This week’s WWE Smackdown featured Gunther defending the Intercontinental Title against Ricochet, plus Money in the Bank qualifying matches with Sami Zayn facing Shinsuke Nakamura and Shotzi facing Tamina as well.
Last week’s Smackdown ended with Brock Lesnar making his return to drop the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns with an F5. Lesnar’s return will lead to Brock challenging Reigns for the two titles at SummerSlam on July 30. Before that, we have Money in the Bank coming up in eight days. Reigns and Lesnar are not going to be part of Money in the Bank, so they are off Smackdown this week as well.
The opening video package showed highlights of Roman Reigns beating Riddle to keep the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship. It was a great match where Riddle came close a few times, but Reigns came back to win with a Spear. After the match is when Lesnar returned as I mentioned above.
The commentary team of Michael Cole and Pat McAfee welcomed us to the show talking about Reigns vs. Lesnar at SummerSlam in a Last Man Standing Match. Pat said it’s the “epic conclusion” of their rivalry. I wonder if that is true.
Let’s Hear from Drew McIntyre
Drew McIntyre made his entrance with Angela the sword. He was in a jacket and jeans, so he’s there to talk rather than wrestle. Drew has qualified for the Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match along with Seth Rollins, Sheamus and Omos.
Drew welcomed us to Friday Night Smackdown. Drew said that when he was first drafted to Smackdown (last October), he said he was willing to start from the bottom and earn his way to a title match. Drew said that the Tribal Chief has been ducking him, so it seems like Drew is going to have to become Mr. Money in the Bank. Drew said that Brock Lesnar already has a title match at SummerSlam. Drew wants them to tear eachother apart and said that whoever survives, just expect Mr. Money in the Bank to “Claymore your ass.” The fans cheered.
Sheamus made his entrance joined by Ridge Holland and hyper man Butch. Sheamus wanted Drew to calm down. Sheamus said that Last Man Standing Match is the perfect time to cash in Money in the Bank after Brock and Roman tear eachother apart. Sheamus said that Drew is only in the match because Adam Pearce felt sorry for him with Sheamus telling Drew he doesn’t belong. Sheamus ripped on the Longhorns newest recruit Arch Manning, saying he’ll be a bust. Sheamus talked about how Drew had Money in the Bank cashed in on him and took his title. Sheamus said he was a former Money in the Bank winner that cashed in on Roman Reigns.
Paul Heyman interrupted the wrestlers with WWE Official Adam Pearce walking behind him. Heyman reminded us he’s the Special Counsel of the Tribal Chief, Roman Reigns. Heyman said that’s the same Reigns that will defend the Undisputed WWE Title at SummerSlam against Brock Lesnar in a Last Man Standing Match. Heyman said that will not be won by Brock Lesnar because the victor will be Roman Reigns. The fans booed. Heyman said that there’s a problem because even though Roman is the Greatest of All Time, he’ll be vulnerable to a cash in of that Money in the Bank contract by someone like Sheamus or Drew McIntyre. Heyman said that’s not a knock on his Tribal Chief. Heyman said that the champion will be vulnerable after Last Man Standing and as Sheamus said, it has happened again. Heyman said he’s there to ensure that it won’t happen again. The fans booed again.
Heyman said that this great man Adam Pearce, who has a reputation beyond reproach has a special announcement to make. Pearce said that it has come to his attention that perhaps he was a bit hasty putting them both into the Money in the Bank match. Pearce said that neither of them lost their match and neither of them won their match. Pearce said that WWE management has chosen to overrule his decision, so Pearce told Drew and Sheamus that neither of them will be in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Pearce said that they can both get into Money in the Bank Ladder Match if they team up tonight and defeated The Bloodline’s Undisputed Tag Team Champions, The Usos. That led to The Usos appearing by the entrance with their titles. That was it as Drew and Sheamus stared at them.
