Date: June 5, 2018
Location: American Bank Center, Corpus Christi, Texas
Commentators: Corey Graves, Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton
Please just let it be better than last night’s show. With three TV shows between the two brands until Money in the Bank, it’s hard to say how much worse things could get. Last night’s Monday Night Raw was really not that well received but maybe the extra hour is what brought them down. It should be interesting to see how things go with just two hours and maybe less of a focus on the ladder matches. Let’s get to it.
Here’s Carmella to open things up. After demanding her praise from the crowd, it’s time to talk about Asuka. She knows Asuka is revered and that is more than enough to be intimidating. We see a video on Asuka’s best moments and Carmella says that’s impressive. Next though, we see the real Asuka, which was exposed at WrestleMania. Now she’s just the defeated Asuka, including losing her first match on SmackDown.
Cue Asuka, but before she can say anything it’s Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville interrupting. Mandy talks about getting close to defeating Asuka and knowing that she can be beaten. Sonya says Mandy left just enough for her to take out but here’s Paige to interrupt. Paige makes the matches around here so Asuka can pick who she wants to fight. That would be both of them of course and that’s next. Asuka needs to wreck these two as somehow she’s in need of some momentum. You wouldn’t ever expect that from someone like her but WWE managed to make Asuka lose momentum.
Asuka vs. Mandy Rose/Sonya Deville
Carmella is on commentary. An early kneebar attempt has Sonya bailing to the ropes as Carmella eviscerates Saxton on commentary. Saxton: “If I were you Carmella….” Carmella: “THANK GOODNESS YOU’RE NOT!” Mandy gets in a cheap shot from the apron and Sonya hammers away in the corner to take over. Asuka fires up and hits some hip attacks but Carmella offers a distraction so Sonya can run Asuka over from behind.
The Moon Walk on the desk takes us to a break. Back with Asuka and Mandy slugging it out again until Asuka dropkicks the heck out of her. Stereo kicks to the face drop Asuka and Sonya but Deville is right back with a heck of a spear for two. With Mandy on the floor, the Asuka Lock makes Deville tap at 11:31.
Rating: C. Not bad here and thankfully Asuka didn’t lose again. I’m fine with her having to sweat a bit against these two but odds are she loses to Carmella (a new enforcer costing her the match wouldn’t shock me) and we get more of the same Carmella promo over and over. She’s good at it, but jumping from where she was to pinning Charlotte clean didn’t work for me then and it isn’t now either.
Post match Asuka has to deal with Mandy, allowing Carmella to hit her with the belt.
Miz is in the back practicing Mizjitsu when New Day comes in. They want some help revealing their member….Miz: “Rephrase.” They mean reaching in and pulling a name out of a hat, which Miz agrees to do. Miz reaches in and finds….pancake batter I think? He threatens them all with violence in tonight’s six man tag.
Karl Anderson vs. Harper
Harper hits him in the face to start and a forearm has Anderson down. A charge into the corner misses though and Anderson grabs a quick rollup for the pin at 2:18.
We look back at last week’s dance off.
Naomi promises to beat Lana and snatch the contract (no word on if that will render the contract bald).
Jimmy Uso/Naomi vs. Aiden English/Lana
The men start things off and English is already singing about Rusev. That goes nowhere and everything breaks down in a hurry with Naomi hitting a big dive over the top to take them both out (with English saving her from a broken neck as she was going to land on her head otherwise).
Back from a break with English offering a distraction so Lana can forearm her in the back to take over. A double arm crank keeps Naomi down and she can’t dive over to the corner. Naomi does manage a faceplant to put Lana down though and it’s the hot tag to bring in Jimmy. Everything breaks down and Naomi hits a high crossbody on English, setting up a superkick to the throat for the pin at 10:33.
Rating: D+. Just a match really but this is where Smackdown completely outshines Raw: they’ve put together this mini feud between Lana and Naomi to give them a reason to fight heading into the ladder match. Instead of just having them wrestle matches for the sake of wrestling matches, there’s something a little more personal and it makes things a mixture of a little more interesting and a lot easier to sit through. Now why can’t Raw get that?
We go to the back where Paige is moderating the contract signing between Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles. After Paige explains the idea of Last Man Standing, AJ says this feels like it’s been going on forever with all of Nakamura’s tricks and mind games. It ends at Money in the Bank with AJ as the last man standing. AJ signs but Nakamura says the pen is out of ink. Paige has another one but Nakamura wants AJ’s. That one is broken and AJ is ready to fight with Dean Malenko and Adam Pearce holding him back. AJ gets in a hard slap anyway and leaves as Nakamura pulls out his own pen to sign.
Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch
The threat of a Disarm-Her sends Charlotte outside so Becky settles for a headlock back inside. That’s escaped as well and it’s a standoff until they both catch kicks to the ribs. A double knockdown sends us to a break. Back with Becky going for the arm again but getting caught in a backbreaker for two instead. Lynch drops her one more time and gets two off a top rope legdrop but gets sent into the corner. The moonsault hits raised knees and the Figure Eight is countered twice in a row. The second counter is pulled into the Disarm-Her for the tap at 8:11.
Rating: C+. I’d love to believe that this is going to lead towards Becky getting into the title picture again as I have no idea why she hasn’t been a long reigning champion already. She has the look, the talking ability, the skill and whatever else might be needed to make a long reign work. Unfortunately since it’s Money in the Bank season, this win isn’t going to move her up the rankings but rather just be a momentum builder, whatever that is supposed to mean.
Lynch helps her up and everything is cool.
Samoa Joe asks what you see when you look at him. Maybe a vicious man or a backwards moral compass? Tonight New Day will find out that those things are true but he wants more than that. He wants people to see a man who keeps his promises. Last week he climbed the ladder and pulled down the briefcase, just like he said he would. The people saw the future and they know it’s the truth. Any man who calls himself WWE Champion is a marked man and very soon, everybody gets it. Sweet goodness this man is awesome.
We get an old school platform interview with Big Cass, who brags about being tall. Years ago when he was in NXT, he was backstage at Wrestlemania XXX and once the show was over, he was getting his bag when he saw Daniel Bryan. All Cass could think was “really?” That should be him because a good big man will always beat a good little man.
We see a clip of Cass laying Bryan out and Cass brags about how big (with the camera looking up at him in a smart production choice) and smart he is and how he holds a grudge like no one else. At Money in the Bank, he’ll beat Bryan down and embarrass him, breaking his arms and legs so there won’t be any more heel hooks. Then Bryan can go be a garden gnome on Total Bellas because a little man like him will never survive in a big man’s world.
Sin Cara isn’t sure what happened to Andrade Cien Almas when Zelina Vega comes up. Almas accomplished nothing when Cara was his role model but Vega taught him to respect no one. She’s gone to Paige to set up a match between Cara and Andrade for next week and here’s Andrade to jump him.
New Day vs. Miz/Rusev/Samoa Joe
Woods wastes no time in forearming Miz down for an early two and it’s New Day alternating with elbows and splashes for two more. Joe tags himself in to face Big E. and this is already feeling bigger. Big E. suplexes him down and it’s off to Woods to try his luck. That would be bad luck as an enziguri puts him down and we take a break. Back with Woods fighting out of Miz’s chinlock but getting pulled down by the hair.
Joe comes in and gets kneed in the head, allowing the double tags to Miz and Kofi. Everyone else fights to the floor and the Boom Drop has Miz in trouble. Joe breaks up Trouble in Paradise and the DDT gives Miz two. Big E. comes back in and gets whipped into the Rock Bottom out of the corner. Rusev gets low bridged to the floor and Woods hits a big flip dive over the top.
Joe gets sent outside as well and Kofi hits a springboard trust fall to drop him again. Big E. spears Miz to the floor (that’s going to be a bad injury one day) and the Midnight Hour is broken up as Joe pulls Woods into the Koquina Clutch on the floor. Kofi dives into the Machka Kick and Miz posts Big E. The villains come back in….and Miz grabs the pancakes, which he throws at Joe and Rusev by mistake. One Machka Kick and a backsplash later and Miz is left down and alone. Kofi comes back in and the Midnight Hour is good for the pin at 13:19.
Rating: C+. I liked this one though it wasn’t as good as the New Day’s match from a week or so ago. They’ve certainly lost some steam but they’re still one of the best trios around. That Trust Fall alone, which looked like a springboard to Miz, was enough of a cool visual to make this work. The pancakes….not so much but that’s their thing and it’s not going away at the moment.
Overall Rating: B-. Holy Taylor Made Man of the 90s what a difference a night makes. This was a fun show with some good matches and stories that didn’t want me to let my hair grow so that it was long enough to pull out. It’s not great or anything but it didn’t have me begging to change the channel and after last night, that’s a major upgrade. Just having stories that tie into the ladder matches but aren’t exclusively about the ladder match makes a world of difference and the show was that much better as a result. Do this more often and I could downright tolerate Money in the Bank season.
Asuka b. Sonya Deville/Mandy Rose – Asuka Lock to Deville
Karl Anderson b. Harper – Rollup
Jimmy Uso/Naomi b. Aiden English/Lana – Superkick to English
Becky Lynch b. Charlotte – Disarm-Her
New Day b. Miz/Rusev/Samoa Joe – Midnight Hour to Miz
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