6/20 Powell’s WWE Smackdown Live TV Review: Daniel Bryan addresses the Women’s Money in the Bank finish, Jinder Mahal vs. Luke Harper, Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler

By Jason Powell

WWE Smackdown Live on USA Network
Aired live from Dayton, Ohio at Nutter Center

[Q1] A video recapped the women’s Money in the Bank finish and hyped that Daniel Bryan would address the outcome… A shot aired outside of Daniel Bryan’s office where Tamina, Charlotte, Natalya, and Becky Lynch were bickering. Bryan stepped out and told them to calm down. He said he would hear them all out, but he wanted to hear what Carmella and James Ellsworth had to say first. Bryan returned to his office and the women went back to grumbling… The broadcast team was Tom Phillips, JBL, and Byron Saxton. Greg Hamilton was the ring announcer…

Carmella and James Ellsworth headed to the ring while the broadcast team recapped how she became the MITB holder. Saxton said the first women’s MITB ladder match was won by a man. Carmella strutted around the ring with her briefcase. Ellsworth asked what was wrong with the people. He told them to give it up for the first ever Miss MITB.

Carmella welcomed viewers to her fabulous era. She said she wanted to address the elephant in the room. She said she has been trending worldwide for the last 48 hours, but because of how she won rather than because she won. She said people are saying she made a mockery of the division and needed Ellsworth to win the match for her. “Do you know what I say to that?” she asked. “Who cares?” She said she’s been overlooked since she was the last pick in the WWE Draft and she’s not there for girl power.

Carmella ran down the other women in the match and said she is just that intelligent. She claimed she won the match fair and square. She brought up Kane helping Seth Rollins win MITB. She said Bray Wyatt prevented Roman Reigns from winning an MITB match. She complained about internet trolls tweeting and said fans should be embarrassed for themselves. She said she earned the contract and pointed out that it was a no DQ match. “How can you break a rule if there are none?” she asked.

The fans booed and she told them to shut up because Miss MITB was talking. Carmella said Bryan would have a decision to make and the right thing was to reenforce what she said. “I am Miss Money in the Bank and there’s not a damn thing that any of you can do about it,” she closed…

Powell’s POV: A good promo that overstayed its welcome a bit, but she had good heat and made a good case from her character’s perspective. By the way, I’m filling in for Jake Barnett this week. He is on vacation and will return next week.

Backstage, Bryan was shown watching the Carmella speech on a monitor. Charlotte entered the room and told him that it’s time for him to act. Bryan pointed out that the match was technically a no disqualification match. She said that should only apply to the people in the match. She said they were all excited to make history “and unfortunately I guess we did.” She told Bryan to do the right thing…

The broadcast team hyped Jinder Mahal vs. Luke Harper for later in the show. New Day was shown walking backstage holding a skeleton dressed in an Uso shirt. Big E vs. Jimmy Uso was hyped for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: Even if you hated the finish, you have to admit that they are doing a good job. It’s the centerpiece storyline of this show and the players who have spoken have made their cases while Bryan has acted conflicted, which serves as a nice hook for whatever his decision will be. My guess continues to be that they will announce a rematch for a future Smackdown.

[Q2] New Day made their entrance after Kofi Kingston’s awesome trust fall dive at MITB was recapped as part of a sponsored replay. They spoke on the entrance ramp as they headed toward the ring and set up shots from MITB with the Usos taking the tag titles and an intentional count-out loss.

Xavier Woods invited the Usos to step into their playpen. Kingston introduced Big as “The Warden” and said he’s big, handsome, and he has a big nightstick and he’s not afraid to use it. Kingston then introduced him as Deputy Big E. E set up the New Day Rocks bit. The Usos made their entrance for the singles match… [C]

1. Jimmy Uso (w/Jey Uso) vs. Big E (w/Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods). The match started during the break and was shown with the picture-in-picture approach. Kofi performed a trust fall dive off the ring steps to take out Jey at ringside. In the end, Big E put away Jimmy with the Big Ending…

Big E defeated Jimmy Uso in 6:00.

