Smackdown – May 15, 2018

Smackdown
Date: May 15, 2018
Location: 02 Arena, London, England
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton

It’s the second night in London and this time around…it’s still mainly about Money in the Bank. Tonight will see more qualifying matches, but more importantly we’ll be getting AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, with the winner getting to pick the stipulation for their title match at Money in the Bank. Let’s get to it.

We get a quick recap of Styles vs. Nakamura.

Here’s Daniel Bryan for a chat with Renee Young to get things going. She can barely get her questions in though as the DANIEL BRYAN chants are a bit too loud. After they die down a bit, Bryan talks about how he lost last week and no one likes losing. He’s back and willing to scratch and claw his way to the top because he wants to be WWE Champion. Cue Big Cass to mock Bryan, saying that he was Bryan’s first major setback since his return to WWE. Yeah he tapped out at Backlash, but only so he could get out of the hold to keep beating on Bryan even more.

Cass takes credit for Bryan’s loss to Rusev last week and says Bryan will never be able to do anything without a seven foot shadow following him. He gets in the ring so Bryan goes straight for the knee with a series of kicks before wrapping it around the post. Referees come out but but can’t stop Bryan from hitting a chop block and slapping on a heel hook. Good segment, now get Bryan on from Cass.

Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: New Day vs. The Bar

Miz is no commentary and the winning team gets to pick one member to enter the ladder match. Woods goes nuts to start and scores with a dive on Sheamus, followed by a Disaster Kick on Cesaro. Some double teaming takes him down though and it’s off to a break. Back with Woods in trouble as Sheamus knees him in the face to give Cesaro two. Woods sends Cesaro to the apron though and the hot tag brings in Big E. for some suplexes. Well some dancing too but at least it’s followed by the Warrior Splash…to Sheamus’ knees. So much for the dancing offense.

A double DDT gets two on Big E. and Cesaro grabs a Sharpshooter. Woods comes in for the save and gets in his own DDT for two. A wheelbarrow faceplant slams Cesaro into the mat so Sheamus comes in for a save this time around. Big E. spears Sheamus through the ropes, leaving Woods to drop the elbow for the pin on Cesaro at 9:25. As expected, there was no mention of Miz pinning the US Champion.

Rating: C-. In theory this should put Woods in the ladder match but I could see him saying that he doesn’t deserve it. To be fair, no one would buy Woods as a threat to win the thing so switching him out for Big E. or Kofi wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world. New Day vs. Bar has been a fine enough feud and tying something like this into it wasn’t the worst idea in the world.

The Bludgeon Brothers look at various teams and say friendship is a disease. They’re waiting.

Paige is on the phone with Carmella and says she can’t have a horse drawn carriage entrance. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville come in and say Mandy is going to Money in the Bank. Paige says not so fast because tonight, she can have a qualifying match. That’s not cool with Sonya, who wants one too. Paige gives them both a match against Becky Lynch, which makes them think it’s a handicap match because they’re not that bright. Paige spells it out for them and they seem a bit nervous.

AJ Styles is thinking about a pole on a pole match. Or maybe a bullrope inferno Hell in a Cell match. Renee: “That’s the one where the referees dress up as Elvis right?” AJ: “…No. That’s a step too far Renee.” Nakamura may not remember English but AJ knows the international language of forearm to face.

Andrade Cien Almas vs. Jake Constantino

Must be Rico’s cousin. Jake gets in an armdrag before being knocked into the corner for the running knees. The hammerlock DDT ends Constantino at 1:19.

Post match Vega says she isn’t impressed because they’re here to take over.

Rusev Day are in the back to insult London. Aiden English has a new song for when Rusev wins Money in the Bank but Lana comes in to says she’s in a qualifying match next week too. They’ll dominate Smackdown on Rusev Day. The tension between Lana and English was gone here, almost to the level of Lana’s accent being gone.

