By: Keila Cash
Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The SmackDown Files. Tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live emanated from the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, California. The setting is fitting because Charlotte, Natalya, Tamina, Becky Lynch, and Carmella will make HERstory once again as the second-ever Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder takes place for the first time on free television. Was the moment sullied by controversy or did a winner emerge from the fray unscathed? The answer to that question can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s episode of SD Live in no particular order.
· James Ellsworth’s mouth got him in serious trouble when he called Daniel Bryan a gutless coward who couldn’t hack it in the ring anymore.
· Instead of firing Ellsworth on the spot, Bryan decided to ban Ellsworth from the arena during the Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match later tonight. Security escorted him out of the ring as the fans serenaded the chinless troll with “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” as the opening segment came to an end.
· The opener was fine, but it was a refresher from last week’s show as Carmella whined about being punished for breaking the rules that didn’t exist within the realm of a Women’s MITB Ladder Match. Bryan agreed with her to a point but stated that no one ever grabbed the briefcase on someone’s behalf which allowed him to overturn the decision. Despite the retread, the crowd was hot for the opener which speaks well for the main event if they’re not burnt out by then.
· The Usos defeated The Hype Bros when Jimmy Uso pinned Zack Ryder with a Frog Splash. The match was decent, but short on time. The finish happened immediately after the picture-in-picture commercial break which was awkward, to say the least.
· To soften the blow, The New Day came out and traded rap bars with The Usos as they hyped their SmackDown Tag Team Championship rematch at Battleground next month. If both teams clean up the botches from their first title bout, their redux should be even better.
· The latest episode of Fashion Vice revealed a few things.
· 1) The Ascension didn’t trash Breezango’s office as someone else trashed their headquarters while Viktor and Konner were being interrogated.
· 2) Tyler Breeze packs a lot of heat in the form of water guns.
· 3) The Ascension are undercover fans of Eddie Money despite their heavy metal leanings.
· 4) American Alpha is back in the running as lead suspects in the office trashing. For their sake, let’s hope that’s the case because they need a creative jolt. Stat!
· Naomi retained the SmackDown Women’s Championship when she defeated Lana with a Split-Legged Moonsault in a quick match. Lana attacked Naomi from behind before the match started, but it wasn’t enough to get the win. The Lana Experiment is flat lining at an alarming rate…
· After Randy Orton threatened to beat Jinder Mahal’s ass six ways from Sunday if he didn’t get another shot at the WWE Championship, Shane McMahon made a surprise appearance and granted Orton’s rematch which will take place at Battleground next month.
· McMahon acknowledging his past with Orton when it came to The Viper laying hands on his father and sister eight years ago was a nice nod to their complicated history.
· Due to Mahal being the WWE Champion, he was allowed to name the stipulation for their match. After cutting another middling promo, Mahal announced that he will face Orton in a Punjabi Prison match which actually drew a good reaction from the crowd.
· The announcers tossed to a video package explaining the rules of the match as the segment came to an end.
· Orton showed great fire on the mic and it’s nice to see him motivated for a change. The Punjabi Prison match should be a spectacle with The Singh Brothers taking a ridiculous amount of bumps to the crowd’s delight.
· Daniel Bryan announced that there will be a Battle Royal to determine the number one contender for the United States Championship on the July 4h edition of SD Live next Tuesday. To say Kevin Owens wasn’t happy about this news would be an understatement.
· Baron Corbin defeated Sami Zayn when he nailed him with End of Days for the win. The match was solid as Corbin dominated the action until Zayn made a babyface comeback midway through the match. He put up a good fight, but Mr. Money in the Bank took care of business and won fair and square. No complaints here.
· Carmella climbed the ladder and officially became Ms. Money in the Bank in a good main event match.
· The action was solid throughout as Becky Lynch took everyone on a trip to Suplex City early on. The action dragged at times due to all the crash and burn spots that had the ladies selling at ringside for prolonged period of time, but the match told a good story for the most part.
· Charlotte was about to grab the briefcase when Natalya yanked her off the ladder and took the fight into the crowd. The downtime allowed James Ellsworth to get involved even though he was banned from the arena.
· Ellsworth was about to grab the briefcase when Lynch pushed the Chinless One off the ladder and sent him groin-first between the ropes.
· Lynch had a clear path to victory when she climbed the ladder, but a knee injury gave Carmella the opening she needed in order to gain the upper hand. Lynch tried to climb the ladder when Carmella nailed her with a chair shot to the back of the leg.
· Lynch fell to the mat as Carmella climbed the ladder and grabbed the briefcase for the win. SD Live went off the air with the Princess of Staten Island posing on top of the ladder while holding the MITB briefcase high in the air.
· Despite Ellsworth getting involved, I’m glad Carmella won the match fair and square. Her performances on the mic have generated legit heel heat which will serve her well when she goes after the SmackDown Women’s Title. Carmella’s in-ring work is far from stellar, but her personality will get her over the proverbial hump. Having Ellsworth by her side is an added bonus because he’s an annoying pest who gets under people’s skin for all the right reasons.
· The outcome of the match teased a future Natalya vs. Charlotte feud while Lynch has to do some soul-searching after suffering another heartbreaking loss. Is she on the verge of turning heel or will she keep pushing forward as a plucky babyface with a ton of heart? We shall find out soon enough.
· Overall, I thought tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live was decent at best. The show was light on in-ring action until the main event. WWE wanted to give the women enough time to have a good match which explains why the first two matches ended in quick fashion. I appreciate the strategy, but it hampered the overall flow of the show.
· Minor criticism aside, the company spotlighted the women in a positive way as the Raw and SD Live women’s divisions have headlined both shows within a 24-hour span. NXT will make it three for three when Asuka faces Nikki Cross for the NXT Women’s Championship in a Last Woman Standing Match tomorrow night. That’s a pretty cool stat that shouldn’t be overlooked or understated.
· Also, the blue brand announced the first two matches for the Battleground PPV which takes places next month. This is the final brand exclusive PPV before SummerSlam which should provide a clearer picture of what to expect at the biggest party of the summer.
· A big piece of the puzzle will be filled next week with the return of John Cena. Cena is a free agent and it should be interesting to see where he hangs his hat over the next few months. In any event, Mr. Hustle, Loyalty, & Respect is bound to generate buzz because he is WWE’s biggest needle mover when it comes to ratings.
On that note, this wraps another edition of The SmackDown Files. I hope you enjoyed it and I will be back next week with a brand new installment of The Raw Exposé. See you later, boys and girls!