WWE Smackdown is in Dayton, OH this evening, and we will have full coverage of the show beginning at 8pm Eastern. Money in the Bank has come and gone, and we have a Mr. and a Ms. Money in the Bank. Unfortunately, the ladies’ match went down with a degree of controversy. Daniel Bryan isn’t happy and he’s making his return on Tuesday, and vowing to clear it up. What will Carmella and James Ellsworth have to face?
Plus, Baron Corbin is our Men’s Money in the Bank winner. Will he cash in on Jinder Mahal? Or will Randy Orton get to Mahal first?
All this plus much much more! Join us here starting at 8pm Eastern, and follow along on Twitter, @RingRap!
Our show starts with a vignette hyping the controversial ending to the women’s Money in the Bank match, and the return of Daniel Bryan to the show. We go backstage, and Becky Lynch, Natalya, Charlotte, and Tamina are bickering outside of Bryan’s office. He walks up and tells them to calm down. He says he’s going to hear each of them out, but he wants to hear Carmella and James Ellsworth first. He enters his office and leaves the four standing there.
We go ringside, and Carmella moonwalks her way to the ring, James Ellsworth in tow. She’s wearing an outfit that has the pattern of money. Clever. The announcers discuss the controversy. Ellsworth asks the booing fans what’s the matter with them? He orders them to get on their feet and give it up for the first ever Ms. Money in the Bank, Carmella. “I said get on your feet and give it up for Ms. Money in the Bank, Carmella!”
Carmella welcomes us to the “Fabulous Era of Carmella.” She hands the briefcase to him, and says for the last 48 hours her name has been trending worldwide. She’s upset that it isn’t trending because she won, but how she won. “All of you people are saying I disrespected a historic moment.” She mocks the fans that say she needed Ellsworth to climb the ladder for her. What does she say to that? “Who cares?” She says she doesn’t care – she’s been overlooked and underestimated. She was the very last pick in the WWE Draft. She’s not here for girl power, that’s for sure. Everyone talks about Natalya’s pedigree, Tamina’s strength, Lynch’s Straight Fire, or Charlotte’s athleticism. At the end of the day, none of those things mattered, “because I am just that intelligent.” While everyone was worried about making history, she was making plans for her future. “The fact of the matter is I won that match fair and square.”
Carmella reminds us when Kane helped Seth Rollins win his Money in the Bank match, or when Bray Wyatt prevented Roman Reigns from winning, giving the win to Sheamus. She calls the “internet nerds” pathetic, and tells everyone they should be embarrassed. “It is so pathetic. I earned that contract. It was a no-disqualification match. There were no rules. How can you break a rule if there are none?” The fans start booing and chanting for Daniel Bryan, and she tells them to shut up. She says later, Daniel Bryan is going to have to man up and just reinforce what she already said. She says she is Ms. Money in the Bank, and there’s not a damn thing we can do about it.
Carmella just proved why I felt she should win the briefcase in the first place. She can cut a hell of a promo, and she did a good job of getting heat. The issue is the ending of the match still fell flat and felt like a cop-out. It would have been different if the company didn’t go all out hyping up the history-making moment in the first place, only to yank it out from underneath.
The heat wasn’t on Carmella on Sunday – it was on the booking, on creative, on everyone that agreed that it was a good idea. And yes, she may be the one delivering the promo, but that message came straight from the back – “We don’t care what the fans think, and the ones that complained are huge nerds.”
That said, looking at this at face value, Carmella is off to a great start.
Backstage, Bryan looks on as Carmella leaves the ring. Charlotte walks in, and comments on the medical team checking her neck, but Charlotte doesn’t care about that. She wants Bryan to act on what Carmella just said. “Technically, it was a no-disqualification match.” Charlotte says that should only apply to the five that were licensed to be in the match. She says they were all excited to make history on Sunday, and unfortunately, they did. “Now do the right thing.”
