WWE Smackdown is in San Diego, CA this evening, and we will have live coverage of the show as it happens, starting at 8pm Eastern. It’s already looking to be a strong show, as WWE attempts to correct course on the happenings at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view last Sunday.
We will see Carmella, Natalya, Charlotte, Tamina, and Becky Lynch have a do-over Money in the Bank ladder match, plus Naomi will defend her Smackdown Women’s Title against Lana, and Sami Zayn will reignite a feud with Baron Corbin. Plus, The Hype Bros will take on The Usos, and if they can pick up the win, they’ll get a title shot.
All this plus more starting at 8pm Eastern. Follow along here and on Twitter @RingRap!
The show begins with a video highlighting the women’s Money in the Bank match, with James Ellsworth tossing Carmella the briefcase, and the following Smackdown, when it was stripped from her. We also see Lana challenging Naomi in a rematch, and Baron Corbin teasing Jinder Mahal with a cash-in. The narrator hypes up the show, and the four major matches. Tonight it’s all about opportunity, and “you never know if you’ll get another opportunity.”
We go to the arena, and the crowd is already hot. Daniel Bryan walks out to open the show. A minor Daniel Bryan chant breaks out. He asks the fans if they’re ready for a great night tonight, and says he’s proud of the “women’s evolution,” and there are two huge women’s matches – Naomi defending her title against Lana, and Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Natalya, Carmella, and Tamina in the second ever Money in the Bank Ladder Match. “The winner will be whoever climbs up the ladder, grabs that–”
Carmella and James Ellsworth interrupt. She says this feels more like the Land of Injustice, and last week she was unjustly stripped of her Money in the Bank contract. She says she won the ladder match fair and square. “The rulebook clearly states in black and white that the Money in the Bank ladder match is a disqualification match.” She also says that the first woman to gain possession of the contract wins the match. She says that Ellsworth is not the first one to get involved in a Money in the Bank match – Seth Rollins and Sheamus never had their contracts taken away. She insists she didn’t break a rule since there was no rule. “Just because I am that much more intelligent than every single chick in that locker room, that gives you no right to take away what is rightfully mine.” She says he’s got her contract dangling over her head.
Bryan says she makes some valid points – Money in the Bank matches are No Disqualification, and other people have interfered before. But, never in history has someone climbed the ladder, grabbed the contract, and handed it to another competitor. He stands by his decision, and asks the fans what they think. “Should I cancel the match and hand the Money in the Bank contract back to Carmella?”
“Or, should we have the second ever Women’s Money in the Bank match right here tonight?”
James Ellsworth tells the fans to shut up. He says they make him sick. ‘You are the villains here, you’re the ones that control this stupid puppet (Bryan).” He accuses Bryan of taking pleasure in upsetting his homegirl. He says he’s just as pathetic as the fans, and that he used to look up to the fans as a man. But now, he sees a gutless, spineless, coward that has no graprefruits to cut it in the ring anymore, so he made up some hokey injury.”
Bryan stares a hole through Ellsworth. He turns away and smiles and pats him on the back. He says he probably should just fire him, but tonight it’s not about Ellsworth – it’s about the real Superstars of Smackdown Live. Last week he said he would ban him from ringside, but no, he’ll take that back. He’s banning him from the entire arena instead! He calls for security, and four men walk to the ring. Ellsworth tries to escape, but they grab him and drag him away. Ellsworth claws viciously at the ropes and the mat. He’s dragged to ringside, and tries to calm security down, then he tries to make an escape, but they catch up to him. He breaks free again, but flops on the barricade and gets dragged off once more. The fans chant “Na na na na, Hey hey hey, Goodbye.” Bryan wishes Carmella luck tonight, and walks off as Carmella stands in the middle of the ring, looking sad.
The announcers plug some of the other matches tonight, including Naomi vs. Lana for the Women’s Championship, and Sami Zayn vs. Baron Corbin, but up next, The Hype Bros vs. The Usos for a #1 Contendership shot.
That segment was tremendous. Carmella is fantastic on the mic, but Ellsworth really knocked it out of the park. He acted like an asshole, and showed ass when he got dragged away. Daniel Bryan played his likable GM role nicely too. The crowd is super hot tonight so far, and that definitely helped.
After the commercial, The Hype Bros make their entrance, followed by The Usos.
