Following an up and down Monday Night Raw the night prior, SmackDown LIVE looked to continue their rise to prominence as they hailed from the University of Nebraska last night. The big planned match heading into the show would be WWE Champion Kofi Kingston taking on Shinsuke Nakamura in one on one action as well as Charlotte Flair confronting Becky Lynch for the first time since WrestleMania’s main event, here’s the highlights.
Roman Reigns Taken Out by Shane McMahon and Elias
Following last weeks SmackDown LIVE debut of Roman Reigns, there were many questions as to what would be next for “The Big Dog”. The threat he would even be fired was brought to question following his Superman Punch on the boss, Vince McMahon. Shane McMahon would kick off the show discussing how Reigns put his hands on his father, and how this would not go well for “The Big Dog” by any means. He wasn’t going to suspend him, nor fine him, but he was going to pay inside the ring. Shane would demand Reigns come to the ring, in which Reigns would happily oblige. Reigns would get inside the ring and throw his microphone away, ready to fight Shane now. As they got close to coming to combat, Elias would run in from behind and put the odds in Shane and his favor. They would team up to beat down Reigns as the crowd chanted “ROMAN” to try and urge him on to fight back, but it would be of no use. Elias would ultimately hit the Drift Away on Reigns, leaving the “biggest acquisition in SmackDown LIVE history” floored to kick off the night.
In the backstage area, Elias would sing a song to the audience ultimately challenging Roman Reigns to a match at the Money in the Bank PPV, as he and Shane would drive away together, seemingly fearing Reigns coming back to get the two men.
In an interview in the locker room, “The Big Dog” would accept the challenge, making the match official between two of SmackDown’s newest stars at Money in the Bank.
Opportunity Arises for Charlotte Flair
Charlotte Flair would make her first WWE appearance since losing in the main event of WrestleMania last night in a way to call out Becky Lynch for only pinning Ronda Rousey, which makes the point that she should get another shot at the SmackDown Women’s Championship. “Becky 2 Belts” would have enough, making her way to the ring to shut down her longtime rival and tell her she wanted to see if she could beat Ronda because she has beaten Charlotte so many times. These two would continue to show their chemistry, verbally battling back and forth about how Charlotte wants her opportunity handed to her while Becky wants her to step aside so she can take on some new challengers like Mickie James, Ember Moon, and Bayley. Bayley would then make her way down to the ring to challenge Charlotte. More serious than ever really, Bayley told Becky she has never beaten her, and it was time for someone new to step up. Becky was intrigued, but instead we got a one on one match between Bayley and Charlotte with the winner getting a future championship opportunity.
The match would get underway and a more ferocious and serious Bayley appeared, proving she wasn’t lying when she said she left the hugs on Monday Night Raw. Of course, Charlotte would get the upper hand and attack Bayley’s leg almost exclusively, but Bayley would keep fighting back. Bayley would hit an awesome Sunset Flip Powerbomb to drive Charlotte’s head into the turnbuckle, but it would only result in a two count. Bayley would then climb to the top, where Charlotte would take out Bayley’s leg and go for the Figure 8. Bayley would reverse it into a close pin fall, but on the kick out both would get up and Bayley would get struck with a hulking Spear by Charlotte, allowing Charlotte to get the victory and another shot at the SmackDown Women’s Championship.
After the match, Kayla Braxton would interview Becky in the backstage area where it would be learned that Becky Lynch will pull double duty at Money in the Bank defending both of her championships, as “The Man” showed no fear and let the fans know she will still be “Becky 2 Belts” when the night is over.
SmackDown LIVE MVP: Kevin Owens
It happened folks. Kevin Owens as a nice guy lasted longer than his time in NXT but still not very long at all. After becoming an honorary member of The New Day last week, it went as well as you would expect this week. In the main event of SmackDown LIVE, Kofi Kingston took on Shinsuke Nakamura in a very competitive match. The two men would go back and forth for much of the bout, including Shinsuke’s new sliding German Suplex in the corner, and the WWE Champion’s will to never give up all match long. As the match came to a close, Kofi would hit a stunning SOS on Nakamura which Rusev would come in and ruin. Xavier Woods would first run in for support, and then Big O. Woods would launch himself over the top to take out both Rusev and Shinsuke while Owens helped Kofi to his feet. Woods would be taken out by a Kinshasa on the outside as Shinsuke would go for Owens and Kofi, with Kofi pushing Owens out of the way and hitting Shinsuke with a Trouble in Paradise. KO would then turn on Kofi, hitting him with a Superkick when he’d get to his feet, ripping off The New Day shirt and letting everyone know he is the same old Kevin Owens to this day. Owens would grab the WWE Championship as “The Prizefighter” would tell Kofi that he is taking the championship from him. Kofi would try to fight back but it would all be for not. Owens would go for the Apron Powerbomb on Kofi, but Woods would make the save. Woods would pay however, as Owens would instead hit the Apron Powerbomb on Woods, proving that he is ready to challenge for the championship and that he will take out anyone in his way of doing so.
SmackDown LIVE included tons of build toward the Money in the Bank PPV, with a SmackDown Women’s Championship match being made, Roman Reigns and Elias heading to battle, and Kevin Owens making his sights set on Kofi Kingston and the WWE Championship. For the first week since the Shake-Up, SmackDown LIVE looks to be the stronger show for now. We will certainly see in the weeks to come, as Raw promises to have the Money in the Bank competitors announce in a Moment of Bliss.
Tune back next week for the Raw Rundown!