WWE SmackDown Live returned to us last night (June 12) from the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee. You can find all the results at the Homer epic of a live blog here.
The SmackDown roster is so damned stacked that they can’t avoid having some dream matches at this point. OK, dream matches may be a bit hyperbole, but these are matches that could be major PPV matches if built just a bit. Let’s take a look what one on one matches we were treated to this week.
Hardy vs. Nakamura
In a first time match up, Shinsuke Nakamura had himself a warmup match against Jeff Hardy prior to his WWE title match this Sunday.
Jeff Hardy is no warmup match.
In fact, Hardy was booked stronger in the finish than Nakamura was. Hardy hit the Twist of Fate and Swanton Bomb. But he sold a back injury before going for the cover. When he finally did, Nakamura was able to get his foot on the ropes.
When Jeff went for another Twisto, Shinsuke hit the low blow to get himself disqualified. That doesn’t scream “Nakamura is a strong #1 contender.” In fact, Hardy so was protected that I wondered if Styles vs. Hardy for the WWE title could be a SummerSlam plan.
After the match, Nakamura hit the Kinshasa and counted to ten, showing he’s ready for Styles at Money in the Bank. However, given the fact he couldn’t put away Hardy, I don’t love his chances.
Joe vs. Rusev
There was also Rusev vs. Samoa Joe in the battle of the athletic behemoths. This is a match I was super excited for as soon as they said it was going to happen.
The Miz finagled his way into the special guest referee spot by telling GM Paige that he wanted to prepare for a role in his new move Ruff Ruff Ref where he trains a dog how to referee the main event of the WrestleMania. It was pretty hilarious and Corey Graves added to it by pretending it was a real movie for the rest of the night.
Of course, with the Miz as referee, he factored into the finish. After Joe accidentally hit Miz, he would not count a pin for Joe. When the Samoan Submission Machine got into the face of the A Lister, Rusev hit the Machka kick, and Miz counted the pin. (It was not a quick count.)
This was just a taste of Joe vs. Rusev, which I hope to see as a full-fledged feud in the future. Perhaps for the WWE title?
As for the Miz... he climbed the ladder post match and grabbed the men’s briefcase. Except the thing was full of pancakes! Miz did his best Shatner as he felt to his knees lamenting the pancakes. (He didn’t look up to the sky and scream though, which was a bit of a missed opportunity.) That crafty New Day has time to screw with the Miz even as they prepare for their epic New Day vs. the Elite match up this Thursday.
Bryan vs. Benjamin
Another one of these matches was Daniel Bryan vs. Shelton Benjamin. Bryan has been feuding with Big Cass, a man who is all size and limited skill. That’s certainly not Shelton though. Shelton is just as technically savvy as Daniel.
Shelton worked Bryan’s leg often during this match, and I wonder if that injury is going to carry over to Money in the Bank on Sunday. Bryan gave Benjamin a taste of his own medicine and worked over his leg. It was a very good technical match. Bryan tapped out Benjamin with the heel hook, and it’s onto the seven footer.
I wouldn’t mind seeing this match again in the future, though.
To hype the women’s Money in the Bank match, Paige held a summit, trying to hype the SmackDown women to bring the briefcase home.
It was your standard “Here’s why I’m going to win” segment. Here are some highlights:
- Paige is really good as GM. She cuts a great promo and is a perfect fit for this role. She brings the intensity in these segments but is really funny in backstage segments such as the one with Miz.
- Becky cut a fire promo, stating she’s tired of saying she was the first ever SmackDown Women’s champion. She wants to be Ms. Money in the Bank and then be champion again. It was simple, but man, I could just feel that she meant it. And it fit where she’s been the last year.
- RIP Lana’s accent, which looks to have had its final death tonight.
This was interrupted by the IIconics, who did their imitation bit. I pop for it, but this crowd wasn’t into it. I didn’t hear many boos, and in the end, that’s the goal. The former Absolution members also came out to reinforce the idea that these four, who lost qualifier matches, don’t think the other four have a chance of bringing the briefcase to Tuesday.
And that was the end of the segment. Moving on.
Just kidding, it set up an 8-woman tag match, which turned into a 10-woman tag when Carmella and Asuka were added.
This ended up being the main event for the night, and it was fun chaos. Asuka ended up tapping Carmella to earn the victory for her squad. If you’re a fan of Asuka and subscribe to the reverse momentum theory, that may not bode well.
It was all hugs for the victors... until their thoughts moved past the joys of victory and onto the next challenge. Becky, Charlotte, Lana, and Naomi all stood around the Empress of Tomorrow, and their smiles turned to glares as they realized that in less than a week, one of them could have the briefcase and Asuka the title. It was a tense moment to close the show and take us into Sunday’s festivities.
Man of few words
AJ Styles was interviewed by Memphis’ own Jerry “The King” Lawler. Pretty much, he said he’s ready to be the Last Man Standing. It was brief, to the point, and overall pretty standard. This recap of the segment may have been as long as AJ’s promo.
This was a fun episode to take us into Money in the Bank. This roster is so stacked, they’re going to have trouble not giving us dream matches. No complaints about that.
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