Before he is a part of the Money-in-the-Bank Ladder Match in a few weeks at WWE Money-in-the-Bank, SmackDown LIVE kicks off with United States Champion Kevin Owens as the self-proclaimed “New Face of America” hosts Kevin Owens’ Highlight Reel. The champion says that the former host of The Highlight Reel, Chris Jericho, never won a Money-in-the-Bank Ladder Match before saying that he is going to climb a ladder and retrieve the Money-in-the-Bank briefcase. Owens then says that he is going to cash in the Money-in-the-Bank contract to become the “face and champion of the entire WWE”. Owens then introduces his guest on Kevin Owens’ Highlight Reel, bringing out one of the other participants in the Money-in-the-Bank Ladder Match as “The Artist” Shinsuke Nakamura makes his way to the ring. Kevin Owens says that Shinsuke Nakamura is “shrouded in mystery” as a lot of people want to know what Nakamura’s future is in WWE. Owens then says that the last guy he encountered that claimed to be a rock star was sent into “early retirement” thanks to him, saying that WWE Money-in-the-Bank will be the day that the “music dies”.
With Shinsuke Nakamura about to offer his rebuttal, “The Artist” is interrupted by fellow Money-in-the-Bank Ladder Match participant Baron Corbin as “The Lone Wolf” shows footage of the savage beating he gave Sami Zayn last week. Kevin Owens responds by saying that he’s been beating up Sami Zayn for fifteen years, saying that Corbin is not invited and telling Corbin to get the hell out. Nakamura then reminds Kevin Owens that he pinned the United States Champion last week and also reminds Baron Corbin that he lost to Sami Zayn twice last week. Corbin responds to this by attacking Nakamura and Kevin Owens joins in for a two-on-one beatdown on “The Artist” until Sami Zayn comes out to make the save, sending Owens and Corbin packing. Sami then tells Corbin that the fight between them is far from over and the fight between he and Owens is “never over”. Zayn then challenges Owens and Corbin to face him and Nakamura in a tag team match.
With WWE Money-in-the-Bank a few weeks away, the opening match of the night would feature four of the six participants in the Money-in-the-Bank Ladder Match as Sami Zayn would team up with “The Artist” Shinsuke Nakamura to face “The Lone Wolf” Baron Corbin and United States Champion Kevin Owens. During the match, Sami Zayn would send Kevin Owens into Baron Corbin and this would lead to a confrontation between Owens and Corbin with Owens shoving his tag partner and Corbin responds by laying the United States Champion out with a right hand! Sami then takes “The Lone Wolf” out of the ring as Shinsuke Nakamura catches Owens with the Kinshasa, pinning the United States Champion for the second week in a row to pick up the win for his team. After the match, Shinsuke Nakamura and Sami Zayn would go face-to-face in the ring before Sami exits the ring.
After twice defeating Breezango in title defenses last week, SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos would make an appearance on SmackDown LIVE. The champions call the fans “salty” for thinking that teams like American Alpha and Breezango could take the titles from them. The Usos then say that “nobody” goes harder than they do on the SmackDown LIVE roster. This would provide the perfect opportunity for an accomplished team to make their SmackDown LIVE debut as, after weeks of vignettes, the “power of positivity” arrives on Tuesday nights as the longest reigning tag team champions of all-time The New Day arrive on SmackDown LIVE! Xavier Woods says that they couldn’t think of a better place to make their SmackDown LIVE debut than in his hometown of Atlanta.
Unimpressed, The Usos tell The New Day that they’ve got the SmackDown LIVE tag team division on “lockdown”, welcoming The New Day to the “Uso Penitentiary”. Big E then says that they want the SmackDown Tag Team Titles before The Usos tell The New Day to open up their eyes because they run SmackDown LIVE. Xavier says that they actually know who runs SmackDown LIVE and that’s SmackDown LIVE Commissioner Shane McMahon, revealing that the Commissioner informed them that The Usos have some “very special opponents” at WWE Money-in-the-Bank. Kofi Kingston then says that The Usos had better get ready for The New Day to become the new SmackDown Tag Team Champions at WWE Money-in-the-Bank.