The Hype Bros (Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley) vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey), if the Hype Bros win, they become #1 Contenders
The Action: Ryder and Jimmy Uso start it off. Ryder hits a set of arm drags and a flapjack for a 1-count. Mojo tags in, as does Jey Uso. Jey chops Mojo, and Mojo no-sells it with his “He ain’t hyped” schitck. He hits a running clothesline to send Jey out to the floor. Mojo tags Ryder, and tosses Ryder over the top onto both Usos at ringside.
Jimmy yanks Ryder’s leg and gives Jey a chance to hit an enzuigiri, sending Ryder to the floor. We go to a picture-in-picture commercial break.
The Usos keep Ryder grounded through the break. Rapid tags wear Ryder down. Finally Ryder makes the hot tag, and Mojo is on fire. He takes out both Usos, and hits a running clothesline on Jey, following it up with a gorilla press and a 2-count. Ryder hits a Broski boot in the corner. Things get crazy and The Hype Bros go for a Hype Rider, but a superkick breaks it up. Ryder misses another Broski Boot and Jimmy tags in, hitting a top rope splash to end it.
Winners: The Usos
Immediately after the match ends, The New Day’s music hits. They walk out to the ring. Woods says The Usos won a match instead of running away from it. Big E says they want the gold, and at Battleground, “We coming for you, n….” Woods cuts him off and says “We coming for you Usos.” Funny.
Jimmy says they already beat them and they don’t deserve a shot. They ask if they’re gonna have another match just to lose again, fail again. They accept the challenge, and say it ain’t about New Day no more, it’s about Day 1-ish.
Woods stops them from walking away. “All we do is spit hot fire.” Kofi says he’s going to take them to school. “We can see it in your eyes, you’re getting kind of moody. We’re underdogs like Rudy, you’re underdraws like Booty.” The three dance and The Usos leave.
First, the match: There are positives and negatives to the picture-in-picture commercials, and both revolve around the idea that anything can (should) happen during a match. We missed the hot tag and fire-up for Hype Bros, and in fact, nearly missed the finish. But then again, that’s how it should be. So, thumbs in the middle there.
As far as the New Day/Uso feud goes, I wish it didn’t happen at the expense of Ryder and Rawley, but I’m glad they acknowledged that an injury put them on the shelf after a major win. I’m sure New Day and Usos round 2 will be fine, but it’s currently revolving around trash talk meant for a more contemporary audience, not my old ass.
A “15 years ago” clip plays showing John Cena making his debut against Kurt Angle. The clip hypes the return of Cena on July 4th. We will not have live coverage of that show. Sorry folks.
The announcers cue up a new Fashion Files episode. The Ascension are sitting around a table in a smokey room. Fandango holds up the stick figure drawing and tries to compare them to it. Konnor says it’s not them. Dango says he believes them, and offers them “Two tickets to paradise” – a pair of Eddie Money tickets in exchange for talking. Viktor goes to take the tickets, but Konnor stops him. “We only listen to grindcore thrash metal.” Viktor says “Oh yeah. NO DEAL COPPER.”
Breeze walks in and sets down three water guns, asking if they’re feeling the pressure. He asks them if they’re thirsty or hungry, and offers them iced tea and a cheese platter. He wants to know why they attacked him, but they deny it. The only reason they wrestled them at Money in the Bank was because they wanted a match on the card.
Dango and Breeze talk it over and hear a ton of noise. When they go out to their office, they find it completely trashed. The Ascension never left the room. When Breezango come back into the room, The Ascension is enjoying the cheese, and discretely take the Eddie Money tickets.
This one made me chuckle. I wonder if this will lead to the debut of a new team?
Time for our first ladies’ match of the night. Naomi heads to the ring first. We go to break. Lana makes her entrance when we return. Greg Hamilton handles the championship intro.
Naomi (c) vs. Lana for the Smackdown Women’s Championship
The Action: Lana attacks Naomi from behind before the bell even rings. She stomps on Naomi before being pulled away by the referee. The ref checks on Naomi. She backs into the corner, and he rings the bell. Lana attacks immediately and hits her finishing move, but Naomi kicks out at 2.
Naomi gets to her feet and hits a roundhouse, then connects with a split legged moonsault. Naomi makes the cover and gets the win.
Dasha Fuentes interviews Becky Lynch backstage. Fuentes asks her how she feels about getting a second chance tonight. Lynch says she was inches away from grabbing the briefcase, inches from proving you can walk your own path and be successful, but Ellsworth ripped it away from her. She’s glad Daniel Bryan stood up for what was right, and says tonight she’ll use this second chance to win.
