– Tonight’s WWE SmackDown opens live from the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. Tom Phillips welcomes us. He’s joined by Corey Graves and Byron Saxton. Graves announces that Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair will join Kevin Owens on The KO Show tonight. Tom hypes Kofi Kingston’s big Gauntlet Match.
– We go to the ring and out comes The Miz as Greg Hamilton does the introduction.
The Miz hits the ring and we get a video package with highlights from last week’s promo by Shane McMahon. Miz talks about how he’s been focused on the Road to WrestleMania for years. He goes on about sacrificing for this business, and that’s what the business means to him. That’s what his friendship with Shane meant to him. He goes on about wanting to make his father proud. He says people warned him before he teamed up with Shane. Miz talks about how Shane decimated him in front of his dad at WWE Fastlane, then put hands on his 68 year old dad. Miz says he will never be able to forget that. Miz says Shane is a vile human being, rotten to the core just like his own father. Miz says Shane wasn’t born best in the world, he was born worst in the world because he’s a McMahon.
Miz says Shane and Vince think they can do what they want as billionaires, but they can’t, and they may own the company but they don’t own Miz. They also do not own Kofi Kingston. Fans chant for Kofi now. Miz goes on about hard work and earning respect. He says it’s been 13 years but he likes to think he has finally earned it. Fans pop. Fans chant “you deserve it!” now and Miz says damn right he does. Miz says Shane deserves an ass whooping at WrestleMania. Miz drops the mic and makes his exit as the music hits.
– We go to the ring and out come WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Sasha Banks and Bayley for their first blue brand appearance since winning the titles in February. We go to commercial.
Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Peyton Royce
Back from the break and Bayley and Sasha Banks wait in the ring for this non-title match. The IIconics are out next, Peyton Royce and Billie Kay. They work the mic on the way to the ring, taunting the champions, but Banks and Bayley aren’t impressed.
Kay starts off with Bayley but they taunt Bayley and in comes Peyton. Fans chant for Bayley as she goes at it with Peyton. Peyton avoids a shot and goes to the floor. She comes back in and Bayley drops her for a 2 count. Banks and Kay go at it now. Bayley comes in but the music interrupts and out comes Lacey Evans to walk the ramp like she has been doing. The IIconics take advantage of the distraction. Bayley doesn’t see the tag as Peyton comes in and drops her. Bayley kicks out at 2 and we go back to commercial.
Back from the break and The IIconics keep Bayley from tagging. Banks finally gets the hot tag and unloads on Peyton. Banks with a close 2 count. More back and forth between the two now. Banks drops Kay on the floor but Peyton comes from behind. Banks counters and drops her. Kay with another assist from the floor. Bayley comes over but Kay drops her with a big boot. Peyton takes advantage of the distraction and covers Banks for the non-title win.
Winners: The IIconics
– After the match, Kay and Royce head to the stage and celebrate as their music hits.
– Kayla Braxton is backstage with Rey Mysterio. Braxton says Rey has exciting news for his WrestleMania 35 plans. Rey introduces his son Dominic, who is all grown up now. Rey reveals he will face WWE United States Champion Samoa Joe at WrestleMania. Rey’s son says Joe is just a bully and he will be sitting front row at WrestleMania to watch his dad take care of the bully and bring home another title.
– We go to the ring and out comes Kevin Owens for The KO Show. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and the announcers go over the WrestleMania 35 card.
– We go to the ring and Kevin Owens is out for The Kevin Owens Show. He welcomes us to the new & improved KO Show, with fancy graphics and a table. Owens starts by giving props to Kofi Kingston ahead of tonight’s Gauntlet Match. Owens says he will be watching Kofi vs. WWE Champion Daniel Bryan very closely. He moves on to tonight’s guests and says their WrestleMania 35 match came from the hottest rivalry in WWE today. Owens introduces Becky Lynch first and out she comes to a pop.
Becky poses on the ropes as fans chant her name. Owens says the fans like Becky. He introduces Charlotte Flair next and out she comes. Flair poses in the ring as Becky looks on from her seat. Fans break out in a chant for Becky. Owens welcomes them and thanks them for joining him. Owens talks about how friendships can sometimes go wrong. Owens talks about their feud and RAW Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey, and says no one wants to see them talk anymore. Owens says this is The KO Show and here they can fight. Owens asks if they’re up for a fight. They stand up from the table and stare each other down.
Flair says she would beat the holy hell out of Becky. Owens goes to the apron before Becky answers. Becky responds with a shot to Flair. Flair comes across the desk and decks Becky back as the brawl kicks off. They go from the ring to the floor s referees try to break them up. Fans chant “let them fight!” now. Security is out now, trying to keep them apart. They start taking out security guards and then go back to fighting each other. Fans chant for Becky. They break free again as the brawl continues at ringside.
