SmackDown Live opens up from the PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina as Tom Phillips welcomes us to the show. He is joined by Corey Graves and Byron Saxton. They run down tonight’s card, including Samoa Joe vs. Daniel Bryan, The Bar vs. The New Day, and Lana vs. Naomi in a dance-off.
Samoa Joe makes his way down to the ring. He gets a ladder out from under the ring, sets it up, and retrieves the Money in the Bank briefcase.
He gets on the mic and says that it is said in biblical texts that the ladder represents the connection between the earth and the heavens, and when Jacob looked upon his ladder, angels descended from above, smiling and offering salvation, but his version is very, very different. There is no salvation, there are no smiling angels, although after Money in the Bank he’ll be smiling just like he is right now.
Joe then says that he will have secured his opportunity, and after which he’ll unleash a campaign of anxiety and fear that will shake SmackDown to its very core. And tonight, he proves to our beloved Daniel Bryan that there are things far worse than forced retirement. In fact, if his eco-friendly tree-hugging sensibilities will allow it, he wants Bryan to call Brie and tell his sweet daughter a story.
Joe then says that he wants Brie to tell Birdie that Bryan will be home from Money in the Bank, but he won’t be the same man. No, he’ll be a man with the eyes of someone who’s drenched in regret, failure, and missed opportunity, and when she looks up and asks her mother who did it, he hopes she says he was a very, very bad man and his name was Samoa Joe.
Daniel Bryan interrupts and makes his way down to the ring. He says that there are certain lines you don’t cross, and he has a vision of his own, and it goes like this. Bryan then tells Joe that if he mentions Bryan’s wife or daughter one more time, then he’ll break his leg. Bryan then says that he doesn’t want to wait for the main event, he wants to fight right now.
Samoa Joe takes the ladder down, Bryan gets in the ring and is cut off by Big Cass making his entrance on one crutch. He accuses Bryan and Joe of being children on the playground and he wouldn’t expect anything else from the shrimp and the blimp. Cass then says that the fact is that that should be his Money in the Bank opportunity, and this second chance crap has got to stop.
Cass then says that he spoke to Paige and got the match called off. Instead, what will happen is that he will wrestle Samoa Joe for the final spot in the Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match when he’s cleared. And when will he be cleared? He already is. He takes a crutch shot, Bryan ducks and Joe eats it, Yes! Kicks in the corner but Big Cass whips him into the ladder. He follows it up by clobbering both men with the briefcase. Cass holds the briefcase high and struts around to close the segment.
Shinsuke Nakamura is shown walking backstage with numbers, counting and tossing them on the ground until he gets to ten, which he tears in half to send us to a commercial break.
Back from the commercial break and we get a recap of what just took place.
We head backstage where we see that Paige is walking with a crew member telling him to come to her if there are any issues whatsoever when Absolution shows up.
They tell her that she is under a lot of pressure and making mistakes, giving people that don’t deserve opportunities, like Asuka. Paige brings up the undefeated streak, and Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville ask what she has done lately and say that they want the opportunities, so Paige gives them one, booking Mandy against Asuka for later tonight.
Paige keeps walking and runs into an interview with Renee Young. She says that Big Cass didn’t speak for her, but she did love the passion and the fire because whoever wins the contract will change their life forever. Paige then says that Cass is cleared, Bryan earned a second chance, so the only fair way to do it is to make the qualifying match tonight a Triple Threat Match.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Tye Dillinger: The opening bell sounds and they meet in the middle of the ring. They exchange words and shove each other before getting into it. Tye ducks a kick and comes back with strikes. Tye backs Nakamura into the corner and works him over. Nakamura goes outside for a breather and Tye follows. They brawl around the ring until Tye misses a dive and Nakamura knees him in the face. Back in the ring, Tye tries to mount a comeback, but Nakamura drops him again. Nakamura tells the referee to count while Dillinger is down. Tye gets up but Nakamura keeps control and lays into him with kicks. Nakamura sets up Tye in the corner and follows up with more strikes. Tye fires up and tries to come back again, but Nakamura shuts him down with more strikes. Nakamura goes to the middle rope and hits a flying knee to the face, and then follows up with the Kinshasa for the three count. Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura
After the match, Nakamura stands tall as his music hits. We go to replays. Nakamura drops Tye again with a shot to the back of the neck. Nakamura takes he mic and starts counting once again. He makes it to the 10 count and Dillinger is still down. Nakamura stands tall as his music hits.
