New WWE Champion Jinder Mahal arrives with a police escort and a white stretch limousine. The production notes must have said “stand there silently” as Mahal stood there silently, looking angry, and then happy, for way too long. Not his fault, but a cringey way to start the show. People booed, so that’s good.
Shane McMahon Promo
Shane announces the new champ and the crowd boos again, which is good. Shane tells us Orton will use his rematch clause and some of the crowd boos (which isn’t good, but is similar to how I feel).
Lil Mac talks about Money in the Bank and introduces us to the five particiapnts for the MitB match.
MitB Selections: AJ Styles, Baron Corbin, Sami Zayn, Dolph Ziggler
As we’re waiting for the fifth announcement…
Kevin Owens interrupts
Shane says KO knows “darn well” he isn’t a participant, and introduces the fifth selection as…
Shinsuke Nakamura is the fifth MitB participant!
All five have shown great chemistry together. Although I find multi-person matches a bit messy and overly scripted, this should be a great one.
Kevin Owens insults the choices
KO says Nakamura and Zayn won their matches at Backlash and deserve to be in the match, and by that logic, he should have Styles’ spot. He assumes Shane is jealous because Owens beat AJ when McMahon couldn’t at WrestleMania. This makes sense and I like that wrestlers are referencing the wins and losses.
Shane Announces KO as the Sixth selection for the match
Corbin tries to butt in but his mic is only coming through on tv, not to the audience, so he grabs another and handles the mishap fairly well.
Styles references that KO had to win with a countout and calls Owens WWE’s version of Cartman, Corbin the Lon Wolf, Ziggler the Show-Off, Zayn the Underdog, and Nakamura the Rockstar.
Zayn takes offense to this but Corbin interrupts and calls him the ‘Rudy’ of Smackdown live. That’s two references about Zayn being the underdog.
Owens tells the two to shutup.
Ziggler tells Owens to shutup and talks about the time he won the MitB.
Nakamura grabs the mic and tells the wrestlers his name. He tells Ziggler to call him Mr Money in the Bank.
Shane says tensions are high and makes a match between Corbin and Zayn, as well as a tag-team match between Owens/Ziggler and Styles/Nakamura.
A good start to the show as the entrances didn’t take too long and the promos were efficient. All six have been great in the ring and the MitB should be a great match. Seeing them all in action and Nakamura’s first tv match makes for an exciting main event.
Natalya & Carmella vs Charlotte & Becky
Carmella and Becky have an even back and forth before a Charlotte tag and dropkick send the heels to the floor. Becky yells “c’mon innnnnnnn!” which is an interesting catch phrase.
The heels dominate until Charlotte gets an early hot tag and the crowd goes wild. Her charisma is clearly on another level. She goes for a moonsault which prompts Naomi and Tamina to get involved on the outside, distracting Flair long enough for Natty to hit a great german suplex.
Charlotte tags in Becky who nails Natty with a missile dropkick, sending her to the corner to tag in Carmella who lays in a few strikes and insults. The insults give Becky enough time to reverse it into a submission and pick up the win as Carmella screamed in agony.
Thankfully we got a match right after the opening segment to keep the momentum going. The sound and production is really good tonight as the mat and crowd are very loud. The crowd was into it and the women put on an exciting show. The faces got the predictable win due to WWEs 50/50 booking, but whatever you think of the result, it was solid entertainment
Corbin vs Zayn
Corbin hurled Zayn by the neck but when he went to pick him up, Zayn countered with a roll-up and got the win!
Zayn would have to pay for the win by receiving a vicious beatdown from a furious Corbin. The ex-boxer slapped loudly with a steel chair and tossed him all around the outside of the ring and crowd are yelling “STAY BACK!” to any official coming near. He had a great moment of pounding Zayn’s head with elbows as a smiling father and two very young kids watched a few feet away.
Corbin’s mic work during the first segment was a bit shaky, but he sounded ferocious when screaming at the refs. Definitely a part of his personality they should continue to explore. The match was a nice surprise. The finish and beatdown fit both of their personalities and furthered the storyline of underdog vs brutal big man.
Nakamura and Styles backstage
Nakamura is shadowbowing when Styles shows up, calling him ‘rockstar’ which is a much better nickname than ‘Artist’. Styles welcomes him to the show, talks about their time in Japan and earning each other’s respect. He reminds Nakamura to follow his lead tonight.
Nakamura says tonight they’re a team tonight, but after he grabs the briefcase he’ll turn Style’s ‘house’ into his ‘playground’.
The crowd cheers the video intro, I hope they keep them mic’d throughout.
Shane checks out their evidence board as Breezango play the cops handing in their badges to an angry commissioner game. They even hang in their guns…water guns that is.
Shane tells them they’ll be facing the Usos in singles competition tonight.
A funny enough sketch that didn’t outstay its welcome while simultaneously setting up another two matches. Great filler.
Jinder Mahal Coronation
WWE is really courting the Indian market hard as we get a live percussion and dance performance I will assume is traditionally Indian. The performance is great and the crowd digs it.
