Smackdown – May 22, 2018

Smackdown
Date: May 22, 2018
Location: DCU Center, Worcester, Massachusetts
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves

We’re getting closer and closer to Money in the Bank and this week is going to be all about some major announcements. In this case, that would mean the announcement of which New Day member will be participating in the men’s Money in the Bank ladder match, along with the stipulation for AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura. Let’s get to it.

Here’s Miz in the ring with MizTV to get things going. Miz starts off with the big news that his reality series Miz and Mrs. will debut on July 24, right after Smackdown. With that out of the way, it’s time to bring out his guests, the New Day. After insulting their taste in television for not being sure if they’ll watch Miz and Mrs., Miz asks which of them will be in Money in the Bank. Their answer: Me!

Woods lists off everything Miz has done and praises his success but Miz asks why Kofi has never won Money in the Bank. Kofi won a lot of titles but six of those matches in and it hasn’t gotten him anywhere. Big E. has crazy amounts of charisma and power but hasn’t gotten the spotlight. Then you have Woods with his YouTube empire. Miz can’t remember the name of the game Woods might stream, but imagine if it was streamed with him as WWE Champion.

New Day each picks a different member to get the shot so Miz yells at them to pick something. Kofi picks Big E. but Woods says they’re talking about tonight. Miz says no match because they won’t give him what he wants. That makes them shame him, which means throwing pancakes at Miz to send him running. Once Miz gets to the back, Paige sends him back to the ring to face Big E. right now.

Big E. vs. The Miz

Woods is on commentary as Graves asks how Miz can be prepared to compete. Woods: “He’s in his gear!” Big E. tosses Miz into the corner but gets kicked in the ribs. The abdominal stretch cuts Miz off and the spanks are thrown in for some humiliation. Big E. even scores with the apron splash but Woods says that’s the round. Kofi pulls up a chair and pours some syrup into Big E.’s mouth like a boxer would do between rounds, even down to the spit bucket.

Miz sends him into the barricade though and we take a break. Back with Kofi now on commentary and still not picking who is going to the ladder match. Big E. charges into a knee but here’s the Bar to go after Woods. Kofi dives onto both of them but the distraction lets Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale for the pin at 10:47.

Rating: C-. I could go for a Big E. push but that doesn’t include him losing to Miz. Then again, this could probably be classified as building momentum and that means he can lose all he can and then win the ladder match. Or they could go with whichever member of New Day doesn’t lose a match on the way to the show.

We look at Daniel Bryan beating up Big Cass last week, who isn’t cleared to compete.

Bryan talks about dealing with Big Cass and now he’s ready to get another shot in Money in the Bank by beating Jeff Hardy tonight and moving on to face Samoa Joe in a qualifying match next week.

Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Billie Kay vs. Lana

Aiden English introduces Lana and sings the Lana Song. Not to be outdone, the Iconics sing a duet about Lana being a loser. The bell rings and Aiden pulls out a LANA DAY sign as Tom mentions that Lana has never won a singles match. Royce slaps Aiden so Lana slaps Billie and the fight is on. Back in and Lana scores with a kick to the head, followed by a sloppy facebuster for the pin at 1:12. A big LANA DAY chant breaks out.

Zelina Vega wants more respect for Andrade Cien Almas.

Andrade Cien Almas vs. ???

Almas laughs in his face to start and punches him down. A few elbows give the jobber a breather so Almas elbows him in the face. The running knees in the corner set up the hammerlock DDT to give Almas the pin at 1:53.

Carmella says she’s ready to beat Asuka because she’s not ready to slip and fall. Charlotte shattered the Asuka myth at Wrestlemania and she’s beaten Charlotte twice. Therefore, she’s twice as good as Charlotte. Stick to screaming champ.

