Hey there guys, it’s your SmackDown reviewer David Spain here, as we’ve reached the other side of Money in the Bank and what an interesting show that was. I’m sure we’ll get to that in due time, but for now let’s get right to the show.
A promo at the start of the show tells us that Daniel Bryan is going to deal with this whole first ever Women’s Money in the Bank hoo-hah. And backstage, Charlotte, Becky, Natalya, Tamina are arguing with Daniel Bryan and then amongst each other when Bryan abandons the conversation.
They had better have an amazing idea where they’re taking this
And on the main stage, James Ellsworth and Carmella are making their entrance. They grab microphones and Ellsworth demands that we show respect to a woman who couldn’t win a match without a man’s help. Carmella says that she wants to address the elephant in the room, that being that the ending of that match was really, really stupid. She says that she doesn’t care, because she’s constantly been underestimated by these women so why should she care about girl power. Oh wow: is Carmella the Uncle Tom in this situation?
Carmella says that the fact that everyone except possibly Lana is a better wrestler than she is, and people even like Lana better than her, that makes it okay for her to pull shit like this. She even points to a few past examples of Money in the Bank match scandals, none of which I believe involved anyone not in the match actually removing the briefcase and none of which screwed the end of a historic, first-ever match.
Carmella asks how one can break rules in a match which has no rules. Well, how can you get DQ’d from the Royal Rumble, because that’s happened before. You know, if you’re going to do something like this, then at least have the women’s division invade the men’s match, beat down the exhausted competitors and then throw the briefcase down to the mat in protest. Have Corbin be the first guy to grab it so the result stays the same, but at least the Division gains some prestige back.
Meanwhile, Charlotte is backstage with Bryan, demanding that he take action. We are really having a close example of the rules of WWE wrestling matches. She demands that Bryan do the right thing tonight.
Where is American Alpha?
The New Day makes their entrance, ready for Big E vs. Jimmy Uso. They address the fact that the Usos ran off with the Championships, and invite the Champs to step into the New Day’s playpen. Big E is the Warden of that particular playpen, and Kofi implies that the guy is hung like a horse: fits in with my theories. It’s not often you hear the word “playpen” so close to an observation on dick size, and it’s even rarer that it’s a good thing.
The Usos make their way to the ring and the match gets underway. Jimmy starts off aggressive, chopping at the mighty chesticles of Big E before he’s locked in an abdominal stretch and takes a spanking. A follow-up back elbow from E knocks Jim right out of the ring, and the New Day member works him over on the outside. It looks like Big E’s going for an apron legdrop, but Jey’s not down with that move-stealing bullshit and distracts Langston long enough that Jimmy can superkick him off the apron.
Big E’s in rough shape, but beats the count back into the ring so he can get kicked around by Jimmy. The asskicking continues, with Jimmy locking Big E in a sleeper hold. E manages to toss Jimmy on the apron, but Uso fights back, flies off the top rope and gets caught with a barrage of belly-to-bellies! Big E goes for the Warrior Splash, but is caught with a Samoan Drop by Jimmy.
Jimmy takes a moment to superkick Kofi, allowing him to run right into a Rock Bottom from Big E. Big Ending almost strikes, but Jimmy slides out of both the move and the ring. And the Usos are going to take another walk, but Kofi flies out of nowhere and takes out Jey as Woods stops Jimmy from leaving. Jimmy catches Big E with an uppercut, tries for the superkick but is caught with the Big Ending.
Good match, even if most of it took place during commercials. I like that the Usos are portrayed as able combatants, even if they are doing the whole walk-out thing. 2.5 Stars.
Backstage, Bryan is talking to Shane on the phone, who I guess is continuing with his “doing nothing about situations” streak from Sunday night. Natalya comes up to (metaphorically) plant her cheeks firmly on Bryan’s ass as Tamina makes as many exasperated faces as she can before demanding that Bryan take action. Oh wow: Shane was on the phone for all of that.