Backstage, Daniel Bryan told Shane McMahon via telephone that he knew how he felt about the situation. Natalya and Tamina interrupted him. She said it was great to have him back. He asked about her shoulder. She played it up, then said it was fine. She wished Bryan a belated happy Father’s Day. Tamina got pissed and asked if Bryan was going to let Carmella “and her little sock puppet” get away with it. Bryan promised they would have an official decision shortly… [C]

Powell’s POV: Big E’s win keeps the New Day momentum going as they chase the champions.

[Q3] Backstage, Dasha Fuentes asked Naomi for her thoughts on the women’s MITB controversy. She said it’s unfortunate, but she’s confident that Bryan will make the right decision. She said she doesn’t care who ends up with the contract because she will be ready. Lana showed up and challenged Naomi to a rematch. Naomi said she beat her fair and square, but she’s a fighting champion so she granted her a rematch for next week…

Powell’s POV: Creative did a good job of emphasizing that Shane McMahon didn’t feel Lana was worthy of a title match, but he gave in only because Naomi requested that it be a title match. Now Naomi is essentially booking her own rematch, which feels inconsistent, but perhaps they will cover it.

The broadcast team narrated shots of the Jinder Mahal vs. Randy Orton match from MITB…

A pre-taped Tom Phillips interview with Randy Orton aired. Orton said he saw red when he saw the Singh Brothers attack his father, and that caused him to take his eye off the ball. He said he’s played the numbers game himself. He said that if the goal was to make it person by adding his family then it was mission accomplished. Orton said it was far from over and he is going to hurt Mahal. Orton said he would even travel to India and rain down RKO’s on Jinder’s family and best friends. “Jinder made a mistake and now there’s no turning back,” Orton said…

Dolph Ziggler made his entrance. The broadcast team hyped his match with Shinsuke Nakamura for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: Orton and Jinder work well together, but I was hopeful that it was time for Mahal to move on rather than continue this feud. Jinder is not the center of the Smackdown universe, he continues to be on this island with Orton away from the other contenders. Meanwhile, I’m surprised they didn’t advertise Nakamura vs. Ziggler well in advance of the show…

Shinsuke Nakamura made his entrance…

[Q4] 2. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler. Saxton said Ziggler takes pride in being the measuring stick in WWE. Nakamura sent Ziggler over the top rope. JBL said Ziggler was hurt, but it looked like a routine bump for him. [C] Coning out of the break, Ziggler had Nakamura in a headlock and the broadcast team said it had been all Ziggler for the past few minutes. Nakamura came back with a spinning kick.

Nakamura threw kicks to the head of a kneeling Ziggler. Nakamura followed up with a running boot to the face, then performed a running knee in the corner. Nakamura placed Ziggler over the top rope and then performed a running knee into his abdomen and covered him for two. JBL said it was unbelievable to hear the blows landing from ringside.

Ziggler avoided the Kinshasa and kicked the knee of Nakamura. Ziggler performed the Fameasser for a two count. At 13:45, Ziggler rolled up Nakamura, who countered into a Cross Arm Breaker. Ziggler raked the eyes to break the hold.

[Q5] Ziggler caught Nakamura with the Zigzag for a good near fall. Ziggler jumped right up and applied a sleeper. Nakamura broke free with a headbutt. Nakamura caught Ziggler with a kick to the back of the head and followed up with a great looking Kinshasa for the win. JBL again raved about seeing Nakamura in person to hear the sounds of the contact he makes with opponents…

Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Dolph Ziggler in 16:50.

Powell’s POV: A very good match. This was similar to their Backlash match in terms of competitiveness and length. Many fans were ready to see a Nakamura showcase in the Backlash match, so it just didn’t click. I was more open to a competitive match this time around and it really worked for me. It was important to show the casual WWE viewers how good a Nakamura match can be. This was the best showcase he’s had on Smackdown, and the broadcast team did a nice job of putting over his offense.

Backstage, Bryan praised Sami Zayn’s sunset flip powerbomb at MITB, then informed him that he has him booked in a match against Baron Corbin for next week. Zayn said he feels good about it because he’s had Corbin’s number. Becky Lynch showed up. Zayn said he was pulling for her on Sunday and was disappointed by the way the match ended.

