The Best of SmackDown Live
The Most Fatal of Four-Ways
Simple yet effective promos from Randy Orton and Andrade preceded a match I was fairly excited for heading into last night’s SmackDown Live. And that was the pre-announced fatal four-way contest between Orton, Andrade, Ali and Finn Bálor.
As you might expect, this was a fast-paced, high-octane encounter, with each wrestler gaining the ascendency at different points. The finish came after a thrilling twenty minutes, when Randy Orton countered a misguided 450 splash from Ali into an RKO, Bálor cleared the ring and Andrade landed a hammerlock DDT on the Irishman for the pin.
☝️ to the ?
@AndradeCienWWE is VICTORIOUS in a huge #Fatal4Way on #SDLive! pic.twitter.com/71vNno6fI6
— WWE (@WWE) May 15, 2019
Andrade, having presumably seen how well it went for Baron Corbin the night before, then decided to demonstrate how to properly climb a ladder to retrieve the Money in the Bank briefcase. Completely unexpectedly though, Wild Carder Ricochet ran down, knocked him off the ladder and scampered off with the briefcase. So I guess he’s definitely not winning on Sunday then.
This obsession with climbing a ladder to get a briefcase with nothing in it is strange. I don’t get it. It’s like running the London marathon three days before the actual race and celebrating as if you’ve won. But post-match tomfoolery aside, the fatal four-way was excellent. A great way to kick off the show.
‘The Queen’ vs ‘The Man’
If there’s one thing WWE can never be accused of, it’s producing sub-standard video packages. That is something the company really excels at, and this week was no different.
SmackDown featured a video package highlighting the rivalry between Charlotte and Becky Lynch, chronicling their divergent paths to Money in the Bank, from best friends to bitter rivals to their WrestleMania headlining match last month. The package hit all the right notes and omitted the murkier ones – like Lynch’s initial heel character and the half dozen matches the pair has had in the interim. This was a truly excellent hype package that everyone should go out of their way to see.
I’ve been particularly critical of the repetitive promos Charlotte and Becky have exchanged in the latter stages of this never-ending feud, with everyone involved seemingly spinning their wheels for months. But this video package, interspersed by interviews with the respective women, felt like the shot in the arm this feud needed heading into Money in the Bank.
Lacey Evans followed it up with a decent direct-to-camera promo of her own.
A Standoff over the WWE Title
A lone Kofi Kingston came out to accept his invitation to the Kevin Owens Show, only to find his title challenger nowhere in sight. Owens however did appear on the Titantron to run through a highlight reel of his early successes on the main brand.
The two men then exchanged a few pointed words via the medium of teleconference, before Owens decided to make his way to the ring. Kofi cut him off on the ramp though, only for Sami Zayn of all people to jump the WWE Champion from behind. I guess KO and Sami are best friends again? There was no effort at explaining this rekindled alliance.
Regardless, Xavier Woods came down to save his fellow New Day stablemate, but he was quickly dispatched by the two bad lads. Incidentally, has that become part of Xavier’s gimmick yet? ‘Well-intentioned guy who tries to save his friends but always gets beaten up himself’?
KO and Sami piled on Kofi for a bit, before Kingston made his brave babyface comeback, first dodging an Owens cannonball and then landing a Trouble in Paradise on Zayn. And that was the final angle heading into Money in the Bank. A thwarted attack leading to Kofi and KO yelling at one another from afar. Nothing special, but decent nevertheless.
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