Oli Davis rounds up the biggest professional wrestling news in his daily WrestleTalk column…
Shane McMahon opened the show introducing all five women in the ladies’ Money in the Bank match, and then unveiled the prize at the top of the ladder: a white briefcase with gold trimmings. Considering WWE’s patchy sexist past, I’m glad it wasn’t a handbag.
After Naomi spoke about how ‘lit’ this match is going to be – whatever that means – Lana-lina debuted her new gimmick for the first time since moving to Smackdown. Her sexualised dancer character jarred with the merit-based wrestlers around her, acting as a throwback to the Diva era, but at least WWE are playing on the juxtaposition – with the others laughing at Lana-lina as she put herself forward for Money in the Bank. It’s a shame she’s still using the Russian accent.
Tamina, Natalya & Carmella beat Charlotte, Naomi & Becky Lynch
This led into a Backlash rematch between Royal Fire Glow and The Welcoming Committee, to finally decide which team has the worse name. The heels came out on top when Lana-lina interfered, pulling Naomi off the apron. Shane later made Naomi vs Lana-lina for the Women’s title at Money in the Bank, because…land of opportunity?
AJ Styles beat Dolph Ziggler
Now with the ‘Not Hometown’ advantage, AJ Styles beat Dolph Ziggler in a very good five minute match after losing in Georgia last week.
Fashion Files: Dumb On Arrival
Breezeango are wisely playing with their Fashion Files concept to prevent it becoming stale – first transitioning from a Law + Order parody to film noir, and now including other Smackdown wrestlers in the skits. At first, New Day were filmed in colour, but upon entering Breezeango’s office everything went black and white – as Big E excellently pointed out. The New Day have a new case – they want the lowdown on their Money in the Bank opponents, The Usos. The segment ended with the best gag of the skits so far, Breezeango giving their final thoughts through inner monologue, while the New Day stood completely confused.
New Day beat The Colons
The New Day then made their Smackdown Live in-ring debut by beating The Colons Cologne. The Cologne Colons? The Colons’ Colon… Whatever that is, The Usos cut yet another superb promo afterwards.
Jinder Mahal beat Mojo Rawley
Mojo Rawley has lost his hype, walking around backstage glumly pointing out that nothing’s happened for him since winning the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Jinder Mahal, on the other hand – the guy he beat in that match – now gets epic celebrations wherever he goes and is WWE Champion. Shane put them both in a match where if Mojo won, he’d be added to the men’s Money in the Bank match.
Despite wearing almost blinding lime green trunks, Jinder beat him in five minutes after raking Mojo’s eyes.
Shinsuke Nakamura beat Kevin Owens
Why Sami Zayn continues to do backstage interview is beyond me, as Baron Corbin attacks him from behind literally every time. As a result, The Lone Wolf replaced Sami on commentary for the main event, which meant Phillips, JBL and Saxton just spoke to Corbin for the entire match rather than calling the action in the ring.
Kevin Owens vs Shinsuke Nakamura was rather underwhelming considering the talents of both men, and despite beating KO for the third time in as many weeks, Nakamura is already starting to feel like just another guy. At least he isn’t being subject to 50/50 booking, though. Corbin took out Shinsuke after the match.
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.
The tag team division continues not just to be the best thing on Smackdown, but arguably on WWE’s two main brands. The Usos and Breezeango are doing the best work of the careers, while New Day are a solid act for them to play off. It’s a testament to the division’s new found depth that American Alpha can just be left on the sidelines.
I’m curious to see how Lana-lina’s character is handled in the Women’s Revolution, and the AJ/Ziggler match was great, but very little stood out in the rest of the show.
This week’s Smackdown is Smack Bang in the Middle.
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