Later tonight, Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler. Oh boy. Plus, Luke Harper vs. Jinder Mahal. Backstage, The New Day head to the ring.
Back from break, we see highlights from Money in the Bank’s tag title match, with Kofi Kingston leaping off the top in a trust-fall.
In the arena, New Day make their entrance. Woods says they expected to come to the ring wearing the beautiful blue and silver titles. Big E makes a rhyme about Usos winning. I’m not hip, sorry folks. Kofi says The Usos staged a prison break out of their own prison. They cue up still photos of the ending of the match, when The Usos walked out of the arena. They invite The Usos to step into The New Day’s Playpen. Kofi introduces them to the warden, Big E. “He’s big, he’s handsome, he’s got a big nightstick and he ain’t afraid to use it.” Ahem. Big E says in their jurisdiction, there’s no easy way out, because New Day Rocks.
Here come The Usos. No promos from them, just swagger.
Big E (w/ Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston) vs. Jimmy Uso (w/ Jey Uso)
The Action: We go to a picture-in-picture commercial as the match begins. Jimmy tries to overpower Big E early on. E pulls him into a stretch. He hits an elbow that sends Jimmy out of the ring.
The two battle on the apron. Jimmy hits a superkick, sending Big E to the floor. Back in the ring, he hits a running bump in the corner for two. We go full-screen again. Jimmy maintains control. He cinches a headlock. Jimmy goes up top and dives, but Big E catches him and hits a belly to belly. Make that three. Jimmy bails out of the ring, and the two brothers start to leave the ring. Kofi and Xavier cut them off. Kofi hits a running splash. Jimmy heads back in, misses with a spin kick, and eats a Big Ending for the win.
Winner: Big E via pinfall
A decent means of continuing the feud, which will clearly be heading into at least one more pay-per-view. Outside of that, not much here.
Backstage, Natalya and Tamina interrupt Daniel Bryan’s phonecall. He asks her about her shoulder, she says she’s fine, and then sucks up to him about being a first-time dad. She compares her cats to kids, and then starts to get into the Money in the Bank stuff, but Tamina interrupts and says if he doesn’t deal with it, she’s gonna put her foot in Carmella’s mouth. Natalya thanks her and the two leave.
Just a reminder that John Cena returns on July 4th!
Backstage, Dasha Fuentes asks Naomi about the controversy with the ladies Money in the Bank. She says it’s unfortunate – she knows how hard everyone worked, and James Ellsworth was the deciding factor. She’s confident Daniel Bryan will make the right decision, but she doesn’t care who it is. She’ll be ready.
Lana interrupts and says “What about me?” Naomi chuckles. Lana says Naomi should be thanking Carmella for interrupting, otherwise she would be the champ. She calls her “tacky neon glow.” Lana challenges Naomi for a rematch. Naomi calls her thirsty, says she beat her fair and square. She says she’s a fighting champion though, and she’ll give her one more chance. She tells Lana to get out of her face before she gets slapped back to Russia.
A better promo, but Lana has no business getting a title match. And yes, I mean that in storyline terms.
The announcers cue up still photos from Jinder Mahal vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Championship. Tom Phillips then kicks it to a sit-down interview he had with Randy Orton earlier. He asks Orton about coming off of a loss in his hometown. He asks Orton to talk about the final moments of his match. Orton says he lost control when the Singh Brothers put their hands on his father. He saw red, and he lost control. He beat himself. Phillips asks if this was part of Jinder’s plan. Orton says maybe, probably. He’s been there before, with Evolution and Legacy. He knows how the numbers game works. He can deal with it, but he refuses to deal with anyone harming his family. He says it’s no longer about winning his 14th WWE Championship – Jinder crossed the line, and he’s going to hurt Jinder Mahal. “I don’t care if I have to end his career.” He says maybe he’ll disrespect Jinder’s family and travel to India and rain RKO’s on his uncles, aunts, cousins, everyone. “Jinder made a mistake, and now there’s no turning back.”