Analysis: It’s just a way to add more drama to the Drew/Sheamus story by making them team up to earn their spots. It actually isn’t that bad logically because Drew and Sheamus failed to win to qualify for MITB, so they should have to win a match to qualify. It’s also a way to set up a fresh main event for this week’s show with Drew/Sheamus against The Usos, which is fine with me. Heyman’s promo work was great as usual while Drew had the support of the crowd and Sheamus made valid points. It was fine overall as a typical show opening segment.
It’s Nakamura vs. Zayn after a break.
A commercial aired promoting John Cena appearing on Monday’s Raw for his 20-year WWE anniversary.
Later on Smackdown: Drew McIntyre & Sheamus vs. The Usos. Cole and McAfee clarified that it’s not a title match and The Usos are not trying to qualify for Money in the Bank. The Usos are trying to prevent Drew and Sheamus from qualifying.
Shinsuke Nakamura was already in the ring. Sami Zayn was interviewed backstage by Kayla Braxton with Sami wearing his Bloodline shirt. Zayn said that The Bloodline always does what is right for Roman Reigns. Zayn said that he was dedicating his match to Reigns, he’ll beat Nakamura and go to Las Vegas to become Mr. Money in the Bank. Kayla wondered if Zayn would cash in on Roman Reigns. Zayn said he was doing this to protect Reigns. Zayn made his entrance.
Analysis: That would be an interesting “what if” scenario if Zayn won Money in the Bank and then refused to cash in against Reigns, but then he actually ends up doing it. Anyway, that’s a big “what if” since Zayn rarely wins big matches.
Men’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Sami Zayn
Zayn was wrestling in the Bloodline shirt. Nakamura with an armbar early on, but Zayn got out of it. Nakamura kicked Zayn to trap him against the ropes leading to a sliding German Suplex off the ropes. Nakamura with a jumping kick to the head. Zayn bailed to the floor, Nakamura went after him and Zayn sent Nakamura into the ring post. Zayn with an Exploder Suplex into the barricade and Nakamura got in at nine to beat the ten count. Back in the ring, Nakamura got an inside cradle for two. Zayn with a clothesline along with a step on the throat. Zayn charged, Nakamura with a kick, then Zayn blocked a kick and Zayn tossed Nakamura over the top rope to the floor.
Zayn was in control as he went to the turnbuckle, he jumped off with nothing and Nakamura hit a jumping kick for two. Nakamura charged in, Zayn caught him and Zayn hit a Michinoku Driver for a two count. That’s a great nearfall spot that Zayn does in most of his matches. Zayn went up top, Nakamura met him there, Zayn punched him down and then Nakamura tripped up Sami on the top to crotch Zayn on the top rope. Nakamura charged, Zayn with a rollup and Zayn got a pin attempt with his feet on the ropes, but the referee caught the rope usage. Zayn argued with the referee, so Nakamura jumped off the ropes with a knee to the back for a two count. Nakamura with a spin kick. Nakamura set up in the corner, he charged and Zayn rolled out of the ring. Nakamura hit a Kinshasa knee strike on Zayn on the floor. Nakamura chose to roll Zayn back in instead of leave him on the floor. When Nakamura was back in, Zayn hit a Helluva Kick for the pinfall win. It went about ten minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Sami Zayn
Analysis: ***1/4 A very good TV match by two of the best wrestlers on Smackdown. They protected the Kinshasa by not having Zayn kick out of it, but it took a lot of energy for Nakamura to put him back in the ring and Zayn capitalized to win. I love seeing that result. That’s nothing against Nakamura because I like him too. I just thought Zayn should get the win based on his current story where he thinks he’s part of The Bloodline and what it could mean if he wins MTIB. Zayn is awesome, but doesn’t win big matches often. He’d be a fun Mr. MITB for sure.
The win means that Sami Zayn has qualified for the Men’s Money in the Bank Contract Ladder Match.
The New Day made their entrance for a segment with Jinder Mahal and Shanky.
