SmackDown Live has encountered something of a renaissance in recent weeks. Since the superstar shake-up, the blue brand has looked revitalised and has produced “better than average” matches that have managed to just about keep me wanting to write this weekly review a little while longer. This week’s episode featured another round of entertaining qualifying matches for next month’s Money in the Bank PPV. Welcome to the most must-see Vulture Hound weekly review in history; welcome to… The SmackDown Review.

We kicked things off with Miz TV, where the titular Miz was joined by special guests, The New Day. Miz tried to get them to announce who (who? who? who?) would represent them in the Money in the Bank ladder match. Kofi suggested it was Big E when really he meant Big E would be facing Miz tonight. Being the cowardly heel, Miz ran to the back where he was kindly ordered by Paige to get back in the ring.

The match was a slow burner and was ultimately interrupted by The Bar, which allowed Miz to hit a Skull Crushing Finale on Big E for the win.

An action packed 2-hour show:

– Somehow Lana defeated Billie Kay to qualify for the women’s MITB match. A distraction from Aiden English wasn’t the most controversial thing to happen as Lana has seemingly forgotten her Russian accent.

– Andrade Cien Almas squashed another jobber with a hammerlock DDT.

– Renee Young interviewed Shinsuke Nakamura and A.J. Styles to hear what stipulation Nakamura would choose for their upcoming title match at Money in the Bank. After joking that it would be a pillow fight, Styles had heard enough, and the pair began to brawl. Nakamura gained the upper hand, hitting a Kinshasa on Styles outside the ring, then counted to 10 and announced they’d have a Last Man Standing match.

– Carmella said she’s not afraid of Asuka. Good for you hun.

– The good brothers beat the Uso brothers to earn the right to face the Bludgeon Brothers at MITB for the tag team titles.

– Naomi defeated Sonya Deville with a roll up to also qualify for the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match.

Last chance saloon:

In separate segments, both Daniel Bryan and Jeff Hardy spoke about their first-time-ever match against one another for the main event. This would be Daniel Bryan’s second chance to earn himself a qualifying match for MITB after he lost to Rusev a couple weeks ago.

The winner would go on to face Samoa Joe next week for the final spot in the Money in the Bank match at the self-titled pay per view. Joe sat in on commentary to witness the back and forth spectacle you would expect from a daredevil like Hardy and a technical wizard like Bryan. It was the yes man who would eventually pick up the win after he got his knees up from a Swanton Bomb and locked Hardy into a submission. Samoa Joe confronted Bryan after the match in a tense staredown.

By Bradley Tiernan

"Wrestling is better than the things you like" - John Oliver