Well, here we are, not only after a dramatic Hell in a Cell PPV but a horrific Black Friday in terms of more WWE releases. At this rate, they’ll return in front of crowds and it’ll just be Vince McMahon standing in a ring alone for two hours a show. Okay, so it won’t get quite that bad, but they’ve now gutted 205 Live and there are so many others that have gone this year that could’ve contributed positively to RAW, SmackDown or NXT so it’s a real shame to see talent go. Thankfully with AEW doing so well, Impact on the rise and plenty of other companies and touring coming again soon, many of the ex-WWE guys and girls will absolutely fall on their feet somewhere else. Good luck to them all. As for the ones that remain, it is full steam ahead to Money in the Bank in July now. My money is on Big E for the men and I’d love to see someone new like Nikki Cross get a chance for the women. Everyone has to qualify first though so let’s see how things shape up this week.

SmackDown Women’s Champion Bianca Belair & Cesaro vs Bayley & Seth Rollins

We’ve got a good mixture of winners and losers this week coming off Hell in a Cell. Belair survived everything Bayley threw at her in the Cell (which we knew she would) and came out looking like a strong and dominant champion as she should. But it’s never that easy to get rid of Bayley, is it? Same with Seth Rollins really, although he’s got a lot to gloat about this week as he managed to sneak away with a victory over Cesaro. So while we thankfully don’t get more endless rematches between them this week, they just combined it into one match instead. There’s certainly no questioning the talent involved but it’d be great to see them all move onto bigger and better things once the crowds come back.

Belair turned up with quite the swagger this week and so she should. Beating Bayley is one thing but in a match like that is quite another. Cesaro looked happy to get his hands on Rollins again but I think Seth has his focus divided between teaching Cesaro a lesson and thinking he might step into the Universal Title picture sooner rather than later. Both teams worked well together and delivered the goods this week on SmackDown with some straight fire from Belair, the usual impressive feats of athleticism and strength from Cesaro, and the heels being sneaky as we all know and love. Just as Bianca was building momentum and going for the KOD on Bayley, Rollins knocked into her and caused enough of an interruption to allow Bayley to plant her opponents face into the mat and gain a surprising victory. I guess that means it’s not quite over between those two. Great.

Tears Of A Former King

As much as it wasn’t really a segment to write home about, you just know I can’t ignore anything BOOGS related in my recaps. There’s no way I’m skipping over that. This week we were treated to the official coronation of the new King of SmackDown in Shinsuke Nakamura. RICK BOOGS naturally introduced him, played his music a lot while Shin sat on a throne and Pat McAfee naturally loved every single second of it. As did I to be honest. And really that was about it?

We were shown poor Corbin backstage crying and who knows what he’ll do next. For now, we just get to enjoy the pleasure of the King of Strong Style actually having a crown. That’s nice, isn’t it? I’m still holding on to hope that we might get King of the Ring eventually, as perhaps Corbin asks the higher-ups for a chance to win it back or something. Fingers crossed.

Money in the Bank Qualifier – Big E vs Intercontinental Champion Apollo Crews (with Commander Azeez)

Now, this is what I’m talking about, Big E being exactly where he should be, with an opportunity to get into the Money in the Bank match at the PPV and then he’ll win it and the world will be happy. It’s nice that he’s in a qualifier against such a fresh and new opponent like Apollo Crews in a first-time match. Oh, wait, no it’s not. Sorry, it’s definitely a rematch. You would think that both guys would know each other so well that they’d be able to counter absolutely everything they throw at each other. Why does Big E keep getting caught by that Death Valley Driver on the apron? Come on man, study the damn tapes! It’s tough for him when the massive Commander is lingering around at ringside and can cause more damage with just his thumb than others can do with an entire move set. I bet he wishes he still had his New Day buddies around or at least some pancakes to throw at Azeez.

Despite a competitive match between Big E and Crews, which would probably be more entertaining if we hadn’t seen it a hundred times before, it really came down to Azeez who got caught by the ref and got sent to the back. It’s nice when the refs actually do their jobs sometimes. Is the Commander even legally allowed out there? Does he have a managerial licence or something? I have no idea. I guess most people are too scared to ask him. Anyway, with the big lump gone Big E was able to hit a Big Ending for the 1-2-3 and claim his rightful place for a chance to win the briefcase at Money in the Bank. And if he doesn’t win then I’m definitely going to moan about it here. He’s the guy with the most potential to break out in the near future so they really need to get behind him and not just give it to Otis again. Leave the memories alone.

