By Steven Flora
Six women and men will enter the ring this Sunday, but only ONE will become the next Mr and Mrs Money in the Bank. Smackdown Live emanates from the "Big Easy" as the Smackdown Live roster get set to make history at this year’s Money In the Bank PPV.
Money in The Bank is in full swing
Sami Zayn, AJ Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura def. Baron Corbin, Kevin Owens (c) & Dolph Ziggler
The biggest story of the night was at the end of the main event where Nakamura held the Money in the Bank briefcase, while the other five competitors were laid out in the middle of the ring. This could be an indication that Smackdown has high hopes on Nakamura and wants him to lead Smackdown into the new era. Only time will tell to see if that's the case.
For the match, Owens beats on Nakamura, looking for revenge due to Nakamura as of late. Corbin tags in for a bit, leading to the heels working quick tags and isolating Nakamura in their corner. Ziggler works a side headlock and talks some shit, but Nakamura fights back and tags in AJ. AJ runs wild, sends Corbin to the floor and then Owens. AJ hits the ushigoroshi, covering for 2 as it breaks down. Sami tosses Owens, and then wipes him out with a tope. AJ looks for the clash, but Ziggler counters into a DDT, covering for 2. AJ tags out to Sami, but Corbin cuts him off with deep six. Sami then drops Corbin with a big lariat and then avoids Ziggler, and tosses Owens. He fights off Corbin and sends him to the floor and looks for the tag, but AJ and Nakamura are pulled to the floor, but Sami somehow fights back and hits the helluva kick to pick up the win on Corbin, again! Winner: Sami Zayn, AJ Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura.
Side Note: I really enjoyed that, having all six competitors involved in the final Smackdown match before this Sunday's PPV was needed to further promote the main event. The match itself was pretty decent with each six competitors showcasing their stellar wrestling skills. Regardless of the outcome this Sunday, there's so much talent in this match that I'm almost 99% sure this match will be a MOTY candidate. If I had to pick a winner, I'd choose the 'Face of America', Kevin Owens, because he's simply been on another level since his Smackdown debut.
Lana has her eyes on the Smackdown Women’s Title
Non-Title Match: Naomi (c) def. Tamina
Tamina pinned Naomi in tag team action last week after Lana got involved. They lock up and Tamina looks to overpower Naomi early, but Naomi lays in strikes before Tamina takes her down with a head butt. Tamina then starts tossing Naomi around, and then grounds Naomi with a chinlock. Naomi fights to her feet, and hits some head kicks but Tamina tosses her back to the mat. She then beats on Naomi in the corner, and hits the running ass splash, covering for 2. Back to the chinlock for Tamina, and she then tosses Naomi back to the mat and covers for 2. Back to the chinlock again for Tamina, making sure to keep this as non-exciting as possible. Naomi then counters a suplex, and scores with a kick. Naomi follows with leg kicks, but Tamina snatches her out of the air, hitting a catatonic for 2. Tamina up top but Naomi cuts her off with the dropkick and hits the split legged moonsault for the win. Winner: Naomi (c).
Side Note: I felt the match was good, and showcased Tamina as a stiff yet solid worker. Naomi put in a good performance and proves time and time again she deserves to be champion. I can't say much on Lana as I haven't seen much of her in-ring work except for Wrestlemania 32. The move she performed on Naomi was pretty impressive to the point where even the announcers struggled to call it. Lana has proven she is dedicated to becoming a superstar and if Jinder Mahal can become WWE champion, why can't Lana become Smackdown Women’s champion?
Will it be a New Day for the Smackdown Tag Team Titles?
New Day & Breezango def. The Usos (c) & The Colons
Kofi and Epico work a fast-paced back and forth, Woods tags in and he and Kofi work double teams, and score a near fall. Fandango tags in and keeps control over Epico, Fandango hits a headscissors, and then lays in chops and dances out of a sunset flip, and tags in Breeze, They work double teams, but Epico cuts off Breeze and the Usos work him over in the corner. Quick tags by the Usos, and then to Primo as they keep the heat on Breeze. Breeze hits a desperation enziguri and Woods tags in and they work double teams, covering for 2. They continue to work over Primo, Woods lays in chops and then Primo scores with chops and kicks. Woods cuts him off with a big boot and the honor roll. Breeze finally hits a jawbreaker, gets cut off and Epico hits a delayed suplex, covering for 2. Breeze again tries to fight back, and runs into a back breaker. Primo tags back in, but Breeze runs then together and finally gets the tag to Woods. He runs wild, and then wipes out the Colons with a dive. Kofi in and hits a boom drop to an Uso. He blocks a superkick and hits trouble in paradise as it breaks down. Kofi & Woods then hit an assisted double stomp and pin a Colon for the win. Winner: The New Day & Breezango.
Side Note: The opening segment between all four teams was pretty entertaining until Breezango & The Colons came out. The match itself was OK but with so many bodies in a match, you eventually lose focus as there's so much going on at once. The Usos should retain at MITB and from there, they can build their solid run up to Summerslam for a big showdown with not only the New Day but maybe Breezango or American Alpha themselves.
The Viper sends out warning shots to the WWE World Champion
Jinder Mahal demanded the fans show respect by standing for their WWE Champion. On Sunday he proves Orton is a coward, one who is afraid of disappointing his hometown and family. Orton’s father will be at ringside. And will witness his son lose. Orton fears him, and has ever since he took the title from him. He will cut down Orton’s legacy until nothing is left of the Orton name. The son has risen on a new era, the era of the modern day Maharaja. He then speaks to his people in his language of Punjabi. Orton’s music hits, and the Singhs looks to attack, but Orton sneaks in from behind and RKOs Mahal. The Singhs then come to check on Mahal as Orton leaves.
Side Note: A very well executed segment leading up to their main event this Sunday. Mahal is getting better each week with his promos and with his lackeys (Singh Brothers) backing him up every step of the way, it makes him seem like a legitimate WWE champion. Orton, on the other hand, needed this. For weeks Jinder was parading around how he shocked the WWE universe and made fools out of your American hero (Orton) and how he would proudly show of his newly won title in his homeland of India. Orton hitting that RKO was perfect. His words to Renee Young afterward summed up his feud with Mahal, "The time for talking is done."
Other Notable Moments
Charlotte took on Natalya in a great wrestling contest. They work some back and forth, with both kipping up and talking some trash. Natalya lays in the boots and rights as we see Becky watching on backstage. They go to the screen in screen commercial break, working back and forth with Charlotte cutting off Natalya with a knee drop. Charlotte heads up top but Natalya shoves her to the floor. Natalya quickly rolls her back in, covering for 2. She then works the abdominal stretch, and then follows with a rolling lariat. Natalya then locks in the Romero special, keeping Charlotte grounded as we’re back to full screen. Natalya takes some time to celebrate after shooting Charlotte to the corner, but Charlotte gets a backslide for 2. She follows with chops, hits a knee drop and follows with an XPLODER. Charlotte up top now, and hits the moonsault for 2 as we see Carmella & Ellsworth watching on backstage. Charlotte back up top, Natalya cuts her off and hits a sitout powerbomb for a good near fall. Natalya looks for the sharpshooter, but Charlotte gets a roll-up for 2. The big boot gets Charlotte another 2. Charlotte then hits natural selection for the win. Winner: Charlotte
Overall Smackdown Live Rating: B-
Things to look forward to next week
Where is Rusev Machka?
Does Randy Orton have the Maharaja's number?
How will the women of Smackdown Live come out of their MITB ladder match?
Where is American Alpha?
What’s next for Tye Dillinger?