Following his surprising loss to Rusev last week in a Men’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Match, Daniel Bryan kicked off SmackDown LIVE by addressing the WWE Universe. Ever the optimist, a disappointed Bryan made it clear to the WWE Universe that he was ready to fight back into contention and soon become WWE Champion.
However, Big Cass quickly interrupted to, of course, degrade Bryan. Cass was relentless in his disrespect, even bringing Daniel’s family into the discussion and suggesting he should go home and “let Brie wear the pants.” When the seven-footer entered the ring, Bryan jumped him. Like a rabid animal, Bryan ferociously unloaded on Big Cass, pounding him down and eventually locking in a vicious heel hook. Finally, officials pried Bryan off Cass, and the big man retreated by limping away from Bryan, who was still staring daggers through his nemesis.
With the winning team claiming a place for one of its members in the Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match, The New Day and The Bar rekindled their epic tag team rivalry on SmackDown LIVE.
With so much on the line, Big E & Xavier Woods did not hesitate to take multiple big-time chances to neutralize Sheamus & Cesaro, while The Bar attempted to corner and wear down the pancake lovers. Chaos broke out with all four Superstars running rampant, but Big E used an awe-inspiring spear to knock Sheamus off the apron to the floor below, allowing Woods the opportunity to connect with a picture-perfect flying elbow onto Cesaro for the win.
Who The New Day will select to enter the Men’s Money in the Bank Match is still unknown, but there is one guarantee: They are now in the Money.
El Idolo has arrived!
Yes, former NXT Champion Andrade “Cien” Almas and his business manager Zelina Vega finally debuted on SmackDown LIVE after weeks of hype and anticipation. All the buzz proved to be more than worth it, as Almas put forth a dominant performance in front of the WWE Universe in London. Almas doled out his best, including the double knees into the corner and the devastating Hammerlock DDT for the academic victory as he kicked off his tenure on the blue brand with the most impressive of debuts.
After the match, Vega vamped on the microphone, claiming that she and Almas were expecting much more in their debut than a local competitor for “Cien” to steamroll. Vega made it clear that nobody on Team Blue would be taking advantage of them or Almas’ talents, but she and El Idolo would be taking over SmackDown LIVE.
The pomp and circumstance was on OVERLOAD as SmackDown Women’s Champion Carmella put on a Royal Mellabration complete with a town crier and royal guards. The Princess of Staten Island then entered the ring, which was decked out in a red carpet and leopard print, and requested (then demanded) the WWE Universe cheer and then bow for her. Princess Mella then insisted that she was better than all of them and every current female Superstar and WWE legends like Trish Stratus & Lita… combined.
Having heard enough, SmackDown LIVE General Manager Paige hit the scene in front of her home country faithful to inform Carmella that she may need to cut the celebration short to start preparing for her challenger for the SmackDown Women’s Title at WWE Money in the Bank… Asuka.
Carmella was livid as she left the ring, while all Asuka could do was smile knowing the opportunity that now awaited her.
With Paige wanting to drive the point home to Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville that Absolution was completely dead, the SmackDown LIVE General Manager pitted the two of them against each other and Becky Lynch in a Triple Threat Match, where the winner would qualify for the Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match on June 17.
Rose, of course, had scored what many considered to be an upset victory over Lynch last week on the blue brand, and although it was labeled a Triple Threat Match, the two friends wore Lynch down in the early goings before the chance at individual glory took hold of both.
With it now truly every woman for herself, all three Superstars seemingly had moments where they could’ve locked up the victory, but Deville and Rose essentially canceled one another out, allowing The Irish Lass Kicker to evade an attack from The Golden Goddess and catch her in the Dis-arm-her for the tapout win, surging out of her slump and into the Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match.
With the opportunity to pick the ever-important stipulation for their WWE Title bout at WWE Money in the Bank, WWE Champion AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura collided for the first time ever on SmackDown LIVE, carrying on their bitter rivalry.
Knowing each other so well, both Superstars found their offense in spurts, trading stiff strikes and brawling all over the ring. After Nakamura drilled The Phenomenal One with an expertly placed knee, The King of Strong Style grounded Styles and wore him down for several minutes. A fired-up Styles fought back, cracking The King of Strong Style with several stinging blows.
Nakamura evaded the Phenomenal Forearm, and Styles almost hit the official in the process. With the referee’s back turned, WWE’s Rockstar began to act as though Styles had nailed him with a low blow. Due to the history between the two Superstars, the official began to question Styles, causing AJ to lose focus for just a brief moment and allowing Nakamura to land a back suplex and a ring-rattling Kinshasa for the win and the opportunity to choose the stipulation for the WWE Championship Match at WWE Money in the Bank.
What stipulation will Nakamura choose?
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- The New Day (Big E & Xavier Woods) (w/ Kofi Kingston) defeated The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) in a Money in the Bank Qualifying match (9:25)
- Andrade “Cien” Almas (w/ Zelina Vega) defeated Jake Constantino (1:20)
- Becky Lynch defeated Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose by submission in a Triple Threat Money in the Bank Qualifying match (8:00)
- Shinsuke Nakamura defeated AJ Styles (17:35)
Other on-screen talent
Daniel Bryan snaps on Big Cass
The New Day vs. The Bar
Andrade Almas vs. Local talent
Carmella's Royal Mellabration
Becky Lynch vs. Mandy Rose vs. Sonya Deville
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. AJ Styles
- WWE Smackdown Live #978 at CAGEMATCH.net
- WWE Smackdown Live #978 at WWE.com
- [ Smackdown #978 on WWE Network]