Date: May 29, 2018
Location: PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina
Commentators: Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, Tom Phillips
It’s dream match night on Smackdown as we have the final Money in the Bank qualifying match between Daniel Bryan and Samoa Joe. I’d think that alone sums up the perks of tonight but we also get some more build between AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura. This should be their final showdown but stranger things have happened. Let’s get to it.
Here’s Samoa Joe, despite being scheduled to wrestle later tonight. He pulls a ladder out and sets it up in the ring for a climb and takes down the green briefcase. Joe talks about the ladder being a connection between the earth and the Heavens. Jacob looked at his ladder and saw angels smiling down, but Joe’s ladder has no salvation. There will be no smiling, but after Money in the Bank, he’ll be smiling because he has this ladder.
Tonight, Joe will prove to Daniel Bryan that there are things far worse than forced retirement. Bryan needs to call Brie and have her tell their daughter a story. Brie needs to tell their daughter that Bryan will be home for Money in the Bank but he won’t be the same man. Bryan will be a man full of doubts and that’s because of a man named Samoa Joe.
Cue Bryan to say Joe crossed a line that he shouldn’t have. Bryan has his own vision and that’s Joe with a broken leg if he mentions Bryan’s family anymore. The fight is almost on but here’s Big Cass on a crutch. Cass expected nothing less from the shrimp and the blimp but that should be Cass’ briefcase. He’s tired of all this second chance talk and by word of General Manager Paige, Joe vs. Bryan isn’t happening.
Instead, Cass will be taking Bryan’s spot when Cass is cleared, which has already happened. Cass breaks the crutch over Joe’s shoulder so Bryan hammers and kicks away, only to be sent into the ladder. A briefcase shot to the head drops Joe and Cass poses. They were this close to something special there if they just started Bryan vs. Joe then but something that interesting seems beyond them.
Nakamura is walking through the back with cards numbering from one to ten, which he counts and drops as he walks.
Paige runs into Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville, who accuse Paige of making mistakes. Like giving Asuka another chance when she doesn’t need it. Mandy thinks there are more deserving women out there so Paige gives her Asuka tonight. They leave and Renee Young comes up to ask about the Money in the Bank match. Say it with me: triple threat.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Tye Dillinger
Tye goes after him to start but misses a charge and gets kicked to the floor as we take an early break. Back with Tye fighting out of a chinlock but getting kneed right back down. More knees in the corner set up the running knee in the corner but Tye gives him the Perfect 10 sign. Nakamura is done with this and hits the middle rope knee, setting up Kinshasa for the pin at 8:52.
Rating: D+. Just a squash here and I can go for that far more than having another staredown or brawl with AJ. This wasn’t a great match or anything (not that it was designed to be) but it was a way that we haven’t seen in far too long and it’s been effective for as long as wrestling has been around. Perfectly fine story building here.
Post match Nakamura hits another Kinshasa and counts to ten.
AJ Styles says this is a scary time for him because he’s up against a dangerous opponent in a match suited to the striker like Nakamura. That’s cool with AJ because he’s the last man in the arena, the last man to give up and at Money in the Bank, he’ll be the last man standing. Good stuff from AJ here.
Rusev Day sings Lana to the ring for a dance off with Naomi. We’re not ready quite yet though as here are the Usos to back Naomi up. They both dance with Lana doing her more traditional stuff and Naomi doing her standard dancing, they lock hands and dance at the same time, Lana takes her down with a neckbreaker and the fight is on. Lana slaps Jimmy though and Rusev Day is cleared out.
New Day and Miz/The Bar train for tonight’s six man with both teams using pancakes. Moving on.
New Day vs. The Bar/The Miz
They start fast with Woods being sent outside and we take a very early break. Back with the Bar taking turns on Kofi but Cesaro gets sent to the floor. Miz misses a charge but distracts Big E. so Cesaro gets back in to knee Kofi in the face. The SOS gives Kofi enough of a breather to dive over to Woods and the pace picks way up. Using Sheamus as a springboard, Woods takes Cesaro down with a flip dive to the floor.