Here are AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura o announce the stipulation for Money in the Bank. Nakamura doesn’t understand what a stipulation is but can show us a clip of him defeating Styles last week. He’s been thinking very carefully and wants to dishonor Styles at Money in the Bank. Nakamura picks a pillow fight, which AJ doesn’t think much about. Not that it matters as Nakamura wants to dishonor AJ at Money in the Bank.

The fight is on with AJ blocking the low blow and taking it outside. A chair shot misses as well and Nakamura gets sent into the crowd. AJ tries a springboard off the barricade but gets chaired down, allowing Nakamura to hit Kinshasa. Nakamura makes it a Last Man Standing match. Makes sense given most of their matches.

Usos vs. Anderson and Gallows

The winners gets a title shot at Money in the Bank. After some trash talking before the bell, the fight is on with the Usos knocking them both to the floor for a big dive from Jimmy. Back with Jey kicking Anderson in the head but knocking him into the corner for the tag off to Gallows. That just means another kick to the head and a Superfly Splash for two. Gallows hits his own superkick and the Magic Killer sends Anderson and Gallows to Money in the Bank at 5:20. Not enough shown to rate but it’s high time to give the Bludgeon Brothers some fresh competition.

The Last Man Standing match is confirmed.

Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Naomi vs. Sonya Deville

Naomi starts fast with some rollups for two each as we see other qualifiers watching in the back. Sonya gets in some right hands and a shot to the back for two. A spinebuster gives Sonya two more but Naomi comes back with some kicks. They trade enough kicks for a double knockdown, only to have Naomi grab another rollup for the pin at 4:21.

Rating: D+. Naomi is the right call as she’s a bigger star and has the crazy athleticism needed to make something like the ladder match fun. I’m not sure what Sonya did to warrant getting a second chance at getting into the match but at least they got the winner right, which isn’t always the case.

Jeff Hardy is excited for a chance to be in the ladder match because he can do a lot with ladders.

Jeff Hardy vs. Daniel Bryan

The winner gets Samoa Joe, on commentary here, in a Money in the Bank qualifying match next week. Feeling out process to start until Bryan shoulders him down for two. The moonsault over Jeff into the running clothesline is countered with an atomic drop. Bryan rolls outside and we take a break. Back with stereo crossbodies putting both of them down again.

Its Bryan up first and kicking Jeff to the floor but missing the apron knee. Jeff scores with a running clothesline from the apron but takes too long going up top. The delay allows Bryan to tie him in the Tree of Woe for a running dropkick. Jeff blocks a belly to back superplex though and scores with a Whisper in the Wind for two. The Twist of Fate is countered and Bryan kicks away, only to get caught with the Twist.

The Swanton hits knees (with a great bounce off the crash) so Bryan kicks him in the head for two more. Another Twist is countered into a dragon screw legwhip and Bryan slaps on a heel hook for the tap at 11:23. That would be the second time that the US Champion has lost clean in Money in the Bank matches.

Rating: B. Champion losing again aside, this was a fun match with both guys looking like stars who could have gotten the win. Bryan needed the win to get back on track after the Rusev loss, but I’m not sure I can picture him beating Joe next week. Then again I’m not sure I can picture Joe losing to Bryan either, and that makes for a much more interesting match.

Post match Joe says Bryan gets him next week. Joe goes to the back and says next week, Bryan goes to sleep. Yes yes yes.

Overall Rating: C. I never thought I’d have to say this, but it’s amazing how much better a show is without a segment involving men in drag pretending to be Bobby Lashley’s sisters. It also helps to have some of the matches actually mean something, which is a big place where Raw failed. Having more qualifying matches tonight made the show feel important and with a big main event next week, Smackdown is already looking like it’s in the lead against Raw.

Results

The Miz b. Big E. – Skull Crushing Finale

Lana b. Billie Kay – Facebuster

Andrade Cien Almas b. ??? – Hammerlock DDT

Anderson and Gallows b. Usos – Magic Killer to Jimmy

Naomi b. Sonya Deville – Rollup

Daniel Bryan b. Jeff Hardy – Heel hook

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