Jinder Mahal & Shanky appeared for what appeared to be a match. The New Day said that they beat them clean last week and nobody wants to see them face off again. Kofi said that Jinder took something away from us that we wanted to see and Woods said it was the skyscraping dancing machine Shanky. Kofi asked the crowd if they wanted to see a dancing Shanky, so the fans cheered. It led to a “YES” chant. Woods played the trombone for The New Day’s song and then New Day’s music played with Shanky dancing. Mahal didn’t like it, so he yelled at Shanky about it. Shanky shoved Mahal, so Mahal left the ring and went to the back. Kofi called for the music to play, so Shanky danced with Kofi and Woods.
Analysis: This was bad, but New Day’s promo work was so good that they got the fans to cheer, so I guess it was fine in the end. It’s better than a Posedown segment like we saw on Raw a couple of weeks ago.
There were some horns that went off in the building and then they showed some graphics on screen of The Viking Raiders duo. Erik and Ivar attacked Shanky, Kofi and Woods from behind. Erik with a running forearm on Woods. Ivar with a spin kick on Kofi. Erik and Ivar picked up Kofi for a double-team lifting Powerbomb. Ivar got a hold of Woods on the middle ropes leading to a front slam to the mat. The Viking Raiders, who had some face paint on, celebrated their attack.
Analysis: It’s a heel turn for the Viking Raiders. They have been babyfaces for a long time, so it’s a fresh role for them and a new rivalry for New Day as well. It’s fine with me because the Viking Raiders are talented wrestlers that can do well as faces or heels.
They showed Adam Pearce in his office with Sonya Deville walking up to him. Deville ripped on Pearce for how he handled the Drew/Sheamus situation. Deville also trashed Pearce for how poorly he’s handling the women’s division. Deville complained about how she never gets matches, but then women like Raquel Rodriguez and Lacey Evans get Money in the Bank qualifying matches while Sonya hasn’t had a match in weeks. Pearce told Sonya she has a match up next against Raquel and Lacey in a handicap match. That’s up next.
Sonya Deville made her entrance joined by Shayna Baszler and Xia Li. Deville had on a jacket with Pride colors on it. Deville is a lesbian and has openly talked about it for years. Good for her representing with the colors like that.
Lacey Evans & Raquel Rodriguez vs. Sonya Deville (w/Shayna Baszler & Xia Li)
Lacey and Raquel qualified for Money in the Bank already. Evans got a trip followed by a punch. Baszler distracted Raquel while Evans got a flying elbow on Deville. Li tried to trip Evans, so Deville did a chop block. Deville with a running knee on Evans and Raquel broke up the pin. Evans and Deville did a spot where they kicked eachother at the same time, so they knocked eachother down. Raquel tagged in with knees to the ribs, then an uppercut, a shoulder tackle and a body slam. Raquel sent Deville into the top turnbuckle. Baszler on the apron to distract, Deville with a punch to the face of Raquel, Evans tagged in and Evans hit the Woman’s Right punch on Deville for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Lacey Evans & Raquel Rodriguez
Analysis: *1/4 Easy win for the faces. They could have easily booked a tag team match and done the same thing, but they made it unfair for Deville. Evans throws a great right hand punch.
Post match, the trio of Deville, Baszler and Li worked together to beat up Evans and Raquel for a bit. However, Raquel and Evans fought back to knock them out of the ring. The faces stood tall.
Analysis: The heels looked weak in the match and post match as well. It was about making Raquel and Lacey look strong going into Money in the Bank, which is understandable.
The Street Profits were there walking down a hallway where they saw Los Lotharios kissing a pretty lady on the cheek. Drew Gulak was working out on two ladders. They walked up to Madcap Moss with Angelo Dawkins telling him a joke asking why did the coach go to the bank? “To get his quarter back.” I guess that’s a dad joke. Moss and Montez Ford didn’t laugh.