Back to the arena, Aiden English sings a song for us all. He sings that he’s the Shakespeare of song, the Mozart of Melody… and then Randy Orton interrupts him. We go to break. We return, and Orton is sitting in the ring. During the break, Orton RKO’d English, of course. Orton says he’s not leaving the ring until he gets what he wants. He wants Mahal, and cues up a clip where he attacked Mahal last week. He wants a rematch for the title, and says he’ll go in the back and beat the hell out of him. He says he’ll bump into him in the parking lot, and he’ll beat the hell out of him then. Tomorrow morning, at the airport, another ass whooping. He says next week, he’ll get to the arena early and he’ll beat the holy hell out of him again – if he doesn’t get what he wants.
Orton starts to head in back, but Shane McMahon interrupts. Shane responds to the crowd’s chants, and says he and Randy go quite a ways back. He says they’re live in San Diego, and can’t have him holding the show hostage, nor can they have him threatening the safety of the WWE Champion. Orton asks him if he’s going to fire him – he’ll just buy a ticket to every show and beat him up anyhow. He doesn’t care if he gets arrested – Mahal messed with his family. He doesn’t care about the consequences, and once more asks for a title shot. McMahon agrees that the Singh Brothers did cross the line, but in the past, so has Orton. Shane says he’s never seen that look in Orton’s eyes before, and he can sympathize. He agrees that Orton can have a rematch at Battleground, but there’s a catch – and Jinder Mahal gets to choose the stipulation. Orton says it doesn’t matter – the title is coming home where it belongs.
Jinder Mahal and The Singh Brothers come out. Mahal says this is exactly what’s wrong with Smackdown, management, and the people. He says Orton isn’t worthy of a rematch. He cuts a large part of the promo in Punjabi. “Despite the prejudice shown to the Maharaja… I will name the stipulation in the name of my personal hero, The Great Khali.” He declares it a Punjabi Prison match.
Amazingly, the production crew had a video queued up. JBL put the match over as being something pretty crazy, and said the only way to win is to escape.
Backstage, Daniel Bryan is on the phone. He says there hasn’t been one of those matches in 10 years. Then, AJ Styles approaches him, asking if it’s really Kevin Owen’s open challenge if it’s not open to everyone. Kevin Owens walks in and asks him why he’s talking behind his back. Owens says Styles misses the point of the challenge – there are people that he hasn’t beaten yet, but he’s beaten Styles. Styles is a loser. Styles tells Owens that he’s Ron Burgundy’s definition of San Diego.
Bryan advises Owens that John Cena’s open challenge was literally against anyone. He says next week, they’ll have an Independence Day Battle Royal, and the winner will face Owens at Battleground. AJ is in the match, and Owens is not amused.
We get a commercial for WWE 2K18.
After the break, Mike and Maria Kanellis walk onto the ramp. Maria introduces herself as the “First Lady of Smackdown Live.” Mike says he’s her husband, Mike Kanellis. She starts to speak, but Sami Zayn interrupts and walks out right between the two. He plays it up like he didn’t mean it. They are completely appalled.
Sami Zayn vs. Baron Corbin
The Action: The two lock up. Corbin gets the early advantage. Zayn hits a series of punches from the top turnbuckle. Corbin bails out of the ring, and Zayn runs the ropes, but holds off as Corbin moves. Zayn leaps on him anyhow, Corbin catches him and tosses him onto the barricade. We go to a picture-in-picture break.
Corbin maintains control through the break. He whips Zayn into the turnbuckle hard. Corbin maintains control, nailing Zayn with a right to the face. He slides under the ropes and hits a nasty clothesline. We go full-screen again, and Corbin maintains control. Zayn fires back with a clothesline and tries to get fired up. Corbin misses a shoulder in the corner, hitting the post. Zayn connects with a cross-body off the top for two.
We see Shinsuke Nakamura watching backstage, as Corbin hits Zayn with a staggering right. Clothesline in the corner connects, twice, but Corbin misses the third. Zayn with a roll-up for two. Corbin immediately drives him into the corner again and sets Zayn up top. Zayn fights free, leaps off the turnbuckle, and runs directly into End of Days. Corbin wins.
Winner: Baron Corbin
Corbin needs to start building wins now that he has the contract, so I’m fine with this, plus it looks like Zayn and Kanellis are going to go at it, which I’m also just fine with.
Dasha Fuentes approaches Shinsuke Nakamura, and asks him about a one-on-one match against Baron Corbin. Nakamura says Corbin is dangerous, but he has fear of what Nakamura can do – and maybe he’s right to be afraid.
The Money in the Bank rematch is up next!
