By: Keila Cash
Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of The SmackDown Files. Tonight’s episode of SmackDown Live emanated from the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. This is the go-home show for the Money in the Bank PPV on Sunday. Also, this is NOLA’s last televised event until WrestleMania descends on the city next year. One would think that this would be an extra special edition of SD Live due to all the hoopla.
In actuality, WWE has done a haphazard job when it comes to hyping their B-Level PPVs as of late. Did the company reverse this trend or were fans treated to the same old, same old? The answer to that question can be found throughout this blog. Without further ado, let’s dissect tonight’s show in no particular order.
· The Soul Rebels were awesome as they played The New Day to the ring to kick off SD Live. Sadly, we had to deal with the obligatory opening show promo before the Eight-Man Tag Match featuring The New Day and Breezango vs. The Usos and Colons took place. The mic work was fine, but it was nothing special. Hopefully, the in-ring action will deliver better results.
· The New Day and Breezango defeated The Usos and The Colons when Xavier Woods pinned Primo with a double foot stomp from the top rope. This was a good match that was well balanced in terms of the babyfaces dominating the first half of the bout while the heels took over during the commercial break. Tyler Breeze did a nice job playing the babyface in peril until he made the hot tag to Kofi Kingston.
· Kingston had Jimmy Uso beat with Trouble in Paradise until Jey Uso broke up the pin. There was a minor hiccup towards the end of the match when Fandango failed to clothesline Jey out of the ring which caused Fandango to take a spill while Jey had to take the bump as if a ghost attacked him from behind. Miscommunication aside, this was a nice way for The New Day to build momentum heading into the SmackDown Tag Team Championship at Money in the Bank.
· Neurotic Sami Zayn is so annoying.
· Shinsuke Nakamura’s facial expressions during Zayn’s spiel was awesome.
· Welcome back, Zack Ryder!
· Naomi defeated Tamina with the Split-Legged Moonsault, but she didn’t get a chance to celebrate because Lana attacked her from behind. Lana shocked the world by dropping Naomi with a Sitout Spinebuster before posing with SmackDown Women’s Championship.
· Lana pulling off that move while wearing an evening gown was extra impressive. Breezango would be proud…
· Tamina vs. Naomi was middling at best. Tamina controlled the action for the most part, but the multiple rest holds between high spots killed the overall flow of the match. It was a struggle from the onset which raises concerns when it comes to Tamina’s role in the Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match on Sunday. Here’s hoping she stands out for all right reasons instead of sticking out like a sore thumb.
· Randy Orton kept his actions speak louder than words mantra intact when he nailed Jinder Mahal with an RKO out of nowhere. It was a beautiful spot as Orton sailed in the air with the greatest of ease. Mahal sold the move like a boss which pushed the “face-to-face” segment over the top.
· Mahal’s promos are duller than dishwater, but he knows how to sell his ass off. That’s a positive.
· Charlotte defeated Natalya with Natural Selection in a very good match. Both ladies maximized their minutes and hooked the crowd from start to finish. Charlotte and Natalya’s in-ring chemistry was on full display which makes me yearn for a full-on feud not involving their lineage or the Montreal Screwjob from almost twenty years ago. They had a great match at the Roadblock special last year, but their rivalry still has legs if it’s handled properly.
· The Fashion Files shocked me for two reasons.
· Reason #1: Fandango has embraced the romper way of life.
· Reason #2: Fandango’s legs are tatted with ink. I learn something new every day…
· Sami Zayn, AJ Styles, and Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Kevin Owens, Baron Corbin, and Dolph Ziggler when Zayn nailed Corbin with the Helluva Kick for the win.
· The six-man tag team match was very good as it featured fast-paced and hard-hitting action throughout. Styles was on fire early until the heels took control during the commercial break.
· Zayn was isolated from his team during the latter part of the match, but he toughed it out as he took out the heels before making the hot tag.
· Owens and Ziggler were one step ahead of the game when they yanked Styles and Nakamura from the ring apron. However, Styles came through in the clutch and nailed Corbin with a forearm which set up the finish.
· The babyfaces didn’t get a chance to celebrate as the heels attacked them from behind. Owens brought a ladder into the ring and laid out Styles and Zayn thanks to an assist from Ziggler.
· Owens and Ziggler went face-to-face until Corbin blindsided both men which ended their temporary alliance.
· Corbin climbed the ladder and was about to grab the Money in the Bank briefcase until Nakamura knocked him off the ladder.
· Nakamura nailed Corbin with the Kinshasa before climbing the ladder and grabbing the briefcase for himself as SD Live went off the air with The King of Strong Style standing tall.
· This was a hot way to end the show. The crowd was hot for the main event as each man from the MITB Ladder Match got a chance to shine. The post-match skirmish was a nice teaser for things to come heading into the PPV on Sunday. The field is wide open and it should be interesting to see who will become the 18th Mr. MITB. We shall find out soon enough.
· Overall, I thought this was a strong episode of SmackDown Live. This was the best go-home show for a PPV since WrestleMania. Every match on the Money in the Bank card was spotlighted in a positive way. The in-ring action ranged from solid to very good which was refreshing to see.
· WWE didn’t cram extra stuff on the show to fill out the rest of the PPV card. The five-match lineup is reminiscent of an NXT Takeover special in the sense that each match stands out in its own right. There is no need to drag a showdown with lower-card matches that has little to no heat amongst fans. Therefore, the less is more approach is the way to go in order to make the MITB PPV a tight show in terms of match positioning and booking.
· However, the wrestling must be on point in order for the show to be a success. Here’s hoping the SD Live crew deliver the goods because MITB has the potential to be a blow away show everything goes according to plan. Fingers crossed!
On that note, this wraps up another edition of The SmackDown Files. I hope you enjoyed it and I will back next week with a brand new installment of The Raw Exposé. See you later, boys and girls!