Natalya made her entrance dressed as Ronda Rousey and had a stroller with no baby in it. Natalya entered to Ronda’s music too.
Let’s Hear from Natalya as Ronda Rousey
Natalya started the promo saying that her name is Ronda Rousey. She had some Ronda makeup on her face. Natalya said she never shuts up about being the Baddest Woman on the Planet and just like her mommy, she won’t tap out. Natalya cued up the footage from two weeks ago when she put Rousey in the Sharpshooter.
Natalya said (as Rousey) that after Natalya nearly made her quit, Rousey realized she can’t quit. Rousey laid down on the mat and tapped out. Natalya said that the best thing Rousey should do is hand the Smackdown Women’s Title over to Natalya, retire, push her stroller and leave while she can. Natalya called Rousey the “Saddest Woman on the Planet.”
The real Ronda Rousey made her entrance with the Smackdown Women’s Title. Rousey said she didn’t recognize Natalya without her “rack out.” Wow, what a line. Rousey said that she’s not going to mutilate her body chasing impossible beauty standards like Natalya does. Rousey said she’s not going to hand over her title. Rousey said that the truth is that she is lacking talent and lacking charisma, so the closest she’ll ever get as a main attraction in this company is by dressing as Rousey.
Rousey took off Natalya’s jacket and Natalya attacked Rousey with the stroller, which was enough to knock Rousey down. Rousey held up her title in the ring while Natalya backed away up the aisle.
Analysis: The impression from Natalya wasn’t the greatest, but there was some interesting trash talk by both women. Natalya ripped on Rousey for some obvious things while Rousey took shots at Natalya’s appearance that felt very personal. In reality, they are close friends and Natalya helped Rousey learn how to be a pro wrestler a few years ago. What this did was make the rivalry feel a bit more intense, so that’s a good thing. I doubt Rousey loses to Natalya at Money in the Bank, but it should be a very good match.
Drew McIntyre and Sheamus were interviewed by Megan Morant, who said that they had to put their differences aside to make it into Money in the Bank. Drew told Sheamus he’ll fight The Usos 2 on 1 instead of fighting with Sheamus. Sheamus said that it’s his time and Drew should bring his A-game tonight. Sheamus said he’ll see him out there.
Ludwig Kaiser introduced the Intercontinental Champion, the “Ring General” Gunther. The IC Title match is next.
They advertised The Undertaker doing a one man show on Saturday, July 29 in Nashville one night before SummerSlam. That would be cool to see if you’re in town for SummerSlam.
Ricochet made his entrance as the former champion and challenger in this rematch.
Intercontinental Championship: Gunther (w/Ludwig Kaiser) vs. Ricochet
Ricochet with a dropkick. Gunther blocked a kick and hit a body slam. Gunther with a whip into the ropes followed by a boot to the face. Gunther with an uppercut shot that knocked Ricochet down. Gunther applied an STF submission, but Ricochet fought it by getting to the bottom rope. Ricochet tried to fight back with a jumping kick, Gunther caught him and went for a German Suplex, but Ricochet landed on his feet. Ricochet with a running knee, then a jumping knee and Ricochet bounced off the ropes right into a lariat by Gunther. Chops by Gunther were so loud followed by a German Suplex and a running dropkick into the turnbuckle. Gunther hit a Powerbomb for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Gunther
Analysis: *1/2 That was pretty much a squash match to put over Gunther as a dominant champion that is going to be difficult for anybody to beat. Ricochet got a couple of moves in like knees and kicks, but Gunther was able to overpower him every him. It was another clean win for Gunther with the Powerbomb to end it.
Paul Heyman was interviewed by Kayla Braxton. Before Heyman could say anything, Sami Zayn interrupted saying that earlier Kayla tried to twist Sami’s words around. Zayn said that he would never cash in on Roman Reigns. Heyman smiled and put his arm around Sami. Zayn said he’s cash in on Brock Lesnar, but then Heyman was mad and stared at him. Zayn stopped talking and left. Heyman didn’t say anything.
