This week’s WWE Smackdown featured Ricochet defending the Intercontinental Title against Gunther while Money in the Bank qualifying matches began with Drew McIntyre facing Sheamus and Lacey Evans returning to action against Xia Li.
The Smackdown commentary team of Michael Cole and Pat McAfee did a rundown of what’s coming up on the show this week. They mentioned Sami Zayn vs. Riddle with a stipulation that if Zayn wins then Riddle is off Smackdown, but if Riddle wins then he gets to challenge Roman Reigns for the WWE Undisputed Universal Championship next week.
Drew McIntyre was shown making his entrance backstage and Butch was there. Drew threw Butch away towards Sheamus, who was Drew’s opponent this week. Sheamus entered with Butch while Cole noted that Ridge Holland is absent due to a knee injury suffered last week.
Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus (w/Butch)
The two Money in the Bank briefcases were hanging above the ring since this was a MITB qualifying match.
They started brawling right away, Sheamus with a kick to the ribs and punches. Drew bounced off the corner with a clothesline along with some hard chops. Sheamus with a shoulder tackle, then he went off the ropes and Drew caught him with a Michinoku Driver for a one count. Sheamus worked over Drew with some punches to the body followed by the forearms to the chest and Drew fought back with punches of his own to the chest. Butch distracted Drew, so Sheamus shoved Drew back first into the ring post. Sheamus gave Drew the White Noise slam on the apron as the show went to break.
Sheamus was in control with an Alabama Slam for a two count while Drew was looking intense at ringside as usual. Drew hit two clotheslines, then a belly-to-belly suplex and another one across the ring. Drew hit a neckbreaker leading to the kip-up back to his feet. Sheamus with an elbow, but Drew came back with a spinebuster for two. They exchanged headbutts, Sheamus with his own version of Drew’s Future Shock DDT for a two count. That was a cool spot. Sheamus went up top slowly, so Drew punched and chopped him. Drew picked up Sheamus on his shoulders and Drew hit White Noise (a Sheamus move) off the middle rope for a two count. Drew went for the Claymore Kick, but Sheamus cut him off with a jumping knee to the face for a two count. Sheamus wanted a Brogue Kick, Drew caught him and hit a Powerbomb for two. Butch went into the ring while the referee was busy with Sheamus and Drew hit Butch with a Claymore Kick. Butch sold that so well. Sheamus capitalized to send Drew out of the ring. Sheamus jumped off the top with a clothesline on Drew on the floor. They kept on fighting on the floor as Drew hit a suplex and Sheamus sent Drew over the barricade. The referee was counting so it was a double countout. They also hit eachother with chairs at the same time so it looks like it was a double disqualification. It went about 12 minutes.
Match Result: Double Disqualification
Analysis: ***1/2 The usual great match between the best friends that love to fight eachother. I thought it was cool how they did some signature moves of the other guy during the match and there were believable nearfalls for both guys. Neither man hit a finisher, though, so that’s why there wasn’t a winner. I would have preferred a Drew win for the finish. That’s nothing against Sheamus. I just think Drew winning would be better than what they did.
After the bell rang, Drew picked up Sheamus and gave him a spinebuster on the announce table. It wasn’t enough to break the table, but both guys spilled to the floor. They went to break with Cole wondering if either man qualified for Money in the Bank.
A video aired about 20 years of John Cena leading to Cena’s return to WWE on the June 27 edition of Raw.
The show returned with Drew and Sheamus continuing to fight with Cole noting that they were fighting during the commercial break. They said that it was a double disqualification finish due to using the chairs. There were officials and producers there to try to break it up as Drew and Sheamus went fighting into the crowd. They were eventually separated.
Analysis: It leaves it as a bit of a cliffhanger as to what’s next with them. A rematch makes sense.
A video aired showing highlights from Raw when Cody Rhodes did a promo about beating Seth “Freakin” Rollins at Hell in a Cell in a Hell in a Cell match while Cody had a torn pectoral muscle. After Cody delivered a speech, Seth told Cody he earned Seth’s respect and they shook hands. After Cody walked towards the back, Seth attacked him from behind with a sledgehammer and went after Cody’s injured right pectoral/arm some more.
The announcers talked about the situation with Cole noting that Cody had surgery on Thursday. Cole said Cody will be out for up to nine months.
— WWE (@WWE) June 11, 2022
Analysis: Hopefully it will be less than that, like six or seven months at most. After all, Cody has got some rumblin’ to do in early 2023 if you know what I mean.
Lacey Evans was interviewed by Kayla Braxton with Evans talking about the opportunity presented to her in a Money in the Bank qualifying match. Lacey made her entrance for her first match since February 2021. She gave birth to a daughter (her second daughter) since then. Now she’s in action against Xia Li after the break.
