Cold Open – Women’s Division promo’s for tonight’s 5-way no.1 contender match
Charlotte is genetically superior, Carmella has so much class we should call her teacher, Natty is the best there is/was/ever will be, but only if you count people in her family that are currently wrestling. Becky used two lines about being Irish and Tamina is ready to take the spotlight.
Kevin Owen’s Highlight Reel
WWE skips the entrance and starts in the ring. I appreciate this change-up as the RAW/Smackdown opening segments have been ridiculously predictable for the past few months.
He talks about becoming the Champion and face of the entire WWE once he wins the World Title (via MitB).
He introduces one of the “people he will step on”, Shinsuke Nakamura.
This slight change in presentation already has a better feel. Owen’s inviting Nakamura to talk 1-on-1 has a much needed tension and anticipation of their vocal showdown.
Owens has a great look of disgust as Naka enters, while the crowd continues to sing his song after the music stops.
KO tells him “this isn’t America’s Got Talent” and he’s had “enough of your stupid little dancing”. Owens is one of the most natural talkers, even when delivering the long-winded scripts WWE creative pumps out.
He reminds Nakamura that Jericho was the last person to call himself a rockstar and he sent him and his stupid little scarf into early retirement.
Nakamura starts to talk but Baron Corbin interrupts
Corbin says no one cares what Naka has to say and shows his highlights of attacking Zayn after his loss last week.
Owens is not impressed and says he’s been beating up Sami Zayn for 15 years. The smarks cheer themselves for knowing what he’s talking about.
Corbin won’t respect KO’s authority and calls him Cartman.
Nakamura struggles a bit with his opening line and the crowd yells ‘what?’. He reminds Owens that last time he was in the ring with a rockstar “I. Beat. You!’.
He then tells Corbin that his highlight package failed to show the “two times, Sami Zayn, beat, you!”.
Corbin and Owens double-team Nakamura who gets in a few strikes before getting overpowered.
Sami Zayn runs down
Zayn and Naka clear the ring.
Zayn plays GM and predictably asks for a tag-match between the four of them “right now!”
This segment started strong and had efficient promos that made sense. The problem is that WWE has done this type of opening segment to death. Wrestlers interrupt each other and settle the dispute with a tag match containing the upcoming PPV participants. WWE thinks it builds anticipation by showing them in action but not giving away the singles (or in this case MitB) but in reality it over saturates the matchups. They would be wise to stick the featured PPV competitors in matches against lower card wrestlers that they can dominate, keeping the actual PPV combination from touching until the show.
Zayn & Nakamura vs Corbin and Owens
Nakamura and Corbin start with a lockup. Naka goes behind but Corbin powers out. Naka does a few cartwheels and flips to get out and a girl in the responsive crowd screams for it. He rests his head in Corbin’s stomach, backs off, and gives his “c’mooonnnnnnnnn!”. He gets Corbin in the corner for his vibrating boot to the nexk maneuver and then tags out. He must have gone to the Kevin Nash school of get your shit in quick and take a break.
Zayn comes in to face Owens but the perpetual underdog loses the momentum immediately and takes punishment from both heels. He eventually dodges a punch and launches a flurry of strikes at Corbin. He sets up for a suplex but Corbin blocks, pushing Zayn to the topes so KO can get in a dirty kick to the back of the head while the ref wasn’t watching.
Zayn goes for a tornado DDT off the top rope but Corbin uses his strength to deny it, delivering a great powerslam instead. The great crowd reacts loudly.
Zayn almost gets the hot tag but Corbin knocks Naka off the apron and brutalizes Zayn a bit more.
Corbin has the line of the night as he yells to the crowd “he can’t hear you, ya stupid little kid!”
Zayn hits a lariat and makes the hot tag.
Nakamura comes in hits Owens with a flying yakuza kick, a strike combination and his rising knee in the corner.
Corbin saves KO from a pin and but Zayn comes in to attack him. Zayn tosses Owens into Corbin and the big guy yells at Owens for hitting him. Owens pushes Corbin and the former boxer punches KO, leaving him open for a Kinchasa and Naka gets the pin.