Analysis: The idea there is that Heyman liked Zayn saying he would never cash in on Roman Reigns, but Heyman didn’t like Zayn saying he would cash in on Brock Lesnar because that means Reigns would lose to Lesnar. Heyman didn’t like that. Zayn realized that and just left.
Tamina was in the ring for a match against Shotzi.
Women’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Shotzi vs. Tamina
This was going to be Shotzi vs. Aliyah, but it changed for some reason. Tamina is normally on Raw. Shotzi jumped on Tamina’s back, so Tamina slammed her down. Tamina hit a powerslam for two. Shotzi was on the turnbuckle and she pulled back on Tamina’s neck against the ropes. Back in the ring, Shotzi hit a running dropkick and a spinning forearm. Shotzi with an enziguri kick to the head and a running back splash on Tamina against the ropes. Shotzi jumped off the ropes, Tamina with a superkick and Shotzi got her foot under the bottom rope. Shotzi sent Tamina shoulder first into the ring post. Shotzi grabbed the leg of Tamina and hit a DDT that Cole said is called the Never Wake Up for the pinfall win after three minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Shotzi
Analysis: 3/4* A boring match with a dead crowd. I don’t blame the crowd because neither woman is pushed that much. Tamina got a bit of offense, but Shotzi dominated the match. I like Shotzi’s offensive moves.
The win by Shotzi meant that she qualified for Money in the Bank along with Alexa Bliss, Lacey Evans, Liv Morgan, Raquel Rodriguez and Asuka. There’s one spot left, so there are seven women in the match.
Analysis: I assume it’s Becky Lynch as the final woman (even though she failed to qualify, we know WWE sometimes gives people multiple chances) since she’s on the poster of the show. Lots of good choices to win. I might pick Lacey Evans at this point.
The Viking Raiders did a promo with Ivar saying they have been pushed to the side and they have been forgotten. Erik said that no one is safe from them.
Max Dupri presents his Maximum Male Models up next.
There was a spotlight in the ring because it appeared like it was time for Maximum Male Models, but it didn’t happen because Max Dupri was shown talking to WWE Official Adam Pearce. Dupri complained about how this week, Pearce didn’t provide them with the kind of special dressing room that his models deserve. Dupri told Pearce to get this right and Pearce said okay, next week it is. Dupri said that they will “titillate the juices of your guilty pleasures.” That was it.
Analysis: This was lame. I don’t know why they need to keep teasing it and not deliver. It gets heat, I guess, but it’s not helping the show.
Pat McAfee stood on the commentary table and talked about how there was a lowlife scumbag named “Bald Ass Corbin” that let the world know that he didn’t like the way Pat did his job. That led to a Progressive Match Flo replay of last week when Madcap Moss beat Happy Corbin. That led to Corbin yelling at McAfee and Pat fired back.
Pat said that he loves his life, he enjoys every moment and when he entered the Thunderdome for the first time, he felt alive. Pat said when he puts on the headset to talk into the microphone, he feels alive. Pat called Corbin a douchebag and then challenged him to a match at SummerSlam. Pat said when he kicks his teeth down Corbin’s throat, he’ll feel more alive. The fans cheered. Cole asked Pat if he wanted to do this and Pat said he did because Corbin is an insufferable douchebag, so Pat will knock him down a few pegs.
Analysis: I mentioned last week that I figured the McAfee/Corbin segment would lead to a match and now we know it’s at SummerSlam in five weeks. McAfee’s promos are great. He’s also solid in the ring. I think it will be fun.
Sheamus made his entrance with Ridge Holland and Butch. Drew McIntyre entered before Sheamus finished his entrance, so Sheamus argued with Drew about it. That main event tag team match was up next.
