The Hype Bros def. The Colons (Kickoff Match)
I was very surprised these two teams received as much time as they did, because even though it's an hour-long Kickoff show, they usually get no more than five minutes. That said, the extra length didn't make the matchup any more special. Despite being rather formulaic, it was exactly what it needed to be in allowing The Hype Bros to pick up where they left off as a tag team. I imagine they'll contend for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship eventually before going their separate ways. Who goes heel: Zack Ryder or Mojo Rawley?
Carmella def. Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Natalya and Tamina to Win a Money in the Bank Ladder Match
For years, my biggest criticism of doing a women's Money in the Bank Ladder match was that it would be a total train wreck, but I got to give credit to all five women in this matchup because this was anything but. Sure, there were a few sloppy spots (like when Charlotte attempted to tackle Tamina out of the ring), but that's merely nitpicking because it was nothing major. The effort was strong on the whole up until the bizarre finish. I actually like the idea of Carmella as Ms. Money in the Bank, but I figured James Ellsworth retrieving the contract for her would be reversed, but apparently not. That was a bit confusing.
The New Day def. SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos by Count-out
New Day and The Usos have always had good matches together and this was no exception. I liked how New Day had the match won at several different points and The Usos had to resort to underhanded tactics (like true heels) to retain the titles. I was hoping New Day wouldn't win the belts just yet because the feud is just getting underway, but I don't think I would have gone with a count-out, which was flat.
SmackDown Women's Champion Naomi def. Lana
I set my expectations pretty low in terms of what to expect from Lana in the ring, and she wasn't absolutely atrocious, so there was that. However, the crowd couldn't have cared less and it was hard to blame them. Naomi hasn't been booked too well as champion and Lana showed up with her new gimmick three weeks ago, not to mention the in-ring work was mediocre at best. Carmella teasing cashing in only to back off was a nice touch, and I assume Naomi vs. Carmella will be the next feud over the belt.
Mike and Maria Kanellis Debuted
Finally!!! It has been rumored for months that Mike and Maria were coming into WWE as part of the SmackDown Live brand, it was just a matter of when and not if they would debut. I'm ecstatic it appears they're bringing their cocky characters from TNA (Maria calling herself "The First Lady") over to WWE because that's what got them over as stars. I don't know what the "love" thing is all about, but I suppose we'll see in time. Here's hoping WWE utilizes them properly (and no, inevitably losing to John Cena and Nikki Bella doesn't count).
WWE Champion Jinder Mahal def. Randy Orton
I thought this would be inferior to their Backlash bout because the outcome was far more predictable, but I ended up liking it more than their initial encounter. The intensity was there and the crowd dug Orton beating the holy hell out of The Bollywood Boyz. Mahal needed to walk out with the title intact, but doing the distraction finish for a second straight month made Orton look like a complete idiot, again.
Breezango def. The Ascension
It was obvious as soon as the "mystery assailants" were shown on screen that it was The Ascension, and part of me held out hope that they would swerve us with an American Alpha return instead. Sadly, that was not the case. I enjoy Breezango as much as the next person, but this was match was meaningless and a desperate attempt to kill time on a card with only five matches advertised in advance. On the bright side, it was kept short (I'm not sure about sweet, though).
Baron Corbin def. Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles, United States Champion Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and Dolph Ziggler in a Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Corbin attacking Nakamura during his entrance out of nowhere was well done and led to Nakamura's expected albeit hot return down the stretch. Nakamura winning would have been the wrong move at this point and would have drawn many comparisons to Roman Reigns, who also did something similar in the 2016 Royal Rumble match and almost emerged victorious. Similarities to Reigns is the last thing Nakamura needs right now. At any rate, the first taste of Nakamura vs. Styles in WWE was of course incredibly well received by the crowd. Even before that, the early goings out the match were wild with everyone taking an insane amount of bumps, so props to all six guys. Corbin becoming Mr. Money in the Bank was what needed to happen in my opinion since he has future world champ written all over him and will continue to improve in the months ahead. Needless to say, it was the match of the night and excellent enough to salvage the show, which had been struggling up until the bell rang for this bout.
Anticipation was at an all-time high coming into the event and I'd be lying if I said it exceeded or even met my lofty expectations. That was largely due to a few wonky endings in the undercard, but the in-ring action was entertaining and as noted, the main event was spectacular and well worth going out of your way to see. All things considered, the pay-per-view gets a thumbs up from me for the main event, the opener and the debuts of Mike and Maria. Daniel Bryan and Rusev are reportedly returning on Tuesday's SmackDown (Bryan is confirmed), so fingers crossed that kicks off SmackDown's summer season with a bang.
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