WWE Smackdown is in New Orleans, LA this evening, and it is the last episode before this Sunday’s Money in the Bank. We will have full coverage of the show starting at 8pm Eastern.
A number of matches have already been announced, including a six-man tag match between the participants in the Money in the Bank match. Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles, and Sami Zayn will face off against Kevin Owens, Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin. Plus, Natalya vs. Charlotte, Tamina vs. Naomi, Orton and Mahal come face to face, an 8-man tag match, and much more.
Join us here and on Twitter @RingRap starting at 8pm!
Tom Phillips welcomes us to the show. There are ladders all over the stage. He plugs the six-man tag match, Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton going face-to-face, and an 8-man tag match between The Usos & The Colons vs. Breezango & New Day. That match appears to be opening the show.
There’s a marching band of sorts that helps play New Day down to the ring. It’s a cool spot, but wouldn’t it be better served for a pay-per-view? Maybe it’s just a New Orleans thing.
Kofi Kingston hypes up the band, known as The Soul Rebels (?). He says they had to make a grand entrance as New Orleans is the home of next year’s Wrestlemania. Woods says when they defeat The Usos for the championships, they can return to their off-off-off Broadway rendition of Straight Outta Compton. They’ll walk into Wrestlemania as the new WWE World Tag Team….
The Usos cut them off. “You can’t be serious right now? There’s no way you’re playing games right now.” They get right into the ring. They say they are the ones that have been grinding and putting in work, and they’ll be the ones to walk out of Money in the Bank as Tag Champions.
The Fashion Police, Breezango, head to the ring. Fandango says The Uso’s “day one is not so H.” Breeze says their day one is G – for gross! The Usos don’t have the authority to lock up anyone, because they (Breezango) are the police – The Fashion Police.
Primo and Epico Colon break in, and tell Breezango not to stick their noses where it doesn’t belong. They make fun of their fashion. Primo says they didn’t trash Breezango’s office, but they’re about to get trashed up. New Day gets a “New Day Rocks” chant going and we go to break.
A strange order of events considering this match was announced in advance. At least they didn’t try to play it off like it was a sudden happening.
Breezango & The New Day vs. The Usos & The Colons
The Action: The Usos and The New Day start it off, but Usos tag out. It’s Kofi and Epico. Kofi does a pair of leapfrogs into a flying elbow for two. Tag to Woods, and a quick doubleteam combo leads to another pin attempt. Fandango tags in, Epico recovers.
Tag to Breeze. He gets cornered as Jey Uso tags in, hitting a side kick and a bodyslam. Primo in, Breeze hits an enzuigiri and a tag to Woods. They use some tandem offense for two. Woods hits a dropkick into the back of the neck. He lays in some chops in the corner. Primo counters and stomps Woods, but eats a kick to the face. Honor Roll from Woods connects. The ring fills up and the good guys clear the bad guys. We go to another break.
The action continues picture-in-picture through the commercial. During the break, Jimmy Uso and Tyler Breeze go at it. A blind tag for the Usos gives Jimmy the advantage. Jey comes in stalking Breeze. We go back to the match proper, and it’s Primo in control. Breeze tries to fight out, but Epico tags in. Rapid tags for team Bad Dudes.
Breeze takes an extended beating. He manages to recover after setting up The Colons to DDT themselves. Hot tag to Xavier Woods, who is on fire. He blind tags to Kofi, and Woods leaps out of the ring onto people at ringside. Boom drop to Jimmy Uso. Trouble in Paradise connects, Jey breaks the pin. Woods comes flying off the top with a stomp for the win.
The Winners: Breezango & New Day
A frantic tag match that gave some life to the tag division while highlighting the Tag Title feud. Thumbs up here, overall. This was a fun match.
After the commercial, a video hyping “Free Agent” John Cena’s return on July 4th.
We go backstage, to AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura chatting. Styles is trying to tell Nakamura that Sami Zayn gets excited for big matches. Right on cue, Zayn walks in and asks what they want to do tonight. Styles is shocked that Zayn asked that, but before he can contribute, Zayn goes on a tirade. Shinsuke doesn’t know what to make of this. Zayn walks away and Nak just says “I like him.” Styles says “Of course you do.”