We head backstage where AJ Styles is being interviewed. He says that he saw what Nakamura just did to Tye and he remembers the knee from last week. AJ then says that somewhere down the line, something inside Shinsuke snapped, and now he’s more dangerous than he’s ever been. AJ then says that Nakamura picked a stipulation that clearly benefits him as a striker, and this is the story of AJ’s life. He walks into the ring with an opponent who thinks he has an advantage and underestimates him. He fights smarter and harder than guys that are bigger and stronger, and he’s the last man to leave the gym or arena and the last man to back down from a challenge. AJ then says that at Money in the Bank, Shinsuke’s gonna try to tear down everything he’s built, but when all is said and done, the last man standing will be AJ Styles.
Rusev Day are shown backstage doing some last-minute preparation for Lana’s dance-off, and we go to a commercial break.
Back from the commercial break and Aiden English and Rusev are on the stage and English gives Lana a sung introduction, segueing into Rusev’s rendition of Lana is the Best, Lana # 1.
Naomi makes her entrance next and she’s got back-up in the from of The Usos.
They all get in the ring as the two sides face off and Hamilton reads the rules. They both dance one at a time, and it sounds like Naomi got more of a pop from the crowd. They hug but then Lana turns on Naomi and drops her. The Usos and Rusev Day start brawling now until The Usos superkick Rusev Day out of the ring. Naomi drops Lana with the Rear View, and they clear the ring. Naomi’s music hits as she and The Usos celebrate.
The New Day are shown backstage and are very orange when a man described as Mr. Bootysworth brings them a plate of pancakes.
We cut to the locker room where The Bar are throwing pancakes at The Miz, who deflects them with chops to send us to a commercial break.
Back from the commercial break and Big E does the usual New Day gimmick and The New Day make their way down to the ring.
The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) vs. The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) & The Miz: The Miz and Big E start this one off, but The Miz immediately tags in Cesaro. Big E grabs Cesaro and tosses him overhead for a two count. Woods and Kingston are in next to double team him. Cesaro fires back at Kofi and then Sheamus tags in. Kofi tries to fight them off but they distract the referee, and The Miz hits a cheap shot on Kofi. Sheamus now works over Kofi in the ring, then Cesaro tags in and hits a running uppercut for a 2 count. Sheamus tags back in and drops Woods off the apron, and then The Bar double teams Kofi. Cesaro continues to beat on Kofi until he misses a shot. Miz distracts Big E from the floor, and Big E drops Sheamus as he approaches. The Miz and Sheamus double team Big E on the floor and throw him in into the fan barricade. Back in the ring, Kofi starts beating on Cesaro. Sheamus hits a cheap shot on Kofi and Cesaro pins for a two count. The Miz tags back in and goes for a Skull Crushing Finale on Kofi, but Kingston escapes and hits the SOS on Miz. Woods finally gets the tag and cleans house. Cesaro ends up dropping Kofi, and The Bar double teams him again for another two count. Kofi blocks a Neutralizer attempt and then tags in Big E. Big E drops Cesaro and then double teams him with Woods for another two count. Big E looks for the Big Ending but Cesaro blocks it. Miz tags in as Big E spears Cesaro out of the ring. Back in the ring, after a kick from Cesaro, Miz hits a DDT on Big E for another two count. The aprons clears now and when the dust settles Kofi hits a big suicide dive on The Bar down on the floor. This leaves Big E and Miz in the ring, and Big E hits the Big Ending for the three count. Winners: The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods)
After the match, The New Day celebrates in the ring as we go to replays. They point up at the Money In the Bank briefcases and do the “who?” gimmick as everyone speculates on which member will go into the MITB Ladder Match.
We head backstage where The Club is being interviewed about their #1 contendership. Luke Gallows asks us to look at Karl “Abs” Anderson, who looks absolutely shredded. Karl says that his Hot Asian Wife loves them and that they are in the best shape of their careers and will do whatever it takes. Luke adds by saying that they buried the hatchet with The Usos, kicked back a couple of brewskis, and talked strategy. Anderson then says that they are gonna beat The Bludgeon Brothers like they’re a couple of. Before he can finish his statement, The Bludgeon Brothers interrupt on a nearby TV and Luke Harper says that the depraved will infect the decent, souls corrupted, and to prepare themselves for them.
Commentary hypes up everything that is still to take place on SmackDown tonight and we cut backstage to Asuka getting ready for her match to send us to a commercial break.
Back from the commercial break and SmackDown Women’s Champion Carmella makes her entrance and joins the commentary booth.
Sonya Deville blindsides Asuka during her entrance as Rose watches from the ring. Asuka recovers and climbs in the ring, telling the referee that she is still ready to go.
