WWE Smackdown is in Rochester, NY this evening, and we will have full coverage of the show, as it happens, starting at 8:00pm Eastern. Already announced? Shinsuke Nakamura will take on Kevin Owens for the first time on the main roster in a singles’ match.
Plus, Money in the Bank is right around the corner? What will the major players have to say?
Tune in for coverage beginning at 8pm, and be sure to join us on Twitter as well, @RingRap!
Our show opens with a recap of the #1 Contendership match for the Smackdown Women’s Title from last week. The match never happened – all five women brawled intensely at ringside before the match could even begin. The closing show of the brawl is Charlotte powerbombing Natalya through the table. We see Shane McMahon make the first ever Women’s Money in the Bank match for the pay-per-view on June 18th.
We head to the arena and sure enough, Shane O’Mac opens up the show. Tom Phillips, JBL, and Byron Saxton welcome us to the show. Standing in the ring, Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Tamina, Carmella (and James Ellsworth), and Natalya.
Shane welcomes us to the show. He introduces each woman to the crowd, listing their accomplishments or by their nickname (he calls Tamina a “2-time superstar”). He asks for a drumroll as the Women’s version of the briefcase is lowered, and he unveils it from it’s shroud, showing a white case with a green logo and gold trim.
Shane talks about the match being extremely dangerous, and says everyone leaves a piece of themselves in the ring – physically or emotionally. He hypes risk vs. reward, and reminds us that the winner gets a shot at the Smackdown Women’s Champion anytime, any place. Shane talks about historically, the winner becomes the champ.
James Ellsworth interrupts Shane, duh. Carmella says there’s only going to be one woman looking down at the others, but Charlotte cuts her off. “The Queen has something to say.” She thanks Shane for allowing the other four the opportunity to brush up against greatness. She says when she wins, she’ll add to her legacy.
Natalya is sick of Charlotte ripping off her father. She’s the best there is, best there was… well Becky cuts her off for ripping off her uncle. She’s good at ripping off arms, and she’ll rip them all off to get the case. Tamina puts everyone in their place, and then Naomi heads to the ring, full entrance. She hypes up the audience and grabs a mic. She says she loves being the Smackdown Women’s Champion, but she wishes she could be in the match because it’s going to be lit. She says it’s historic, but whoever wins the contract will have to face her… and then Lana’s music hits.
Lana walks out wearing a long blue dress. She shakes and dances on her way to the ring. I’m curious to see if she still has her accent.
Shane says hello to her, and says it’s all about the land of opportunity, but right now is not the best time. Lana speaks (with the accent). She promises him that what works for her will work for Shane. She says Naomi can’t compete in the match, but she can. There’s some subtle laughter, and then Naomi flat-out loses it. Naomi balks at the idea of Lana being able to hang in the Money in the Bank match, since she hasn’t even had a single’s match. She asks her who she’s beaten, and she waits for an answer. Lana says she can beat her. The two bicker, and Shane breaks it up, saying that Lana needs to earn her place in a Smackdown Women’s Championship match. Lana gets frustrated and storms off.
The crowd chants “We want Lana” as Shane pivots to the upcoming match – a six-women tag team match, after the break!
A surprising introduction for Lana, but I’m glad they’re keeping the focus on the title – both by letting her express desire in winning it, and by keeping her out of the match (she *does* need to earn it, in my opinion). I was nervous that Naomi would put her title on the line in a match tonight and somehow Lana would pick up a cheap win (thus allowing Naomi to be in the MitB match), but thankfully they didn’t go down that route.
Naomi & Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch vs. Carmella & Natalya & Tamina
The Action: Natalya and Charlotte start it off. Both ladies reverse headlocks and head scissors. Natalya no-sells a chop, but the following two send her down. Becky and Carmella tag in, and Becky gains control early on. Becky does a spot where she rolls Carmella around in a circle before going for a cover. It’s worth two. The action spills outside and Natalya hits a nasty clothesline, dropping Lynch on the floor. We go to break as the action continues, picture-in-picture style.
Carmella gains control throughout the break. Tamina tags in, keeping control of Lynch. More rapid tags, Lynch is still grounded. This continues out of the break. Lynch finally fights free and stretches for the tag, and she makes it. Naomi comes in like a house on fire. She hits her flurry of kicks. Tamina tags in and slams Naomi into the turnbuckles, but Naomi counters with a kick and a springboard cross body for two. Natalya and Tamina team up on Charlotte. Lana makes her way down to the ring and looks on, talking trash to Naomi. When Naomi turns her back on the apron, Lana yanks her legs out, giving Tamina a chance to hit a superkick for the win.