Dasha Fuentes asks Mojo Rawley about losing his opportunity to join the Money in the Bank match. He thanks Shane McMahon for the opportunity, and says he came up short. He says Mahal was a fierce competitor. He’s been beating himself up over it all week, but part of him is sort of glad he lost. He knows how he comes back from adversity, and he’s going to use this loss to bounce back and be better than ever.
And then, Zack Ryder’s hand rests on Mojo’s shoulder. Mojo is thrilled to see him. Ryder says he’s back, and tells Mojo he’s got nothing to be ashamed of for last week. Ryder says they have unfinished business… as a team! The two chat as we go ringside.
Good to see Zack Ryder back, though I wonder if they won’t split these two up after all.
Naomi makes an entrance and we go to break.
Naomi vs. Tamina
The Action: I wouldn’t be surprised to see this end in some sort of a false finish. Tamina looks at the Money in the Bank briefcase hanging above the ring, but before the bell can ring, Lana comes out in a long blue sequin dress. She remains at ringside as the fans chant “We want Rusev.”
The bell rings and Tamina unloads a nasty headbutt on Naomi. Tamina keeps Naomi grounded. Naomi reverses a wrist lock with some kicks. Tamina practically throws her away. Tamina stalks Naomi and continues to toss her around. She hits a short-armed clothesline for two.
Naomi suckers Tamina into the corner. She hits a kick to the head and lays in some roundhouses to the hamstring. Tamina catches her on a cross-body and slams Naomi for two. Naomi yanks Tamina off the turnbuckle and hits a split legged moonsault for the sudden win.
Lana immediately attacks Naomi from behind. She hits a pretty cool finishing move, which starts like a T-bone suplex and ends as a sit-out slam. She grabs the Smackdown Women’s title and holds it up as she talks trash.
Lana is going to need more than just one interesting move to prove she’s deserving of a title match in her debut. Lana is a tremendous talent on the mic, but we’ve seen nothing to date that indicates she can be a good wrestler. That said, I’m willing to give her a chance – Trish Stratus started out the same way and wound up one of the best women wrestlers of all time.
Jinder Mahal and The Singh Brothers are heading to the ring as we go to break.
We return to The Singh Brothers introducing Jinder Mahal. The ring is decked out with an oriental rug. Mahal demands the audience stand up and show respect to the WWE Champion. On Sunday, he’ll prove Randy Orton is a coward. He says Orton is afraid of letting down his friends and family in St. Louis. He says Cowboy Bob Orton will be in the front row for the match. He says Orton fears him. Mahal says it’s the era of the Maharaja. He then cuts a promo in Punjabi.
Finally, Randy Orton’s music hits. Mahal sends The Singh Brothers to meet Orton at the ramp, but wouldn’t you know it, Orton slips into the ring from behind and RKO’s Mahal from behind. He slinks out of the ring before the Singh brothers can get close, and heads back through the audience.
A good segment that gets over the RKO. Mahal is improving each week, but as pointed out on Twitter by @TheTXI, it’s the same promo each week.
Backstage, Baron Corbin and Dolph Ziggler are getting ready. Kevin Owens approaches them, and tells them to calm down. Corbin says he’s out of his mind if he thinks he’s gonna listen to him. Owens says he doesn’t like either of them, but they have two options – they can either work together to take out the three of them. Or, Corbin can punch him in the face, and Dolph can kick his head off, and he can powerbomb Dolph, and they can walk into Money in the Bank hurt. He’s not saying they should be friends, but maybe the shouldn’t be their own worst enemies.
Up next, Charlotte vs. Natalya!
After the break, the announcers recap the RKO. Renee Young asks Orton backstage about his legacy being on the line. Orton says he just said everything he needed to with that RKO. He’ll take back what’s his – the WWE Championship.
Natalya vs. Charlotte
The Action: Natalya walks to the ring with a purpose. The announcers recap Charlotte’s powerbomb two weeks ago, when she sent Natalya through the announcer’s table.
The bell rings, and Flair woos. The two reverse headlocks/head scissors early on. We go to break, picture-in-picture style. Charlotte goes for a top rope move, but Natalya knocks her off the ropes, sending her to the floor. Back in the ring, Nattie hits a discus clothesline for a near fall. She keeps Charlotte grounded. She stretches her in a surfboard hold. Back from break, Natalya sends Charlotte into the middle turnbuckle face-first.
Charlotte starts to fire back. She hits a back slide, and the two try to reverse each other. Charlotte fires up with a set of chops. She heads up top for a moonsault and it connects, for a two-count.