Asuka vs. Mandy Rose: The bell sounds and Rose attacks first, working over Asuka in the corner. Mandy grabs the hair for a cheap shot and drops Asuka for a two count. Rose keeps Asuka grounded until Asuka hits a shot to the face and mounts a comeback. Asuka hits a missile dropkick off the top, and then goes for another Hip Attack but Rose dodges it. Asuka looks for the Asuka Lock, but Rose escapes. They trade holds on the mat until Asuka rolls into the Asuka Lock for the submission victory. Winner: Asuka
After the match, Carmella enters the ring and interrupts Asuka’s celebration. They face off. Carmella raises the title in Asuka’s face and stares her down as her music hits. Carmella makes her exit as Asuka looks on.
We head backstage where we see that Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch are hanging out. Charlotte says that Asuka is going to win the title, she is going to win the contract, and they will have a WrestleMania rematch, but Becky just sees a wall and says that she needs to look more to the left until she sees her, the actual winner of Money in the Bank. They’re friends but the only way to win is to make like Han and fly solo. Lynch then says that last year she was fingertips away and this year, nothing will stop her, not even Flair. Charlotte then says that that makes it hard, because she wants Becky to win, but as much as she wants that, she needs her title back and that means she’s going to win. Lynch drops a “with all due respect” line and says that this is her ring when Paige shows up to admire their competitive spirit. Paige then says that this reminds her of Team PCB, in fact, and that gives her a great idea. It’s tea time, she says, and hustles off.
Commentary tells us that our main event is up next, and we go to a commercial break.
Back from the commercial break and we get a hype video for Buddy Murphy vs. Cedric Alexander for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship on tonight’s 205 Live.
Commentary announces a Mixed Tag Team Match between Rusev Day & Lana and The Usos & Naomi as well as Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair for next week’s show.
We see Andrade “Cien” Almas leave the locker room when Sin Cara shows up and greets him with a hug and a “good to see you.” Zelina Vega shows up to ask who he is and what he’s doing and Sin says that he and Andrade go way back, but Vega says that Cien is the future and Cara is nobody. Sin asks Almas if she’s serious and he replies in Spanish. Almas and Vega walk off as Cara watches.
Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass vs. Samoa Joe (Triple Threat Men’s MITB Qualifying Match): The opening bell sounds and Joe and Bryan team up early on to double-team Cass. Joe then turns on Bryan and beats him down in the opposite corner. They go back and forth, and then as Cass is getting up Bryan dropkicks him to the outside. Joe goes back to work on Bryan, and then runs the ropes and hits a big dive on Cass to the outside. Bryan then goes up top and hits a big splash off on Cass and Joe down on the floor. Back in the ring, Joe and Cass drop Bryan, and then they start going at it. Joe looks for the Coquina Clutch, but Bryan breaks it up. Joe unloads on Bryan now and hits a senton for a two count. Cass breaks it up, and then Joe unloads on him with strikes. Cass drops Joe, then Bryan hits Cass with the “yes” kicks. Cass drops Bryan, and then throws him outside. Cass throws Bryan over the announce table, and then Cass gets back in the ring and goes after Joe. Joe boots him in the face and then climbs the turnbuckle. Bryan runs over and bumps Joe down, then Bryan drops Cass too. Bryan throws Cass outside then baseball slide dropkicks him. Bryan goes up top with Joe and Bryan hurricanranas him down. Bryan gets fired up now and hits some running knee strikes on Joe in the corner. Cass runs in and clotheslines Bryan out of nowhere for a two count. Bryan gets up and starts dropping Cass and Joe. Bryan hits kicks to the head of both and covers Cass for a two count. Bryan continues to control the match, and he goes for a Yes Lock on Cass, but Joe breaks it up. Bryan drops Joe with a knee to the face, and then hits a missile dropkick off the top on Cass. Bryan starts the “yes” chant and hits a knee strike on Cass. Bryan pins, but Joe breaks it up and applies the Coquina Clutch to Bryan. Bryan tries to escape, but he fades and the referee calls for the bell. Winner & Qualifies For The Men’s MITB Ladder Match: Samoa Joe
After the match, Joe stands tall as his arm is raised and his music hits. We go to replays. Joe makes his exit up the ramp, looking back at the ring to mock Bryan for going to sleep. Joe’s music stops as Cass waits for Bryan to get up. Cass charges with a crazed look in his eye and floors Bryan with a big boot. Cass taunts Bryan and stands tall over him with his fist in the air as fans boo. Cass’ music starts up as he looks down at Bryan and SmackDown goes off the air.