Asuka def. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match
Carmella's pre-match promo was better than most of her recent mic work, but this feud with Asuka has basically been nonexistent up to this point. Carmella tried to rip Asuka for not being the same competitor she was prior to her initial loss at WrestleMania 34 (which is true), but there has been virtually zero follow-up to that defeat and Asuka simply comes across as a random challenger for Carmella. On the bright side, the subsequent Handicap match was a pleasant surprise. I wouldn't say it made Deville and Rose look weak because they got in plenty of offense and had solid showings.
Karl Anderson def. SmackDown Tag Team Champion Harper
It's always incredibly difficult to care about tag team wrestlers facing off in singles matches because it never truly matters who wins. It doesn't help that, similar to Carmella vs. Asuka, this program has zero juice at the moment. Anderson and Harper weren't given nearly enough time to have anything above an average outing, but it was fine for what it was. Anderson scoring the fluke victory by roll-up all but confirms that he and Luke Gallows aren't capturing the SmackDown Tag Team Championship at Money in the Bank.
Jimmy Uso and Naomi def. Aiden English and Lana
Needless to say, Lana is pretty deplorable in the ring, so this match had to be mostly smoke and mirrors. When they weren't going for comedy, though, it was a perfectly passable bout. On a side note, The Usos were the hottest team in WWE just a few short months ago, yet they currently feel like an afterthought. It's a shame, so here's hoping they can bounce back in the near future.
WWE Champion AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura Signed the Contract for Their WWE Championship Match at Money in the Bank
Contract signings are such a tired troupe in wrestling that I was so relieved this took place backstage. It didn't overstay its welcome as a result and I appreciated that it didn't end in predictable fashion (a.k.a. a brawl). Both men played their roles very well with Nakamura continuing to go for the mind games and Styles getting bothered by them. I have faith that their Last Man Standing encounter will be their best yet in WWE.
Becky Lynch def. Charlotte Flair
Flair and Lynch have had strong chemistry together for years (regardless of whether they're rivals or teammates) and this was an yet another excellent match from them. Granted, it could have been even better with more time, but they maximized their minutes and created a compelling babyface vs. babyface dynamic. I absolutely loved Lynch beating Flair clean because it gives her a much-needed momentum boost, but I doubt it will lead to anything significant.
Renee Young Interviewed Big Cass
I give Cass credit for getting better with his promos, but the material he's being given to work with is the same stuff we've heard from him for weeks. It would be one thing if he had Bryan's number, but Bryan beat him at Backlash and then laid him out in England two weeks after that. I was confused why Bryan didn't bother to interrupt him, as well as why this rivalry had to resume following their first mediocre match.
The New Day def. The Miz, Samoa Joe and Rusev
As enjoyable as this was on the whole, last week's six-man tag team match with New Day against Miz and The Bar was significantly hotter. Nevertheless, the crowd was alive for this main event and it had a good pace. Miz accidentally throwing pancakes in the face of his partners was lame, but I guess it established that it will every man for themselves in the Money in the Bank Ladder matchup.
SmackDown has been much more bearable than Raw in the lead-up to Money in the Bank, but it really feels like WWE is resting on its laurels with most of the matches advertised for the card because very few of them actually excite me. On the SmackDown side, Bryan vs. Cass does nothing for me, Carmella vs. Asuka and The Bludgeon Brothers vs. Gallows and Anderson are just kind of there, and Styles vs. Nakamura has been hit or miss most weeks. The Money in the Bank build is also no different than it has ever been, making these shows more forgettable than ever. This was a decent edition of SmackDown with some entertaining wrestling, yet nothing must-see.
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