Winners: Carmella & Natalya & Tamina
Well, it looks like Naomi has something to do at Money in the Bank after all – I’m guessing Lana will weasel her way into a title match against the champ.
I’ll be disgusted if she wins it.
Backstage, Shane McMahon looks to the Andre the Giant Memorial trophy. Mojo Rawley walks in and says winning it was the greatest moment of his life, and he felt it would open a lot of doors for him, but he’s been a ghost on Smackdown. He says he’s been on the bunch for two months – but Smackdown is the land of opportunity. He’s not asking for a handout, just an opportunity. He knows Shane may have had reasons for leaving him out of the Money in the Bank match – but if it’s because he forgot about him, he wants to remind him that he has, in fact, beaten the WWE World Champion Jinder Mahal, and he’s the only one that has.
Shane says there are a lot of guys that want to break through – Tye Dillinger, Luke Harper (cheers). He offers Mojo an opportunity and a chance to earn his way into the Money in the Bank match, if he can beat the champion, Jinder Mahal.
A pretty good segment. Mojo is at his best when he speaks naturally and maturely. He made some valid points too – he may have won the trophy, but he hasn’t been in the ring much since. Time to change that if he’s to be a long-term player.
AJ Styles vs. Dolph Ziggler
The Action: Early on, both men trade locks, trying to get the best position. Ziggler hits a headbutt, Styles fires back with a flurry of attacks, Ziggler counters with a dropkick as we go to break early on.
We come back to the match. The two trade blows. Ziggler misses a Fameasser attempt, Styles counters. Ziggler goes for a pin with his feet on the ropes, Styles kicks out. Fameasser connects for two. The two battle up top, Ziggler going for a superplex. Styles slips free, Ziggler misses a 2nd rope DDT. Styles hits a forearm from the apron. He feints a Phenomenal Forearm. Back and forth pin attempts, but Styles grabs Ziggler and sets him up for the Styles Clash. It hits, and Styles gets the win.
The Winner: AJ Styles
This was a back and forth match that did more for Ziggler than Styles. It looked like a hard-fought match, with Styles edging out the clean win due to his experience. Dolph needs more matches like this though, both heading into the pay-per-view and after.
The announcers cue up a new Fashion Files segment, entitled “Dumb on Arrival.” Tyler Breeze narrarates as we see various photos on the wall. Breeze says it was a slow night in Rochester. Fandango walks in shirtless (with a tie), and says he took the bottle of cologne to the boys in the lab, but there are no boys, and there is no lab. He tasted it and says he doesn’t think it’s The Colon’s cologne. Breeze is confused. The two try to work it out, to much confusion.
Meanwhile, The New Day wheel up their Ice Cream Cart (in color) but when they enter the room with Breeze and Dango, they are in black and white. They ask for help and Breezango agree in their thoughts. New Day is confused, and then they give them male rompers. Fandango throws it to the ground. They try to hand it back to him, he throws it again. Fandango says they don’t take bribes, but Breeze is already wearing the romper. Anyhow, New Day is just looking for intel on The Usos, and Breezango give them three boxes of stuff. Xavier corrects them when they say they’re “H”, and then they awkwardly walk away.
These segments jumped the shark for me weeks ago. This was no different.
Mojo Rawley makes his entrance as we go to break.
We return to The Singh Brothers coming out to introduce Jinder Mahal. Mahal makes his full entrance, which now includes an oriental rug in the middle of the ring.
Mojo Rawley vs. Jinder Mahal
The Action: Early on, Rawley gets the advantage. Mahal backs into the ropes to gain some space. He hits a flying shoulder block than sends Mahal tumbling through the ropes. Mahal looks pissed as Mojo says “He ain’t hyped!” Back in the ring, Mojo hits a pounce. The Singh Brothers distract Rawley, and it gives Jinder the advantage. Mojo recovers and picks up speed, sending Mahal into the corner and hitting a splash. Mahal rakes the eyes and sends Rawley into the ring post. He hits the Colloss (sp?) and it’s over.
Winner: Jinder Mahal
After the match, Mahal cuts a promo reminding the fans that he is the WWE champion. The fans break out into a USA chant. He says he dismantled the dreams of Mojo Rawley, like he’s going to dismantle the dreams of Randy Orton in his hometown. He says the fans that support Orton are sick, but he is the antidote, our medicine. He says we will have no choice but to accept him as our modern day Maharaja. He then cuts a promo in Punjabi.
I’m disappointed that Rawley lost, but it doesn’t make sense to have him beat Mahal either. They sort of booked themselves into a corner.
