Smackdown Live emanated from New Orleans the host of Wrestlemania 34 and saw the final build towards the Money in the Bank PPV on Sunday. The competitors in both Money in the Bank Ladder Matches met in both singles and tag team action, Lana showed that she is a serious threat to the Women’s Championship and Randy Orton struck out of nowhere in the lead up to his rematch for the WWE Championship.
The New Day made a grand entrance with a New Orleans Marching Band which was incredibly fun to watch, but were soon interrupted by the Uso’s, Colons and Breezango. The four teams went back and forth until a tag team match was made putting the faces against the heels. Chaos ensued and eventually it was Xavier Woods who was left to get the pinfall for his team. Considering American Alpha who are arguably the best team in the division were not involved, this really shows the depth and potential of the Smackdown Tag Team Division.
Naomi defeated Tamina in an average match where the heel dominated most of the match until Naomi made the comeback for the victory. Very standard but didn’t have enough time to develop into anything remotely memorable. The biggest positive came after the match where number one contender Lana attacked the Women’s champion, introducing her finisher in time for the match and providing the image of her as a legitimate possible champion.
Jinder Mahal came to the ring to address the WWE Universe. He trashed the crowd and spoke of what he will do at Money in the Bank destroying Randy Orton in front of his hometown and family. Playing off Orton’s family is much more effective than the standard foreign heel idea. When Mahal went to speak Punjabi the crowd came to life with “USA” chants before Randy Orton’s music hit and he stuck in from the back and hit Mahal with an RKO Out of No Where. The crowd exploded for Orton and it seems fans are well behind him going into this Sunday.
Charlotte Flair defeated Natalya in a good solid match. While not their best work considering some of their work together in NXT particularly, these two women always work well together and this was no exception.
Fashion Files this week saw Tyler Breeze get attacked, the new case being to find his attacker. Hopefully this doesn’t go the path too similar to what is happening on Raw. While very short this was still effective. Fandango drew a stick figure for his police sketch which was funny. On the wall there was a picture of Sami Zayn and underneath his fashion crime was ‘Generic’, the advice, “Needs a Mask”. Those who got this reference would have got a good laugh out of it; hopefully they can do more things like that alluding to people’s former characters, very funny.
The main event saw the six competitors for the Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match face off in a six-man tag team match. Earlier Sami Zayn again came across as very quirky and almost annoying to the other members of his team, still not sure where WWE are heading portraying him like that. Nakamura took the majority of the punishment for the face team, despite it making him look relatively weak in that moment it was made up for at the end of the show when he was left standing tall with the briefcase (a sign that he’s very unlikely to win on Sunday). Zayn picked up the win for his team, good to see him looking strong in the ring, and afterwards the six men began battering each other with ladders. A good teaser and preview for the marquee match on Sunday. Corbin beat everyone down, Zayn got the pinfall, Nakamura stood tall to end the show, Ziggler is a former winner, Owens is the US Champion and Styles is arguably the best wrestler in the world. A great way to show that the Ladder Match is wide open on Sunday.
Shinsuke Nakamura made his first appearance on Talking Smack and while his English isn’t the best he was still as funny, charismatic and entertaining as ever. The Hype Bro’s also appeared on Talking Smack after reuniting on Smackdown where Zack Ryder spoke of his return from injury and set their sights on the Tag Team Titles once again.