– Kayla Braxton is backstage with AJ Styles. She asks if he has what it takes to beat Randy Orton at WrestleMania 35. AJ puts Orton over and says he is great, which is why he’s been a multi-time champion in WWE. AJ goes on and says at WrestleMania 35, Orton will be standing across from someone who doesn’t have all the advantages Orton has. AJ says he’s not coming to WrestleMania to build, he’s coming to tear the house down because he is The Phenomenal One. AJ walks off and comes back to wish Kofi Kingston good luck in the main event.
– We go to the ring and out comes WWE Champion Daniel Bryan with Rowan. Back to commercial.
Back from the break and Bryan says Kofi Kingston being in tonight’s Gauntlet is an injustice because he doesn’t deserve the opportunity. He goes on about Kofi being picked and how he has recently lost. Bryan says Kofi has earned nothing because Kofi, unlike Bryan, is nothing more than a B Plus Player. Bryan says that’s OK for the fans because B+ is enough for them. Bryan says B+ is not good enough and no matter how much they chant for Kofi… fans start chanting for Kofi. Bryan says no matter how much they chant for Kofi, it won’t change the fact that he lost in the Gauntlet Match and Elimination Chamber, and at Fastlane. The music interrupts and out comes The New Day’s Kofi, Big E and Xavier Woods. Kofi rushes the ring as Bryan and Rowan exit. It’s time for the main event.
Gauntlet Match: Kofi Kingston vs. Cesaro, Sheamus, Randy Orton, Rowan, Samoa Joe
Kofi Kingston hits the ring to pose as fans chant his name. Rowan and Bryan look on from ringside. The music hits and out first to face Kofi are The Bar, Cesaro and Sheamus. We go to commercial.
Back from the break and Kofi is going up against Sheamus first. Sheamus takes it to the corner and backs off as Cesaro looks on from the outside. Kofi and Sheamus tangle for a few minutes as we see Big E and Xavier Woods watching from backstage. The announcers say they have been banned from ringside. Fans chant “you look stupid!” at Sheamus as he takes control of Kofi. Kofi fights up from the mat and takes Sheamus’ knee out. Fans chant for Kofi as he goes back & forth with Sheamus in the middle of the ring. Kofi with another takedown for a 2 count.
Sheamus whips Kofi into the corner but Kofi arm drags him across the ring. Kofi grounds Sheamus again for a 2 count. Sheamus charges but Kofi dumps him over the top to the floor. Kofi runs the ropes and leaps out, taking Sheamus back down on the floor. Fans chant for Kofi. They come back to the ring but Sheamus drops Kofi with a knee to the face. Sheamus unloads with forearms to the chest on the apron now. Cesaro laughs in Kofi’s face as the referee warns him. Kofi counters a move and drops Sheamus with a kick.
More back and forth now. Sheamus distracts the referee, allowing Cesaro to nail a cheap shot to the face. Sheamus with a 2 count as he keeps Kofi down. Kofi fights back in the ring now but Sheamus shuts him down and clubs him to the mat. Sheamus stands tall and yells out to the crowd as we go back to commercial.
Back from the break and they’re going at it in the middle of the ring. Kofi gets the upperhand and unloads. Kofi with the Boom Drop. Kofi with more offense and a big crossbody for a 2 count. Sheamus ends up hitting the Irish Curse backbreaker for a 2 count. Sheamus applies the Cloverleaf submission now. More close pin attempts and offense between the two. We see SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos backstage watching with Woods and Big E now.
Sheamus readies for a Brogue Kick while Kofi is down. Kofi blocks it and rolls him up for a close 2 count. Kofi nails Trouble In Paradise for the pin. Sheamus has been eliminated.
We see The Hardy Boys and others backstage watching with the others now. Cesaro hits the ring and delivers a big uppercut to the back of the neck. Cesaro with a 2 count. Cesaro drops Kofi again for another pin attempt. Cesaro with strikes in the corner now. Cesaro with the big gutwrench slam and another 2 count. Cesaro keeps Kofi grounded now. Cesaro with more offense and another big slam for a 2 count. We go back to commercial.
Back from the break and Cesaro continues to control Kofi as the viewing party in the back continues. Kofi fights out but Cesaro drops him and does the Cesaro Swing. Cesaro applies the Cloverleaf submission in the middle of the ring now. Kofi ends up avoiding a Neutralizer and hitting the SOS for the pin. Cesaro has been eliminated.
The music hits and out comes Rowan next as Kofi recovers in the ring. We see the rest of the locker room cheering Kofi on in the back. Rowan enters the ring as the referee checks on Kofi in the corner. Rowan goes right to work on Kofi with big power moves. Rowan with a big running splash in the corner. Rowan sends Kofi out to the floor and levels him with a clothesline. Rowan keeps control on the outside and launches Kofi into the barrier. Rowan grabs a steel chair and smacks Kofi over the back with it. The referee calls for the bell. Rowan has been disqualified and eliminated.