It’s time for the Royal Mellabration and she has a town crier to introduce her. Some beef eaters bring out the title and here’s Carmella to come to the ring where there’s a big leopard print pillow for the title. Carmella orders them to cheer for her but then complains about the silence. These people will cheer for a baby outside of a hospital and now they won’t give her the same treatment? She’s champion so she’s better than everyone else and lists off a bunch of names beneath her. Cue Paige to announce Carmella vs. Asuka at Money in the Bank. Asuka comes out and Carmella panics as she leaves.

Nakamura can’t understand Renee’s questions. He’ll win tonight.

Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Becky Lynch vs. Mandy Rose vs. Sonya Deville

Mandy lets the other two fight and then jumps Becky from behind. A rollup gets two on Sonya and the argument takes us to a break. Back with Sonya hammering on Becky but a Bexploder gets her out of trouble. Mandy tries to steal the pin and gets thrown down by Sonya, who sends her to the floor.

Becky gets the better of a slugout and goes up, leaving Mandy to put Sonya in an electric chair. A missile dropkick to Mandy brings them both down but Sonya breaks up the Disarm-Her. Sonya gets kicked down again though and the Disarm-Her makes Mandy tap at 8:00 to send Becky to Money in the Bank.

Rating: C. Mandy and Sonya are getting better in the ring but neither is ready for such a big spot. Becky is someone who could be a big deal in the division for a long time to come and there’s no reason to not put her in here. You can put the Iconics in for a better performance in the heel tag role than Mandy and Sonya so there’s not much to complain about here.

Samoa Joe doesn’t like Big Cass targeting people smaller than him so he’ll target Cass next week in their qualifying match. He doesn’t care how big Cass is because he can be put to sleep.

The Iconics play a word association game and say Billie will beat Lana next week in the qualifying match.

AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

Non-title with the winner getting to pick next week’s stipulation. The battle over a wristlock doesn’t go anywhere so AJ dropkicks him down to pick up the pace a bit. A slingshot forearm to the floor has Nakamura in more trouble but he posts AJ for a breather. Back from a break with Nakamura kicking AJ against the ropes and choking in the corner. Good Vibrations sets up a running kick to AJ’s face and we hit a dragon sleeper.

AJ fights out and puts Nakamura on top for a Pele. The running seated forearm drops Nakamura again and AJ nips up as the pace quickens. The belly to back faceplant gets two but a spinning kick to the face rocks Styles. Nakamura gets two off the Landslide (Samoan driver) but misses the running knee in the corner.

He’s fine enough to break up a springboard though and a kick to the ribs sends AJ to the apron. Kinshasa misses but AJ can’t get the Calf Crusher. The sliding knee gets two but Kinshasa is blocked with a spinwheel kick. The Phenomenal Forearm nearly hits the referee and Nakamura claims a low blow. That’s enough of a distraction to set up Kinshasa for the pin on Styles at 17:30.

Rating: B+. That’s the best match they’ve had yet and Nakamura needed to win something at some point. I’m still really not big on having a match to set up another match but this is better than a lot of the nonsense this company gives us at times. I’m not sure what the stipulation will be but they have a few options as we head towards Money in the Bank, especially with Nakamura’s quirky sense of humor at times.

No stipulation is picked to end the show.

Overall Rating: C+. I don’t remember the last time you could feel the difference in the presentation between the two shows like you could this week. Raw was beating us over the head with the same ideas and Roman Reigns didn’t exactly help things. This show, while not exactly a masterpiece, focused on some other stuff outside of Money in the Bank and didn’t have a really dumb story as a bonus. It’s amazing how much easier that is to sit through and it made for a better show. I know Raw isn’t going to change, but it’s not hard to see why this show is better.

Results

New Day b. The Bar – Top rope elbow to Cesaro

Andrade Cien Almas b. Jake Constantino – Hammerlock DDT

Becky Lynch b. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville – Disarm-Her to Rose

Shinsuke Nakamura b. AJ Styles – Kinshasa

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