SmackDown opened hot this week and closed the same way.
To start things off, known badass Samoa Joe came to the ring, grabbed a ladder, set it up, climbed it, and grabbed the Money in the Bank briefcase. Normally, this is a pretty lame trope. But when Joe does it, it looks great. Because this is a man who is a certified asskicker. Everything he does is with complete conviction. Then he cut a promo about how Daniel Bryan is going to learn that forced retirement isn’t the worst thing. He invoked Bryan’s wife and child and while he didn’t say anything too terrible, it sounded brutal.
Mentioning Bryan’s family was enough to bring Daniel out. He warned Joe that if he mentioned his wife or child one more time, he’s going to break his leg. Since Bryan has been back, his promo work has been great.
It looked like we were going to get this fight immediately…
But then Big Cass happened.
What a bummer, but in the best way. Here’s a heel coming out and ruining what we all wanted to see. He claimed Bryan isn’t going to have this match. Instead, by decree of GM Paige, Cass is getting the match with Samoa Joe as soon as he’s cleared. (He came out with his crutch.)
Then he revealed he was already cleared.
He swung his crutch and nailed Samoa Joe. Then he picked up the briefcase and hit both men in the face with it.
It turned out that Big Cass wasn’t entirely truthful. Paige didn’t make the call he claimed. Instead, she booked a triple threat match for the main event for the three men involved.
Much like the opening segment that set it up, the main event was very entertaining. Everyone got a chance to shine. Big Cass had plenty of moments of dominance and in a triple threat with two seasoned vets, he didn’t have the wasted motions he seemed to at Backlash.
Daniel Bryan is just fantastic. I missed him when he was gone, but I don’t think I realized how much I missed him until he came back. They’re really playing up how dangerous Daniel is with his submission game. Prior to his injury, he won with the Yes Lock but was more a plucky underdog. While he’s still an underdog size wise, he’s presented as a serious submission artist who can snap a limb at any time.
And Joe? Well, Joe won the match by doing what he said he would. He put Daniel Bryan to sleep. Daniel Bryan had just delivered his flying knee to Big Cass so the big man wasn’t around to break up the submission. So Bryan fought until he passed out to the Coquina Clutch.
After the match, Big Cass delivered a big boot to Bryan to add some salt to the wound because he sucks… but in a good way.
Shinsuke Nakamura faced off against the Perfect Ten Dillinger this week because… the #10? There was a twitter exchange which was pretty much all about that.
During the match, Nakamura tried to use his lethal strikes to make a point. Multiple times he tried to win by total knockout instead of pinfall. However, in the end, after hitting the Kinshasa, he went for the pin and got the win. Post match, he delivered another knee to the back of Tye’s head and then counted to ten, a count Dillinger had no chance in beating.
I’ll admit, I was disappointed that Nakamura won by pinfall after trying to make the point he’s good enough to put a man down for the ten count. The fact that he ended up winning with a pinfall had a tinge of defeat in it. I don’t know why he didn’t just deliver the second Kinshasa and win by the TKO he was looking for. It would have made him feel a bit more dangerous than he already does.
This is a bit of a nitpick, and I appreciate they are trying to make Nakamura feel deadlier in the ring. It’s something that absolutely needs to be there to contrast his goofy attitude. At his best heel form, he should almost be like the Joker. Laughing and goofy one moment and murdering his opponent the next.
WWE SmackDown Live recap and reactions (May 29, 2018): Joe is a Bad Man:
Mandy Rose, whose entrance I’d feel a bit embarrassed watching if my mother was walking into the room, faced Asuka. It was more of an even match than you’d probably guess seeing the match on the card. But Mandy’s bud Sonya Deville ambushed the Empress of Tomorrow prior to the match which led to Asuka fighting from underneath much of the match. In a match that was one of Mandy’s better main roster matches (which admittedly is a very small sample size), she ended up tapping to the Asuka Lock.
Carmella watched ringside while on commentary and wouldn’t shut up about beating Charlotte Flair twice. After the match she stepped in the ring, postured with the title in front of Asuka, and then moonwalked back. Lordy, she’s annoying… in a good way though. I’m to a point where I don’t like her and want her to lose. As it should be.
WWE SmackDown Live recap and reactions (May 29, 2018): Joe is a Bad Man
Dance Off – Lana and Naomi had themselves a dance off. While these segments are hit or miss, this was fine. The dance part was pretty quick and led to Lana delivering a cheap shot to Naomi. Rusev Day and the Usos, who were there to cheer on their respective dancers, came to blows as well and Team Glow Uce held the ring.
Chemistry – The New Day defeated the Bar and the Miz, a team who were accessories to attempted murder the last time they teamed up. This was a super fun match between super fun teams. We don’t yet know who will represent the New Day at Money in the Bank and we likely won’t until the pay-per-view. But that’s probably the way it should be.
This was a fun, tightly paced episode this week.