Daniel Bryan Attacked Big Cass
Man, how over was Bryan here! He was beyond beloved by the London crowd and they were so loud for him at certain points during his promo that Renee Young had to stop what she was saying so they could get their chants out. Unfortunately, Cass' rebuttal was pretty poor. He's definitely cut better promos recently and it didn't help that he was then embarrassed by Bryan. I honestly have no interest in seeing this feud continue, and it's clear Cass having heat on him has hurt his standing on the roster.
The New Day def. Sheamus and Cesaro to qualify for the Men's Money in the Bank Ladder Match
New Day and Sheamus and Cesaro have worked well together in the past and I enjoyed their encounter here. It was fairly formulaic early on, but once they picked up the pace, it turned into a very good match. Xavier Woods especially shined and it's interesting that the commentators picked up on that, along with how he scored the winning fall for his team. I have no idea which member of New Day will end up competing in Money in the Bank, but I'd be fine with any three of them.
Andrade "Cien" Almas def. Jake Constantino
Those who followed his career in NXT (and specifically over the last year or so) would know that Almas has the presence of a star and has plenty of potential to be a huge deal on the main roster with the right booking. He's tremendous as a heel with Zelina Vega as his mouthpiece and I'm glad they were brought up to SmackDown Live together. He had a solid in-ring debut here and I liked Vega's post-match promo putting everyone on the blue brand on notice.
SmackDown general Manager Paige Announced Asuka as SmackDown Women's Champion Carmella's Opponent at Money in the Bank
Carmella's "Royal Mellabration" went almost as exactly as you would expect with the SmackDown Women's Champion boasting about being better than everyone else and taking digs at the crowd to decent heat. Paige received a very favorable reaction as the hometown hero, so it was cool she was able to make an appearance in front of the live crowd. I'm an Asuka fan, but what did she do exactly to earn a shot at the title at Money in the Bank? That's about as random as Ronda Rousey vs. Nia Jax on that same show. Perhaps this will be WWE's way of taking the title off Carmella early because she hasn't impressed in the ring at all.
Becky Lynch def. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville in a Triple Threat Match to Qualify for the Women's Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Needless to say, Rose and Deville are still fairly inexperienced and needed to carried to a competent contest by Lynch here. It wasn't a terrible match by any means, but it featured its fair share of sloppy spots when Lynch wasn't involved in the equation. However, she did her best and she was the right call to qualify for the Ladder match. Rose and Deville teased tension on multiple occasions, so it will be interesting to see if their alliance is officially over or if they will remain friends.
Shinsuke Nakamura def. WWE Champion AJ Styles to Choose the Stipulation for the WWE Championship Match at Money in the Bank (Non-title)
Much like their other matches against each other in WWE, this was a quality match yet far from what it could have been. I found it stupid they had a match on SmackDown to begin with, even if it was to determine the stipulation for their Money in the Bank matchup, but at least they captured the crowd in the second half. The finish was well done with Nakamura feigning a low-blow from Styles only to outsmart Styles and hit his finisher for the victory. Nakamura didn't choose the stipulation afterward (it was wise to hold off another week for that), but an Iron Man match has been rumored.
It's so obvious whenever these shows are taped in advance from the United Kingdom because they lack energy. The audiences are usually electric, but many of the performances feel phoned in, though I don't blame the Superstars as much as I do the company for sticking to their tired formula. That said, this was a newsworthy show in that more Money in the Bank qualifying matches were held, an additional match for the event was confirmed, Almas debuted, and there was something at stake in the Styles vs. Nakamura main event. All in all, it was an entertaining episode. Next week, more Money in the Bank qualifiers will take place with Billie Kay vs. Lana and Cass vs. Samoa Joe.
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