Women’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Lacey Evans vs. Xia Li
There was a pre-tape promo from Li saying she’ll make Evans cry tears of shame. Evans with a shoulder tackle and Li came back with a move sending Lacey’s head into the mat. Li hit an overhead suplex. Li with a chinlock, Evans with a kick and a running uppercut. Evans with a corner splash using her lower body for two. Li with a kick to the body, then Li bounced off the ropes and Evans hit the Woman’s Right punch for the pinfall win after two minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Lacey Evans
Analysis: *1/4 A dominant win for Evans as expected in this spot. That right hand punch by Evans looks impressive just like when she has done it in the past. The crowd wasn’t into it that much, but there were mild cheers for Evans for the finish.
Adam Pearce, the WWE Official, was talking on his phone in his office. Drew McIntyre walked up to Pearce and told Pearce to put him in the Money in the Bank match. Pearce said that he would like to, but he didn’t win and he had a lot to think about it. Drew told him to put him in the match.
Ronda Rousey made her entrance as the Smackdown Women’s Champion. Natalya earned a title match against Rousey in a match that took place last week. Rousey was up next.
A video aired about The Viking Raiders talking about how vikings have honor, valor and unbridled bravery. It was a quick video.
Sheamus and Butch walked into WWE Official Adam Pearce’s office. Pearce said there’s a lot to process. Sheamus said that he wanted results. Pearce just shook his head.
Let’s Hear from Ronda Rousey
It was announced that Rousey will defend the Smackdown Women’s Title against Natalya at Money in the Bank. Rousey said that she can’t wait to show Natalya that her armbar she learned from her mom is superior to that Sharpshooter that Natalya pilfered from her uncle Bret.
Shotzi showed up to tell Ronda to shut up. Shotzi said that she has serious aggression and a killer instinct. Shotzi told Rousey she shouldn’t wait until Money in the Bank for a fight. Shotzi said that Rousey should have no problem fighting Shotzi right here and right now. Rousey asked the fans, so the fans cheered and Ronda told her that she’s on. They went to a break.
Analysis: It’s a way to show that Rousey is willing to fight anybody at any time and make her look like a dominant champion. I’m happy Rousey-Natalya is set for Money in the Bank since Natalya is one of my favorites. Do I expect a title change? Nope, but it should be a good match.
Ronda Rousey vs. Shotzi
This is a Championship Contender’s Match meaning if Shotzi wins then she would earn a title shot at Rousey.
Shotzi went for a move by gouging the face of Rousey. Rousey got a trip into a pin attempt for two. Shotzi with a snapmare and a kick to the spine. Rousey with a belly to belly takedown. Shotzi got a kick to the face and then a headscissors by the ropes. Rousey with an Ankle Lock, but she had to let go with Shotzi in the ropes. Rousey went after Shotzi on the apron, but Shotzi hit a Tornado DDT on the floor. Back in the ring, Shotzi got a two count. Rousey with a waistlock, Shotzi held onto the ropes to break free and Shotzi hit a roundhouse kick to the head for a two count. Shotzi grounded Rousey while pulling back on the arms, Rousey got out of it and Shotzi kicked the left arm. Shotzi hit a suplex on Rousey for two. Shotzi suplexed Rousey into the turnbuckle. Shotzi missed a corner attack when Rousey moved, so Shotzi hit the turnbuckle. Shotzi with a kick, then a punch and Rousey blocked a kick. Shotzi with two slaps to the face, Rousey was pissed off and Rousey hit a powerslam. Rousey two arm drags, then a kick to the ribs and Rousey hit the Piper’s Pit slam. Rousey applied the armbar for the submission with Shotzi tapping out to give Rousey the win. It went about seven minutes.
Winner by submission: Ronda Rousey
Analysis: ** That went longer than I thought with Shotzi getting more offense than I expected out of her. That’s not a complaint by any means. I just thought Rousey would win in three minutes or less. Good job by Shotzi showing aggressiveness, Rousey sold the attacks well and then she came back with some of her signature moves to get the win.
After the match, Natalya attacked Rousey from behind with a cheap shot to the back. Natalya applied the Sharpshooter in the middle of the ring with Rousey yelling in pain. Natalya held onto the hold for about 30 seconds with multiple officials going out there to try to break it up. Rousey didn’t tap, but she was yelling in pain. Natalya stood over Rousey and they had a staredown to end it.
Analysis: Good heel attack by Natalya to put over how deadly the Sharpshooter can be. They have a history together as good friends because Natalya helped Rousey learn pro wrestling when Ronda first started training a few years ago, so I’m sure they are looking forward to the match. I think they’ll have a great match.