And elsewhere, Dasha is asking Naomi what the fuck about the Money in the Bank Ladder match. Naomi says that it’s bullshit, but whoever comes at her Championship is in for a bad time. Lana rocks up to say that she would have won last night if she wasn’t easily distracted (a flaw shared by all wrestlers, to be fair). She demands a rematch; Naomi says that that is preposterous, but then agrees to it in the same sentence. Sure, I guess.
Oh, speaking of easily distracted: Randy Orton does not deserve another Championship opportunity again, ever ever. There needs to be punishments for stupidity, and Randy Orton is public enemy number one. The commentators try to make it seem like Orton’s some kind of great hero for saving his father from the Singh Brothers, rather than an idiot for spending more of the match beating up his opponent’s assistants than his opponent. I mean, Cowboy Bob was sat between Ric Flair and Sergeant Slaughter: he was the safest person in the whole arena.
We see a clip of Randy getting interviewed by Tom Phillips, who doesn’t call Orton a fucking moron because I guess we’re condoning his actions. Orton says that he doesn’t hold with anyone disrespecting his family, and Jesus Christ this feud is not over. My God, can we at least have some fucking build and intrigue for this match, because the last couple may as well have been on the fucking pre-show. At least Orton threatens to cripple Jinder and beat up his entire family, which is the kind of passion I want to see ina main event match.
Third time lucky?
Just this forever, please
But time for a match people actually want to see: it’s Dolph Ziggler vs. Shinsuke Nakamura! The Showoff and the Artist make their entrances, and let’s get this underway.
Both men move in cautiously, with Dolph trying to grapple as Nakamura favours strikes. Ziggler latches on to Shinsuke’s knee, who counters with a waistlock which Ziggler reverses. Nakamura goes for a roll-up, turning it into a cross armbreaker; Ziggler escapes and rolls out of the ring for a breather. He returns, moving in slowly before suddenly cinching in a hold, all over Nakamura as he tries to score with some quick covers. Shinsuke reaches the ropes to break the hold, then ducks Ziggler’s punch and unloads on the guy with kicks.
Nakamura hooks the head, snapmaring Dolph and dropping a knee onto him. He hits Ziggler with Good Vibrations, misses a charge into the corner but is able to dodge Ziggler’s dropkick. Dolph is able to shove Nakamura face-first into the corner, then scores with a second dropkick which earns him a two-count. Ziggler slowly rakes the face of Shinsuke, slowing the pace of the match. He drags Nakamura’s forehead over the ropes, then locks in a sleeper hold. Nakamura tries to fight free, managing to elevate Dolph right over the top rope and into a commercial break!
When we come back, Ziggler has recovered and has Nakamura in a headlock. Shinsuke tries to fight his way out, rocking Dolph with a knee to the stomach and then an enzuigiri! Ziggler gets rocked by punches, but is able to drag Shinsuke down to the mat by his hair. He runs off the ropes, right into another knee and then a bunch of kicks. Running boot puts Dolph the fuck down, and he’s set up in the corner for another running kick to the gut, getting a near fall.
More knees smash into Dolph’s midsection, then Nakamura locks him in a front facelock. Ziggler resists as best he can, but gets dropped face-first out of a vertical suplex. Nakamura goes for the Kinshasa, but Ziggler dodges, stamps on Nakamura’s knee and hits the Fame-Asser for two!
Ziggler crawls towards a prone Shinsuke, then reaches his feet and readies a superkick. Nakamura ducks the kick, misses an enzuigiri and manages to lock in the cross armbreaker! Ziggler rakes the eyes in desperation, managing to break the hold and win himself some recuperation time. Nakamura stumbles to his feet, gets caught by a surprise back elbow and tries to hit Ziggler with the exploder suplex; Dolph rolls his way out of it and hits the ZigZag! Nakamura barely kicks out, and Ziggler immediately locks in the sleeper hold!
Shinsuke struggles, fading away the whole time, but reaches his feet before headbutting his way out. He catches Ziggler with a vicious boot to the back of the head, and the Kinshasa connects to give Nakamura the win!
Great match, with both men doing an amazing job. 4 Stars.
