WWE Smackdown is in Toledo, OH this evening. Starting at 8pm Eastern, we will have live coverage of the event, which includes all the fallout from WWE Backlash. Already announced is Jinder Mahal’s WWE Championship celebration, plus a tag match between Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch, against Natalya and Carmella. Also, Shane McMahon will make a major announcement for the upcoming Money in the Bank pay-per-view.
Join us here at 8pm Eastern, as well as on Twitter, @RingRap!
The show opens up with a recap of the main event of WWE Backlash, and highlights Jinder Mahal’s win, and features headlines from news outlets both in America and India. We go to the arena. Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton and JBL welcome us to the show. As they begin talking, we hear police sirens, and we go outside to where police escorts are leading the way for The Singh Brothers in one limo, and Jinder Mahal in another. The brothers take an oriental rug out from the back of a vehicle and lay it down before Jinder gets out of the car. He places the WWE Championship on his shoulder and begins laughing.
We go back inside, and Shane McMahon’s music hits. A Money in the Bank briefcase hangs above the ring. He talks about history being made with Jinder Mahal’s win on Sunday. He’s here to talk about the next pay-per-view though, and at Money in the Bank, Randy Orton will use his rematch clause in a title match against Jinder Mahal.
Also, we’ll see a Money in the Bank ladder match. He describes the match to the fans – it’s a multi-man ladder match, with the winner getting an instant-use contract for the WWE Championship. He begins to introduce the five participants in the match.
AJ Styles is the first one to come out, followed by Baron Corbin, Sami Zayn, Dolph Ziggler, and Kevin Owens. Shane asks the music turned off – he advises Owens that he’s not in the match. He introduces the fifth person, Shinsuke Nakamura.
Nakamura gets a full entrance compared to the rest of the participants. Shane starts to speak but Owens is not happy. He busts in and criticizes the five choices – he gets why some would be in it. Nakamura and Sami won their matches at Backlash, and he did too, but the guy he beat is in the match. He calls Smackdown the Land of Opportunity, but only when Shane dictates the opportunities. Owens says Shane is upset that he did what Shane couldn’t do – beat AJ Styles.
McMahon says that Owens has a lot to say, as usual. Because of his performance at Backlash, and because he’s US Champ, he’ll make him the sixth participant in the match. Owens is happy, and Corbin cuts him off – tells him to stop talking. “You came out here and you whined and you cried and you got in the match. But you’ll pay for that.” He says to the others they don’t stand a chance. He asks Shane to lower the briefcase now and just hand it to him.
Styles tells Corbin that this is the house that AJ Styles built. It wasn’t built on sticks and twigs – it was built on him being phenomenal every night – and not on cheap countouts. He doesn’t care if it’s WWE’s version of Eric Cartman (Owens), or The Showoff, or the Lone Wolf, or The Underdog, or The Rock Star. He’ll show the world why he’s the franchise player in WWE when he gets the briefcase and gets back his championship.
Zayn says he has a lot of respect for Styles, but he didn’t come to Smackdown to watch him run victory laps. Corbin cuts him off, says Zayn is running high on his fluke victory. Corbin calls Zayn the “Rudy” of Smackdown Live – just some guy that made a play. Zayn says Corbin calls it a fluke, but Zayn calls it kicking him in the face and winning. He has no problem kicking him again and challenges him to a match. Owens pipes in, Ziggler cuts him off. He says he’s the only one that actually won Money in the Bank – and he cashed in and became World Heavyweight Champion.
Nakamura takes the mic from Ziggler. He says for those that don’t know him, he is Shinsuke Nakamura. He says we can call him Mr. Money in the Bank. Shane McMahon then makes a pair of matches for tonight – Corbin vs. Zayn, and Dolph Ziggler & Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura.
I’m disappointed Nakamura is being tossed into this multi-man match for his second pay-per-view match on the main roster. Unless they’re looking to fast-track him to the title (this is one way to do it), it seems like a waste. I’m willing to be open minded, but they’re blowing his first main-roster matches with Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, and AJ Styles by doing this. Seems wasteful.
After the commercial, we’ve got a women’s tag match!
Natalya & Carmella (w/ James Ellsworth & Tamina) vs. Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch (w/ Naomi)
The Action: Carmella and Becky start it out. Back and forth headlocks early on. Carmella mocks Lynch, and Lynch fires back. The two work a backslide reversal. Carmella bails out and Natalya runs in. Both Lynch and Charlotte fend off the heels.
We go to a commercial break, and thankfully, it’s the return of the inset-commercial. The match continues as commercials air. Natalya yanks Becky’s legs out from under her, giving Carmella the advantage. Carmella slams her head-first into the turnbuckle (and her foot). She keeps Lynch away from Charlotte and tags in Natalya, who helps double-team. They tag frequently and keep Lynch isolated. Lynch starts to fight free but the referee is distracted when Charlotte tries to make a save. The heels take advantage of it. Finally, Lynch makes the tag. She hits a series of chops and a neckbreaker for two. Charlotte heads up top, Tamina distracts her, and Naomi takes Tamina out. Nattie hits a German Suplex, sending Charlotte into tagging range.