Money in the Bank Qualifier Match: Carmella vs Liv Morgan

It’s always nice to see Sonya Deville out in the ring, even if she doesn’t seem to wrestle anymore. Maybe she can put herself in the Money in the Bank match. I’d be okay with that. She actually announced this week that Carmella would be the first selection from SmackDown to be in the match and I guess being a two-time former winner does make her quite qualified, but I’m more a fan of watching people battle it out for these opportunities. Liv Morgan clearly agrees with me as she came out to address her opponent from last week. In fact, it was Morgan who came away with the victory over the so-called ‘most beautiful woman in all of WWE’ so Liv actually has a point – why isn’t she put in the Money in the Bank match straight away? I guess this isn’t AEW where wins and losses count, but thankfully Sonya listened to Liv and gave her an opportunity against Carmella to prove she deserves a spot.

Personally, I’m glad that Liv Morgan is still around. I hope they keep her on as I do think she has a lot to offer as a character and she’s always learning and improving. Same with Carmella really, who does get a bad rep sometimes. As much as I’m a fan of Becky, Charlotte, Sasha and Bayley, it is nice when WWE invest time in others because if they don’t they’ll never get up to that standard. Liv’s got some real passion about her and it showed this week against the cocky Carmella. Both women work well together and it’d be nice to see them develop their characters more going forward. It looked as if Carmella was going to emerge victorious this week but Morgan out-manoeuvred her and stole a win to claim that spot in Money in the Bank she so desperately wanted. Is it time for Liv to finally break out and take the next step?

Jimmy Uso vs Dolph Ziggler (with Robert Roode)

With Main Event Jey Uso hiding somewhere and not coming back to help the Tribal Chief or his brother, it has been left to Jimmy the last few weeks to run things for the family and try to fill his shoes. Earlier in the night, Jimmy told Roman that he could do everything Jey did, so it was time to perform in the main event slot and prove that he’s a man of his word. And who better to do it against than Dolph Ziggler? Not quite sure why but I guess you’re guaranteed a pretty good match when Ziggler is involved, even in 2021. The Samoan Dynasty dynamic is intriguing at the moment as Roman was mostly happy with Jey and had him where he wanted him but he’s definitely not sure about Jimmy and if he’s capable and really on his side.

Ziggler doesn’t really care about family drama though and just goes out there to steal the show. I’m not sure it was quite on the level of some of Jey’s finest efforts but Jimmy and Dolph went out there and gave it a good go. I do miss The Usos being on the same page though and I’d be happy for them to get sorted and have another proper tag team run. Uso took everything Ziggler threw at him, including a Zig-Zag which he kicked out of at 2, and eventually, he kicked Dolph right in the face to win for his family and to hopefully please Roman. As he headed backstage to share his excitement with Reigns, it was clear that Roman wasn’t entirely convinced, and he had something more important on his mind. Poor Jimmy, I’m not sure it’s going to end well for him in the coming weeks.

State of the Universal Championship Address

After basically blanking his cousin, our Tribal Chief headed out to the ring in his usual casual way. I love how he’s never in a rush. Who cares about TV time right? He’ll do whatever he wants and Paul Heyman will happily stand there with him and let him do it. After throwing Rey Mysterio out of the ring last week, into the Cell and then choking him out, he was added to a long list of top tier talent that has fallen at Roman’s feet. The Fiend, Braun Strowman, Kevin Owens, Edge and Daniel Bryan together at WrestleMania and now one of the most popular superstars of all time in Rey Mysterio. Both Reigns and his Special Counsel believe that the entire division has been wiped out and there’s no one left.

At that point, I thought Seth Rollins might have a word or two to say but it wasn’t that former champion that dared to interrupt but another one – Edge. There was no time for niceties or a war of words but instead, the Rated-R Superstar came with a plan and that was to beat the living hell out of his WrestleMania opponent. Fighting in the ring and out of the ring and spearing Jimmy Uso through the barricade, SmackDown ended in utter chaos this week. Roman and Heyman got out of there as fast as they could as an intense Edge looked on, clearly not agreeing with Reigns’ earlier analysis of the division. It looks like Edge has decided he should finally get that 1-on-1 match he always wanted before Daniel Bryan got involved and this time it might just happen.

The best of SmackDown

  • Liv Morgan – a huge win for her advancing to MITB
  • Edge – stepping right back into the title picture
  • Jimmy Uso – a main-event win despite Roman not really caring
  • Big E – he’s coming for the briefcase

The worst of SmackDown

  • Roman – he could be a little more supportive of his cousin
  • Carmella – doesn’t earn her MITB spot and then loses a match too
  • Baron Corbin – crying over a fake crown

In summary…

Despite having to watch Big E and Apollo Crews wrestle for the millionth time this year, at least it had a point and I’m really hopeful that Big E’s time is coming. This is the first important step in him breaking through into the main event scene. Don’t screw it up, please. Always nice to see Edge too and I’m okay with the rematch of sorts as at least it’ll be a genuine 1 on 1 match this time round against Roman Reigns. Things are really starting to heat up towards Money In The Bank and we’ve got loads of live events in front of fans coming and then SummerSlam so I’m hoping these next few months should give us some really great shows. As long as BOOGS is on them all, I’ll be happy.

All images and videos courtesy of WWE

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