Backstage, Sami Zayn is shooting the shit with Bryan about their glorious beards and awesome movesets. Bryan gives Zayn a match against Corbin next week, just as Becky approaches the beardy lovefest. Sami offers his condolences to Becky for being subservient to a shitty storyline.
Becky thanks Zayn and commiserates with him about his way more awesome loss. She then turns on Bryan, giving an incredibly emotional speech about what fucking bullshit this is. Daniel says that it’s complicated, prompting the words, “is doing the right thing really that complicated?” Holy shit, I just got impressed by pro wrestling dialogue.
Oh, holy hell: American Alpha’s alive
Kevin Owens makes his way to the ring, looking battered to fuck. Him grabbing the ladder to try and stop Nakamura taking it was my favourite Owens moment of Sunday night.
Once in the ring, he immediately calls conspiracy on the Money in the Bank Ladder match, which is totally the wrong match to be complaining about right now. He says that he’s still here and still unbroken and still our United States Champion. Owens says that SmackDown Live might be the Land of Opportunity, but America was the original holder of that title. As the United States Champion, tonight he’s giving a hometown hero a chance at the belt.
AJ Styles immediately appears, walking down to the ring. He says that the only thing better than being United States Champion is beating Kevin Owens for the United States Champion. See, even Styles doesn’t want any of the WWE Championship feud on him. Owens says that that’s stupid: Styles isn’t from wherever they are tonight.
Then American Alpha show up, and Owens says that they aren’t from there either. Gable says that he just moved here today, and then gives out what is hopefully not really his real address on live TV.
Owens is still trying to keep up with things before Gable is on him, taking him over again and again. He almost cinches in the ankle lock, but Owens is able to reach the ropes and slip out of the ring into a commercial.
When we come back, Gable fights his way out of a superplex. Owens tugs him back down to earth, then sends him off the ropes for a Pop-Up Powerbomb. Gable counters, getting him into a victory roll pin for a near win! Owens catches Chad with a superkick, which gets another near fall, but then eats a tornado DDT and a moonsault from Gable!
Owens elbows his way out of a German suplex and hurls Gable shoulder-first into the steel post. The cannonball misses; Gable rolls Owens up and German suplexes him with a bridge with for another near fall. Owens is able to trip Gable up onto the ropes, then hits him with the Pop-Up Powerbomb to finish things.
Original, high-impact match which did Gable a fair bit of good. I’d love to see Alpha dominate Owens and a partner in a tag team situation; make it clear that there are areas of expertise. 3 Stars.
Backstage, Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley are with Daniel Bryan, watching a tape of Ryder injuring his knee like the sick fucks they are. They claim that they never got their title shot that they earned in that particular match, and Bryan offers them a chance to earn a number one contenders shot next week in a match against the Usos.
Sami Zayn and Tye Dillinger are backstage, doing a live commercial for some kind of ice cream. Honestly not the most cheesy I’ve seen.
You know what? I’ll take it
Here’s Daniel Bryan, and he’s out here to address either the Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder match, the Tag Team Championship number one contenders situation or the fact that Randy Orton is threatening Jinder Mahal’s family like Liam Neeson with a meth addiction.
Bryan says that it’s great to be back, even though he wishes it was under different circumstances. He says that he’s been told that he has to take his emotions out of the equation and stick to the WWE rule book. My flatmate and I just had a good long laugh at that one.
Daniel calls all the Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder match participants down to the ring, just to add a little more tension to this situation. Everyone rocks up, and Bryan says that his decision involves all the participants. He starts off by saying that Carmella made some good points: there are no rules in a Money in the Bank Ladder match. He also says that nothing in the rule book states that someone else can’t grab the briefcase for you. Which, to be honest, is ridiculous: I know that Chris Jericho came up with this concept, but you’d think there’d be some damn quality control.