Riddle was interviewed by Megan Morant in the backstage area. Riddle talked about the pressure going into his match tonight with Zayn saying what motivates him is getting payback for what The Bloodline did to his best friend Randy Orton. Riddle said all he had to do was beat Sami Zayn and he’ll get his hands on Roman Reigns. He can see it now – Undisputed WWE Universal Champion. Riddle smiled.
Ludwig Kaiser told us to show our gratitude and admire the expertise of the true champion, the “Ring General” Gunther. That led to Gunther’s entrance for his first title opportunity on Smackdown. That IC Title match is up next.
This Monday on Raw, The Judgment Day moves on without Edge and who will Seth “Freakin” Rollins target next now that Cody Rhodes is out injured? Find out on Raw. Monday’s Raw goes against game 5 of the NBA Finals, so that should be tough for Raw in terms of viewership.
A replay was shown of Natalya’s cheap attack against Ronda Rousey.
They showed the trainer’s room with a doctor trying to put ice on her leg, but Rousey didn’t want it. Kayla Braxton was outside the room telling us that Rousey has some injury without saying what it is.
Ricochet made his entrance as the Intercontinental Champion. They stood in the ring for the championship introductions by Samantha Irvin, who is Ricochet’s girlfriend.
Intercontinental Championship: Ricochet vs. Gunther (w/Ludwig Kaiser)
Gunther tossed Ricochet across the ring and then he sent him into the mat. Ricochet went for a headscissors, but Gunther got out of it and hit a huge chop to the chest. Gunther set up Ricochet by the ropes followed by Gunther putting his boot to the throat. That led to a break.
Ricochet got some offense with a forearm along with a kick to the leg, but Gunther came back with a kick to the head. Gunther wanted a Powerbomb, but Ricochet with a Code Red counter into a pin attempt for two. Ricochet worked over Gunther with kicks to the body leading to Ricochet doing a headscissors that sent Gunther into the turnbuckle. Ricochet went for a springboard attack, but Gunther caught Ricochet with a sleeper hold. Gunther went for a suplex, Ricochet landed on his feet and Ricochet hit a jumping knee. Gunther came back with a stiff clothesline leading to Ricochet doing a flip bump for a two count. Gunther with a sleeper, Ricochet made it to the ropes to break free and Ricochet hit a jumping kick to the face. Ricochet kicked Ludwig on the floor. Ricochet with a springboard moonsault and a standing SSP for two. Ricochet went up top, he jumped off with nothing because Gunther moved out of the way. Ricochet with a dropkick, but then Gunther hit a dropkick of his own. Gunther hit a Powerbomb for the pinfall win to become the new Intercontinental Champion after nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall AND NEW Intercontinental Champion: Gunther
Analysis: ***1/4 A good match that was fast-paced and full of action. Ricochet got some offense, but Gunther overpowered him, hit that big dropkick and a Powerbomb followed for the win. Ricochet got plenty of offense. He just couldn’t put the bigger man away. I’m happy with the title change even though I’m a fan of Ricochet as well. I like Gunther more and I think he can be a dominant IC Champion. With that said, WWE doesn’t feature the IC Title enough since the last time it was on a Premium Live Event was over a year ago.
Gunther showed a bit of emotion after winning the title and Ludwig put the title around Gunther’s waist.
Sami Zayn was shown standing in the backstage area with Paul Heyman telling Sami this was the greatest opportunity of his career. Heyman said if Sami wins that could give him ammunition to tell the Tribal Chief that Sami belongs in The Bloodline. But if Sami loses tonight…Paul just shook his head “no” at him.
Sami Zayn made his entrance for the main event with over 30 minutes left in the show, but they probably will kill some time before the match starts.
The announcers talked about what John Cena did this week. A family left Ukraine with a son that has Down’s Syndrome and he was a huge John Cena fan. The poor kid can’t even speak. Cena left for Amsterdam and met them in Amsterdam on June 4th. Cena said that he spent the afternoon hanging out with a new friend that made it a special day. Good stuff Cena. The video was posted earlier in the week. Good job Cena!
A “Classic Smackdown Moment” video aired from December 13, 2001 when Steve Austin beat up Booker T in a supermarket. It’s a classic moment and a fight that Austin won. Austin: “Price check on jackass.”
They showed highlights from last week’s Smackdown when The Usos beat Riddle & Shinsuke Nakamura to retain the Tag Team Titles. The Usos “injured” Nakamura’s left knee during the match. Riddle put up a fight, but The Usos beat him thanks to Zayn playing the music of Roman Reigns to distract Riddle during the finish.
