The Money in the Bank go-home show…

With MITB coming up this weekend, I’ll be taking a break from doing these WWE recaps/reviews. I’ll most likely bring them back in a more sporadic fashion, maybe just focusing on PPVs, or I may bring them back as they are now at some point in the future. However, due to a busy schedule over the next couple of weeks, I have to take a break and there is no better place to do so than the Go-Home SmackDown for Money in the Bank.

So let’s get into this week’s SmackDown, which begins with Mandy Rose & Otis backstage ahead of Mandy’s match against Sonya Deville.

Let’s Just Make You Ugly Too!

Otis asks if he can help in any way, to which Mandy replies that he should focus on his MITB match on Sunday and that she’s, “got this.” Sonya is then shown warming up backstage as she is approached by Dolph Ziggler who hypes her up, stating that he’ll be right back here waiting to celebrate when she wins.

Cole and Graves intro the show as Mandy makes her entrance, with a much more focused look on her face. Sonya is out next, wearing new entrance attire which looks great and fits with her new character. As the bell is rung, Mandy runs straight at Sonya, taking her down and brawling her all the way to the corner. There is aggression in the offence of the both of them; Sonya attempts to fight back but is again taken down by Mandy and exits the ring.

Sonya gets back in, taking her down with two running knee strikes on the injured leg of Rose. Sonya puts Mandy in a Body Scissors while berating her on the ground asking if she really thinks she’s the better of the two, she calls Mandy embarrassing and tears off her fake eyelashes stating, “you’re nothing without your looks, so let’s just make you ugly too.” Mandy escapes the hold but is again knocked to the ground as Sonya continues to threaten her. Mandy fights back with multiple Clothesline and a Knee to the face, taking the fight to the outside now. She shouts, “who’s the bitch now, bitch”, before slamming Deville’s head into the announcement table.

Mandy drives Sonya into the steel steps and over the announcement table as the ref continues to count on the outside. The ref is lenient with the count here, clearly allowing them extra time for Mandy to grab Sonya and throw her back in the ring. Mandy furiously shouts at Sonya to get up, she goes for her Finisher but Sonya escapes. Mandy then tries to go for a Running Knee but is rolled up by Sonya while grabbing onto Mandy’s tights, for the victory.

Sonya Deville defeats Mandy Rose via Pinfall – Grade: B-

Mandy looks shocked in the ring, while Sonya escapes to the ramp and the two stare down to end the segment. A decent opener that could have been longer, but there is surely more to come here anyway.

A recap of Miz & Morrison’s shock loss to the Lucha House Party is shown ahead of an 8-Man Tag Match.

Don’t You Dare Be Sour!

The New Day and Lucha House Party team up tonight to face the Forgotten Sons and Miz & Morrison ahead of all four teams going up against each other for the title at Money in the Bank. In a comedic moment before the bell, Big E plays air guitar with the tag belt right in front of John Morrison as his theme music is playing, frustrating the former tag champ.

The Miz and Kofi Kingston kick off the match, Kofi starts off strong, with Miz backing him off to the corner but Kofi managing to fight back against all of his opponents on the apron. Everyone jumps in the ring and a mass brawl starts with the heels being knocked out of the ring and Kofi and Metalik diving outside to take out the rest, the faces stand tall as SmackDown goes to a break.

Blake and Big E are in the ring as action returns, with Blake looking strong until an Abdominal Stretch via Big E, which is interrupted by Cutler. Cutler is blasted out by Big E who turns around and barges Blake down before tagging on Kofi. Kofi gets a good run of offence in before tagging Big E back in. E isn’t in for long as the Lucha House Party swap tags, with Lince and Metalik both doing damage to a grounded Blake. Metalik controls Blake, tagging in Kofi and allowing him to perform a top rope stomp to the arm of a Blake.

Cutler saves Blake as Kofi charges and dives straight into the ring corner. Blake then tags in the Miz who stomps on Kofi and taunts Big E on the apron. Morrison is tagged in and performs in an impressive set of tag team moves culminating in a great running knee strike. Cutler is now in the ring and presses a knee into the back of Kofi while he’s on the ropes; Ryker (who is on the outside and isn’t involved in the match) gets in a cheap shot while the referee’s back is turned, leading to the face team storming the ring and being told to leave the ring by the referee.

Wesley Blake is back in the ring, as the Miz trash talks to Big E on the other side of the ring. Kofi fights out of Blake’s clutches, fighting off the Miz in the apron but being knocked off by Blake himself. Blake then goes for a dive to Kofi, which looks deadly and wipes them both out.