And then, the camera sits awkwardly on Orton’s face for 11 seconds. I counted. 11 seconds! Not even remotely effective.
Dolph Ziggler makes his entrance. We go to break. When we return, Shinsuke Nakamura makes his entrance.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
The Action: Huge chants for Nakamura. Early on Dolph tries to wear Nakamura down. Nakamura reverses the hold and wiggles into a cross arm breaker. Ziggler bails out of the ring. He comes back in and again, tries to wear Nak down. Ziggler tries to ground him, and works a headlock and rolls it into a roll-up for two. Nakamura breaks free and taunts Ziggler. He lays in a knee and a series of kicks. Snapmare leads to a leaping knee drop. Good vibrations in the corner. Ziggler manages to yank Nakamura into the ring post. Ziggler hits a dropkick for two.
Ziggler starts working the arm/shoulder. He grinds Nakamura’s face across the ropes, then cinches a sleeper. Nakamura counters and sends Ziggler to the floor as we go to break. When we return, Ziggler has another sleeper on. Surprise. Nakamura fights free. He hits a knee and a spin kick. Ziggler yanks the hair. Nakamura fires back with knees and kicks. He lays in a few roundhouses and a flying kick. Flying knee in the corner, and he sets Ziggler up for a rolling running knee. It connects. Two-count.
Nakamura starts nailing Ziggler with knees to the midsection. Ziggler tries to fight out of a headlock. Nakamura turns it into a front-suplex. He goes for a Kinshasa, Ziggler dodges, kicks the leg and hits a Fameasser for two. Nakamura ducks a superkick. Ziggler rolls him up for two, but Nak goes for a Triangle Choke, into an armbar. He cinches in the armbar. Ziggler shoves his fingers in Nakamura’s eyes, and Nakamura breaks the hold.
Nakamura goes for a reverse exploder. Ziggler lands on his feet and hits a Zig Zag. Nak kicks out at two. Ziggler cinches a sleeper hold immediately, legs grapevined. Nakamura makes it to his feet. He breaks out with a headbutt, a snapmare and a kick to the back of the head. He sets up for the Kinshasa. It hits, and Nakamura gets the win.
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura via pinfall
Nakamura’s best main-roster singles match to date. He had fire and energy, and it seemed like a fight. Ziggler gave Nakamura one heck of a match too. Both guys wrestled like they had something to prove.
Backstage, Sami Zayn and Daniel Bryan are chatting. Bryan puts over Zayn’s sunset flip powerbomb from Sunday night. Bryan lets him know he’s got Zayn facing Baron Corbin next week. Sami is pretty happy about that. Then Becky Lynch walks up to them. Zayn says he wanted to talk to her – he says she went through hell and he felt like she got robbed. They both give each other a bit of a pep talk for their respective matches before Zayn walks away. Lynch turns to Bryan – she says she physically had the briefcase in her hand, and Ellsworth slid in, knocked her off the ladder, climbed up and just handed it to her. She feels like Smackdown isn’t the land of opportunity – it’s the land of handouts. She doesn’t know what to do – no matter how hard she works, there’s always someone that’s ready to come in and weasel their way in and take the spots from her. The sad part? She’s prepared for it. She knows it’s going to happen and there’s nothing she can do. Bryan apologizes and says it’s complicated. Becky looks at him an asks “Is doing the right thing really that complicated?” She walks away.
Kevin Owens heads to the ring for an open challenge, next!
I really feel like Becky was scripted to be the voice of the fans here. And there’s a serious level of truth to what she’s saying – WWE as a whole is booked in a way that there’s no repercussions to breaking the rules, and the announcers just simply hype it up as “doing what you have to do to win.” That’s a fundamentally broken way to book. It’s almost impossible to get heat (why bother avoiding being caught if there’s no repercussions?) and the faces look like doofuses for letting it happen time and time again, instead of winning honorably (see Bayley).
