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The march to Money in the Bank on July 18 continues on Friday at WWE SmackDown with a Last Man Standing match between Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn to determine the newest contender in PPV’s high-stakes namesake.
The match headlined an event that also promised the repercussions of Edge’s return a week ago and the subsequent revelation that The Rated R Superstar will challenge Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship in the upcoming spectacular.
Who emerges from the marquee fight and what is The Head of the Table’s answer to the blue brand’s iconoclast?
Find out now with this recap of the July 2 episode.
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Scheduled for Friday’s show are:
- The impact of Edge’s return on last week’s broadcast
- Last Man Standing, Money in the Bank Qualifier: Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn
Coverage starts at 8 pm
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“You thought you knew me” hit the arena and Edge walked into the ring, kicking off the show this week and marking his first interview since he returned seven days earlier.
Iconoclast acknowledged his disappointment with the way WrestleMania went, then noted the number of complaints he had with the way it happened in the main event Triple Threat Match against Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan for the Universal Championship.
Edge ended his promo by expressing confidence in his ability to beat Reigns at Money in the Bank and vowing to take it down two weeks from Sunday night.
Edge suffered a crushing defeat at WrestleMania and used his fall in that fight to build confidence and certainty ahead of his clash with Reigns at Money in the Bank. This is an easy story to follow and one fan can follow.
What’s interesting, however, is that he suggested he wouldn’t make excuses for WrestleMania, then proceeded to do just that. His tone also suggests that we may not have seen Edge’s heel tip yet, especially after he revealed his hostile feelings towards Bryan.
She may have earned credit for her comeback, and may be targeting heels that are hated more than she is, but that by no means means she’s a complete babyface.
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Desperate Baron Corbin teams up with Intercontinental champion Apollo Crews to battle Big E and Shinsuke Nakamura in the opening match of the night, the former king unable to focus early until a clothesline at the side of the ring allows him and his partner to take control of the fight.
Corbin and Crews punished Big E for most of the game until Rick Boogs, who accompanied Nakamura, revealed that the former United States champion G Wagon had been taken over. Corbin, in desperation, leaves himself open to the Big Ending as Big E takes the win for his team.
Big E and Nakamura beat Corbin and Crews
This is not good.
Not that the effort wasn’t there from the workers themselves, but it felt completely unnecessary when Corbin’s character development could have been done in other ways. Why drag Big E and Crews, even Nakamura, with it when Corbin could cut a promo with Kayla Braxton distracted by the revelation?
That Corbin was still using King Corbin’s graphics and music when he entered the arena suggests that this was thrown together without much thought. Unfortunately, it had a devastating effect on the entire segment and the Superstars involved.
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Bayley cut promos at Bianca Belair, claiming her loss last week didn’t bode well for her youth title. EST walks into the ring and offers an answer, admitting Bayley is in his head. So, at Money in the Bank, she wanted an I Quit Match for the SmackDown Women’s Championship.
Bayley said that if he ever said “I quit,” he would probably stop wrestling altogether. Belair has no chance of winning the match, he said before accepting the challenge. Belair laughed and said she couldn’t wait to hear Bayley say those two words in Money in the Bank.
This feud has continued, for reasons that eluded this writer and despite being creatively questioned from day one. However, the matches were excellent and the idea of I Quit Match, one of the few gimmick not to be beaten by the creative team looking for a way to brush up on its less-than-good bookings, was compelling.
Belair and Bayley beat each other in Hell in a Cell and without having to play the cage gimmick, they should be freer to tell the story they want than the match type demands.
How many times Bayley may have lost before his credibility took a hit, as it is highly unlikely that WWE officials took the title from The EST early on in his journey.
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Kevin Owens eliminated Sami Zayn, punished his best friend during a commercial break and did well on his way to victory in Friday’s Last Man Standing Match to get into Money in the Bank. An ill-fated attempt at the superplex of the top rope, through the two ringside tables allowed Zayn to turn things around in his favour.
Owens fought back with a fisherman suplex but Zayn pushed KO from top spot and over the aforementioned tables as the show headed into the second break.