SmackDown returns from another break with the Miz and Kofi in the ring, Miz tags in Morrison who looks impressive again. Blake and Cutler swap tags, though Kofi fights back, knocking both out the ring before Miz grabs his legs in an attempt to stop a tag from happening. Kofi fights him off, but the Sons take Big E and The Lucha House Party off the apron, with Big E being launched into the steel steps. Meanwhile, Kofi hits the SOS on Miz in the ring, with both reaching for and tagging in Gran Metalik and John Morrison respectively.

Metalik looks great in the ring, his chemistry with Morrison shines here, delivering some great looking offence before tagging in Lince. The Forgotten Sons run in to stop this but Metalik escapes, they catch Lince, but he also escapes, hitting a double Springboard Stunner to the Sons. Metalik gets back in and hits a Sunset Flip to Morrison who kicks out at 2. Lince spikes Morrison’s head off the mat, Metalik hits a Moonsault followed by a Shooting Star Press by Lince; However, the Forgotten Sons break up the pinfall.

Kofi dumps Blake out of the ring, while Big E and Kofi hit a double team move on Cutler. Blake takes Kofi off the apron and Miz throws Big E out of the ring allowing the Sons to hit their finisher on Big E and Powerbomb Kofi on top of him. Metalik hits a Dropkick, knocking Miz to the outside, he goes up top to dive on the others but is knocked off via a kick from Morrison. Lince sneaks up on Morrison, getting a Sunset Flip and a count of two, before attempting another rollup for another two-count. Morrison takes control and attempts to hit Starship Pain, but Lince escapes, though Morrison impressively lands on his feet.

Lince devastatingly spikes Morrisons’s head on the mat, even more impressive than before, but doesn’t notice the tag by Miz. The Miz hits the Skull Crushing Finale for the win.

The Miz & John Morrison and The Forgotten Sons defeat The New Day and Lucha House Party via Pinfall – Grade: A-

A really enjoyable tag team affair, featuring some very impressive performances, especially from John Morrison and the Lucha House Party who really shined in this match. Sometimes big tag team matches like this can be confusing, but the action was solid and much better than I expected, I’m highly anticipating their match on Sunday.

Miz & Morrison attempt to celebrate in the ring with the Forgotten Sons, who do not look impressed as they stare down the pair and argue in the ring, however, the segment ends without a brawl.

Kayla Braxton interviews King Corbin backstage ahead of his match with Shinsuke and Cesaro against Bryan, Gulak and a mystery opponent. He states that he’s looking past tonight and forward to the Money in the Bank match. He verbally attacks multiple superstars in that match, including wondering how far Mysterio could fly off the roof, stating that Black is too scared to fight him, and mocking Otis by saying he won’t even make it off the ground floor.

Who Cares Jeff?

Jeff Hardy finally returns to SmackDown and is announced to the ring by Renee Young who is in the ring. She asks him that with all the history he’s made, what does he have left to prove. As he’s talking, Sheamus is shown backstage talking over everything that Hardy is saying, stating, “who cares Jeff?” Hardy asks the fans to stick with him for one last good WWE run before Sheamus is again shown talking over him.

Hardy brings up the fact that he’s surprised that Sheamus hasn’t shown up yet, before calling him out. Sheamus finally makes his entrance, mic in hand, mocking him and asking, “who the hell do you think still cares about ya?” He states that the fans are tired of Jeff and his suspensions, releases and wasted second chances. Hardy replies, “for being such a hater, you sure know a lot about me man.” Sheamus says that the sad part is that he isn’t really a hater and that he used to respect Jeff, but watching that documentary last week made him realise that the old Jeff Hardy is never really gonna comeback.

Sheamus states that since he’s come back, he’s been taking out SmackDown’s smallest flames. He states that Jeff’s flame, “has been barely burning for far too long, it’s time for me to put it out.” He marches to the ring but Hardy gets the upper hand, taking out Hardy with the Twist of Fate and a Swanton to stand tall. Sheamus shouts about being disrespected and that he’ll rip him apart as Hardy walks up the ramp.

Grade: B

Nice to see Jeff Hardy back and it’s great to finally have Sheamus in a worthwhile feud. Next up, Strowman makes his way to the ring ahead of his face to face with Bray Wyatt.

Monsters Collide

Braun gets on the mic stating outright that he acknowledges that he debuted with the Wyatt family, though he calls Wyatt deranged fro thinking that he created him. He states that Wyatt was threatened by him back then and that he should be more threatened now, telling Wyatt to say it to his face.

