Dolph Ziggler and Sonya Deville are jilted exes.
Both of their promos this week were incredible, with Dolph’s being one of my absolute favorite from him. What it did was elevate the main event for the show, and continued to prove why this storyline is a top storyline on SmackDown.
In a dark part of the WWE Performance Center, Dolph Ziggler and Sonya Deville stood together. This was after Sonya had a great moment on the show, and we’ll be talking about that soon. Sonya said she really hurt Mandy and Dolph needs to do the same to Otis. Dolph was more muted and stern, not reminding us about how he steals the show and shows off. He said that we cheer Otis because we see ourselves in him. We see greatness.
He reminded us that he used to be a champion. But guys like Otis? They’ll get a compliment, a pat on the back, just enough to put a smile on their face. They’ll have moral victories.
But they’ll always lose to guys like Dolph Ziggler.
Sonya will continue to break Mandy, while Dolph will break Otis, and Mandy will have a shoulder to cry on in Dolph. Up until this point, I don’t think I had ever believed Dolph Ziggler more.
During the match, Dolph tried for two sleeper holds but failed. He tried to roll out of Otis’ caterpillar, but Otis caught him before he could get out of the ring. Dolph got back in, got Otis in the eyes without the ref seeing, and hit the Zig Zag and I thought it was over. Otis kicked out and executed that caterpillar into an elbow drop. Otis is going to be in the most unique Money in the Bank match in WWE History. This was a surprise to me! I thought Ziggler would win, possibly by distraction to set up some sort of mixed tag at Money in the Bank. Tonight, all four played their roles to perfection. Otis is a great time and I’ve been a big fan of his for a while so I’m definitely interested in seeing how he climbs the corporate ladder at Money in the Bank.
You will never be better than me
Halfway through Mandy’s match with Carmella, Sonya Deville came out and cut a promo. She said she was just coming out to support Mandy, and that she shouldn’t get distracted. (Babyfaces tend to be dumb when this happens!)
This time of year is nostalgic for Sonya because last year, Sonya gave up her Money in the Bank spot for Mandy. She almost had that match won, too. That was because of Sonya. And yet, she still lost. How embarrassing! But what would be more embarrassing is losing to Carmella.
And this time, because of Sonya, she lost again.
What followed the three count would be a vicious beatdown. After STIFF looking elbows to Mandy’s face, she launched her out of the ring, slammed her into the ring post, and then the steel steps. One knee to the back of Mandy’s head would put her down.
Sonya has snapped! What is most intriguing about her role here, is that while Dolph has become jilted in the past few weeks from a quick fling, Sonya’s jiltedness has come out of finally realizing that Mandy’s obsession with herself would naturally cast her as a supporting actress in anything she tried to do. She had a lot more history with Mandy and she’s done. She wants to destroy her now for not letting her shine.
My one criticism of this moment was not even something I found wrong with what either of them did. It was Graves and Cole because they were commenting on the match over her promo! Yo guys, aren’t we supposed to be listening to Sonya? We can see, and hear since there are no crowds at the moment, that there’s a cover and a two count just fine, thanks!
I also want to put over Carmella’s quickness to put Mandy away in this match. A quick superkick in the beginning and dropping down to cover Mandy immediately gave us the feeling that she’s dedicated to this. I’ve always been a fan of hers and I’m excited to see her performance in the Money in the Bank match.
Storytime with Bray Wyatt - Bray told us a story about the black sheep, and he was the strongest animal on the farm. The shepherd saw the sheep wandering alone and decided to take him under his wing. The black sheep was taught well and would protect the shepherd’s farm. But one day he left and never said thank you or goodbye. Eventually all the rest abandoned him, and the farm was taken away. He’ll take away what makes the black sheep happy. Braun interrupted and wanted Bray to stop playing games and talk to him face to face.
Braun didn’t do it for me in this segment. I just didn’t like his cadence and delivery here. I enjoyed when he interrupted Bray the first time and did Bray’s “Bye! See you later!” That was probably the last time I enjoyed Braun in this feud. This was basic and a good way to let Bray do his thing. He’s so great at this. Now that we’ve seen their history though, we don’t need to continue doing the black sheep stuff. I probably would have preferred this segment last week and last week’s segment this week, then the face to face that we’ll be getting next week.
Daniel Bryan def. King Corbin via DQ - Before the match, Bryan talked about how Money in the Bank was the catalyst of his amazing WWE career. Most of this was your standard “describe the upcoming pay-per-view” and then Corbin came out and I zoned out because… good God I just can’t anymore. I can’t stand the King aspect and how people are lower than him and everyone has to bow down to the King.
I spent the first part of the match praying there wouldn’t be a commercial break before it ended. Welp. Back from break, Corbin tried to keep Bryan down by working on his arm, Bryan got the better of him and then Corbin threw a ladder at him. Then he acted surprised that that caused a DQ, as if he’s never wrestled before. Odd. Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura came to the King’s aid like the jesters for hire they’ve become. It’s fine for getting them on the show in Sami’s absence, just… for Corbin? Really? Why can’t they be a tag team and go after the tag titles?
Forgotten Sons def. New Day - It was really nice to see New Day dominate at first. More times than not we see the heels dominate because… heels. It showed New Day’s longevity has purpose, and that they’re a force to be reckoned with. The backstabber into a flying elbow drop was a nice move to see from Forgotten Sons. Very nice debut match for this team. There were very few mentions of Forgotten Sons being veterans this time around, which I liked. We don’t need that shoved down our throats every time, like last week.
While I liked this match, I need to say that it was odd that it even happened in the first place. If Lucha House Party won against the former champs last week, why wouldn’t they get a match against the new champs this week? Or, why couldn’t the Forgotten Sons face LHP tonight for a #1 contender spot? It’s one of those weird WWE things where 50/50 booking follows.
Backstage brawl - Tamina was interviewed backstage about how it took all women at WrestleMania to take her out and that they’re all mean girls. Sasha Banks interrupted and said she had a lot of respect for Tamina since she stood by her side when she debuted on the main roster. She played nice and Tamina knew what was coming. She turned around before Bayley could blindside her and Sasha blindsided her instead. They brawled and Lacey Evans popped up to even the odds. They were pulled apart by producers and referees.
I really enjoyed this segment as it gave us another little moment where it looked like Sasha was turning on Bayley a bit. Tamina did well too, I thought. Her promos have been better of late.
Sheamus def. Leon Ruff - LEON RUFF SMACKDOWN DEBUT! Poor, poor Leon. I’ve seen him in EVOLVE a bunch of times. Sheamus killed him. Dead. Sheamus hung out at commentary to watch Jeff Hardy’s video package.
Jeff Hardy’s Comeback - The final installment began with Jeff’s knee surgery back in April 2019. He talked about wanting to be his best self in 2020. A bunch of crazy Jeff Hardy moments from over the years were shown. Jeff, please try your hardest to stay clean this time.
After the video, Sheamus came way too close to Cole and said if Jeff will be there next week, so will he. Intriguing!
SmackDown had some fun matches and really great talking this week. The only real duds for me were Corbin, Braun, and Forgotten Sons getting the tag champs before LHP.
Dolph’s promo got me invested in the main event. I haven’t been invested in anything Dolph Ziggler like that in years. Sonya continues to slay on the mic and come into her own as this evil ex-friend, and it’s actually believable! There’s no fabrication and made up story to try and piece this together, unlike our top title program with Bray and Braun. Sheamus was a continuous highlight, as was his squashed opponent Leon Ruff. Tamina, Sasha, and Bayley were great as well. Next week is the go home for Money in the Bank and I’m ready for a good time.
What were your thoughts, Cagesiders?