Carmella Addressed the Controversy Surrounding Her Money in the Bank Victory
Say what you will about her less-than-stellar in-ring ability and lack of heat (though she was booed pretty heavily during this promo), Carmella especially shines on the microphone and this was easily her greatest mic work to date. This was a strong promo in my opinion as she attempted to justify James Ellsworth's assistance in her Money in the Bank victory and actually made a few decent points, acknowledging how it has happened in the past with the likes of Seth Rollins and Sheamus. I liked how this was what kicked off the night and how it became the focal point of the remainder of the show. Would that have happened if it was a clean finish in the women's Ladder match last Sunday?
Big E def. SmackDown Tag Team Champion Jimmy Uso
Despite their loss to The Usos at Money in the Bank, New Day are still in chase mode for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship and that's the way it should be. They talked about The Usos retaining their titles in nefarious fashion, and with the odds evened here, they were able to emerge victorious. They're also going with what I thought they would with Usos doing a mini feud with The Hype Bros (they face off next week) before their eventual rematch against New Day.
Tom Phillips Interviewed Randy Orton
Once again, these sit-down interviews continue to be an effective tool in offering character development and Orton came across well with what he had to say here. On the bright side, he wasn't as robotic as usual, but I can't say I'm thrilled the Orton vs. Jinder Mahal feud is not yet over. Their match at Money in the Bank exceeded my expectations, but I'm really ready for Mahal to mix it up with other challengers. Punjabi Prison match incoming?
Shinsuke Nakamura def. Dolph Ziggler
This was very similar to their match in Backlash, a bout many people weren't satisfied with because they were hoping for something more one-sided from Nakamura. However, now is time for Nakamura's matches to become more competitive, which is why it worked better this time around. As I've said on countless occasions, I've all but given up on WWE doing anything of note with Ziggler, but he remains a talented hand in the ring and I thoroughly enjoyed this matchup.
United States Champion Kevin Owens def. Chad Gable in the New Face of America Open Challenge
Stop the presses, American Alpha have returned! It was about damn time, and this was a cool way to bring them back into the fold. They weren't given a ton of time, but it was a fun little outing and Chad looked credible in defeat. I also appreciated how he was able to receive some mic time beforehand and showcase his humor that got him over in the first place in NXT. I'm glad the AJ Styles vs. Owens feud is resuming because it wasn't given a proper conclusion prior to the pay-per-view.
SmackDown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan Issued His Verdict on the Women's Money in the Bank Ladder match
Bryan was absolutely right in saying that interference has always been allowed in Money in the Bank Ladder matches so that wasn't the problem but rather it was the fact Ellsworth retrieved the briefcase for her, which has never happened before. Thus, I agree with and am excited for the ruling that a second women's Ladder match will be held on next week's episode with the same five competitors. That seems fair to me. Plus, the matchup will be seen by a larger audience than it was at Money in the Bank.
WWE Champion Jinder Mahal def. Luke Harper (Non-title)
As much as I like Harper and am happy he's finally resurfaced on TV, this was a glorified midcard match. Mahal proved at Money in the Bank that he can be intense in the ring when he wants to be, but that fire wasn't present in this contest for whatever reason, and it was just fine as a result. Mahal didn't necessarily have to cheat in order to beat Harper, but at least it adds to his heel heat. I found it super strange Mr. Money in the Bank Baron Corbin was nowhere to be seen on this show (let alone acknowledged), but I guess they wanted to make his teased cash-in here more of a surprise. That said, I wish we would have heard from him about his huge victory. Maybe next week. As noted earlier, the Orton vs. Mahal rivalry continuing doesn't intrigue me, but the crowd was hot for Orton's post-match attack on him.
This was a strong post-pay-per-view edition of SmackDown Live that offered plenty of fallout from Money in the Bank, and the focus on the women's division was excellent (the complete opposite of Raw this week). Most feuds from the event will last a little longer it seems, but Orton vs. Mahal is the only one I take exception to. By the way, where were Mike and Maria Kanellis on this show? I saw they showed up in a WWE.com exclusive video (perhaps during a commercial break), but they absolutely should have appeared on SmackDown in some form or fashion given there was buzz surrounding their Money in the Bank debut.
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