Following a night where the Raw Money in the Bank competitors were named, SmackDown LIVE would do the same the following night. And not only would they follow in that fashion but also create more stories heading into Money in the Bank. The biggest question would be: How will Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods respond to Kevin Owens actions last week? That, plus much more was answered on SmackDown LIVE last night, let’s take a look at the highlights.
Championship Update: The Hardys Relinquish The SmackDown Tag Team Titles
The rumours that have been circling for the past week have become true, as The Hardys had to relinquish the SmackDown Tag Team Championships due to Jeff Hardy‘s injury. They gave Lars Sullivan the nod on this one, saying that it was his attack a few weeks ago when they won the titles that put Jeff on the shelf. Lars would then make his way out to the ring looking to create destruction on the now former champs. He would lay out Matt Hardy before turning his attention to the injured Jeff. Thankfully, R-Truth would come out to make the save but Lars would make quick work of him as well. The Lars Sullivan Destruction Tour continues on as the WWE fans must wait to see what force steps up to “The Freak”.
Becky and Bayley Battle
For the first time ever on the main roster, Becky Lynch and Bayley would go one-on-one. The champion and Bayley would go to war last night while giving a glimpse at what a championship match between the two could be someday. They would both get plenty of offense in, at times hitting each other with counter after counter. As the match would come to a close, Bayley would hit Becky with a suplex leaving her laying. Bayley would climb to the top rope for the big elbow drop. However, by the time Bayley would make the leap, Becky would have the wherewithal to get her knees up. Doing so, “The Man” would then lock in the Dis-Arm-Her to defeat Bayley in their first main roster encounter.
After the match, Charlotte Flair would nail Becky with a Big Boot leaving her laying. Charlotte wouldn’t just go away as she would then through Bayley into the ring post and leave them both laying. As we move closer to Money in the Bank, all three of these women have their destinies prepared. It is now just a matter of who can flourish.
Kingston Steps Up to Kevin Owens
Kofi Kingston would kick off SmackDown LIVE by having an in-ring interview with Michael Cole. Kofi would talk about how he should have seen it coming, he should have understood who Kevin Owens truly is. He would get all riled up before laying down the challenge to Owens to face him at Money in the Bank for the WWE Championship. Owens would quickly accept before going on to verbally attack Kingston. Owens would say that none of the fans will admit it but they don’t see him as worthy of being WWE Champion now that the moment has happened. Before Owens could continue, Xavier Woods would come from behind and attack Owens after last weeks attack by “The Prizefighter”. Unfortunately for Xavier, KO would have the ability to knock him back and hit him with the Superkick before taking off as Kingston ran to Woods’ aid.
As the bookend of the show, Kevin Owens hosted “The Kevin Owens Show”. His guest was supposed to be Xavier Woods, however, Woods did not make his way out due to injury suffered from attacks last week and earlier tonight. KO stated that Kingston is way over his head and will lose the title he chased for 11 years in his first defense. Owens made fun of Woods and his injury with an action figure of Woods followed by one of Big E. He put them on the guest chair before pushing them over. Before he could finish his sentence, Kingston appeared at the top of the ramp. Kingston ran down to shut Owens up. They brawled around the ringside area before Owens escaped through the crowd. These two are clearly ready to go at it at Money in the Bank.
SmackDown LIVE MVP: Roman Reigns
Last night, Roman Reigns made his way out to the ring. The whole reason for it? To explain why he punched Vince McMahon. Reigns said how he could only make one first impression so he knocked out Mr. McMahon. He wanted to prove that he was certainly still “The Big Dog” and that SmackDown LIVE was his yard now.
At this point, Shane McMahon made his way out but would not get in the ring with Roman. Instead, he stood at the top of the ramp and told Roman that he has to pay for what he did, even calling Vince a “National Treasure”. Shane then said that he’d love to get in that ring a beat him up, be he’s got to catch a flight to Michigan to train for The Miz. So instead, Roman Reigns faced… the B-Team? Yes, the B-Team. There was also a special enforcer for the match because of course, and it would be Reigns’ Money in the Bank opponent, Elias.
B-Team vs Roman Reigns
As the handicap match got underway, Elias would get involved as much as he possibly could. And despite all the odds stacked against him, Reigns managed to fight back time and time again. As the match neared the end, Curtis Axel hit the Perfect-Plex on Reigns and Elias made the count with the referee down. Reigns, somehow, managed to kick out despite the odds against him and the match continued. Elias went on to hit Reigns with his guitar, but was stopped by a Superman Punch. Reigns then hit Axel with the Spear to secure the pinfall in his first match on SmackDown LIVE. “The Big Dog” is quickly making SmackDown LIVE his yard and no one may stop him.
This will not go down as the most memorable SmackDown LIVE in history by any means, it was a path to building stories. Reigns is starting his true rise to the top of SmackDown. Kofi Kingston and Kevin Owens prepare for war soon enough. Overall, a good episode as Money in the Bank draws near. Be sure to check back every week for the best highlights of both Raw and SmackDown LIVE as we prepare for Money in the Bank!