Welcome to The Smackdown Reaction, where I offer my take on this week’s show. As always, you can check out John’s full in-depth report here.
A quick shot of Jimmy Uso and Paul Heyman backstage throws us to the Smackdown opening video.
We open the final Smackdown inside the Thunderdome, with Promo Time with Roman Reigns. Reigns talked about what Edge did last week before Jimmy Uso came to the ring. Jimmy wanted to know where Reigns was last week and out comes Jey Uso. Jey said the Usos need to be who they should be, seven-time tag team champions. A group hug, that even Dr. Shelby would appreciate, closes the scene as the family is back together as one.
Our opening bout is a Money in the Bank qualifier between Baron Corbin and King Nakamura. There’s a nice recap of the feud before the match. Big E was at ringside in a Bayley shirt for commentary and had his own sofa so Pat McAfee joined him. They were great together. The match was pretty good for a Corbin match. This match seemed to click better than their previous encounters. They were given a bit more time as well and that likely aided in the match quality. In the end, Nakamura finished Corbin off with the Kinshasa knee to qualify for Money in the Bank. The right person won and I suspect that a face turn is in Corbin’s future. I’m not sure how well it’ll work though. I’ll give it a try and see.
The Smackdown Women’s Division is up next with Tag Champs Natalya and Tamina facing off against a new mystery team in a non-title bout. The mystery team is Shotzi Blackheart and Tegan Nox, who just returned from a knee injury at The Great American Bash on Tuesday. Before the match, Shotzi and Tegan get attacked by the WWE Main Roster Random Name Shortening Generator and are left with Shotzi and Nox. The match was a good showcase for how good Nox and Shotzi are. They pick up the win after Shotzi’s Ballpit senton on Natalya. I would expect a tag title match at SummerSlam with a title change possible. I’m a big Tegan Nox fan, but I wonder how long the Jello in her knees is going to last this time.
Up next, Sonya Deville officially announces that Bayley is out of her I Quit match at Money in the Bank due to (torn ACL) injury and will be out for 9 months. That sucks for Bayley. I met her once at the airport and she was such a sweetheart. I really hope she gets better real soon. I felt her heel character was starting to tread water, so maybe this will give them a chance to reboot her. Anyway, Deville announces that the Smackdown Women’s Title match was not going to take place at Money in the Bank. Instead, it will take place next week on the first WWE show to hit the road Smackdown. Bianca BelAir’s opponent will be none other than Carmella. Well, that was her expected next opponent so no harm here. Liv Morgan turns up to complain about how Carmella keeps getting opportunities handed to her. Deville then announced that Carmella is out of the Money in the Bank match and Liv was in, to her delight. Liv tells Carmella she’s coming for her if they win their respective matches. As Liv leaves, Bianca comes out. Liv looks at Bianca and points at the WrestleMania sign, um, Money in the Bank briefcases before leaving. Bianca puts Bayley over and tells Carmella she’ll see her next week before leaving. My early money is on Liv for Miss Money in the Bank. Hopefully Deville remembers there are still two spots to fill and only a week to do so.
We are treated to a video package for Toni Storm. I’m surprised they are bringing her up without winning the NXT Women’s Championship first, but her presence is sorely needed.
In what would be our final match of the evening, Cesaro takes on Seth Rollins for the final Men’s Money in the Bank spot. Kevin Owens is out on commentary for this match. We get another excellent match out of these two, as you would expect. A poorly timed commercial break had us miss most of Rollins getting swung by Cesaro. Cesaro got busted open hard way during the match and it added to the story and the match. In the end, Rollins picked up the win to qualify for Money in the Bank. I would have rather had Cesaro win than Rollins, but that puts two heels in against six faces (1/3 from each show). With Rollins tying their series up at 2-2, I would expect one more match from these two, which Cesaro should win.
Backstage after the match, Rollins was interviewed by Kayla Braxton to brag about beating Cesaro again when Edge showed up to start their SummerSlam feud. Funny moment just before Edge showed up had a Michael P.S. Hayes/Dok Hendrix cameo appearance in the background. Were you supposed to be there then?
We close out Smackdown with Promo Time with Edge. Edge challenged Roman Reigns to come to the ring alone. Roman initially did, but then the Usos showed up. Roman and Edge started fighting in the ring. The Usos get ready to help Roman when the Mysterios showed up, right on cue. All six battle it out before Roman escapes to leave the Usos to get mauled by Edge with the help of the Mysterios. We close out with the Usos laid out by Edge. Teddy Long called in to book next week’s six-man tag (confirmed on Talking Smack) main event.
Let’s look at tonight’s highs and lows.
The show was great all around. The backstage stuff with the Usos throughout the night (which I typically don’t comment on) fit the story the entire night. The matches were all good quality matches. It was a solid show from start to finish.
I’m glad to see the Smackdown’s Women’s Division getting some reinforcements from NXT ahead of the Draft. They are running a little thin right now and all three are deserving of the call up.
Bayley’s injury couldn’t have come at a worse time. Perhaps Hell in a Cell did end her feud with Bianca like it should have to begin with. Let’s hope she recovers quickly and can freshen her character up while away. I hate to see those long-term injuries to people.
If you haven’t done so yet, I wrote a special Rawer Reaction looking at some of the challenges facing the red brand right now.
That’s all I’ve got, until next time.