SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon Announced the Money in the Bank Participants
This might quite honestly be the most stacked and star-studded Money in the Bank line-up WWE has had in years, if not ever. Not only are all of the participants exceptional wrestlers, there is a sense of unpredictability as to who will win. I could see virtually anyone but Ziggler capturing the briefcase, so needless to say, I'm extremely excited for it. Plus, the mic work from everyone involved in this segment was good while two notable matches were set up for later in the night.
Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair def. Carmella and Natalya
Personally, I'm still not buying Charlotte as a babyface. That isn't to say she can't thrive in the role, but it was way too soon to turn her. Hopefully it's only a matter of time before she attacks Lynch and/or Naomi and returns to her roots as an awesome villain. At any rate, this was a decent tag team match, but I've lost all interest in this faction war if I had any to begin with. Lynch got pinned at Backlash, yet beat the same woman who defeated the SmackDown Women's Champion last week. Basically, wins and losses don't matter with the women on SmackDown, and that's a shame.
Sami Zayn def. Baron Corbin
Yes, I was a bit disappointed we didn't really receive a rematch between these two, but the attack angle afterward might have been a better booking decision, anyway. Corbin lost pretty quickly, but people are going to remember him beating the crap out of Zayn more. It was well done and makes me wonder whether we'll see Zayn return in the next few weeks or if this was done to write him out of the Money in the Bank Ladder match. Enter Shelton Benjamin?
WWE Champion Jinder Mahal Celebrated His Title Victory
Is it just me or is Mahal repeating himself week after week as to why fans boo him? It didn't help that his voice was shot, but I assume that was because he was yelling at the top of his lungs after his title win at Backlash. The presentation was pretty over-the-top, but given he's a heel, it made sense, and it's also a historic happening for the first-ever WWE Champion of Indian descent. I was slightly surprised Randy Orton was nowhere to be seen, but I guess they wanted to give him his moment.
Tyler Breeze def. SmackDown Tag Team Champion Jey Uso; Fandango def. SmackDown Tag Team Champion Jimmy Uso
I had no interest in seeing these two teams do battle in singles competition, so the brief bouts were handled very well. On one hand, they could have stretched this out a bit by doing these matches over the next two weeks, but it's not that big of a deal if The Usos are moving on to other challengers. It was a positive sign that the crowd responded as favorably as they did to each of these victories, as well as to the announcement of an immediate tag title match.
SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos def. Breezango
Breezango scoring back-to-back singles victories versus The Usos preceding this championship clash definitely re-established them as threats to the titles. This match was a little shorter than their encounter at Backlash, but it was every bit as entertaining, nevertheless. Breezango have seemed to find the right combination between being funny and competitive, and thus the crowd really wanted them to become champions here. It's possible the rematch was done now so Usos can transition into a program with the returning New Day soon.
Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles def. United States Champion Kevin Owens and Dolph Ziggler
From an in-ring standpoint, I don't think the match needed a ton of time because it really wasn't anything special until the final few minutes, but I won't complain about seeing Styles and Nakamura work a lengthy match. It was super cool for them to finally team up and I liked how that was hyped up as a major deal throughout the night. WWE must hold off until at least SummerSlam (if not WrestleMania) to pull the trigger on that money match. Anyway, this was a well-wrestled matchup where the crowd was engaged in the action and it was a nice preview of what to expect at Money in the Bank.
This was an enjoyable edition of SmackDown Live and a significant improvement over what we've been seeing from the blue brand in the last month or so. There was an ample amount of follow-up from Backlash and I appreciated that they wasted no time in setting the stage for two of the biggest bouts at Money in the Bank next month as well as next week's SmackDown Women's Championship No. 1 Contender's match. To top it all off, the two hours flew by, so this was a quality episode in my opinion.
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