Nice to start the night with a great match, though they could have milked this for a co-main event. Nakamura and Corbin looked the strongest as Zayn took most of the beating and Owens was pinned again. The finish was creative and exciting. Although it’s a bit tiring seeing these pre-PPV tag matches, the overall quality made up for the lack of imagination.
The Usos Promo
Looking forward to seeing these guys continue their reign as best promo in the company.
They say the crowd is looking “salty (a little bit), mad (a little bit)”, but the crowd cheers them anyway. The Usos resort to bringing up their local sports team losing to a rival team and finally win some boos.
They’re soon interrupted by…
New Day debuts on Smackdown
This could be a great feud with the combined mic skills of both teams.
Xavier is from Atlanta, people like that even more than they hated the sports reference.
The Usos interrupt and ask if New Day “got lost skipping up and down the yellow brick road.”
New Day corrects them, showing them it’s more of a ‘skip, skip, clap’.
The Usos have the tag-division on lock, and welcome them to the Uso Penitentiary.
Big E says they know what goes on in a penitentiary (*wink *wink butt sex)
The Usos threaten to take the three unicorns out back, ‘old yeller style’ and makes gun cocking sounds.
This was an entertaining as I hoped. Having a break from the New Day was important as their shtick can get grating. Both teams were great on the mic and I hope we get at least another PPV out of this feud.
Replay of Jinder Mahal’s Punjabi celebration?
The show is only two hours long yet they recap Mahal’s win and celebration. What a waste of time.
Fashion Files – Fandango Solo Episode
This episode is a great tribute to film noir, complete with black and white, tired voice-over, and smoky saxophone jazz. Fandango hilariously strolls the halls in his detective trench coat while the regular WWE crew goes about their business. He sees his door has been opened and enters expecting the worst. A womanly shadow is shown and Fandango draws his toy gun, but it’s just Breeze wearing a wig and a dress. They both give voice-over thoughts and realize they can hear each other. They discover a cologne bottle containing ethanyl alcohol, tree frog excrement, and hibiscus. This gets them on the trail of their next case.
A fun segment that dove deeper into their parody. WWE has a good thing going with these two.
Charlotte vs Carmella vs Natalya vs Becky vs Tamina
Charlotte’s entrance is one of her best yet. She oozes charisma. Carmella and Tamina came out to virtual silence. Natty gets more of a reaction and Becky a little more than her.
The women all brawl until Carmella and Lynch hit the outside. Natty nails Charlotte with two snap suplexes and the two trade punches. Tamina hits Flair with a samoan drop and Natty rolls out. Lynch is still beating on Carmella outside and dives off the barrier to a big pop.
The ref hasn’t started the match and won’t until all the girls get back in the ring. The broadcasters have mentioned this multiple times so it feels like the match is about to get cancelled.
Tamina rips the top off of the announcer table and the crowd gets hyped for potential table action. Charlotte reverses it however, pushing Tamina into the ring apron and then the post. She tosses Natty to the floor with a killer fallaway slam. Flair tops all of this off with a moonsault from the top rope to the outside.
Carmella joins the spotfest with a dive from the barricade.
Becky tosses Carmella with an exploder, but eats a superkick from Tamina, who takes a big boot from Charlotte, who takes a 360 clothesline from Natalya.
Natalya tries to powerbomb Charlotte into the table but Flair irish whips her into the steel steps. The women keep ‘clearing’ the already cleared table, which amounts to them pushing a few pieces of paper off.
After the two teases, Charlotte power bombs Natalya into the table and gets ‘Holy Shit!’ chants. It was a nice and high power bomb too, close to a Last Ride.
The match still hasn’t started so….
Shane McMahon comes down
Because the match didn’t start, Shane wants to do something historic.
He puts the five battered competitors into the first-ever Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match. The crowd approves.
I’ve been critical of Smackdown cramming nearly every woman from the division into singular matches rather than have two separate feuds, but at least they’re all being utilized effectively. This was a great showcase of the extreme moments we’ll see in the upcoming ladder match. The women looked dangerous and I’m excited to see what they can do at the PPV.
Breezango vs The Colons
Breeze is wearing his women’s wig and dress and seems annoyed when Fandango pushes past him during their entrance.
