As Money in the “CORPORATE” Bank draws closer, WWE continues to pull ahead with its programming amidst a very turbulent time for their PR and reputation. Smackdown seems stacked this week with Money in The Bank qualifying matches including Otis and Dolph Ziggler as well as a Firefly fun house episode. So, let’s get straight to business…
Daniel Bryan Promo time
SmackDown kicked off with Daniel Bryan cutting a fiery promo about Money in the Bank and its importance, with typical passion and prowess that only D-Bry can bring. kudos to him for mentioning Drew Gulak as his “coach” proving once again that this partnership between them is the best thing that happened to Gulak. The most important part though was the fact that Daniel Bryan is facing King Corbin later and so came out the king who was his usual arrogant batshit heel. Daniel Bryan reminded him that he lost his Money in the Bank opportunity, so Corbin pocked fun at him being coached by Gulak. There you have it, we will see them fight. It was typical Corbin heel shtick and formulaic overall.
Daniel Bryan vs King Corbin
The match starts with a bit of grappling then it breaks down with Corbin striking Bryan as the latter focused on chopping the big man down. Daniel Bryan took over from there and focused his attack on Corbin’s knee doing some meticulous mat work. Corbin turns things around and uses his strong to bully Daniel Bryan all the while trash talking him and his coach/protege Drew Gulak, his wife and Total Bellas. Back from a commercial, and Corbin is in complete control but almost got surprised via two consecutive roll-ups, as well as Corbin getting a close two from a clothesline. The king is focused on Bryan’s left arm and targeting it constantly, but Bryan mounts a comeback and starts putting some offence together against Corbin and targets his legs and feet again. However, Corbin cuts his momentum for a while before Bryan returns on top. Corbin throws a ladder at Bryan for a DQ finish which Corbin seemed very surprised of. After that Corbin, alongside Cesaro and Nakamura attack Bryan and throw him into a ladder to stand tall.
The match was good if dragging a little bit, but the finish was classic lazy WWE booking. Though, obviously the purpose is to protect both guys before the PPV but that was a bit cheap.
Universal Champion time
First of all, WWE is not advertising the Fiend but “Bray Wyatt”. Second, Bray interrupts Braun a few sentences in to tell a story. The story was about his history with Bray Wyatt from back in the days and how he brought him in WWE, and how he left him (somehow). It was a short story but Bray made it sound so creepy as usual, but Strowman cuts him short before he tells the ending. Well, to be fair, this didn’t raise my levels of interest any higher but still a good segment with WWE obviously keeping their face to face to the PPV or to next week’s go home show.
- Sheamus is in action later.
Sheamus’ squash time
Let’s put it sweet and short, Leon Ruff (yes that’s his name) is getting pummeled by Sheamus in no time, period. He seems to be enjoying what he is doing, as the poor jobber got kicked out of this world. Obviously the feud is with Jeff Hardy, but these squashes are getting repetitive and useless as they go on.
- Jeff Hardy’s comeback video package. He is coming back next week and Sheamus is not impressed.
- Otis and Mandy Rose are interviewed backstage (and Where’s Tucker by the way)
Carmella vs Mandy Rose: Money In The Bank Qualifier.
This match has Sonya Deville interference written all over it, but we’ll see. Also this match does not look to be long. The match starts with a bit of show-womenship before things break down or to be precise go into chin lock city. Indeed, Sonya Deville came out and started cutting a promo reminding Mandy of their history and how she gave her the money in the bank spot last year all the while the match kept going on. Carmella took advantage of that and superkicked her way into Money in the bank. this Otis/Ziggler – Deville/Rose story is really going well. Sonya Deville attacked Rose viciously afterwards, proving that she has the chops to become a great singles star. The tension rises in this feud as we are awaiting the eventual mixed tag team match
- New Day vs Forgotten Sons is still to come
- Otis is checking on Mandy in the trainers room then meets Ziggler away.
The New Day vs The Forgotten Sons
A recap is shown of the Forgotten sons attack of The New Day last week before the match. Miz and John Morrison come out to watch the action closely for sure. WWE is clearly protecting Jackson Ryker by not having him compete leaving Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake to fight in the ring which, if anything, clearly indicates that they are losing. In the ring, the tag champions were in control via Big E. Back from the commercial, Kofi Kingston and Big E double team the FS for a while before things are turned around. On commentary, Miz and Morrison were trash talking the New Day and bigging up The Forgotten Sons. The commentary is so distracting but in the right obnoxious way it is supposed to be. Big E mounts a comeback and hot tags Kingston who goes full house on fire. While Kingston and Cutler were tussling in the ring, Miz and Morrison were promoting their movie “The main event” on Netflix. Big E got beaten on the outside by Ryker allowing Blake and Cutler to pin Kingston for the win which obviously sets them for a tag titles opportunity. This came out of nowhere and was really surprising, not a clean win obviously, but it is an important win and proves that they are better treated on the Main roster than on NXT somehow.
- A recap of Bayley/Sasha/Tamina interaction last week, followed by an interview with Tamina backstage, who got confronted by Banks who supported her but it turned out to be an ambush for Tamina before Lacey Evans came to even the odds and brawl all four backstage.
- Dolph Ziggler and Sonya Deville are backstage as Ziggler prepares for his main-event against Otis for a Money In The Bank spot. I like that this not a couple relationship but two people who share an interest.
- Cesaro/Nakamura/Corbin vs Bryan/Gulak/mistery partner as well as Lacey Evans/Tamina vs Bayley/Sasha Banks and Bray Wyatt facing off with Strowman next week all announced.
Otis vs Dolph Ziggler: Money In The Bank Qualifier
Otis starts in an explosive way, filled with emotions throwing Ziggler around and stomping on his back, taking control early on in the match. Otis is completely in the driving seat in the match without being distracted. Before the commercial, Otis was posted and from there Ziggler took control and dictated the pace of the match. Otis gets fired up and mounts his comeback but Ziggler finds a way to hit a zigzag for a near fall. Otis counters a superckick and hits the caterpillar for the win to punch his ticket (surprisingly) for the Money In the “CORPORATE” ladder Match which is good for Otis but where is Tucker in all of this ? I’m afraid that they might split them up for some reason which is going to suck. Overall, thia storyline is going smoothly and the meat is obviously in the mixed tag when it happens.
This was a really good episode of SmackDown, with decent in-ring action and coherent development in storylines. Next Week’s episode seems to be stacked as the go-home show for one of the weirdest MITB matches and PPVs ever with both Men and Women’s matches taking place simultaneously which is just bonkers.
Final rating :8/10
This is one man’s opinion after all, you can reach out on Twitter @austin316tn or tell me in the comments. Till Next Week!!