Money. Money money money money moneyyyy. Oh yes, I do love singing about money when it’s time for Money in the Bank. I’m super excited for it because it should be a bazillion times better than that nonsense we got at WWE Headquarters last year. Most of that was just ridiculously embarrassing and I’m so glad we don’t have to go through that again. I’m sure Rey Mysterio is glad he can’t be thrown off the top of a building again too. What a strange year we’ve had but thankfully it looks like we’re getting back to normal soon so let’s appreciate these last few precious moments with the ThunderDome over the next few weeks and hopefully we can say goodbye forever. If I have to hear one more piped in ‘This is awesome!’ chant I might cry. Anyway, you know what is awesome? SmackDown. So let’s see what they’ve got for us this week.
I Can Beat You Roman
Edge’s entrance. Still, one of the best things in the industry when that music hits. I’d love to be able to see it live again one day but who knows if I’ll ever get that opportunity. I have a long relationship with Edge and his career. I’m even on the WWE Network in the crowd on an old London PPV right next to him. Watching him come back was one of the most emotional moments ever in wrestling and so I won’t complain too much about the fact that he can just take a few months off then demand a title match. Hey if you’ve had the career that he has had then you’ve got that amount of respect from everyone. Legend status gifts you certain opportunities that others have to work harder for – although Edge certainly earned it at Royal Rumble.
After last week’s attack on the Universal Champion Roman Reigns, Edge is feeling confident. He’s been looking back at WrestleMania and he saw a lot of things that stopped him from winning, including Daniel Bryan and Jimmy Uso. He feels like he had opportunities to win and if it had been a straight-up one-on-one match then he truly believes he had Roman’s number. Well, at Money in the Bank we’ll find out if that’s really the case as he finally gets his singles match. It’s never been a particular dream match for me beyond both guys using the spear and I’m not sure that’s enough of a reason to make a feud, but Roman is at the top of his game and Edge has been on fire since he returned, so I’m sure both guys will put on a real show at the PPV. However, despite his confidence, I can’t see past Reigns finding a way to retain that title. Edge will no doubt put it all on the line but I don’t believe there will be a new Head of the Table.
King Nakamura (with RICK BOOGS) and Big E vs Apollo Crews (with Commander Azeez) and Not-King Baron Corbin
I was just saying the other day how I wish Big E and Apollo Crews could have more matches. They’ve definitely not faced each other much this year at all. And it’s really nice to see Nakamura and Corbin in the same match too. Whoever had the idea of putting those two together this week is a certified genius. Okay so this is pure sarcasm and it’s utterly ridiculous that these dudes are all together again but let’s move past the obvious moans about endless rematches – we got to see Pat McAfee sitting on Michael Cole’s shoulders this week for RICK BOOGS so nothing else matters. I’d sit through 100 matches between Shinsuke and Baron as long as they had the Boogmeister and McAfee during the entrance. Actually no, scrap that because Vince would probably take me seriously. In more positive feedback I’m actually quite intrigued by the Corbin stuff now and I think he’s doing a decent job with the character development. It might be a bit daft over a fake crown but he’s working it.
The match itself wasn’t terrible which isn’t exactly surprising considering the calibre of the guys involved. It just didn’t really need to happen but it is what it is. I’m just hoping they’re getting ready to pull the trigger on Big E and the briefcase and then I’ll forgive them for everything else. Well, until we inevitably get him defending his briefcase against Apollo at SummerSlam and Survivor Series and Royal Rumble and… well, you get the idea. They need to be drafted away from each other. Send Apollo to RAW and then he can wrestle Kofi fifty times instead and then Xavier. The ending was as silly as they come with BOOGS getting on the mic and telling Corbin that his car was being towed and this allowed Big E to capitalise on the distraction for the win. I think I almost felt sorry for Baron at some points, especially when BOOGS was winding him up backstage after the match. Don’t kick a man while he’s down.
Who Will Quit?
So we go from the super fresh tag match to a Bayley promo where she rips on her new opponent Bianca Belair. We definitely haven’t seen that one before have we? Oh, SmackDown, as much as I love you it does feel like I’m watching the wrestling equivalent of Groundhog Day sometimes. At least that movie was funny. I wouldn’t mind Bill Murray turning up. Anyway, Bayley wants Bianca to know that she shouldn’t be losing and she’s not nearly as good a champion as Bayley was when she held it for nearly 400 days. She’s probably got a point. Oh, surprise, surprise, Bianca came out to the ring and didn’t want to listen to Bayley anymore. She’s as over this feud as we all are so cut to the chase – we’re getting an I Quit match at the PPV and, hopefully, it means we can quit the feud and everyone moves on right? RIGHT? Because there’s only one match we want to see at SummerSlam and that’s Bayley taking on Michael Cole. I’m not giving up on that dream.
Money in the Bank Qualifier – Last Man Standing Match – Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn
Now, before I share my excitement about this match, I’m well aware that it’s a rematch beyond all rematches and I’m a complete hypocrite for letting this one slide. I don’t care. Sue me. These guys work their arses off in and out of the ring when they’re together and every single time they deliver beyond expectations. They always look to do new crazy things and make each match feel meaningful despite how many times we’ve seen it before. Every credit to both men for giving it their all and trying to reward the viewer whether you’ve seen every match or it’s the first time you’ve seen them face off. I remember when KO said he was taking time off and that lasted about 5 minutes. Zayn has been on a bit of a roll lately and so I’m not sure who will claim the valuable Money in the Bank spot but you just know either man will no doubt do some messed up stuff in that match.