A new #1 Contender for the SmackDown Women’s Championship would then be determined on SmackDown LIVE as Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Natalya, Tamina, and Carmella, with James Ellsworth in her corner, would square off in a Fatal 5-Way Elimination Match with the winner earning the right to challenge Naomi for the SmackDown Women’s Title at WWE Money-in-the-Bank. However, before the match can begin, a brawl would break out between the five competitors, coming down to Charlotte Flair trying to fight off both Natalya & Tamina. Charlotte would manage to take Natalya out before Tamina and Charlotte take each other. Meanwhile, on the outside, Becky Lynch would toss Carmella over the barricade before leaping off of the barricade onto Carmella, taking out “The Princess of Staten Island”. Tamina then exposes the announce table at ringside with her sights set on Charlotte Flair, but Charlotte would battle back, sending Tamina into the ring post before suplexing Natalya on the floor! Charlotte then comes off of the top rope with a moonsault, taking out both Natalya & Tamina. Carmella then leaps off of the barricade with a high cross body, taking out Charlotte before Becky Lynch hits a Becksploder suplex to Carmella on the floor!
Tamina then blasts Becky with a super kick before Charlotte levels Tamina with a big boot and Natalya slams Charlotte to the mat. Natalya then tries to put Charlotte through the announce table, but Charlotte counters, sending Natalya into the steel steps. Charlotte then picks up Natalya, delivering a big powerbomb to Natalya through the announce table! With all five women struggling to get to their feet on the outside, SmackDown LIVE Commissioner Shane McMahon comes out to the ring to make a decision regarding the #1 Contender.
Shane mentions that all five of them are so focused on becoming the #1 Contender that they didn’t even let the match get started. The Commissioner then proposes that they do something “historic” before making the announcement that, at WWE Money-in-the-Bank, they are going to have the first ever Women’s Money-in-the-Bank Ladder Match as Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Natalya, Tamina, and Carmella will compete with the first woman to climb a ladder and retrieve the Money-in-the-Bank briefcase earning themselves a shot at the SmackDown Women’s Championship whenever they want it!
After twice coming up short in their quest to win the SmackDown Tag Team Titles last week, Breezango would face The Colons in tag team action on SmackDown LIVE. In the end, it was Tyler Breeze hitting Primo with the Unprettier, pinning Primo to pick up the win for Breezango.
For the first time since losing the WWE Championship to Jinder Mahal at Backlash, former thirteen-time World Champion “The Viper” Randy Orton would appear on SmackDown LIVE to address his rematch for the WWE Title at WWE Money-in-the-Bank. Orton says that he has beaten some of the greatest Superstars of all-time before saying that his late grandfather was part of the “silent era” where competitors didn’t talk about what they were going to do, they did it. Orton then says that the only thing that Jinder Mahal has earned the right to is an “Orton family ass-kicking”.
Orton continues, saying that he will never be able to show his face in his hometown of St. Louis at WWE Money-in-the-Bank if he fails to regain the WWE Title, saying that “winning is the only option”. Orton then says that he’s going to take a cue from his grandfather and stop talking, proclaiming that he’s going to be a fourteen-time World Champion come WWE Money-in-the-Bank. WWE Champion Jinder Mahal then appears on the Tron, telling Randy Orton that Orton is a “symbol of the past” before saying that he is the “present” and the “future” with The Singh Brothers applauding the self-proclaimed “Modern Day Maharaja”.
Then it was time for the main event as, three weeks before they are a part of the Money-in-the-Bank Ladder Match, Georgia’s own “Phenomenal” AJ Styles would go one-on-one with “The Show Off” Dolph Ziggler. During the match, AJ Styles would lock in the Calf Crusher on Dolph Ziggler, but Dolph rakes the eyes of Styles to get out of the submission before scoring with the Zig Zag, but AJ kicks out. AJ then goes for the Phenomenal Forearm, but Ziggler counters, hanging Styles up on the ropes before scoring with a super kick to the side of AJ’s head, pinning “The Phenomenal One” in his home state to pick up the upset victory. Dolph then points up at the Money-in-the-Bank briefcase before celebrating his victory.
What did you think of this week’s SmackDown LIVE? Post your comments in the box below.