Zayn dominated the action for several minutes until frustration set in, leaving him to take drastic action. A back-to-back Owens fired back into the match, unleashed hell, and pushed his opponent past two tables before putting him away with an apron powerbomb for the win.
Owens beats Zayn
It’s a pay-per-view quality match that, hopefully, ends this chapter of the Owens-Zayn feud.
Owens, calling out all the rage, frustration and rage his former best friend had caused in recent months, was demoted at the end of the game, delivering one of those signature knockout shows that reminded the audience he had to do more at these shows.
Kudos to Zayn, too, who is just as great as his opponent, using late facial expressions and body language to cover his disbelief that Owens won’t stay still.
The right person to go if this is indeed the conclusion of the story. While Owens may not be the flashiest choice to win Money in the Bank, he has unfinished business with Roman Reigns and it is one of the few accomplishments he has yet to achieve. Maybe this could be the start of a new push.
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Sonya Deville walks into the ring, introducing the newest entry into the Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match: the returning Zelina Vega! Liv Morgan took exception and challenged Vega to a game here, now and Deville seemed to give it away ahead of the break.
With Carmella watching from backstage, Vega took the fight to Morgan, seizing control early on. Clever Morgan, eager to prove himself, scores the win with a schoolgirl roll-up clutching tights.
Backstage, Seth Rollins was furious at Deville and Adam Pearce’s decision to give Edge a Universal Championship Match against Roman Reigns at Money in the Bank. Deville revealed he could stand a chance to win a ladder match at PPV…if he can beat Cesaro in next week’s qualifiers.
Morgan beats Vega
The matches were a bit inconspicuous as most took place during commercial breaks or in the rush after. Vega’s return, however, is a welcome thing. One of the underutilized talents on the roster, he showed his worth during Paul Heyman’s brief spell as Raw’s creative director and had a solid championship encounter in last year’s Clash of Champions.
Now on SmackDown, with the chance to make a big splash in the Money on the Bank match, she could be a game changer as a potential challenger to Bianca Belair. Especially considering the lack of depth on the list at this point.
Rollins still expresses his desire to challenge Reigns for the Universal Championship will eventually come to fruition if, and when, he turns into a babyface and can cut the unavoidable promo of being detained while high-ranking company officials protect their golden boy.
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The rivalry between The Street Profits and Alpha Academy continues on Friday as Angelo Dawkins seeks to avenge the injuries suffered by his partner Montez Ford at the hands of the great Otis and his partner, Chad Gable.
Otis, with a new look as Gable “No. 1 man,” Dawkins crushed, beating him in a curt and decisive manner. He finishes it off with a Vader Bomb, much to Gable’s delight.
Otis beats Dawkins
The match was a squash designed and worked perfectly. Otis seems like an unstoppable machine and while some may not be so thrilled by the prospect of another push for the former Money in the Bank winner, he certainly has a knack for benefiting the company in an expanded role.
Hopefully, Gable also benefits from the renewed interest in Alpha Academy as he’s too good to be ignored and underutilized to the extent that he has.
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Jimmy Uso walks into the ring and calls Edge, claiming that Roman Reigns isn’t there tonight. The Rated R Superstar appears, asking what happened to Uso. Where did the spine go? When did she become one of the Roman prostitutes?
Edge claims Reigns laid the perfect trap, but not for him. For Jimmy. Edge attacked the former tag team champion, beating him to a perfect super kick shocking the Hall of Famer. Edge fought back, hitting Jimmy and trapping him in the crossface, forcing a tapout.
Iconoclast breaks a piece of the chair and reapplies the grip, tormenting Jimmy and exclaiming, “I’m not stopping!” to close the show.
When one of the Usos needs Reign, the Head of the Table lets them hang out to dry. No help, no support from Big Dog. He essentially sacrifices Jimmy’s well-being, leaving him alone to fight the vengeful Edge.
This is another wrinkle in the story of the Universal champion that enhances his already high quality.
The question now is whether Jimmy will revisit his grudge against Reigns, especially since Edge planted the seeds with his pre-beatdown promo.