Apparently the wording is “the first woman to hold the briefcase is the winner of the match”. Wow, if those are actually the rules then they were basically enabling this. He does admit that this situation is unprecedented, and he says this whilst looking seriously pissed off at Ellsworth. Ellsworth decides to make this conversation more amicable by patronising Bryan and insulting the man’s newborn. If looks could kill, then Ellsworth’s ghost would be a homicide victim.
Bryan pretty much screams threats at Ellsworth regarding the mentioning of his infant. Everyone starts taking shots at each other, and then Bryan tells them to calm down like that doesn’t make him a fucking hypocrite. He says that they competed in a historical match up, and that Carmella’s about to make history too: she’s going to be the first Money in the Bank Ladder match winner to have to hand back the briefcase.
Next week, we are having a Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder rematch! Bryan snatches the briefcase and walks off like a badass; the women all start fucking each other up until it’s just Charlotte, Becky and Carmella in the ring. Charlotte hits Carmella with Natural Selection and then Becky fucks up her shit with the Disarmer.
I’m actually kind of fine with this.
Baron Corbin: troll extraordinaire
The Singh Brothers are on the entrance ramp, their shirts fucking scientifically calculated to clash with the bright red on the screens as perfectly as possible. Jinder comes out in his boss-ass turban, ready to take on Luke Harper. I mean…if the guy’s supposed to be World Champion, make him fight people like Baron Corbin or Shinsuke Nakamura.
Here comes Harper, and it’s time for our main event. Both men lock up, with Mahal gaining the advantage early on and beating down Harper. Harper bulls out of the corner and runs over Jinder before smashing into him with a dropkick, sending the WWE Champ under the ropes and into a commercial. When we come back, Mahal is still on the outside; Harper dives out at him, but Jinder throws a Singh Brother in the way and takes advantage with a running knee.
Back in the ring, Jinder latches onto Harper with a half-chinlock before smashing the back of his head off the mat. Mahal stays on the former Wyatt Family member, dropping knees to the back and side. Harper retaliates with a chop and takes a boot to the head as payback, getting put back in the modified chinlock.
Hard back elbow to the head staggers Harper, but he counters beautifully with a butterfly suplex. He begins to gain momentum, squashing Jinder in the corner. Jinder dodges another charge at him in the corner, but Luke floats over the top rope, socks Mahal in the face and sentons back in onto the Champ. Big boot almost nets Harper the win, the Mahal ducks the Discus Clothesline but is sent off the ropes into a side slam for a near fall.
Jinder slides out of a suplex but gets elbowed in the face. Harper heads up to the top and Mahal follows him up, taking him back down with a superplex.
And then Baron Corbin’s music hits. Oh my God, I love this man. Oh my God, he’s not even cashing in. He’s just laughing at Mahal, the absolute madman.
Harper superkicks Mahal, but is distracted by one of the Singh Brothers and takes a boot and the Khallas from Mahal to finish the match.
I’d love to see Jinder beat someone at this low a level clean. If you look like you chug steroids out of a litre glass, then you should be able to beat Luke Harper. 2 Stars.
And then Randy Orton’s music hits. Holy shit, this is not his night. Orton arrives and fucks up the Singh Brothers before hitting the ring and beating the holy shit out of Mahal. He Vintage DDTs him out on the floor and throws him back into the ring for the RKO. The Singh Brothers interfere, managing to save Jinder, but eat RKOs as Orton stares down a fleeing Jinder.
The bad: Mahal/Orton round three is, I assume, going to suck just as much as rounds one and two. Mahal himself really needs to improve in the ring.
The good: everything else. The decision from Bryan, the Ziggler/Nakamura match, the Gable/Owens match, the Big E/Uso match, Becky’s fantastic emotional backstage promo with Bryan…solid, great stuff all through. 10/10.
Tags: AJ Styles, Baron Corbin, Becky Lynch, Breezango, byron saxton, Carmella, charlotte, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, James Ellsworth, jbl, Jinder Mahal, Kevin Owens, Lana, Luke Harper, naomi, natalya neidhart, Randy Orton, sami zayn, Shane McMahon, shinsuke nakamura, smackdown live, tamina, The New Day, the usos, Tom Phillips