After Zayn left, Lynch told Bryan that Smackdown is supposed to be the land of opportunity, but it doesn’t feel like that. She said that no matter how hard she works, there’s always someone in front of her who takes shortcuts. She asked what she could do. Bryan said it’s complicated. “Is doing the right thing really that complicated?” she asked before walking away…

Kevin Owens was shown walking backstage. The broadcast team hyped his open challenge for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: It was nice to see normal Sami rather than neurotic Sami character we’ve seen at times during backstage segments. Lynch showed really good emotion while delivering her promo. They are definitely building this up in a way where Bryan has to “do the right thing” by booking some type of make good.

A graphic noted that WWE MITB was the most socially active show on television…

Kevin Owens headed to the ring and deliver a promo. He said the only reason he wasn’t holding the MITB briefcase is because the other five men conspired against him because they knew he was the most dangerous man in the match. He said they tried to end his career and it was an injustice. Owens said he was unbroken and remains the new face of America and the U.S. Champion. Owens spoke about the land of opportunity. He stated that he was giving one lucky individual from Dayton, Ohio a chance at his title. “Ladies and gentlemen, the Kevin Owens Face of America Open Challenge begins now,” Owens said.

[Q6] AJ Styles made his entrance with a mic in hand. He said what’s better than being the U.S. Champion is him beating Owens for the U.S. Championship. Styles entered the ring and said it was go time. Owens reminded Styles that the open challenge was for a local resident of Dayton, Ohio.

American Alpha walked onto the stage. Jason Jordan bumped fists with Chad Gable before heading backstage, then Gable went to the ring. Owens said Gable isn’t from Dayton either, and questioned why he was there. Gable said he just moved to Dayton. Owens asked when. Gable said this morning, and gave Owens his address. Styles said he knew the place and hyped up the match. Owens told him to mind his own business…

3. Kevin Owens vs. Chad Gable for the U.S. Championship. The bell rang and Gable suplexed Owens a few times and then rolled him into an ankle lock. Owens reached the ropes and rolled to ringside heading into a break. [C] The match continued to air thanks to a picture-in-picture ad. Owens took control. Styles joined the broadcast team on commentary. Gable came back with a moonsault for a two count. Gable rolled into a German Suplex and a bridge for another two count. Owens bounced back and performed the Popup Powerbomb for the win…

Kevin Owens defeated Chad Gable to retain the U.S. Championship in 5:15.

Powell’s POV: A fun sequence that set up the match and then an entertaining match that finally led to the return of American Alpha to television.

Backstage, Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley showed Daniel Bryan the footage of Ryder winning a battle royal to earn a tag title shot. It was the match in which Ryder was injured. Mojo pointed out they never got their title shot. Bryan said he would give them a chance to earn another opportunity and booked them in a non-title match against the Usos… [C]

Powell’s POV: Ryder was intense while Rawley was more down to earth while stating their case. Ryder and Rawley seemed satisfied with the ruling, so there’s nothing to take away from this segment in terms of a potential Ryder turn clue.

There was a backstage commercial with Sami Zayn and Tye Dillinger for a shake shack. Zayn was trying to figure out which flavor of shake was better. Dillinger gave them both a ten. When Zayn asked if there’s anything he doesn’t rate a ten, Dillinger said it would probably be their conversation…

Daniel Bryan made his entrance to a great pop. “It’s decision time,” one of the broadcast team members said.

[Q7] Once Bryan was in the ring, the fans chanted his name. Bryan said it was great to be back. He said he wished it was under different circumstances. He said they just had the first women’s MITB match. The fans booed. Bryan said he’s been holed up with Shane McMahon and other WWE officials trying to sort things out. He said he was told that he had to take his emotions out of it and stick to the WWE rulebook.

Bryan introduced the five women from the MITB match – Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Natalya, Tamina, and Carmella, who came out with James Ellsworth. Bryan said MITB matches are No DQ. He said there’s nothing in the rulebook that says you can’t have someone else take down the briefcase. He said it reads that it’s the first woman to hold the briefcase.

Bryan said there has been interference in other matches before, but there has never been someone who has unhooked the briefcase and handed it to somebody else. “It appears we are in uncharted territory,” Bryan said. Ellsworth said being a daddy to a little hippy vegan baby made Bryan soft. Bryan fired up and told Ellsworth to shut up.

