Written by: JR
Smackdown Live presents Money in the Bank
-Hype Bros vs The Colons
Winner: Hype Bros
Typical preshow match. Nothing special. It’s great to see Ryder back in the ring.
-Women’s Money In The Bank Ladder Match: Carmella vs Tamina vs Charlotte vs Becky Lynch vs Natalya
Good action from all of the competitors and there were some OK spots throughout the match. Charlotte did a good moonsault spot to the outside from the turnbuckle onto Natalya and Tamina. As expected, James Ellsworth interfered in the match to assist Carmella and even climbed up the ladder himself to retrieve the briefcase. We saw the refs discuss whether this finish was acceptable and they decided not to overturn the decision. For me, this match was extremely underwhelming and the finish was anticlimactic. I expected more from such a historic match. There weren’t any high impact ladder spots and some of the major spots weren’t executed smoothly. I also thought it was a bad message to basically have a man win the first ever Women’s MITB match for his “friend” Carmella. I think in this match their main goal was to avoid any major injuries and save the extreme uninhibited moments for the next women’s MITB match. That’s the only justification I can make for why this match was far from a show stealer. After seeing this match I can’t say that I’m too excited for another Women’s MITB since the first one was so mundane.
-New Day vs The Usos (Ch) for the Smackdown Tag Team Titles
Winner: New Day via countout
Both of these tag teams have had great chemistry in the past. This is the first matchup between them with The Usos’ new heel personas. The Usos did a great job with the trash talking while they were focusing on Kofi and isolating him from Big E. It was interesting to see Big E use Samoa Joe’s signature Uranage for opponents running towards him in the corner. The Usos later in the match focused on Kofi’s ankle which is the injury that sidelined Kofi for several weeks. Kofi used a Dragon Sleeper during the match which is a move that he rarely uses and is a sign of his evolution as a worker. The Usos walked out with their titles and took the countout loss when it seemed like the New Day were gaining the momentum to score a win. The Usos taking the cowardly way out was a great way to build up heat for The Usos and prolong their feud. Despite the heel finish, the match was good and I look forward to their eventual rematch.
-Lana vs Naomi (Ch) for the Smackdown Women’s Title
The match was created because Naomi was annoyed by Lana’s interference in a tag match that led to her losing the match. Naomi wanted to wrestle Lana and get revenge. Naomi also volunteered to put the title on the line. Why? No idea. This match was Lana’s first main roster match in the WWE. Throughout the match, Lana effectively played her heel role and was able to work Naomi’s knee convincingly. Lana gave a solid first impression in her debut match. She could have worked the crowd more but there’s plenty of time for her to evolve and learn through experience. Naomi was consistent with selling her knee injury. During the match, Carmella came out to the ring and decided to cash in her newly won MITB contract but reconsidered at the last moment. Naomi won with her submission finisher in a surprisingly decent match from the debuting Lana. Naomi’s selling throughout the match helped to legitimize Lana and make her seem like a threat.
-A Fashion Police segment was shown but this time it had a Miami Vice theme. There was a funny reference to dialup internet as well as an amusing reference to Paul Heyman’s giant cordless phone that he used as a manager. The Fashion Police received a VHS tape and in the tape the unknown suspects who destroyed their office challenged them to a match later on tonight.
-Mike Bennett and Maria made their debut and got a pretty nice reaction from the crowd. It seems like their gimmick is being a happily married couple who want to share the blissfulness of their loving relationship with the world. This gimmick definitely has some inspiration from Brother Love. I noticed that Mike took Maria’s last name Kanelis instead of going by his regular ring name Mike Bennett. For those who don’t know about Mike Bennett he was a member of ROH where he was a member of the stable The Kingdom. Later in his career, he joined TNA and got a nice push but it eventually didn’t lead to anything.
-Randy Orton vs Jinder Mahal (Ch) for the WWE Championship
Winner: Jinder Mahal
Before the match began, Randy Orton’s father Bob Orton as well as other WWE Legends sitting in the front row were recognized by the ring announcer. I’m thinking that these legends will be used to further generate heat for Jinder’s title defense adding in the fact that this match was taking place in Orton’s home state.
Orton had the advantage in the beginning stages of the match. He was feeding off the home crowd energy and seemed a little more motivated. Orton tweaked his knee during the match and as expected Mahal targeted the knee to shift the momentum of the match in his favor. Mahal had a great heel moment of mocking Orton’s trademark pose as he was facing the legends sitting in the front row. Mahal also locked in the Figure 4 Leglock to mock Ric Flair who was sitting at ringside. When Orton gave the RKO, the Singh Brothers helped Mahal by placing his leg on the bottom rope during the pin. The ref proceeded to throw out the Singh Brothers once he saw their interference. The Singh Brothers berated the Legends sitting in the front row and even grabbed Bob Orton’s shirt which caused Randy to interfere and take out the Singh Brothers. He gave an RKO to one of the Singh Brothers through the announcer’s table. After Orton finished beating down the Singh Brothers, Mahal immediately delivered his finisher once Orton returned to the ring and scored the pinfall victory. The match was OK but not remarkable at all. Orton was out of the ring for a long time so I don’t understand why he wasn’t counted out. I’m glad this Orton feud is over because Orton has been lackluster in the ring for a long time and a rising heel like Mahal needs better matches to raise his profile.
-Fashion Police vs The Ascension
Winner: Fashion Police
This match really didn’t need to happen. It seemed like a filler match so I guess it served its purpose. Ascension have been floundering for a long time. They had a pretty good debut on the main roster way back in December 2014 and looked good for the next few months but they’ve never reached that level of relevancy or legitimacy again. Their sudden Small Package loss further proved how much of a joke they are and continue to be.
Men’s Money In The Bank Ladder match: AJ Styles vs Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn vs Baron Corbin vs Shinsuke Nakamura vs Dolph Ziggler
Winner: Baron Corbin
During Nakamura’s entrance, Corbin attacked him from behind and assaulted him with one of the nearby ladders. Corbin continued the attack by using a nearby video camera as a weapon on Nakamura. Due to the attack, Nakamura was unable to compete in the match and was helped to the back. Zayn had a great spot that involved throwing Owens off the top rope onto an opened ladder that bent the ladder. Zayn had another great spot when he gave a Sunset Flip Powerbomb to Ziggler when they both were climbing a ladder. Styles had a remarkable spot when he gave the Phenomenal Forearm to Zayn as he was climbing the ladder. Styles had another spot where he gave a Death Valley Driver to Kevin Owens onto an elevated ladder between the steps and the announce table. Nakamura returned to the ring right when Corbin was about to climb the ladder and began to get revenge on Corbin. Nakamura also gave his finisher to Zayn and Ziggler when they tried to intervene. There was a great one-on-one showdown between Nakamura and Styles that the crowd loved. Corbin won the match which many people in the crowd didn’t approve of.
Overall Grade: C
The disappointing Women’s MITB deflated the energy of the crowd especially since it was the opening match. The Tag Team Title match helped to energize the crowd again but everything afterwards before the main event was average to subpar. The main event saved the show but not by much. This definitely was the weakest Smackdown exclusive PPV since the brand split. If the Women’s MITB went a little longer and had more creative spots, the show may have been a little more enjoyable. However, the terrible finish would have killed the match’s energy regardless of the overall quality. Mike Kanelis’ debut was just as generic as he has always been. I’m far from thrilled for whatever is planned for Mike and Maria. I hope that I’m proven wrong but we’ll see.