A vignette for Shinsuke Nakamura airs. It hypes up his nickname, “The Artist.” We see someone painting a portrait spliced with clips of Nakamura in NXT, with the fans, etc.
The New Day heads to the ring as we go to break.
Randy Orton speaks with Renee Young after the break – he says he got a bunch of phonecalls from legends like his father, Ric Flair and others that agreed with him – actions speak louder than words. He says at Money in the Bank, he won’t need to speak a single word, and Jinder Mahal will hear him just fine.
The Colons vs. The New Day
The Action: Primo and Xavier Woods start it off. Xavier gets the advantage early on. He tosses Primo into Big E and makes the tag. New Day continues to dominate as we go to an inset commercial.
Through the action, New Day maintains control. Epico (I think) sends Xavier Woods into the bottom ropes head first, turning the tides. The tag is made and they work Xavier over in the ring. Primo keeps Woods cornered. He sets him up on the top turnbuckle. Woods headbutts him to the mat. Woods rises to his feet and hits a missile dropkick.
Tag to Big E, who hits belly to bellies. Big splash connects. Woods dives over the top rope onto Primo. Epico hits a jaw breaker. Blind tag to Woods, who hits an enzuigiri and the Midnight Hour for the win.
Winners: The New Day
The Usos walk out to interrupt the celebration. They call New Day old news. They tell them to keep doing what they’re doing, because they’ll keep doing what they are. They have the division on lock. “Welcome to the Uso Penetentary.” They say they’ve got jokes, and make fun of each New Day member (Kofi’s pigtails and crop top, Big E’s name vs. Bra Size, Xavier Woods’ shoes). At Money in the Bank, there will be no more jokes. They’re gonna start feeling weird, because it’s not paranoia – it’s the Usos!
Another solid promo, less cheesy than previous ones. It felt more real yet more refined, if that makes sense. These guys are great on the mic.
Out of the break, Dasha Fuentes interviews Sami Zayn. He says he’s been watching a lot of footage of his opponents, and it’s helped him pick up on tendencies. The one guy he can’t seem to figure out is Nakamura. He knows first-hand how dangerous Nakamura can be, which is why he’ll be doing commentary during his match tonight. The thing that makes him so dangerous is his charisma. You get mesmerized by his gestures that you forget how precise his strikes are.
Baron Corbin walks in and asks if he can ask Zayn a question. He then immediately attacks him with a punch to the face. He hits him with a nearby ladder. Corbin picks him up and tells him he shouldn’t be worried about Nakamura – and says a spot on commentary just opened up.
Shane McMahon is on the phone talking about the attack when Naomi busts in and demands a match with Lana. Shane tells her she’s got no obligation to fight her. Naomi says she’ll put her title on the line and *wants* to fight her. Shane makes it official. Naomi tells him to let her know she’s gonna snatch her bald.
Kevin Owens vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
The Action: The fans chant for Nakamura through his entrance. He goes for low kicks early on. Nakamura uses some fancy footwork to kippup out of a wristlock, and then taunts Owens into an enzuigiri. We go to break.
We return to the match in progress. Baron Corbin is at ringside. Owens has control after yanking the leg out from under Nakamura. He maintains control of Nakamura, keeping him grounded. Nakamura fires up, hitting a series of strikes. He sets Owens up on the corner and hits a running knee strike. He hits a flying knee for two. Owens fights out of an exploder with a headbutt. He sets Nakamura up top and goes for a superplex. Nakamura fights free, but Owens yanks the legs out and hits a cannonball in the corner. He goes for a pop-up powerbomb. Nakamura counters and hits a spin kick. Reverse exploder connects and he sets up for the Kinshasa, which connects for the win.
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura
After the match, Baron Corbin runs in and nails Nakamura with End of Days. Huge heat from the fans for this. He rolls out and leaves the ring.
A good match. Owens helped Shinsuke look much better than he has with Ziggler, but I’m not sure it’s enough yet. Shinsuke comes off as feeling like just another man in the match, not a special attraction. It’s a missed opportunity.
Overall, a pretty strong episode of Smackdown. The Women’s Title situation is frightening, however. I don’t see how Naomi can walk out of that match with her title and not completely bury Lana in the process. I’m super excited about the women’s Money in the Bank match, though. I think those ladies will turn it up and deliver something to be proud of. The tag division is getting to a better place too, slowly. But we haven’t seen Tye Dillinger in weeks, or American Alpha. Is Vince already bored of them?
Bill and I will have much more to discuss on tomorrow’s Ring Rap Audio. Hit us up with your Favorite Thing in Wrestling and let us know what’s on your mind! Thanks for joining me tonight! See you next time!