant memory. Only time will tell. In the interim, I only hope that Vince’s increasing interference leads to something rewarding. Let’s get to the good from last night’s episode.