The Usos made their entrance for the main event with Cole noting they were Smackdown Tag Team Champions for 340 days and they are also the Raw Tag Team Champions. It’s not a title match. The Street Profits duo of Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins entered to watch the match since they face The Usos at Money in the Bank.
The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) vs. Drew McIntyre & Sheamus (w/Ridge Holland & Butch)
Sheamus and Drew argued to start the match. Ford and Dawkins were on commentary. Drew with a clothesline on Jimmy, Sheamus tagged in and they hit a double hiptoss. Sheamus tagged in, Jimmy sent Sheamus into the corner and Jey hit a forearm to the face. Sheamus punched Jey leading to the ten forearms to the chest. Sheamus hit the rolling senton on Jey. Sheamus wanted a Brogue Kick, but Jey rolled out of the ring. Drew grabbed Butch and threw him into the barricade. Sheamus argued with Drew, which led to them punching eachother. The Usos took advantage with a double suicide dive onto both guys leading to a break.
The match continued with Jey working over Sheamus with a chinlock. Sheamus with punches and a backbreaker, but Jimmy made the tag leading to a superkick on Sheamus for two. Jimmy stomped on Sheamus in the corner. Jimmy hit a spinning kick to the head followed by the running hip attack in the corner. The Usos did their posing letting us know they are The Ones. Jimmy charged again, Sheamus got up and hit a jumping knee to the face. The leg slap was really loud. Drew tagged in against Jey with two clotheslines, a back elbow and an overhead suplex. Jey shoved Drew into the ring post and a superkick. Jimmy tagged in with a superkick on Sheamus and a double Uso superkick on Drew. Jimmy went up top and hit an Uso Splash on Drew for two, but Sheamus made the save. Jey sent Sheamus out of the ring. Drew with a neckbreaker on Jey and a neckbreaker on Jimmy too. Jey pulled Jimmy out of the ring, Drew left the ring and Jimmy hit a superkick. Butch and Ridge were back at ringside after being ejected during the break. Sami Zayn tried an attack, but Dawkins hit him with a shoulder tackle. Drew hit a somersault dive over the top onto The Usos and Profits on the floor. Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick on Jey on the floor. Drew sent Jimmy into the ring, Drew did the 1-2-3 in the corner and Jimmy hit a superkick. Drew ran the ropes leading to the Claymore Kick on Jimmy for the pinfall win after 11 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Drew McIntyre & Sheamus
Analysis: ***1/2 A good main event tag team match by four veterans that know how to put on a main event match. It was booked well with Drew & Sheamus not getting along at first, but then they did and the Profits stopped Zayn from helping The Usos as well. Sheamus hitting the Brogue Kick on the floor and Drew hitting the Claymore Kick in the ring was the right way to end it. The result of this match was obvious. I doubt anybody thought The Usos would win.
The win means that Drew and Sheamus are back in Money in the Bank. The first five men to qualify for Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: Seth “Freakin” Rollins, Drew McIntyre, Sheamus, Omos and Sami Zayn. There will be more men in the match, but they didn’t say how many.
Drew and Sheamus celebrated the win. They did not fight with eachother at the end of the show.
Three Stars of the Show
- Drew McIntyre & Sheamus
- Sami Zayn
- The Usos
6.5 out of 10
Last week: 7
A solid show for the most part, but nothing that special really. The main event tag team match and the Zayn/Nakamura match were the highlights of the show. Some other parts were just average.
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.
* Men’s Money in the Bank Contract Ladder Match: Seth “Freakin” Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus vs. Omos vs. Sami Zayn and others to be announced.
* Women’s Money in the Bank Contract Ladder Match: Lacey Evans vs. Liv Morgan vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Raquel Rodriguez vs. Asuka vs. Shotzi and one more woman.
* Raw Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair (c) vs. Carmella
* Smackdown Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Natalya
* Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships: The Usos (c) vs. The Street Profits
* United States Championship: Theory (c) vs. Bobby Lashley
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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