Carmella and James Ellsworth are watching from a screen backstage. Charlotte goes back up top once more, but Natalya catches her this time, holding her and dropping a sit-out powerbomb for two. Natalya goes for a sharpshooter, Charlotte counters and rolls her up. Boot to the face and it’s worth two. Charlotte hits Natural Selection off of a counter, and picks up the win.
Charlotte and Natalya have good chemistry together. Their styles compliment each other well. This was a good, hard-hitting match.
The announcers plug both Money in the Bank and Great Balls of Fire.
We get a Fashion Files segment called “Sweet Victory.” Fandango is narrating. He’s staring at his pecs in the mirror, and says he can’t wait to show them off in the “Big Easy.” He looks for Breeze and finds him laid out on the floor. He was attacked by “two hideous monsters.” He describes them as having greasy hair, dry skin, one arm, no two arms! Dango draws something and shows it to him, and Breeze says it was them. The picture ends up just being stick figures.
After the break, we see a video honoring a young boy named Jarrius Robertson, who has been battling disease since his birth. Today he was presented with a WWE Hero award and got to spend some time with the superstars in the ring.
Dasha asks Lana about attacking Naomi, but then says she’s created controversy. Lana doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. “Did you just see what I did to Naomi?” She says on Sunday she will crush Naomi and become the first Ravishing Smackdown Women’s Champion.
Kevin Owens makes his entrance, followed by Baron Corbin, and Dolph Ziggler. Then Sami Zayn, AJ Styles, and Shinsuke Nakamura.
Kevin Owens & Baron Corbin & Dolph Ziggler vs. Sami Zayn & AJ Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura
The Action: After the break, Nakamura and Ziggler start it out. Nakamura uses some fancy footwork to get the advantage, dropping a knee on Ziggler. He steps on Ziggler, using “Good Vibrations” on him (damn that feels weird to type). Ziggler gets the advantage long enough to tag in Owens.
Owens attacks Nak and tags in Corbin. Corbin hits a series of knees. Ziggler back in, he continues to work over Nakamura. Nak dodges an elbow and tags in Styles, who gets a big pop. He’s on fire and hits flying elbows everywhere. Pumphandle gutbuster connects. Styles hits the ushigoroshi. Sami Zayn in, he flies out of the ring onto Kevin Owens. Styles and Ziggler still legal.
An “Ole” chant for Zayn fires up for the second time as Ziggler hits a DDT for two. We go to break.
Back from break, it’s Zayn and Ziggler. Ziggler tags out to Owens. Owens stomps Zayn and talks trash to the others. Zayn counters Owens and goes for the tag. Owens cuts him off with a DDT for two.
Corbin in, he drives Zayn into the corner. Zayn fights out of the corner. Corbin slips under the bottom rope and runs Zayn down with a clothesline. Tag to Owens. Corbin back in, he keeps Zayn isolated. Corbin hits a nasty clothesline, but Zayn fires back with one of his own. He flips out of a slam and goes for a tag, but both Styles and Nakamura are yanked off the apron.
Corbin attacks Zayn, eats a forearm from Styles, and Zayn nails him with a Helluva Kick for the win.
Winners: Zayn & Styles & Nakamura
After the match, Ziggler and company immediately attack the faces. Owens grabs a ladder and sends it into the ring. Ziggler and Owens are arguing, Corbin takes them both out. He hits Ziggler with the ladder and sends him off the apron. Corbin sets up the ladder and starts climbing it in the middle of the ring, until Nakamura knocks the ladder over. He hits Corbin with a kinsasha, and sets the ladder up himself. He climbs up top and takes the briefcase, symbolically showing his intentions for Sunday.
I felt this was a pretty solid go-home show. I’m looking forward to Sunday, and I feel it’s going to be a good show, with the possible exception of Naomi vs. Lana. But I’m going to remain open-minded and hope for the best there.
Nakamura however, continues to feel normal and that’s a problem. The booking has failed to protect him by putting him in various multi-man matches. His mystique is gone.
Outside of that, I don’t have any strong feelings to who is going to win this match on Sunday.
I’m pressed for time as 205 Live is firing up. Bill and I will have lots more to talk about when we preview Money in the Bank in tomorrow’s Ring Rap Audio. Be sure to tune in tomorrow night! Thanks for watching!