There are a lot of speed bumps on the road to Wrestlemania, and as we’ve seen with the most recent episode of Raw and the WWE Fastlane PPV, the sports entertainment juggernaut has been working overtime to build on the stories for its biggest event of the year.
The March 12 episode of Smackdown offered new insight to the biggest stories, and we’re here to break down the most important ones from the evening. Sadly, when it comes to the Smackdown Women’s Championship, the focus has been heavily on Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville, leaving champion Asuka to just exist. However, there are some pretty solid things to pay attention to in the weeks to come. Here’s what you need to know.
Shane Turned On Miz… Because
Smackdown opened up with Shane McMahon explaining why he’s a heel now. He’s mad people keep asking him how to get ahead in life, and he was born great (awesome). Shane has decided to turn a new leaf and do things his way because beating up the Miz and smooshing Miz’s dad’s face felt great. Now, Shane wants to take on Miz at Wrestlemania. The problem with all of this is that Shane doesn’t feel like a credible threat as a WWE superstar. He worked better as a cowardly heel when he had people by his side, like the Mean Street Posse. As of right now, it feels like Miz would have no problem defeating him.
Randy Orton’s Segment
Randy Orton came out to discourage AJ Styles, and during his promo, he said many things about his career with the WWE while AJ Styles was off doing other things, as Smackdown is the House that Randy Orton built. I’m being a total mark, but let’s clarify what was happening during the years Orton mentioned.
- He said in 2002, Styles was wrestling in a high school gymnasium. There is a likelihood that this is true. That year is when AJ Styles debuted with Ring of Honor, and prior to that, Styles had competed in the indie circuit, had a dark match on Raw, and a brief stint in WCW.
- In 2004, Orton claims Styles was shaking hands with his opponents in the bingo halls. Styles was actually in both TNA and ROH during this time. Styles had some phenomenal–no pun intended–matches against CM Punk, Samoa Joe, and Daniel Bryan at these ROH shows. And of course, with ROH, you shake your opponent’s hand to show respect. That’s actually a nice tip of the hat Orton did there.
- Orton claims in 2005, Styles was getting a tan with Dixie Carter in Florida. I cannot find records of AJ Styles’s tanning schedule, so I’m going to take Orton’s word for it.
- In 2006-2015, Orton was a champion–on and off–and he made no mention of where Styles was. Styles was with TNA most of this time. He went back to ROH for a couple of years, and during this ROH stint, he was in New Japan for two years, as the leader of Bullet Club–that ridiculously popular Japanese stable started by Finn Balor and Bad Luck Fale–later adding Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, and others.
Anyway, Styles came out and the two had a pissing contest about each other’s careers. This all ends with Styles pointing at the Wrestlemania sign. Look, I was trying to keep opinion out of this–which I’ve ruined twice already–but Styles and Orton are much better than this story.
Kofi Gets Screwed Again
Earlier in the evening, during an 8-man tag team match Kofi Kingston came out with the New Day and attacked everyone. At the end of Smackdown, Vince McMahon came out to discuss what’s going on with Kingston. He explained he was giving Kingston a teachable moment, and the New Day came out to interrupt him. After some back and forth, Vince explained that if he was going to be a championship contender, it would have been years ago.
It’s now turned into a weird agism story mixed with the classic “you’re a B+ player” story we saw with Daniel Bryan. Literally, Vince mentions Bryan calling Kingston a “B+ player.” The heel’s storyline as the same a Bryan’s, but luckily, Kingston brings something extra to this on the face side of things.
Vince announced that if Kingston can win a gauntlet match against Cesaro, Sheamus, Samoa Joe, Randy Orton, and Rowan on next week’s episode of Smackdown, he’ll go to Wrestlemania.