Rowan grabs Kofi and ragdolls him at ringside. Rowan rams Kofi back into the steel ring post. Rowan tosses Kofi over into the timekeeper’s area now. Rowan starts taking apart the announce table. Big E is frustrated backstage. Rowan grabs Kofi and puts him through the announce table with the Iron Claw. Rowan walks away as Kofi rolls around in pain. WWE United States Champion Samoa Joe is out next. We go to commercial as Joe marches to the ring.
Back from the break and Joe is beating Kofi around the ring as the others watch backstage. Joe beats Kofi down near the corner as some fans boo. Joe holds Kofi and makes him look up at the WrestleMania 35 sign, talking trash to him. Kofi tries to fight back but Joe decks him. Joe delivers a splash and a big kick in the corner to shut Kofi down again. Joe covers for a 2 count. Joe pounds on Kofi and talks more trash while he’s down. Tom says Kofi has been in the match for 33 minutes and counting.
Joe keeps Kofi grounded in the middle of the ring again. Kofi gets up and starts swinging wildly. Kofi charges but Joe levels him with a huge clothesline for a 2 count. Fans start rallying for Kofi now. Joe catches Kofi in a Coquina Clutch attempt but Kofi nails a jawbreaker. Kofi charges in the corner but Joe catches him with a huge Uranage for another pin attempt. More back and forth between the two as Kofi looks to mount momentum. Kofi misses a shot in the corner and Joe chops him in the back. Joe goes for a Musclebuster but Kofi slides down and rolls Joe up for the pin. Joe has been eliminated. We see the others in the back celebrating as fans chant for Kofi.
Joe comes from behind and applies the Coquina Clutch to Kofi. Kofi starts fading in the hold and then goes to sleep. Officials are out to back Joe off. Fans start booing for Joe as he makes his exit. We see the other Superstars in the back cheering for Kofi to recover. The music hits and out comes the final competitor – Randy Orton. We go to commercial as Kofi starts to wake up.
Back from the break and Orton is in control of Kofi on the outside of the ring. Orton talks trash to fans of Kofi while working him over. Kofi counters an attempt and sends Orton into the steel ring steps instead. Fans pop for Kofi. They bring it back into the ring and Orton beats Kofi down in the corner. Orton starts stomping on Kofi now. Orton covers for a 2 count. Orton shuts Kofi down again and keeps him grounded in the middle of the ring. Kofi fights up and out but Orton stops a dropkick attempt. Orton goes back to work on Kofi while he’s down. Kofi gets up again and blocks the RKO, then delivers a Trouble In Paradise. Kofi slowly crawls for the pin but Orton avoids it by rolling out of the ring. We go back to commercial.
Back from the break and Kofi fights Orton off from the top. Kofi sends Orton to the mat and goes for the crossbody but Orton catches him and covers for a 2 count. Orton with the second rope draping DDT. Orton plays to the crowd and hits the mat to stalk Kofi. Kofi blocks another RKO attempt and rolls Orton up out of nowhere for the pin to win the WrestleMania 35 title shot.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
– After the bell, The New Day hits the ring to celebrate with Kofi as the music hits. Orton sits up in the corner and can’t believe it. Big E and Woods raise Kofi on their shoulders as they point to the WrestleMania 35 sign. Vince McMahon comes out to the stage with a mic. Vince wants to say what everyone around the world is thinking – congratulations to Kofi. Vince says what Kofi has accomplished is nothing short of miraculous and he’s going to WrestleMania. Kofi is going to WrestleMania… as long as he can defeat this one last Superstar. Vince orders Woods and Big E to the back or Kofi will forfeit his opportunity. From the bottom of his heart, Vince wishes good luck to Kofi. The music hits and out comes WWE Champion Daniel Bryan.
Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston
The bell rings and Daniel Bryan attacks Kofi Kingston as he’s getting up from the corner. Bryan unloads with kicks in the corner.
Kofi fights back out of the corner but Bryan drops him. Bryan takes Kofi to the top and turns him upside down in a Tree of Woe. Bryan with more kicks while Kofi is upside down. Bryan climbs up for the belly-to-back superplex. Kofi kicks out at 2. Bryan goes into the LeBell Lock next. Fans chant for Kofi as he tries to get to the bottom rope. Kofi makes it and the hold is broken. Bryan with kicks while Kofi is on his knees now. Kofi ducks the roundhouse kick and nails SOS for a close 2 count.
Bryan goes on and hits corner dropkicks. Kofi turns the third into a roll-up for a 2 count. Kofi goes to the top but lands hard as Bryan moves. Bryan with shots to the face while Kofi is down. Bryan delivers the running knee as Kofi slowly gets up. Bryan covers for the pin to win. Kofi is not going to WrestleMania.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
– After the bell, Big E and Woods hit the ring to check on Kofi as Bryan makes his exit. Bryan raises the WWE Title belt on the ramp as SmackDown goes off the air.