A vignette for AJ Styles airs.
Back from break, Kevin Owens heads to the ring. He stands in the ring and says the only reason he’s standing there without the Money in the Bank contract is because the other five competitors in the match conspired against him. They knew he was the most dangerous man in the match, and they tries to end his career. That was an absolute injustice. He says it wasn’t fair, but he’s still there, unbroken, still the New Face of America, and still the United States Champion. Owens says Shane McMahon says Smackdown is the land of opportunity, but the original land of opportunity was the United States of America. He takes it as his duty to make Smackdown the land of opportunity. He offers to give someone from Dayton, Ohio a chance at his title, and he invites someone from Dayton to come out.
And then, AJ Styles walks out. Styles says it’s unfortunate for Owens. What’s better than being US Champion? Styles beating him for the US Championship. Styles says it’s go-time, and takes off his jacket. Owens cuts him off, and says the challenge was for a local resident of Dayton, Ohio.
And then, American Alpha’s music hits. Chad Gable and Jason Jordan walk onto the ramp, but only Gable heads to the ring. Owens cuts of his music and says he’s not from Dayton. Gable says he actually just moved to Dayton. Owens asks him “When?” Gable says “This morning.” Owens wants his address, and Gable gives him the address to the arena. Styles tells him to ring the bell, and Owens is pissed. The bell rings and Gable attacks from behind!
Kevin Owens (c) vs. Chad Gable for the United States Championship
The Action: Gable hits a trio of slams. He goes for an ankle lock. Owens gets to the bottom rope and bails out. We go to break as Styles sits in on commentary.
It’s picture in picture again. Gable hits elbows on Owens. Owens sets him on the top turnbuckle. Gable locks in an armbar over the ropes. The action spills outside – Owens throws Gable into the barricade. Back in the ring, Owens corners Gable. He hits a clothesline and a senton for two. Gable hits an impressive dropkick to create some space. He misses a splash in the corner. Owens sets him up top and goes for a superplex. Gable fights free, but Owens slams him to the mat. Owens goes for a pop-up powerbomb, Gable reverses it into a roll-up for two.
Owens regains control, until Gable hits a DDT. He hits a moonsault for two. Owens tosses Gable shoulder-first into the ringpost, but misses a rolling cannonball. Gable rolls Owens up and carries him through an impressive deadlift German suplex for two. Owens finally manages to hit the pop-up powerbomb for the win.
Winner: Kevin Owens via pinfall
Nice to see American Alpha on TV, but this wasn’t how I figured it would happen. Gable put up a good fight though. Not a bad match at all.
Backstage, Zack Ryder is making a pitch to Daniel Bryan for a tag title match, saying six months ago they never received their opportunity. He’s showing video of where he hurt his knee. Mojo Rawley feels there is no statute of limitations – they earned it and they deserve it. Bryan says the tag division has changed a lot in six months, but he’ll give them a chance to earn another opportunity if they can beat The Usos next week. They’re pleased with that ruling.
During the commercial break, we see Sami Zayn and Tye Dillinger plug Sonic milkshakes. Now if we can only get Tye in a match…
Daniel Bryan heads to the ring to strong cheers. The fans chant his name, and he says it’s great to be back. He wishes it were under different circumstances – they just had the first ever Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match (boos), and for the last two days he’s been trying to sort this out with Shane McMahon and other officials. He’s been advised to take his emotions out of it and stick to what’s in the rulebook. There’s a rulebook?
One by one, each woman from the match comes out. Bryan says his decision involves all of them – he says Carmella had some valid points. He confirms Money in the Bank matches are no-DQ matches, and there’s nothing in the rules that says you can’t have someone else unhook the briefcase for them. All it says is that the first woman to hold the briefcase wins the match. He also says there has been interference in other Money in the Bank matches before, but there has never been someone that climbs the ladder, unhooks the briefcase, and then hands it to somebody else. “It appears we are in uncharted territory.”