Bray Wyatt actually makes his way to the ring with the Firefly Funhouse theme song playing as his entrance music. He also gets on the mic as soon as he gets in the ring, stating “Hi Braun! It’s really a shame that it had to come to this.” He says that all he really ever wanted was for Braun to say he was sorry, to which Braun replies that he owes him nothing. After some back-and-forth, Bray states that he knows that Braun should come home and that he doesn’t belong out there for the rest of them. He says that he needs to remove that “burden” around his waist so that he can come home.

Braun states that Bray doesn’t know him, and at MITB, “this all ends.” Bray replies by saying that their journey is just beginning, but he stets that he doesn’t want to spoil the fun but he will allow him to get a taste of things to come.

He holds out Braun’s old black sheep mask, in an attempt to coax him back. Braun looks slightly mesmerised by it as the puppets from the Funhouse ask him to come home too; Bray starts to giggle in the ring, as Braun states that he is home and that he has the universal championship, “this Sunday, I’m gonna keep it, and you’ll be stuck playing with your puppets.” Before mocking him by saying, “Bye, see ya Sunday”, and walking off to his music. Bray states multiple times that he tried as he stares down Braun from the ring.

Grade: B

This segment hinted at the possibility of something unique happening during their match, whether that is actually the case or not, I’m excited to see how this turns out and I’m hoping WWE does right by Wyatt this time around.

Gulak and Bryan meet with Otis backstage, where Bryan asks how Mandy is doing. Gulak questions Otis on whether he saw what Corbin had to say earlier in the night before they all take a walk elsewhere. Will Otis be the surprise wrestler tonight?

A recap of the backstage brawl between Tamina, Lacey, Sasha and Bayley last week…

Give Her A Women’s Right!

Sasha Banks and Bayley make their way to the ring ahead of their tag team match against Lacey Evans and Tamina. Bayley and Tamina will fight for the SmackDown Women’s Championship at MITB while Lacey will feature in the MITB Ladder Match itself.

Bayley and Sasha seem to argue over who will start the match, they start to play Rock, Paper, Scissors before Tamina steamrolls both of them. Sasha attempts to distract Tamina on one side so that Bayley can sneak in, but Tamina quickly turns, akin to brawl last week. She throws Bayley in the corner, but the champ fights back, sliding through the legs and delivering a kick to the face. Tamina thwarts all of Bayley’s attempts to tag in Sasha, though after jumping on Tamina’s back she finally manages to get it.

Tamina is unaware of the tag at first and is hit with a Chop Block to the leg via Bayley before a knee to the face by Sasha. Sasha and Bayley isolate Tamina in the corner, delivering multiple kicks and putting pressure on the neck. Tamina breaks free from both, but Bayley saves Sasha from the back of Tamina. They walk off and stumble into Lacey in the outside. Lacey knocks down Sasha while Bayley makes the point that Lacey isn’t the legal woman, so she shouldn’t hit her. Lacey slowly approaches Bayley, but only as a distraction so that Tamina could grab Bayley by the hair and lift her up on the apron.

Bayley gets back but jumps into a right hand from Tamina as the show goes to a break. The show returns with Lacey and Sasha in the ring. Lacey is in control and attempts to go for a Moonsault, she is distracted by Bayley and taken down by Sasha. The pair begin to dominate Evans, delivering a double team elbow after a Bayley tag for a cover of three. Bayley hits Lacey with a cheap shot as the ref’s back is turned, they attempt the same double team move that they tried against Tamina, this time to more success. They continue their dominance until Lacey rolls past them into a Tamina tag.

Tamina slams Sasha into the barricade and slings Bayley away, she hits the champ with a Clothesline and Headbutt, continuing to dominate with her offence in the ring. Tamina goes up to the top, with Sasha failing to interfere, Bayley also attempts to interfere but is pushed back to the ground. Bayley manages to block the Frog Splash with her knees and hits the Bayley-to-Belly before climbing to the top for an Elbow Drop; Tamina manages to kick out at two.

Michael Cole says that he doesn’t know if Bayley has anything left in her arsenal, to which Bayley replies, “oh but I do Michael Cole.” Moments like this make the empty arena era feel much more entertaining and enjoyable. Bayley attempts to go for her new finisher, but Tamina gets her up on her back. Sasha saves Bayley but is met by a Woman’s Right via Lacey Evans. Bayley drives Lacey to the outside with a knee, but the champ is then hit with a Superkick and a Samoan Drop for a Tamina & Lacey win.

Tamina & Lacey Evans defeat Sasha Banks & Bayley via Pinfall – Grade: B-

A nice lead into MITB, also planting the seeds for the Bayley/Sasha Banks feud. All the women in this match looked good ahead of their respective matches on Sunday.

Kayla Braxton interviews Carmella and Dana Brooke ahead of their entry into the MITB Ladder Match.