They switch their cheers to boos when the new champ walks out in his new black suit and turban.
JBL is actually compelling as he softly speaks of how awesome the spectacle is. He should try not yelling more often. Playing more emotions and sympathizing with the heel has always been effective.
Mahal talks about 1.3 billion people in India celebrating his win. His voice is so ragged he sounds like Super Dave Osborne, he even tries to clear his voice off-mic.
Mahal has a good line about Orton and the USA both being on the decline.
He speaks in Punjabi and the segment is over.
I’m worried Mahal will lose his voice by the next show but the crowd reacted well to the entire segment. Interested to see what they’ll do with him going forward.
Jay Uso vs Tyler Breeze
The Fandango music mashup is horribly off-key.
Jay looks like he’s wearing makeup, or has a black-eye. He grabs the mic and tells Breeze he doesn’t deserve a match after already beating them at Backlash. Fandango squirts him with a watergun from the outside, distractin him so Breeze can roll him up for the quick win.
Jimmy Uso vs Fandango
Breeze puts on his grey wig and runs from Jay outside, sliding into the ring where Jimmy grabs him, allowing Fandango to also grab the surprise roll-up win.
Fandango challenges angry Usos to a tag-title match
Fandango and Breeze’s Fashion Files jokes are even funnier when done live in the arena. Both teams are very effective with the mic and could have a very entertaining feud if WWE lets it go even longer.
Breezango uses the Uso’s frustration to goad them into putting their titles on the line, which they do right then and there.
The Usos vs Breezango for the titles
We come back after commercial to see Jimmy controlling Breeze, but Breeze kicks Jimmy out of the ring and crawls to Fandango for a hot tag. Fandango hits a few clotheslines and a Macho-Man punching combination. Jay eventually sends Fandango into the post and the brothers double superkick Breeze and then Fandango. Jimmy goes for a frog splash but Fandango counters and gets a near fall.
Fandango also goes to the top but Jay distracts so in-ring Jimmy can go for a superplex. Fandango counters the superplex but doesn’t notice Jay get the tag. Fandango pushes Jimmy off the ropes and hits a flying leg drop but Jay was waitoing on othe other corner to hit a frog splash immediately after.
Both teams are firing on all cylinders right now. Smackdown needed these teams to step up and they did in a big way.
All three matches were entertaining and I’d love to see them have a back and forth promo war on the next show.
Shane and most of the women backstage
The women all argue over who should get the next title shot. Shane puts Tamina, Carmella, Natalya, Becky, and Charlotte in a five-way-elimination match on next week’s Smackdown to decide who will face Naomi at Money in the Bank.
Styles & Nakamura vs Ziggler & Owens
Styles and Nakamura get the jobber treatment as we see them already in the ring. Owens is the only one with a full entrance and his music sounds especially loud (which is a good thing).
Ziggler and Styles start off with some wrasslin’ before kicking it into high gear with some impressively fast rope-running and agile moves.
Both tag out so Nakamura and Owens can face off. Owens yells insults until Nakamura hits him with strikes, causing Owens to roll out of the ring to avoid a Kinchasa.
Coming back from break Nakamura goads Owens with a ‘c’monnnnnnn’, hitting the charging US champ with a knee, snapmare, and crazy-high knee drop. Owens rolls out again and this time plays possom on the apron, pulling Nakamura’s neck onto the ropes and laying a boot-down on him.
Ziggler comes in and the two exchange strikes until Dolph hits a Rude Awakening, complete with crotch thrust. The heels dominate while Styles can only watch and bounce with anticipation on the apron.
Ziggler may care more about his comedy career than wrestling but he was great at the PPV and is super effective as the supportive partner tonight. Owens and him have funny rapport and seem to be on the same page, making quick tags. Maybe some kind of program with these three could revitalize his status in the WWE.
Nakamura eventually tags in Styles who decimates Ziggler but can’t get the three-count after two finishing combinations. He goes for the Styles Clash but is distracted by Owens and dumped to the floor.
While we watch a replay of Owens hurling Styles high with a fantastic back bodydrop an unknown voice is heard saying “go to the replay…”, maybe someone from the production team?
Ziggler puts Styles on the top buckle for a superplex but the Phenomenal One slips between his legs and eventually hits a perfect belly-to-back facebuster.
Nakamura and Owens tag in and have a slightly sloppy strike exchange with Nakamura coming out on top. Chaos ensues as all four men are in the ring delivering super and Péle kicks. Once Ziggler and Styles leave the ring Nakamura hits Owens with a Kinchasa and grabs the pin.
This was a very entertaining show. There was plenty of quality matches and the talking sections were efficient at furthering the storylines. Smackdown has wisely shifted the primary focus to their best wrestlers and the Money in the Bank PPV.
Mahal’s fresh Championship run has been shifted to the mid-card where it can slowly build to whatever the heck they’re planning and his not-yet-main-event skills will not be exposed.