Oli Davis rounds up the biggest professional wrestling news in his daily WrestleTalk column…
The show opened with Carmella addressing the controversial finish to the Women’s Money in the Bank match – James Ellsworth climbing the ladder and handing her the briefcase. Her initial reason: who cares?
A lot of people, actually. Particularly those who prefer their wrestling to have good storytelling and intriguing narratives.
Of course, her response was meant to antagonise those people, just like the manner in which she won the briefcase. Although the original angle was a crappy, deflating ending to the first ever Women’s Money in the Bank match, the follow-up here was superb. Carmella cut an impassioned, well-delivered promo of Alexa Bliss breakout proportions. And James Ellsworth was the perfect set dressing, acting the friend-zoned goon perfectly.
She rightfully explained she’d actually done nothing wrong within the laws of the match. It was a No DQ contest, and why wasn’t anyone this outraged when Bray Wyatt attacked Roman Reigns in the 2015 Money in the Bank match, or when Kane helped Seth Rollins win the year before that.
Backstage segments ran through the rest of the night, where the returning Smackdown General Manager Daniel Bryan was trying to find a solution for the rest of the Women’s division’s grievances. I much prefer Triple H’s response to the situation when talking to SkySports yesterday:
“I wasn’t there, but it doesn’t seem right, it doesn’t. Although we are still trying to confirm 100-percent that James Ellsworth is 100-percent a man.”
Big E beat Jim Uso
New Day were also annoyed about another one of Money in the Bank’s rubbish finishes, so Big E got to beat Jim Uso one-on-one in a quick match.
Randy Orton Interview
Randy Orton’s feud with Jinder Mahal isn’t over. Yay. Orton vowed revenge against Mahal for going after his family. It looks like Bryan Alvarez’s theory of a Punjabi Prison match at Battleground could be true.
Shinsuke Nakamura beat Dolph Ziggler
Shinsuke Nakamura beat Dolph Ziggler in a match much better than their first Backlash encounter. In fact, this was probably Nakamura’s best showing on the main roster so far.
Kevin Owens beat Chad Gable
Kevin Owens started his version of John Cena’s US title open challenge gimmick, but with a geographical prerequisite: they have to be from right here in Dayton, Ohio.
Expecting a local jobber, American Alpha’s Chad Gable answered the challenge instead, claiming he just moved to “3640 Colonel Glenn Highway” – the real life address for Ohio’s Wright State University. Because when you’ve got no-one to job out in their hometown, just make someone’s address up.
Gable unsurprisingly had an impressive showing, with Owens being generous with the offence. But the United States champion was too much to overcome, and KO won with a pop-up powerbomb.
Women’s MITB Match. Again.
Just several days ago, we’d never had a Women’s Money in the Bank match. Now, in a week’s time, we’ll have had two.
Daniel Bryan’s big decision was to strip Carmella of her lawfully won briefcase and announce a Money in the Bank rematch for next week.
You booked a bad angle at Money in the Bank, WWE – but in this case, you should’ve committed to it. Carmella’s opening promo garnered genuine heel heat, and letting her run with this could’ve elevated a new top star. But to re-do the match – whether it was a reaction to online criticism, or the plan all along – is WCW-levels of flip-flopping storyline.
At least the segment itself contained two highlights. At one end of the spectrum, Daniel Bryan’s fiery rebuke to James Ellsworth insulting his newborn child. And at the much lower end, a painfully botched line from Tamina, essentially repeating Charlotte’s words back at her to a confused crowd.
Jinder Mahal beat Luke Harper
And in the main event, Jinder Mahal beat Luke Harper after Singh Brother interference and a Money in the Bank cash-in tease from Baron Corbin. Orton ran down afterwards and beat everyone up.
So that was this week’s Smackdown Live in about 4 minutes, here’s the usual ratings recap from top to bottom: SmackDamn, Smacktastic, Smack Bang In The Middle, Ellsworthy and Raw.
Daniel Bryan’s return showed what Smackdown has been missing recently, but it seemed to come at the expense of the good elements introduced in his absence – with no Fashion Police skits or Mike and Maria Kanellis on the show. And Carmella’s excellent opening promo was undone by the frustrating Money in the Bank do-over. At least Nakamura and Ziggler put on a very good TV match, and Gable got to show his wrestling ability.
This week’s Smackdown is Smack Bang in the Middle.
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