I didn’t need to think ahead for the messed up stuff because this Last Man Standing match had it all with tables and insane top rope moves and multiple finishers and just everything but the kitchen sink. They always leave it all in and around the ring and both men deserved to win that spot but it doesn’t work like that. I honestly thought Zayn was going to win after multiple Helluva Kicks to Owens in the corner but he rolled out of the ring and landed on his feet just in time. I felt as excited as Pat McAfee seems all the time. Sadly it wasn’t Sami’s night as he fell victim to a powerbomb in the ring, then one through the announcer’s table, then another one through a table and finally one on the ring apron. I think that would’ve kept any sane man down. 10 seconds later and Kevin Owens sure earned that spot in the ladder match. What an effort and everything we’d all hoped it would be.
Liv Morgan vs Zelina Vega
Yes, you read that right. I haven’t copied an old review or anything. Zelina Vega is back, brought in by Sonya Deville and slotted right into the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match. That Sonya is getting quite the reputation for some questionable decisions and Liv Morgan is having none of it. Sadly she’s not in the match despite the win last week and she’s wondering why others are being handed it on a plate while she keeps fighting and getting nothing. Vega, who no one really acknowledged was gone from the company, claimed that she’s one of the biggest names in women’s wrestling and deserves the spot. Morgan’s happy to prove her wrong and we got an unscheduled match between her and Zelina. I’m okay with that.
Vega isn’t the best in the ring but she’s more than good enough, as is Liv and I’m glad that they’re both getting opportunities. Zelina has some real strong mic skills and Morgan is getting better every week and I think she’s receiving some much-needed air time to develop her character and allow people to get invested in her. It’s a shame that her former Riott Squad members never really got the same opportunities. A quick back and forth match between the two women this week with Zelina trying to win by holding Liv’s tights but getting caught by the referee. Good call. Well, it was until Liv reversed and did the same thing and got the victory. Poor Zelina. Where’s VAR when you need it? Hardly the spectacular win for a return that she had hoped for but she’s still got the one thing Liv doesn’t – the Money in the Bank spot. Oh and if Zelina can come back then pretty please can we get Aleister Black one day? I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
Otis (with Chad Gable) vs Angelo Dawkins
Okay, so this doesn’t really count as a rematch because it didn’t get going last week. Alpha Academy have been super sneaky lately. An actual disgrace really. Otis is looking like a new man these days and he’s happy to be acting like the second coming of Vader or something. Whatever he’s doing and whatever training Chad is giving him, it all seems to be working.
Each and every week he’s coming out and being dominant and this week was no different. Dawkins hardly got anything in and, after multiple suplexes, he hit his splash and followed up with a Vader Bomb for the win. Short and sweet this week but Otis is one guy no one wants to be messing with right now. For the Academy!
I Don’t Stop
After a night of wondering where Roman was and working himself up backstage, Jimmy Uso took centre stage in the ring to call out Edge and take him out for the family. Jey’s still off having a rest somewhere and I don’t think Reigns could even be bothered to turn up this week so it was down to Paul Heyman or Jimmy to do the dirty work and I don’t think any of us want to see Heyman wrestle. I’m liking the newfound confidence that Jimmy has but his success rate hasn’t exactly been up there with Jey so I think he needs to work out what the hell he’s doing. Maybe this is all one elaborate plan where the family are looking disjointed from the outside and trying to make their opponents think they’ve got a chance and then Edge will be taught a lesson at Money in the Bank.
I think Jimmy is on his own though. Edge came out to answer the challenge and Uso was left all alone. No Roman. No Jey. Nothing but Edge and his fists. This is an angry man that has sat at home for months raging about his WrestleMania loss and he’s looking for someone to take it out on. Jimmy is absolutely in the wrong place at the wrong time and Edge took complete advantage of it this week by hitting a huge Spear on Jimmy. But that wasn’t enough as he then took a metal bar and used it as part of a crossface submission, delivering as much pain as possible to Uso and staring directly into the camera – right to Roman wherever he was. Edge is coming for that Universal Title and Reigns needs to be careful. One cocky moment too many and the Ultimate Opportunist could walk out with the strap. Let’s see if Roman bothers to turn up next week.
The best of SmackDown
- Zelina Vega – I know she lost but she’s back!
- Liv Morgan – another huge win and hopefully a step towards qualification
- Otis – what a beast he’s turned into
- Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn – as amazing as ever
The worst of SmackDown
- Rematches – GIVE IT A BREAK PLEASE
- Rematches – I’LL KEEP SAYING THIS UNTIL YOU LISTEN
- Big E and Apollo – THERE ARE OTHER PEOPLE ON THE ROSTER
- Roman – he didn’t even bother turning up
Things are building up nicely for Money in the Bank. I just wish they could do it in such a way where we don’t have to sit through the same matches every single week. Why? Surely your writers can’t be that rubbish. And it sounds like we’ve got more rematches next week – Seth Rollins vs Cesaro and Nakamura and Corbin again. I’m starting to think they hate us. I will keep on hoping that they’re just saving their best ideas for the live crowds. Yes, I’m willing to kid myself that it’s going to happen, but I’ll probably be here this time next year talking about how Big E and Apollo have just wrestled their 500th match together or something. If that’s the case then I’m at least hoping it’ll be Money in the Bank winner Big E. If they don’t invest time in guys like him then what’s the point? They’ll probably just bring back Brock Lesnar anyway. I’ll see you next week for another edition of WWE Rematch where we better get justice for Liv Morgan, damnit.
All images and videos courtesy of WWE