Smackdown Live saw Carmella provide the best work of her career before Daniel Bryan announced history again for next week. Also announced for next week was Namoi vs Lana for the Women’s Championship. Shinsuke Nakamura battled Dolph Ziggler in a great hard-hitting matchup while we saw some fresh matches between Kevin Owens and Chad Gable, and WWE Champion Jinder Mahal against Luke Harper.
Smackdown Live began with Carmella and James Ellsworth addressing the WWE Universe and the controversy at Money in the Bank. This was by far and away the best work Carmella has done in her time on the main roster, maybe even ever including her time in NXT. She was absolutely perfect here. Cocky, arrogant, and confident. Ellsworth played the sidekick role to perfection. It got the fans totally engaged and furious, and Carmela has never looked better. Already this Money in the Bank Contract and even further the way it was won is has done wonders for her.
Big E defeated Jimmy Uso in the first match of the night. While nothing too special it was a nice way to continue this feud. The Uso’s teased getting counted out again nicely. These two teams are capable of fantastic things together. As a side note the New Day on Talking Smack were absolutely hilarious, that show is tailor made for them and you could listen to them on repeat on that show for hours.
Randy Orton gave a sit-down interview with Tom Phillips which showed that his feud with Jinder Mahal is far from over. Orton was pretty good here, he spoke of how this rivalry is personal and is now about more than the championship, but about family. He said that he would go to India and hit all of Mahal’s family with an RKO, he said that he didn’t care if he broke the necks of the Singh Brothers or ended their careers. When Randy Orton is this type of vicious, it’s when he’s at his best, even as a babyface.
Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Dolph Ziggler in a brutal match that was everything their match at Backlash should have been. Hard hitting, near falls, Nakamura kicking out of the Zig Zag, an absolutely brutal Kinshasa; this match had it all. Hopefully this serves as an end to their feud, and a fitting end it would be, allowing Nakamura to move onto bigger and better things at Summerslam (Hopefully not Styles, please save that for Wrestlemania). One of the better matches on WWE Television in recent times.
Kevin Owens issued an US Open Challenge to anyone from Dayton Ohio. AJ Styles answered the challenge but then sat in on commentary for Owens match against Chad Gable. This was a unique, fresh matchup that felt just that way; fresh! It’s so simple that a match like this is so refreshing and therefore so enjoyable. Gable put in a good showing, reminding fans that American Alpha do still exist, and the Styles Owens feud is clearly far from over, promising to deliver some incredible matches. Again, Owens vs Styles has Feud of the Year and Match of the Year written all over it if done right. Styles appeared on Talking Smack and was enjoyable, mostly bantering with Daniel Bryan over fatherhood.
Throughout the show the women of the Money in the Bank match pleaded and demanded justice from GM Daniel Bryan. Becky Lynch especially shone here coming across as genuinely heartbroken, leaving the audience feeling incredible sympathy for her. Bryan called all involved to the ring. Ellsworth delivered a brutal line to Bryan saying “Being a day to a little vegan, hippy baby has you all soft”. Bryan understandably was furious and this showed though. Bryan took the briefcase from Carmella and announced that next week there will be repeat Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match to determine a real winner. For the love of all things good, please have Ellsworth (who is banned from ringside) play a role in helping Carmella win! The heat will be unbelievable. Also with how Carmella performed in the opening segment, there’s no way anyone should have that briefcase but her. On Talking Smack however Carmella began furious but broke down into tears at the thought of not having the briefcase, this was odd and did more to evoke sympathy, the exact opposite of what she needs right now.
The main event saw Jinder Mahal defeat Luke Harper. It was great to see Luke Harper in action again, he should have been involved in the Wyatt Orton match at Mania and has really fallen away since then. Again, this was a fresh new matchup that was good to see. Corbin came to the ring teasing a cash in, simply just to remind the fans of his victory, interesting that WWE didn’t have more for Corbin than this after his big win. Again, The Singh Brothers interfere allowed Jinder to get the win and post-match Orton emerged and destroyed the Singh Brothers once again to end the show.