“If you talk about my baby girl one more time I will punch you in the face so fast that you won’t be able to breathe and I will fire you,” Bryan said. The fans chanted Yes! The other participants started bickering. In a comical moment, Natalya, who sucked up to Bryan earlier, told Lynch to sucking up to him. Charlotte said she was there for a decision and if she didn’t get one she would make Natalya look like Ellsworth. Tamina told Charlotte to be quiet or she would start looking like Ellsworth. Yes, the same joke back to back. Ugh.

Bryan said they all competed in the first ever women’s MITB match. He said Carmella would be the first woman ever to hand over the MITB briefcase. The fans cheered. Bryan said he wasn’t going to let someone like Ellsworth interrupt one of the most important moments WWE women’s history.

Bryan said he was going to take the briefcase and relive the moment on Smackdown next week. The fans weren’t happy that it was next week. Bryan announced they would have a Women’s Money in the Bank ladder match that includes Tamina, Carmella, Becky Lynch, Natalya, and Charlotte Flair. Bryan took the briefcase and his music played as he headed backstage and the broadcast team hyped the rematch.

The women started fighting inside the ring. Carmella ended up down on the mat between Lynch and Charlotte. Charlotte gave Carmella the Natural Selection, then Lynch applied the Disarmer…

The broadcast team hyped Jinder Mahal vs. Luke Harper for after the break… [C]

Powell’s POV: A good segment. The live crowd was hot for everything other than the announcement that the rematch would take place next week instead of being held while they were in attendance. I understand the frustration that Will Pruett expressed in his blog and on Prowrestling.net Live that they can only have one first women’s MITB and it was tarnished, but WWE garnered a lot of attention by taking the approach they did, and the rematch will be seen by more viewers on Smackdown. It will be interesting to hear what our newest staffer April Lavalle, who also addressed the situation in her new blog, and Will have to say about this when they co-host Friday’s All Access Daily Podcast. By the way, I wonder if Baron Corbin will get involved in the main event. It’s odd that we have yet to see the men’s MITB winner.

Phillips hyped AJ Styles, Carmella, James Ellsworth, and New Day for Talking Smackdown with hosts Renee Young and the returning Daniel Bryan…

[Q8] The Singh Brothers introduced Jinder Mahal, who then made his entrance. Luke Harper made his entrance…

4. WWE Champion Jinder Mahal (w/The Singh Brothers) vs. Luke Harper in a non-title match. Harper connected with an early dropkick that sent Mahal to ringside heading into a break. [C] Mahal ended up at ringside and shoved one of the Singh brothers in front of Harper’s suicide dive. Mahal took offensive control back inside the ring.

Harper came back and played to a fairly receptive crowd. Harper caught Mahal with a big boot for a two count at 7:15. Harper performed a swinging side slam for another two count. Mahal caught Harper on the ropes and superplexed him.

At 8:35, Baron Corbin came out with the Money in the Bank briefcase. Corbin took a lap around the ring while jawing at Mahal and then heading right back up the stage. Harper took advantage of the distraction and caught Mahal with a superkick. One of the Singh Brothers climbed onto the apron. Harper swung at the Singh Brother and missed, then Mahal caught Harper with a boot and a Cravate for the win.

Jinder Mahal pinned Luke Harper in 9:40 in a non-title match.

After the match, Randy Orton came out and beat up Mahal in the ring and then worked him over at ringside before dumping him into the timekeeper’s area. Orton performed a hanging DDT from the timekeeper’s barricade. Orton rolled Mahal into the ring and then struck the Viper’s Pose. The Singh Brothers attacked Orotn from behind. Orton fought them off quickly and hit them both with RKOs while Mahal exited into the crowd while clutching his title belt…

Powell’s POV: A good match with the now familiar formula of the Singhs providing the distraction before Mahal performs his finisher. The followup with Corbin winning MITB was weak. Sure, he taunted Jinder, but I’m surprised they didn’t find time to have him deliver a promo coming off his big win. Orton attacking Mahal and roughing up his minions made for a good close to the show. Overall, a good show with plenty of hype for next week. I will be by later tonight with my member exclusive audio review. Be sure to check out my appearance on the Ross Report Podcast at PodcastOne.com.

Readers Comments (1)

  1. Strong show. Good follow up to the controversy and a reasonable move by Brian even though I would like to see Shane overturn it and give the suitcase back to Carmella.

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