Sami Zayn Saved Shinsuke Nakamura From the United States Champion Kevin Owens and Baron Corbin on The Highlight Reel
I didn't think anything of it when he did it a few weeks ago, but Owens hosting The Highlight Reel yet again this week has to mean Chris Jericho will be back on WWE TV sooner rather than later, right? I know he's working WWE's tour of Japan in early July. At any rate, this was a solid segment that set up the tag team match that followed. It might have been better had we not seen the exact same thing on Monday's Raw, but the mic work from everyone involved was good, so I can't complain too much.
Shinsuke Nakamura and Sami Zayn def. United States Champion Kevin Owens and Baron Corbin
Nakamura and Zayn had a hell of a match at NXT TakeOver: Dallas last year, so hopefully we see a repeat at some point on the main roster. As for this matchup, it was fairly formulaic for the first half, but they picked up the pace coming out of the commercial break and delivered a fun final stretch. Owens and Corbin teasing tension of course plays into the narrative of it being every man for themselves at Money in the Bank. Meanwhile, Nakamura pinning Owens for the second straight week must lead to an eventual title shot for The King of Strong Style. Otherwise, Owens is being totally devalued as champion.
The New Day Interrupted Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Usos
Time away from TV definitely did wonders for The New Day because now they feel fresh again for the first time in a great while. It was also wise to have them re-debut in Xavier Woods' hometown of Atlanta, so the crowd was hot for them. The verbal exchange was enjoyable and I look forward to more promos between the two tandems, though it is slightly annoying New Day did nothing to earn a shot at the SmackDown Tag Team Championship.
SmackDown Live Commissioner Announced a Women's Money in the Bank Ladder Match
The brief promos from all five women that kicked off the show were an effective approach in building up this bout one last time (even though it never got started) and I wish we would see more of that for other major matches. The brawl that preceded the would-be match was well done and I especially appreciated it because it was something different. The crowd was into everything they did around ringside, and once Shane emerged, the historic announcement regarding the women's Ladder match was only academic. I'm excited for the women to receive such an opportunity, but I hope they don't go all out and kill each other in the process.
Breezango def. The colons
I'm glad Breezango isn't completely irrelevant despite no longer being in the tag team title picture. That said, I don't how long this rivalry with The Colons will last, but this tag match was fine for what it was and I got a kick out of their pre-taped vignette from earlier in the evening. Tyler Breeze dressing in drag is... strange to say the least, but hey, if nothing else, his grandpa janitor alter-go is apparently over with the audience, in addition to leading them to scoring the win here.
WWE Champion Jinder Mahal Interrupted Randy Orton
If I had a dime for every time Orton started out one of his promos with "My name is Randy Orton," I'd be a billionaire. Seriously, he (or whoever wrote his lines for him) couldn't come up with anything less generic? Needless to say, Orton's promo did very little to make their rematch at Money in the Bank more interesting than it was before in my opinion, and Mahal's retort was pretty basic as well. This feud isn't exactly lighting the world on fire and I'm anxiously anticipating its end.
Dolph Ziggler def. AJ Styles
I loved that these guys were given the main event slot with the show emanating from Styles' home state and the crowd obviously very much behind him here. We haven't seen too much of Styles and Ziggler against each other in singles competition in the past yet they still had awesome chemistry and put together a very entertaining matchup. They probably could have gone another several minutes, but they made the most of the time they were allotted. Ziggler beating Styles cleanly shocked me initially, but then I realized Styles was the hometown boy and that automatically meant he would lose. In all seriousness, Ziggler picking up a meaningful victory for a change was helpful since we all know he isn't winning at Money in the Bank.
It's interesting that the four matches confirmed for Money in the Bank so far take up a ton of star power, so I wonder what will fill out the rest of the card? There aren't any additional angles on the blue brand, as seen on this show, unless they add Breezango vs. The Colons to the undercard, but who could possibly care about that? As far as this edition of SmackDown Live went, it was above-average all things considered with quality matches opening and closing the night along with New Day's return and a blockbuster announcement for the women.
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