Ellsworth asks Bryan what’s gotten into him. “Being a daddy to a little vegan hippy baby has you all soft.” Bryan gets in Ellsworth’s face and tells him to shut up. He says if Ellsworth talks about his baby girl one more time he will punch him in the face and fire him. Carmella steps up and talks trash. Lynch interrupts and says Carmella beat noone. Natalya tells Lynch to stop sucking up to Bryan. Charlotte cuts Natalya off of her rant. She says if Natalya doesn’t shut up, she’ll make her look like Ellsworth. Tamina tells Charlotte to shut up and tells HER she’ll look like Ellsworth. Ohhh burn?
Bryan says on Sunday they competed in the historic, first ever, women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match. He says Carmella has the opportunity to be the first time ever thing too – the first woman ever to hand over the Money in the Bank briefcase. Bryan isn’t going to let Ellsworth ruin history – he’s stripping Carmella of the briefcase, and next week, they’re going to do it all over again. Bryan takes the briefcase from Ellsworth and walks off with it.
Naturally, a fight breaks out. Lynch hits Tamina with a suplex. Charlotte and Lynch surround Carmella. Carmella begs both of them off. Charlotte hits Natural Selection, Lynch locks in Disarmher. Carmella taps out and cries.
I appreciate the effort to do this right, but I wonder if WWE is backing out on their decision based on the backlash online, or if this was the plan all along. Either way, the damage was already done, so why not own it? Redoing the match doesn’t take away the fact that they screwed up the finish.
I really do hope Carmella wins it again.
After the break, The Singh Brothers introduce Jinder Mahal. Mahal makes his full entrance, rug in the ring and all. He’s facing Luke Harper.
Jinder Mahal (w/ The Singh Brothers) vs. Luke Harper in a non-title match
The Action: Mahal goes for knees early on. Harper counters with a shot to the face. He hits a dropkick and Mahal takes a powder. We go to break. We return and Mahal is on the floor at ringside. Harper has maintained control. He leaps out of the ring onto one of the Singh boys, but Mahal nails him with a rising knee. Mahal tosses Harper back in and covers for two. Mahal wears Harper down with knees to the back and drops knees on the throat.
Harper creates some space. He hits a series of knife hands. Harper hits an elbow on the apron, and slingshots himself over the ropes. Boot to the head for two. He hits a swinging side slam for two. Harper goes for a suplex, Mahal reverses, but eats an elbow to the head. Mahal meets him up top. Superplex from Mahal connects.
And then Baron Corbin’s music hits. He walks down with the Money in the Bank briefcase in hand. Mahal stares him down as Corbin does a lap around the ring. He points at the briefcase, then walks back up the ramp without cashing in. It gives Harper a shot, and he rolls Mahal up for two. Superkick connects, but one of the brothers causes a distraction. Mahal hits the Khallas for the win.
Winner: Jinder Mahal via pinfall
Mahal celebrates until Randy Orton makes his way to the ring. Mahal sends the Singh Brothers to intercept. Orton takes them out. In the ring, Orton hits a Thesz Press. He clotheslines Mahal on the floor, and slams him into the announcer’s table. Back suplex across the barricade and a Draping DDT leave Mahal loopy. Orton slides him into the ring and readies the RKO. Samir and Sunil make the save. Orton takes them out and hits an RKO on both, one in mid-air. Mahal is long gone and in the audience.
There must’ve been an overrun there. My DVR cut it off.
A good closing segment to get Orton hot for their expected third match. I feel this show really was about the women though – and next’s weeks show *should* deliver. I’m not sure how I feel about Bryan stripping Carmella of the briefcase, but I appreciate that he’s willing to do what’s right as an authority figure. I need some time to sleep on it before I settle to a final decision.
I’m sure we’ll talk about this and much more tomorrow on Ring Rap Audio. Don’t forget to send in your questions, comments, and of course, your Favorite Things in Wrestling. See you next time folks!