Both Lynch and Carmella legal again. Carmella slaps Becky in the face. Lynch goes for the Disarmer. Ellsworth hops up on the apron to help, but Naomi kicks his hand away. Carmella taps out.
The Winners: Becky Lynch & Charlotte Flair
A slight variation on the match we saw Sunday. Nothing fancy, fine for what it was.
The announcers hype upcoming action for tonight, including Corbin vs. Zayn and Mahal’s celebration.
Out of the break, we have another match!
Baron Corbin vs. Sami Zayn
The Action: A lockup starts it out. Corbin tosses Zayn across the ring like a fluffball. Zayn rolls Corbin up out of nowhere and gets the sudden win.
The Winner: Sami Zayn
Corbin is pissed. He immediately attacks Zayn from behind and stomps him. He tosses Sami outside the ring and over the timekeeper’s area. He hits Zayn with a chair across the back, and continues the assault into the crowd. He picks Zayn up on his shoulders and drops him across a barricade near the production crew. He beats Zayn some more and walks away.
After the break, the announcers recap Corbin’s attack on Zayn. During the commercial, Zayn was stretchered out of the building.
Backstage, AJ Styles welcomes Shinsuke Nakamura to Smackdown Live. He talks about the battles they’ve had in Japan and says they’ve earned each other’s respect. Tonight, for the first time, they’re a tag team. Styles admits to learning a few things from Nakamura, but he asks him to follow his lead. Nakamura agrees, saying tonight they’re a tag team, but at Money in the Bank, he’s going to get the briefcase, and turn AJ’s House into a playground.
The announcers cue up what might be the final Fashion Files. We see Shane McMahon’s office, decked out in post-it notes and a pushboard. Fandango walks in and says they were asked to come there. He asks him if he shaved his mustache. Shane says he never had a mustache and never asked them to come there. Fandango says he knows Shane asked them there to turn in their badges. Shane reminds them they aren’t real cops. Breeze asks if he wants their guns too and Shane gets worried. They hand over water pistols. “They’re loaded.” They start taking things out of boxes, and Breeze starts to take off his uniform. Shane stops them and tells them they’re showing a whole new side. He pairs them off in single’s matches against The Usos. Breezango are excited to be “back on the case.” They take their stuff and leave.
In the arena, a crew is decorating the ring for Jinder Mahal’s celebration… next.
Back from break, and the Punjabi Championship Celebration is about to begin. There’s drums and singing, and a group of men and women dancing. As far as I can tell, WWE hired a group that does this professionally. Everyone is in time with each other, so at least that’s good. Whether it’s culturally accurate, I can’t say. The Singh Brothers walk out and seem pleased. Then, WWE Champion Jinder Mahal is introduced.
Mahal walks out in a suit and tie, championship over his shoulder. The crowd boos Mahal, and he milks it as the dance troupe surrounds the ring. He says we can shower him with hatred, but 1.3 billion in India are celebrating the fact that he is WWE Champion. He says the fans booed him be looks different, talks different, but now the fans boo him because he exposed everyone as the fools they are. He says Orton is just like America – on the decline. He is on the rise – and is the greatest WWE Champion of all time. Mahal continually addresses the audience as “You people.” He says he celebrates for “his people” – Punjab and India. He asks the audience to keep quiet so he can speak to his people in Punjabi. He ends it with “Jinder Mahal – Maharaja.” Fireworks go off above the ring and on the ramp.
Not much to say here – Mahal is getting good heat but it’s at the most basic level. I wish I could criticize it further, but it’s working. The fans are booing the crap out of him, and the boos escalate the longer he talks, so he’s getting the proper reaction.
Another vignette for Lana airs. It’s more of the same of the previous few weeks. She is still “coming soon.”
The Usos come out to the ring for their matches, followed by Breezango. Tyler Breeze walks out with his box of propers.
Jey Uso vs. Tyler Breeze
The Action: Jey Uso doesn’t even look dressed to compete. He grabs a mic after the bell rings and says they already beat them at Backlash. Fandango distracts him with a water gun and Jey takes a swing. Breeze rolls him up from behind and gets the three count.
The Winner: Tyler Breeze
Fandango and Jimmy Uso step in for their match.
Fandango vs. Jimmy Uso
The Action: Uso is pissed, and he goes strong against Fandango. Meanwhile, Breeze puts on a wig and wiggles handcuffs at Jey. The two run around the ring in a circle, and Jimmy gets distracted, giving Fandango the roll-up victory.
