WWE SmackDown Live returns to us tonight (May 14) from the O2 Arena in London, England. It is the go home show for Money in the Bank this Sunday.
If you remember anything about WWE programming last week, it was the new wild card Rules, where four members of Raw are allowed to appear on SmackDown and vice versa.
It led to some not-that-surprising superstars showing up each show to continue to shake things up. While it led to some impromptu matches, it didn’t lead to better storytelling. In fact, it hindered it.
Take WWE Champion Kofi Kingston for example. The man was very busy last week. He defended his title successfully against Daniel Bryan on Raw before doing it again against both AJ Styles and Sami Zayn on SmackDown.
While this certainly helped Kofi build his championship legacy, it didn’t do too much to help his story with Kevin Owens. The Money in the Bank challenger was advertised for a live promo segment but that turned into a selfie promo so they could set up the AJ Styles and Sami Zayn stuff instead. KO did interfere in the main event to try to cost Kofi, so it wasn’t all forgotten. But we could bet that if they weren’t focusing on the wild card and the Raw talent that it brought in, they’d have focused more on Kofi and Kevin’s feud.
That’s not going to continue to be a challenge for creative. As long as they have people from another show popping up who aren’t part of the angles, it will be at the expense of the stories they are trying to tell. It’s tough to tell a coherent story when you have to keep adding random characters.
Tonight, Kevin Owens is inviting Kingston on the Kevin Owens Show. The question WWE is asking is if Kofi will show up? The question I’m asking is if he doesn’t, will it be a random Raw talent who isn’t part of this story?
The Title Scene
Becky Lynch already had her contract signing for both her Raw and SmackDown Women’s title match on Raw last night, thanks to the use of the wild card allowing Charlotte to show up. It didn’t go well for the champ champ. Maybe she’ll show up tonight, but the heavy lifting was already done last night.
Daniel Bryan and Erick Rowan won the vacant SmackDown tag team championships when they defeated the Usos. This was actually a decent use of the wild card. Having Team Planet defeat the team that was the standard bearer for the blue brand for years actually helps legitimize them as new champs. Bryan is promising a tag team evolution, which would be awesome. It also looks like they may have a feud with Heavy Machinery, which would also be awesome. Because watching Daniel Bryan try to wrap his head around Otis is worth the price of admission.
The Intercontinental title is on the back burner since Finn Bálor is in the Money in the Bank match. He is in the obligatory random match involving MITB competitors, which this time is a fatal 4-way with Randy Orton, Ali, and Andrade. Should be a fun bout.
Women’s tag team champions the IIconics aren’t advertised, but the tag match that is advertised could directly affect them. It’s not labeled as such, but the match between Fire & Desire and Asuka & Kairi Sane may as well be a #1 contenders match. There aren’t any other teams around to challenge.
Other Stuff to Keep an Eye on
- The Women’s Money in the Bank match needs representation. Maybe it’ll be a random tag. Maybe just a brawl where the winner gets a ladder and pulls down the briefcase. You know... the usual.
- It feels like Roman Reigns’ feud with Elias did all its heavy lifting on Raw when the Big Dog teamed with the Miz to face Lashley and Elias. Yes, this is a SmackDown feud, but wild card, bitches! and all that.
- Who’s showing up from Raw?
SmackDown in London is the last stop before Money in the Bank. Will they figure out how to use the wild card stipulation in a way that’s not just random as hell? I wouldn’t hold my breath.