There’s nothing more natural and not at all contrived than having a bunch of big ass ladders set up in the ring with all the participants in the Money in the Bank ladder match sitting atop those ladders having a casual conversation. No one can give you a good reason why these dudes would agree to doing this, yet there they were, right at the start of Friday Night SmackDown this week, hanging out and shooting the breeze with each other.
They talked strategy — Seth Rollins thinks the right idea is to cash in at SummerSlam, because Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns will be beat to hell after their Last Man Standing match. They talked retribution — Riddle really badly wants to get back at Reigns for what he did to his best friend, Randy Orton. They argued and bickered back and forth and eventually we got a few folks showing up to campaign for inclusion in the match — The Miz, Ezekiel, Happy Corbin, and Madcap Moss all made a pitch.
Adam Pearce showed up and decided, screw it, how about a battle royal?!?
Happy Corbin won that battle royal, laughed a lot, laughed at Pat McAfee, then refused to answer any questions related to the challenge McAfee laid down for a match at SummerSlam. That part was fun, because Pat Mac got to talk more trash about him, but it was also confusing because, uh, was he going to be in the Money in the Bank ladder match now? After all, he just beat everyone already in, and also the guys who wanted to get in.
That they didn’t bother making that clear is every reason WWE is so awful at telling even the most basic stories anymore. Nothing is ever clear. That and the fact that the go home angle to this big match was to have literally all of the guys in the match lose to a guy who may not even end up being in it.
Incredibly enough, the four guys who campaigned for the match earlier and partook in the battle royal, with three of them getting destroyed and one of them winning, were booked for a Fatal 4-Way that would decide who would be the seventh participant. I have no idea how this makes ANY sense at all, but it’s what they went with.
Guess who didn’t win?
You got it!
This was a horrible way to go about literally all of this.
All the rest
- I’m not sure if you’re aware but the Viking Raiders are NEW and VICIOUS. And to think, poor New Day were just there to gamble on dad jokes.
- Natalya gave an interview backstage to push her match with Ronda Rousey and promised to become the first person to make her tap out. Not much to say about it.
- We got a BATTLE OF THE BRANDS, with the Raw side of the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match taking on the SmackDown side. Considering how far they’ve leaned into just using everyone on both sides as needed, this held zero weight and acted much like the MOMENTUM BATTLE ROYAL at the start of the show on the men’s side. This was arguably better if only because Becky Lynch was on commentary and having an absolute blast messing with Michael Cole. The Raw side won, by the way. If that matters at all (it doesn’t).
- Sonya Deville slapped the HELL out of Adam Pearce. My word, she’s racked up quite the compilation of slaps, hasn’t she? It’s not quite Stephanie McMahon level, but she’s absolutely rocked some folks during her time in WWE.
- WWE used a reddit gimmick to promote the tag team title match, with The Usos and The Street Profits answering apparently fan submitted questions. There wasn’t much to it, outside of a weird tease that Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins are having issues, something they denied vehemently, and then they stole each others catchphrases and said them really loudly in each other’s faces. There was no mention of a stipulation, which would seem to confirm that has been forgotten about.
- Max Dupri finally debuted proper, introducing us to both Ma.çé, the artist formerly known as MACE, and Mån.sôör, the artist formerly known as Mansoor. They both walked the red carpet while Dupri talked them up. Pat McAfee was incredible putting them over as a big deal. I don’t know where this is going to go or how the hell it’s going to have any legs, but I’m moderately entertained by the whole presentation of it.
- Ronda Rousey gave an interview not unlike Natalya and attacked her challenger’s math skills while promising she would be the one to force a tap. An awfully uninspired way to build to the match on the last show before said match, but there you go.
This was a bad show.