Daniel Bryan promo
Daniel Bryan soaks in the crowd chanting his name before hyping up the two big Women’s Division matches until…
Carmella re-iterates that there were no rules to the match so how could she have broken one? She raises points about previous matches also having interference.
Daniel Bryan agrees about the previous incidents but says this was still the first time someone else climbed the ladder.
He asks the audience if he should cancel the match and give the briefcase to Carmella
Ellsworth says the audience controls ‘this stupid puppet’ (Daniel Bryan). He then calls Bryan a coward who made up his injury to stay out of the ring.
Bryan says he should probably just fire him, but tonight it’s about the ‘real’ superstars of Smackdown.
Instead of Bryan banning Ellsworth from the ring, he brings out security to ban him frim the arena.
This was entertaining and the crowd was hot for it. Carmella raised great points, and managed to whine without sounding annoying. Bryan worked the crow perfectly and by the time Ellsworth was dragged off the crowd was pumped to see him go. His cowardly attempts to run away were a fun opener and the final image of a worried Carmella in the ring was the cherry on top.
The Hype Bros vs The Usos
The Hype Bros had won a tag Battle Royal six months ago for a no.1 contender spot but due to injury, they weren’t able to cash it in. If they beat the champs here, they’ll get a chance to do it for real.
The Bros get a hyped start but The Usos use a distraction to gain control.
After the commercial we see the aftermath of Ryder missing a boot and taking a frog splash as The Usos get the win.
The New Day interrupt
The New Day congratulate them for winning a match and not running away.
The Usos say they already beat them, and will take a pass on beatin’ their ass tonight.
The New Day come back with a Kofi bar about the Usos being under draws like booty. I’m not sure what that means.
Breezango interrogate The Ascension by offering them tickets to Eddie Money but the LOD ripoffs say they only listen to grindcore thrash metal.
Breeze accidentally does good cop good cop by offering them ice tea and a cheese platter.
The Ascension say they didn’t attack them, they just wanted a match on the card.
The office is trashed in the meantime, clearing The Ascension and as the camera pans back, the two grindcore enthusiasts are eating the cheese and sneakily taking the tickets.
Naomi (c) vs Lana
Naomi comes out first, but I’m assuming the WWE didn’t trust Lana to entertain the crowd during the commercial break between entrances.
Lana comes out after commercial and attacks Naomi while she raises her belt for the crowd. Lana even nails an early finisher that’s kicked out of before Naomi wins shortly after.
Naomi squashing the green challenger makes sense on paper, but why make Lana look threatening before, it feels like the story switched directions since last week. It’s good for Naomi to be a strong champion, but where does Lana go from here?
Aidan English sings
Randy orton RKOs him and sits in the ring
Orton continues his Austin-esque rampage, this time laying out English and sitting in the ring until he gets another shot at the title.
Orton says he deserves a re-match because if he doesn’t get it, he will keep beating Mahal up. That’s a terrible reason for a face. It might have worked with Austin, but Orton doesn’t have the charisma.
Shane McMahon confronts Orton
Shane says Orton can’t threaten or beat up Mahal.
Orton says even if he’s fired he’ll buy tickets to the show and beat up Mahal, even if he gets arrested (more Austin-lite).
Shane gives him a rematch because he likes the look in Orton’s eye? But with a stipulation that Mahal chooses…
Mahal says Orton doesn’t deserve a title match (he’s right). He calls WWE prejudiced and names his stipulation, inspired by his personal hero, The Great Khali.
Mahal asks for a Punjabi Prison Match
I’m not a fan of these because the multiple layers of bamboo cage obstruct the view. I also don’t expect the limited skills of Mahal and the lackluster effort of Orton to provide much brutality.
A trailer showing a masked man destroying everything in a mock WWE HoF except HHH’s skull crown is revealed to be Seth Rollins, who will adorn the game’s cover. The tagline is ‘be no one’. No gameplay was shown.
This franchise needs a serious reboot but pumping out a mediocre game every year won’t allow for that.
Baron Corbin vs Sami Zayn
Although these two have great david vs goliath chemistry, this matchup is getting stale.
Corbin’s strength consistently shuts down Zayn’s agility and the MitB holder grabs the clean win.
Corbin looks good, Zayn loses another and flounders. I’d like to see him involved in a tournament or some kind of battle for the U.S title, preferably not with Owens again though.
Charlotte vs Becky vs Natalya vs Carmella vs Tamina
The girls used the time between MitB matches to craft an even better bout. Even Natalya’s horribly slow ladder climb couldn’t dull the crowd’s excitement.
Tamina looked especially powerful, making me wonder if she’ll be getting her own shot at the title soon. Charlotte was menacing and intelligent, Becky was quick thinking, nailing nearly everyone with opportunistic suplexes.
I loved when Charlotte pummelled Tamina with the ladder before climbing up for her attempt. It looked brutal and setup Tamina to tip it over a minute later.
Charlotte and Becky teamed up to double-powerbomb the younger Snuka, but Natalya and Charlotte’s brutal brawl outside ld to their eventual loss.
The crowd went nuts for the second-gen stars taking the battle over the barrier. This was a nice setup for the ending, much better than having them roll around unconscious. It keeps them looking like ferocious competitors that just let their aggression get the best of them.
Ellsworth snuck back in to the building to assist Carmella once again. The crowd was hyped as they knew his appearance signalled the end.
The screams heard for Becky’s save reminded me of years past when the crowd was invested in the outcome rather than trying to show off their wrestling IQ with chants.
Carmella ijured Becky’s knee dragging her from the ladder and followed that up with a vicious chair to the already-injured area, and a nice loud chair slap on the back. She was then in the clear to climb up and win the case once more.
The women put on another memorable PPV-worthy match. I didn’t mind the Ellsworth controversy from MitB as it was the perfect heel thing to do and called into question the nature of a no-rules match. All of the women looked great and will have plenty to deal with moving forward as the new no.1 contender shakes down with Carmella a constant threat in the background. She’s not the best in-ring worker but she has plenty of charisma on and off the mic. Ellsworth and her are a lot of fun together and I look forward to the months ahead.
The fabulous main event distracted from the lack of great or long matches. AJ Styles and Nakamura didn’t wrestle, Corbin/Zayn is stale, and the rest were squashes. Overall though, it was a decently entertaining night that ended on a supreme high note. I also give points for switching up the formula of the show and getting its swagger and sense of fun back. The lame part of the year is over and we can look forward to a great build towards SummerSlam.