Charlotte Flair vs. Natalya vs. Tamina vs. Becky Lynch vs. Carmella in a Money in the Bank Ladder Match
The Action: The bell rings with about 25 minutes left to the show. Carmella quickly grabs a ladder and slides it in as everyone else brawls outside. She sets the ladder up with no opposition. Finally all four ladies make it in and stop her while brawling among themselves.
Tamina makes a play for the case, but Lynch sends her into the ladder face first. Lynch flips out of a double-suplex attempt by Charlotte and Nattie. She hits a Becksploder to each. Lynch sets the ladder up. Tamina pushes her into it, face first into the support brace. Samoan drop and a top rope splash connects on Lynch. We go to break.
Back to the show, Charlotte is the only one in the ring, and she struggles to her feet. She starts on the ladder, Natalya attacks her immediately. Nattie hits a snap suplex. Carmella yanks Nattie out of the ring. Carmella slaps Tamina in the face and follows up with an elbow. Tamina catches a sidekick and throws her head over heels over the announcer’s table.
Natalya kicks Tamina away, and then fights with Charlotte in the ring. Charlotte hits some chops and sends Nattie to the floor, where Becky hits a suplex. In the ring, it’s Charlotte and Tamina fighting over the ladder. They hold the ladder vertical and fight each other. Becky Lynch goes running up it and tries to get the case, but they send the ladder to the ropes. Lynch gets kicked off the sideways ladder.
Charlotte kicks the ladder into Tamina, Natalya hits a clothesline on Charlotte. She pins Charlotte in the corner with a ladder, and sets up another one. Charlotte pushes the ladder off of her and onto the larger one, creating a ramp she could run up. The two brawl near the top, trading elbows. Charlotte goes for the briefcase. Carmella knocks the ladder off, sending both crashing to the mat.
Carmella talks trash, and Becky walks in right behind her, looking determined. She suplexes Carmella, and then throws a ladder at Natalya, but misses. Lynch gets speared by Tamina for her troubles. We go to another break.
We come back and Natalya slides a ladder into the ring. She climbs the ladder alone. Charlotte runs in and outclimbs her, Lynch on the other side, fighting off Tamina. The four brawl until the ladder tips over, and all four tumble to the ground.
Carmella struts in and sets the ladder up very carefully. She climbs up top slowly, grabs the briefcace, but all four get to the ladder. They literally pick it up and move it. The four start brawling, and Carmella finally leaps off the ladder onto the ladies below.
Charlotte makes it to her feet first, and slams the bottom rung of the ladder onto Tamina’s face, pinning her below. She makes a play for the briefcase, Carmella stops her, yanking her leg. Tamina pushes the ladder off, and both Carmella and Charlotte go tumbling. Tamina nails Charlotte with a superkick. She centers the ladder and climbs up. Natalya and Lynch run in to stop her. They yank Tamina down and hit a double powerbomb in the middle of the ring. Natalya kicks Lynch and hits a sitout powerbomb on her as well. Nattie drags Carmella into the middle of the ring and cinches a Sharpshooter. Charlotte kicks Natalya in the head and follows it up with a Natural Selection to Carmella. Outside the ring, Natalya and Charlotte start brawling.
Out of nowhere, James Ellsworth runs in through the crowd. He rolls Carmella into the ring and starts climbing the ladder himself. Becky Lynch is not amused – she runs in, punts Carmella in the face, and goes after Ellsworth. She teases a flip of the ladder, and finally crotches him across the top rope. Lynch fires up and sets the ladder, climbing to the top. Carmella catches her and stop her. She yanks Lynch off, and Lynch sells her leg, but she kicks Carmella off and starts climbing again. Carmella hits the leg with a chair, and then slams her in the back with the chair. Carmella makes the climb and removes the briefcase herself to pick up the win for real.
The Winner: Carmella
A much better match than the last one, all around. The action was better, the spots were better, and the finish, obviously, was better. I am (and always have been) fine with Carmella winning, so I’m glad to see the course really hasn’t changed much here.
This episode was well hyped in advance, so I’m curious to see if the ratings will show that. Overall? Thumbs up here. They have a clear direction heading into Battleground, and it was pretty obvious we’d be getting some rematches from Money in the Bank, but there’s some new things going on too – Mike Kanellis and (supposedly) Sami Zayn, plus whoever is messing up Breezango’s office. And we’ve solidified Carmella as Ms. Money in the Bank.
I’m heading over to cover 205 Live now, but Bill and I will break this all down tomorrow in Ring Rap Audio. Make sure to hit us up with your Favorite Thing in Wrestling!