Primo Colon doesn’t like Breeze’s outfit and rips it off while stomping him.
Fandango ends up in the ring and counters a sunset flip by taking out his watergun and squirting Primo. Breeze shoots Epico with his gun.
Breeze gets knocked to the floor from the apron and Fandango is left to take a beating. He eventually nails a sunset flip powerbomb just in time for Breeze to re-appear as the Janitor. He gets the hot tag and ‘REALLY CLEANS UP’.
Fandango distracts with the mop, and Breeze hits his Unprettier for the win.
Their horrible mashup music plays and ruins my soul with its off-key horribleness.
A low-key match that should have opened the night. The Colons slowed the pace too much as the two teams should have went full throttle in their short match.
AJ Styles Interview with Renee Young
Styles stumbles over his words but recovers well with his genuine and likeable personality.
Dolph says he’s the only one in the match who’s won the briefcase and used it to win the World Championship. He challenges Styles to a fight.
Styles takes off his shirt and says ‘that’s how we do it in the ATL’. The crowd likes hearing their city spelled that way.
Ziggler laughs and says “see ya out there kid”
Randy Orton Promo
Atlanta is such a great crowd they cheer and actually stand up for Orton’s entrance.
Orton talks about his 17-year career, his father at the first WrestleMania, and if his grandfather was still alive he would smack Randy for losing to a guy like Mahal.
Orton ends his promo saying how he’ll become champion “for the fourteenth time!”, which to me, is fourteen losses and not something to yell about.
Mahal appears on the video screen and says he’s the champion and modern day Maharaja.
Nothing much here, at least it was brief.
AJ Styles vs Dolph Ziggler
They grapple around until Ziggler grabs the rope and sneaks in a dirty elbow. Styles responds with a big right hand and a textbook dropkick.
Ziggler sneaks in a throat chop to gain control and whips Styles into the ring post, injuring his rib.
Back from commercial and Ziggler has control with a headlock, but Styles reverses into a side suplex. AJ unloads with punches, a striking combo, a running forearm to the ropes and one more as Ziggler sits stunned on the mat. He then nails his belly to back wheelbarrow face buster; what a great move.
He goes for the Styles Clash but Ziggler counters and goes for the pin with his legs on the ropes for leverage, but the ref catches it.
Ziggler complains and Styles uses the distraction to hit his fireman’s carry backbreaker.
Styles goes for the Styles Clash but Ziggler counters again. AJ ends up snap suplexing Ziggler into the turnbuckles. It looks painful and safe at the same time.
Styles pulls Ziggler to the top turnbuckle and attempts a Styles Clash but Ziggler reverses into a top-rope DDT.
Ziggler goes for a Fame-Asser, reversed into another failed Styles Clash. The two bump heads very convincingly. Ziggler goes for a Zig-Zag but has that countered as well.
Styles runs at Ziggler and eats a big knee.
Ziggler goes for a suplerplex but Styles slips through his legs. Ziggler dodges a forearm but Styles counters Ziggler into a Calf Crusher in the middle of the ring. A desperate Ziggler claws at Styles’ eyes to break the hold.
Ziggler pulls AJ into the ropes neck first and hits a Zig Zag for a two-count.
Ziggler goes for a superkick but sells the bum knee failing. Styles goes for the Phenomenal Forearm but Ziggler sends him crashing crotch first onto the ropes, following up with a superkick to the back of Styles’ head and gets the win!
The whole match played out like the last 10 minutes of a great PPV bout. Plenty of huge spots centered around reversing each others’ arsenals. It was exciting as both men are super talented, but it felt a bit disjointed and missing the first and second acts.
Ziggler winning was a nice surprise although WWE loves making wrestlers lose in their hometown. Ziggler is the least believable to win the briefcase so the win throws a bit of uncertainty to those predicting anyone but Dolph.
An above-average show with plenty of great moments and setups for Money in the Bank. The Womens’ surprising brutality stole the show along with the first ever Women’s MitB match announcement. The Usos and New Day should be intriguing as their first meet-up was an entertaining meeting of strong promo teams.
Ziggler and Styles’ match came out of nowhere but was booked well and performed even better.
What do you think?