The Winner: Fandango
Fandango grabs a mic and asks them “Why the long faces? It looks like you got caught wearing white after Labor Day.” Breeze calls it a fashion felony, and asks them for a rematch for the tag titles. The Usos are pissed and they want to put the belts on the line right now. The referee puts on a headset at ringside, to confer with someone backstage. He nods his head and the announcer makes it official.
Breezango vs. The Usos (c) for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships
The Action: The match begins as commercials air in the inset. Jimmy (I think, it’s hard to see) immediately clotheslines Breeze. He bodyslams him and tags in his brother. Through the break they keep Breeze isolated. Breeze fights out of a headlock and makes the hot tag.
Fandango is on fire, but Jey counters with a punch to the jaw. Fandango hits a spin kick in return. He uses Jimmy as a springboard and hits a tornado DDT on Jey. He goes for a Falcon Arrow, but Jey sends him into the ring post. They superkick Breeze to keep him down, and Jey goes for a frogsplash, but Fandango gets the knees up. He rolls Jey for two.
Fandango goes up top, and Jey distracts him. Blind tag and a frogsplash gives The Usos the win.
The Winners: The Usos to retain the Smackdown Tag Team Championships
The fans were hot for this match, but I would’ve been floored if the titles changed hands. This seems to move Breezango out of the title picture and sets The Usos up for the next challenger.
Shane McMahon is on the phone when Natalya busts in. She reminds him of when he told her all she has to do is ask for an opportunity at the Smackdown Women’s Championship. So, she’s asking. She makes a case for herself, but before Shane can respond, Carmella and Ellsworth interrupt. Carmella says she’s pinned Naomi twice. Becky Lynch walks in and says she was the first SD Women’s Champ and therefore it’s her championship to reclaim. Tamina shuts them all up and says they all had a chance and all failed. It’s her turn. Ellsworth tells her the reason she hasn’t had her opportunity is because she’s too busy to check him out. Charlotte interrupts and says the only reason the Welcoming Committee exists is because Charlotte showed up and nearly won the title.
Shane decides that next week there will be a Fatal Four-Way Elimination Match. The winner will face Naomi at Money in the Bank.
On tonight’s 205 Live, Akira Tozawa vs. Brian Kendrick in a Street Fight. Kendrick cuts a promo about the disrespect Tozawa has given him.
We go ringside…
AJ Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler & Kevin Owens
The Action: Styles and Ziggler start off. Styles cinches a headlock on Ziggler. Ziggler cinches his own. The two trade off blows, and then Styles tags in Nakamura. Owens tags in. They go at it, until Nakamura sets up a Kinshasa, but Owens bails out of the ring in time for a commercial.
Out of the break, Nakamura is playing mind games with Owens. He drops a knee and stomps Owens in the corner, gyrating. Owens hangs Nak up on the top rope to regain control. Tag to Ziggler, who grinds Nakamura’s face into the top rope. Ziggler keeps Nakamura grounded, locking in a sleeper. He tags in Owens while keeping Nakamura grounded. Owens stomps Nak in the corner. This match is chinlock city.
Ziggler legal. Nakamura goes for a tag but Ziggler slams him into their corner and tags in Owens, who hits a clothesline and a cannonball. Two-count. We go to break.
We return to Ziggler keeping control of Nakamura. Nak and Ziggler trade strikes, but Ziggler misses a shoulder block, hitting the post straight on. Nakamura makes the hot tag and AJ takes Ziggler down with strikes. He hits a low flying forearm for two. Ushigaroushi for two. Ziggler sends Styles out of the ring and tags Owens, who hits a senton on the floor. He slams Styles into the apron, and hits a running knee to the back. Owens hits a back body drop for two. He lays in strikes.
Ziggler legal, he attacks Styles on the turnbuckle. Styles slips free and hits a sitout flapjack. He makes the hot tag to Nakamura. Owens tags in as well. Nakamura hits a flurry of kicks and a running knee. He sets Owens up in the corner, hits a running knee and gets a two-count. Nakamura hits a knee, follows it up with a spin kick, and Ziggler breaks the pin. Nakamura hits an Exploder suplex on Ziggler. Styles hits a Pele Kick on Owens and goes for a Pele, but gets superkicked. Nakamura takes Ziggler out and hits the Kinshasa knee on Owens for the win.
Winners: AJ Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura
A fun tag match but the chinlocks early on were excessive. The match was fine overall though, especially towards the end. Nakamura got a chance to get his offense over and the fans seemed into it.
I like the direction they’re heading in for Money in the Bank, but I have reservations. The MITB match itself looks solid on paper, but it’s giving away a lot of first-time match-ups that could be saved for pay-per-view. It just feels like a waste to blow them all out of the way early on.
Time to fire up 205 Live… join me won’t you? Thanks for reading!