I think Zayn was in the ring for about ten minutes as Riddle made his entrance…bro. Zayn can keep waiting because they went to a commercial.
A Progressive Match Flo was shown of Madcap Moss beating Happy Corbin at Hell in a Cell this past Sunday.
Next week on Smackdown: Madcap Moss vs. Happy Corbin in a “Last Laugh Match.” Also, Max Dupri presents his Maximum Male Model. That was going to be this week, but it got moved to next week.
Paul Heyman was on commentary for the main event.
Riddle vs. Sami Zayn
If Zayn wins then Riddle is banned from Smackdown. If Riddle wins then he gets to challenge Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship next week on Smackdown in Minneapolis.
Riddle caught Zayn with an armbar, but Zayn got his feet on the ropes to break the hold. Riddle worked over Zayn with a kick to the body followed by two gutwrench suplexes. Riddle with a Broton splash for two. Zayn left the ring to regroup, Riddle followed him and Zayn hit a clothesline. Zayn sent Riddle into the commentary table and back in the ring for two. Zayn with a chinlock, Riddle broke free and Riddle hit a jumping kick. Riddle with a forearm, then a belly-to-belly suplex and a running knee for two. Riddle went up top, Zayn back up and he shoved Riddle off the top and into the barricade at ringside. They went to break there.
Zayn was in control with a brainbuster for a two count. They left the ring with Zayn sending Riddle into the ring post two times in a row. Riddle got back in the ring before the ten count. Zayn went up top, he took a long time and Riddle popped up going for an RKO, but Zayn shoved him down. Zayn jumped off with nothing as Riddle hit a rising knee for a two count. Zayn sent Riddle to the apron, Zayn mocked Randy Orton and hit a draping DDT off the ropes. Zayn set up for an RKO, but Riddle hit a jumping knee to the block. Riddle worked over Zayn with a barrage of kicks, then a kick to the chest and Riddle hit a Floating Bro splash off the middle ropes onto Zayn on the floor. Back in the ring, Riddle hit a powerslam like Orton. Riddle hit his own draping DDT off the ropes. Riddle wanted an RKO, Zayn caught him and Zayn hit a Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Heyman yelled at Zayn to stay on him and cover him again. Riddle went for his finish, Zayn countered into a pin attempt and followed with an Exploder Kick into the turnbuckle. Zayn charged…Riddle caught him and hit an RKO for the pinfall win after 14 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Riddle
Analysis: ***3/4 Great match between two talented wrestlers. It was an event matchup with a lot of cool spots like both guys doing Orton moves. Zayn’s counter into a Blue Thunder Bomb was an awesome spot. Zayn charged for the Helluva Kick, but Riddle countered it into a fantastic RKO and that was the perfect way to end it. These guys have tremendous chemistry together. I’d like to see them wrestle more often.
The win by Riddle means he gets to challenge Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship next week on Smackdown.
After the match, The Usos went down to the ring to beat up Riddle with punches. They tossed Riddle out of the ring, but Riddle came back with a kendo stick. Riddle beat up both Usos with a kendo stick, so The Usos bailed to the floor. Riddle held up his finger telling us he’s “The One” that gets a title shot next week.
There were replays shown of the key spots in the match and what happened post match. Riddle spoke into the camera: “Roman, I’m coming for you and I’m coming for the Undisputed Universal Title…bro.” The fans cheered as Riddle celebrated. End show.
Analysis: I’ll pick Roman next week. Obviously. I’m just glad he’s back on the show and that they are doing a title match next week.
Three Stars of the Show
- Sami Zayn
- Ricochet/Gunther/Sheamus/Drew McIntyre
7.75 out of 10
Last week: 6.5
A good wrestling show from top to bottom with quality matches throughout the night. There wasn’t a lot of talking. It was more about the in-ring action. I liked it overall.
I liked Riddle-Zayn the best on the show. They got a lot of time and they are so talented. I loved that RKO finish by Riddle. The Drew-Sheamus match was great too for something that was under ten minutes. Gunther winning the IC Title pleases me as well. It’s nothing against Ricochet. I just think Gunther will have a more meaningful run as the IC Champion and I look forward to seeing how it goes.
Next week is Roman Reigns vs. Riddle with Roman’s two titles on the line. That should be great.
The next WWE Premium Live Event is Money in the Bank from Las Vegas on Saturday, July 2nd. Here’s what we know so far.
* Women’s Money in the Bank Contract Ladder Match: Lacey Evans vs. others to be announced.
* Raw Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair (c) vs. Rhea Ripley
* Smackdown Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Natalya
You can watch WWE Money in the Bank, streaming live Saturday, July 2, at 8 ET/5 PT on Peacock in the United States and on WWE Network everywhere else.
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