King Corbin comes out to the ring followed by his partners Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura ahead of the six-man tag match.

The hacker appears as SmackDown comes back from a break, they showcase footage involving Tamina, Lacey, Sasha and Bayley, Big E and The Miz, as well as Carmella and Dana Brooke. The hacker asks and states, “Are you listening? Because I am… the thing about anger is, you can always hear it before you see it. They then play an audio clip with an altered high pitched voice, which states, “I’ll tell you one thing, payback is coming and it’s coming real soon.” This hints at an upcoming betrayal, most likely involving Sasha Banks and Bayley unless WWE is planning on breaking up another team or friendship.

King Money In The Bank?

Now it’s time to get back to the ring for the six-man tag match with Corbin, Nakamura & Cesaro against Daniel Bryan, Drew Gulak and their mystery opponent (Who could it be???). Of course, it’s Otis, they made it very clear earlier but commentary and the heels seemed to be clueless. Either way, it’s nice to see Otis get a spotlight now, even though it seems Tucker is being put on the back shelf.

Daniel Bryan goes straight at Corbin, breaking out of his attempted Boston Crab and tagging in Gulak. Corbin hits Gulak in the throat, but Gulak hits back with a Dropkick, forcing the King out of the ring. Corbin tags in Cesaro for a Wrestlemania Kick-Off Show rematch. Corbin attempts to distract the referee as Gulak climbs to the top rope. Shinsuke launches him off, leading to a European Uppercut and a GutWrench Suplex by Cesaro. Cesaro tags in Nakamura, while Gulak eventually manages to get to Otis. Otis slams Nakamura into the mat and charges him in the corner. He dominates, hitting the Caterpillar on Nakamura, then slamming Cesaro to the mat as the face team stand tall to go into a break.

SmackDown returns with Corbin and Bryan in the ring, which during the break involved Corbin throwing Bryan over the crowd barricade. Corbin tags in Cesaro who wipes out Otis on the apron, although Bryan gets a tag to Gulak. Gulak stomps away at a prone Cesaro in the corner before throwing him across the ring. Cesaro catches and hits an uppercut on Gulak, but Drew manages to get a submission hold onto Cesaro. Cesaro forces the break and Corbin sneakily makes the tag, with Gulak knocking Cesaro out of the ring.

Gulak puts a sleeper hold on Corbin but is kicked in the back of the head by Nakamura. Otis comes back and takes out Nakamura, he also absorbs the offence from Cesaro and throws him out of the ring. Corbin sends Otis out of the ring before being rolled up by Gulak for a two-count. Gulak hits a flying Clothesline on Corbin, meanwhile, Otis goes flying into the ring post on the outside, Bryan hits a Running Knee to Cesaro and Nakamura takes out Bryan. Nakamura attempts to distract Gulak, allowing Corbin to hit the Deep Six for the victory.

King Corbin, Shinsuke Nakamura & Cesaro defeat Daniel Bryan, Drew Gulak & Otis via Pinfall – Grade: B

A decent main event, but I would have liked to have seen Gulak kick out of the Deep Six and go on a bit longer. The Deep Six rarely puts people away, it seems like Gulak’s kryptonite is being spun around for a few seconds, if this match and his Wrestlemania loss to Cesaro is anything to go by. Otherwise, this was a good match to lead into MITB.

Cesaro and Nakamura hold Gulak as Corbin gets his sceptre, he goes to hit Gulak but is struck by a Running Knee via Daniel Bryan. Bryan is thrown outside by Cesaro while Otis drags out Nakamura. Everyone brawls on the outside, with Gulak taking them out after diving off the crowd barricade.

Corbin stays out of the brawl and on the other side of the arena near the ramp, as the faces fight the heels to the back. Corbin takes a ladder to the ring and sets it up in the ring for the obligatory yearly ladder spot on the go-home for MITB. Bryan runs back in and attacks Corbin, but is driven into the ladder by the King.

Corbin climbs up the ladder again, but Otis is now back. He picks up the ladder and charges Corbin with it. He sets up the ladder but is unable to climb it as the ladder steps break every time he climbs one. Corbin runs back in, driving him into the ladder and ring post. Bryan gets back in the ring with a taller ladder, he fights off Corbin, sets it up and climbs. Corbin gets up the ladder and knocks him off before throwing him over the top rope into Otis; Corbin then climbs the ladder and grabs the fake MITB briefcase to stand tall as the show ends.

Overall Grade: B

A decent show overall, highlighted by a great 8-Man Tag Match and an average main event. Morrison, Lucha House Party, Sonya Deville and Otis were all great performers this week and I hope to see more from most of them at Money in the Bank on Sunday.

By Jimmy Ioannou

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