Hello fans! It’s @TheMagnumDA with another edition of the Smackdown Live TV report! In addition to recapping and reviewing Smackdown, I’m also going to give some serious praise to 205 Live, as you will see in the “Good, Bad, Ugly” section following tonight’s results. The final spot for “Money in the Bank” will be decided tonight!
What are we waiting for? ON WITH THE SHOW.
Opening Promo: Samoa Joe comes out to ringside, and grabs a ladder from under the ring. Joe climbs the ladder, grabs the briefcase, and cuts a monster biblical promo, stating that there will be no salvation when he becomes Mr. Money in the Bank. He talks about Bryan having to explain to his wife and daughter that he’s coming home a broken man. This brings out Daniel Bryan, who warns Joe to never talk about his family again. They are ready to fight RIGHT NOW. As the crowd chants “YES!”, they are interrupted by Big Cass, who hobbles out to the ring on one crutch. Cass calls them both juvenile, and then proceeds to call them names (“The Shrimp and The Blimp”). Wait, who’s being juvenile?
Anyways, he informs both men that their match will not take place tonight, and that Paige has booked the match originally set to take place instead (Cass vs. Joe). Cass gets into the ring and declares himself medically cleared…as of this moment! He then swings the crutch at Bryan, but he misses and the crutch smashes Joe right in the shoulder! The brawl ends with Cass drilling both Bryan and Joe with the briefcase. Paige later explains that tonight’s match is a triple threat MITB Qualifier. You have GOT to be kidding me. So fans who bought tickets for Joe vs. Bryan are going to be denied that opportunity. Unreal.
1. Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Tye Dillinger. (**3/4) I thought this was one of Dillinger’s better outings on Smackdown Live. Good stuff.
AJ Styles Backstage: AJ tells Dasha that something in Shinsuke snapped, and now he’s picking a dangerous stipulation for their WWE Title match. AJ warns Shinsuke not to underestimate him, because that was the fatal mistake of all of his past opponents. AJ stated that he trains harder and works harder than everyone else, and at MITB…he will be the last man standing.
Lana vs. Naomi in a Dance-Off: They each got 60 seconds to show off their moves, as their supporters watched. In Lana’s corner was Rusev and Aiden English, while Naomi had The Usos backing her. This ends when Lana and Naomi start to do a tandem dance, and when they pose with their backs to each other, Lana drops Naomi with a neckbreaker. This leads to a schmoz. What was the point of this?
2. The New Day defeated The Miz, Sheamus & Cesaro. (***) This had some fantastic near-falls. The crowd was going crazy for some of these false finishes.
Good Brothers Backstage: Anderson and Gallows are backstage in the locker room getting themselves psyched up for their Tag Title match at MITB against the Bludgeon Brothers. They talk about making amends with The Usos and having some beers. Suddenly, the Bludgeon Brothers show up on their locker room TV. They warn the Good Brothers that “…the depraved will infect the decent. Minds obliterated. Souls corrupted. Bodies liquefied. Prepare yourselves for the Bludgeon Brothers.” Spooky.
3. Asuka defeated Mandy Rose. (*1/4) Not sure what the point of this was, other than to establish Asuka as the #1 Contender.
Charlotte & Becky Lynch Backstage: Charlotte and Becky squabble to each other about winning the MITB contract, so Paige interjects and makes a match for next week between the two.
4. Samoa Joe defeated Daniel Bryan and Big Cass to qualify for Money in the Bank. (***1/2) Fantastic match, but it slowed down when Cass got involved. The match ended when Joe locked Bryan on the Coquina Clutch. With Cass incapacitated, Bryan passed out and the ref checked on him three times before ringing the bell. After the match, Bryan tried to get to his feet, and just as he does…Cass smashes his face in with a nasty running boot. Cass poses to close the show.
Bring on the wrestling: Aside from the women’s match and the dance-off (sorry ladies), this was a pretty good wrestling program. I liked Shinsuke vs. Dillinger, and I really liked the false finishes in the six-man tag team match. I also thought the triple threat main event was very entertaining, but I’ve got a problem with how that came together. See below for more.
Bonus Good – 205 is Alive: WHAT A MAIN EVENT on 205 Live after Smackdown. Go out of your way to see it on the WWE Network. Incredible hometown win for the Cruiserweight Champion, Cedric Alexander. He defeated Buddy Murphy in a ****1/2 back-and-forth contest. Easily the best match in the history of 205 Live, and one of the best TV matches of the year. A #FutureClassic to be sure. WATCH IT.
Bait and Switch: Imagine being a wrestling fan, and you dropped $250-$500 for a front row seat to last night’s Smackdown Live event. Why? Because you wanted to see Joe vs. Bryan in their first one-on-one encounter in over a decade. Instead of that, you get a triple threat with Bryan, Joe, and Big Cass. Needless to say, I’d be furious if I was that fan. Even as a TV viewer, I found myself pissed off that we would be denied such an awesome main event. What makes this worse? Cass wasn’t even involved in the finish! Joe put Bryan to sleep!
If that’s the finish you wanted to book, why don’t you just keep Cass out of the main event? You could have him hobble down to ringside during the match, and then he could blast Bryan with the crutch to cost him the victory. From a storyline standpoint, it’s totally justified – Cass is angry with Bryan for costing him a spot in MITB, so he plays up the severity of his injury to eventually destroy Bryan when the opportunity became available. Yes, a finish like that would ruin a really good Joe vs. Bryan match, but I’ll take the one-on-one with a bad finish vs. the triple threat.
A few silly moments (like the dance-off), but nothing too hideous.
That’s going to do it for me! I’ll see you next week as the build for Money in the Bank continues! Next week on Smackdown Live, Becky Lynch will face Charlotte Flair, and Jimmy Uso & Naomi will face Aiden English & Lana. @TheMagnumDA signing off.