Everything breaks down with Kofi diving onto Miz but getting dropped by Cesaro. A belly to back suplex/top rope ax handle combination gets two on Woods but it’s back to Big E. for the power. Miz makes a blind tag and hits a DDT for two with Kofi making a save. The slingshot dive is caught and Woods gets dropped onto the barricade. Kofi dives onto the Bar and the Big Ending puts Miz away at 12:06.
Rating: B. This was slow to start but once Woods came in, they were off to the races and tearing the house down. Just six talented guys going at full speed to have an entertaining match. Big E. getting the pin is a nice surprise and I’d love to see him getting the spot in the ladder match.
New Day looks up at the briefcases but still don’t say who is getting into the ladder match.
The Good Brothers are ready to win and Karl Anderson brags about his abs. At Money in the Bank, they’re going to beat the Bludgeon Brothers like a couple of….hang on as the Bludgeon Brothers come up on screen to say they’re going to destroy the Good Brothers by liquefying their bodies.
Mandy Rose vs. Asuka
Carmella is on commentary. Graves: “I feel like I’m in a park watching a beautiful baby chipmunk and there’s a falcon about to dive in!” Phillips and Carmella: “WHAT?” Hang on though as Deville jumps Asuka from behind. Asuka says ring the bell anyway and a gutwrench suplex gives Mandy two. A dropkick puts Asuka down again as Carmella is wondering when she’ll be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Back from a break with Asuka fighting back and hitting the hip attack in the corner. There’s the missile dropkick but the Asuka Lock is broken up. The second attempt works and Mandy taps at 5:36. Not enough shown to rate but it was perfectly fine for what it was supposed to do.
Post match Carmella comes in and stares Asuka down.
Becky Lynch and Carmella argue over who is winning the ladder match. Paige comes in and brings up Team PCB before having the idea of tea time. I’m assuming that means a match at some point in the future.
Next week: Naomi/Usos vs. Rusev Day/Lana and Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch.
Andrade Cien Almas leaves the locker room and runs into Sin Cara, who says hello. Zelina Vega comes in and yells, saying Cara is a nobody. Cara says he and Almas go way back but Almas tells him to leave him alone.
Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Samoa Joe vs. Big Cass vs. Daniel Bryan
Cass gets stomped down in the corner as we get a rare Joe/Bryan alliance. With Cass on the floor, Bryan can’t moonsault over Joe so Joe suicide elbows Cass instead. Bryan dives onto both of them and we take a break. Back with Bryan getting kicked in the head and Joe’s backsplash getting two. Cass drops Joe and sends Bryan outside for a toss over the announcers’ table and it’s back to one on one.
Back in and Cass puts Joe on top but here’s Bryan to take Cass down and snap off a super hurricanrana on Joe. Cass takes Bryan’s head off with a hard clothesline for two and pounds away with some hard intensity as we take a break. Back again with Cass chopping Joe in the corner followed by the Empire Elbow for two.
The East River Crossing gets two on Bryan with Joe making the save. Bryan starts in on Cass’ knee but has to slip out of the Koquina Clutch. Joe gets sent outside but breaks up the YES Lock on Cass. There’s a flying knee from the apron to drop Joe and a missile dropkick to Cass back inside. The running knee hits Cass but Joe comes in and chokes Bryan out for the win at 21:11.
Rating: C+. The important thing here is they got the ending right. Joe was the right call to send to the ladder match and while I didn’t need to see Cass in the match, it was the right ending and that’s what matters most. I’m sure we’ll get Cass vs. Bryan again at Money in the Bank and hopefully that should finish things up. Decent enough match and that’s all it had to be.
Post match Cass kicks Bryan in the head to end the show.
Overall Rating: B-. I had a good time with this show and they got through a fair amount of stuff in two hours. If nothing else it was a good idea to shift the focus away from the World Title match, which is pretty much set up for good at the moment. Other than that the rest of the pay per view was getting some good focus and that’s what it needed. Better show than usual as of late and that’s a very nice thing to be able to say for once.
Shinsuke Nakamura b. Tye Dillinger – Kinshasa
New Day b. The Miz/The Bar – Big Ending to Miz
Asuka b. Mandy Rose – Asuka Lock
Samoa Joe b. Daniel Bryan and Big Cass – Koquina Clutch to Bryan
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