June 11, 2015
We begin our SmackDown rundown on a somber note, as the world found out about the passing of Dusty Rhodes hours before SmackDown took the air on Thursday. Rhodes, 69, was one of the biggest legends in the industry, and the sting of his passing was felt throughout the entire wrestling community. Even though he wasn’t given a mention before SmackDown took the air, I’m not going to get too upset about it because it was so sudden, and it really wouldn’t do Rhodes any justice. I’m sure WWE is putting together a huge tribute package to Rhodes to be aired either at Money in the Bank or Monday night on Raw.
As for SmackDown, the go-home show to Money in the Bank was pretty good. Lafayette, La.’s Cajundome was the site for the final build to Sunday night’s annual event, and the main event was definitely entertaining and may have sold some people on getting the WWE Network.
With each wrestler hitting their spots, it made for an entertaining end to the program. But there was a surprising fellow [and not fella] standing tall at the end. Who, you ask? You’ll have to wait and see. Unless you read the headline. Then just wait.
For my Money in the Bank preview, click here.
Here are the main stories coming out of SmackDown:
Dean Ambrose opened the show with a good promo in the ring, with what looked like the WWE World Heavyweight Championship belt. Seth Rollins had heard enough and confronted Ambrose and demanded he give him back his belt, to which Ambrose surprisingly obliged. But, there was a good reason for that. You see, Ambrose left the belt laying in the ring and went to the outside as Rollins came inside the ring to retrieve what he thought was his WWE World Heavyweight Title. It was, in fact, a replica belt that Ambrose had purchased in the arena after apparently misplacing the actual WWE World Heavyweight Title belt during his partying in New Orleans Monday night. Ambrose hightailed it, promising he’d have the actual title belt at Money in the Bank.
I really enjoyed that segment and thought it was a good way to head into Sunday’s main event. Ambrose has figured out the way to make Rollins basically go insane, and he’s just playing the game at this point. It’s working for the audience, and it’s working for me. Good stuff here. Kane then made an appearance and booked Seth Rollins in a match with Dolph Ziggler.
The video package SmackDown aired highlighting the short but great feud between NXT Champion, Kevin Owens, and United States Champion, John Cena was spectacular. WWE always does video packages with the utmost precision and detail, and there’s very rarely a package that doesn’t get the blood going and get you pumped up to want to see a fight. But is it available at the present time on WWE’s YouTube channel? No! Sad. But they have the video above, which is still a great video package to get the juices flowing. We know Owens should win this match. We are all afraid Cena will win. One thing’s for certain – something will happen Sunday night. I guarantee that.
The Money in the Bank Ladder Match was set up really well at the end of SmackDown, as each wrestler hit their finishing maneuvers before Big E and Xavier Woods came down to end the match with a disqualification.
They then took out Roman Reigns, took a ladder out from under the ring, set it up in the ring for Kofi Kingston as he started his ascent to the top. But wait! Ziggler, fresh off his match with Rollins, came out with his own ladder and the high spots weren’t over! Neville ascended a ladder and performed a dive onto the fighting wrestlers outside of the ring in what was a great spot.
Neville was then the one standing tall on the ladder with the Money in the Bank briefcase as the show ended. Interesting ending, because I still don’t think Neville wins the match. But it’s great to see him being put in a prominent position going into the pay-per-view. Look out for the high spots Sunday night.
Neville spoke with WWE.com after SmackDown ended and said DO NOT MISS Money in the Bank. So if you do, and things happen that you don’t like, it’s your fault.
Michael Cole sat down with Lana for his weekly WWE.com interview on Wednesday, and highlights of the video above were shown on SmackDown. Rusev interrupted the interview and tried once again to woo Lana back, but she wasn’t having any of it. She said it was over and Rusev flipped out again and started destroying the equipment around the set with his crutches. The slow burn regarding this split has actually been done really well, despite my assessment that WWE should never have broken them up.
In what might have been the highlight of her career thus far, Alicia Fox addressed Paige’s comments from Raw. Paige basically said the entire division hated the Bellas and were sick of them and that their run would end soon. Fox approached Paige backstage and told her she doesn’t speak for all the Divas and challenged her to a match. Simple things like this are all I need to see in a wrestling program. It was short, sweet, and pretty much on point. Sometimes less is more. #GiveDivasAChance
• Non-Title: Ryback (c-IC) d. The Miz by pinfall via Shell-Shocked. Big Show came out after the match and shot a promo on Ryback.
• King Barrett d. Jack Swagger by pinfall via the Bull Hammer elbow. He and R-Truth interacted a bit since Truth was doing commentary, but nothing happened.
• Non-Title: Seth Rollins (c-World) d. Dolph Ziggler by pinfall via a roll-through with a handful of tights. Best name for a finisher ever? Rollins held the tights after Ziggler tried a crossbody off the top rope and Rollins rolled through for the pin.
• Paige d. Alicia Fox by submission via the PTO.
• Roman Reigns, Randy Orton and Neville d. Sheamus, Kane and Kofi Kingston by disqualification after Big E and Xavier Woods interfered.