We eat your words

WWE SmackDown Live Full Results, Grades and Highlights for June 6, 2017

Lana made her Smackdown Live debut last night, but what else went down? Check out all the results here.

INTRO: A replay aired of the women’s five-way elimination melee that took place last week. The recap ended with Shane McMahon announcing the first-ever women’s Money in the Bank ladder match.

OPENING SEGMENT: Shane McMahon strolled to the ring, which was already filled with the five women’s Money in the Bank combatants. Tom Phillips welcomed viewers, saying it’s all about making history. Shane introduced the Money in the Bank participants, starting with “two-time superstar” Tamina. He told the superstars he wanted to “do a little reveal”, then grabbed a black-clad object that descended from the ceiling. Shane unwrapped and showed off an ordinary, white Money in the Bank briefcase, prompting Phillips to utter a completely unwarranted “Wow.” Shane said this kind of match is “extremely dangerous”, and all performers leave a piece of themselves behind. But the reward is a guaranteed shot at the SmackDown women’s champion.

Ellsworth interrupted Shane to tell him there’s no need to “mansplain” how the Money in the Bank match works. Carmella informed her opponents that she’d be looking down at all those “stunads” when she claimed the briefcase. Charlotte Flair thanked Shane on behalf of her opponents for giving them the opportunity “to brush up against greatness”. Natalya showed an admirable lack of self-awareness by criticizing Charlotte for ripping off her father with her “woos”, then calling herself the best there is, the best there was, etc. Becky Lynch jumped in to tell Charlotte she was merely the best at ripping off her uncle Bret, and said the only thing the Lasskicker rips off “is arms.” Tamina retorted that her competitors were all talk, and that she’d shut them all up on June 18.

Naomi made her full entrance, dancing in a coat sporting light-up fringe. She said she’d love to compete in the ladder match. But whoever won the contract would have to face her, and Naomi warned her competitors that she stayed ready. She was interrupted by the reemergence of Lana. The erstwhile Russian menace shimmied her way down the aisle, looking glammed out with long hair and a floor-length blue dress. The Rochester crowd chanted for Lana. Shane did not look happy to see her, telling Lana that her presence in the ring did not work for him. Lana promised Shane that, “what works for me, I’ll make work for you.” She told him that she could step into the ladder match, triggering “Yes!” chants from the audience and snickering from the other superstars. Naomi asked Lana if she really thought she could hang in a ladder match. She told Lana that she’d never had a singles match, then asked who she’d ever beaten before snarkily adding, “Go ahead. I’ll wait.” Lana stared her down, then leaned in close to reply, “I can beat you.” Charlotte and Becky pantomimed sipping tea as the crowd ooh’ed in response.

Shane told Lana that a SmackDown women’s championship match is something that must be earned. She reacted by sputtering in Russian, then walking flustered out of the ring as the crowd booed her exit. Shane announced that a six-women tag team match would take place next.

Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, and Naomi vs. The Welcoming Committee

Charlotte and Tamina started with some mat wrestling, bringing up memories of their standout NXT Takeover match. Charlotte knocked Nattie down with chops as JBL referenced the history between their families. Charlotte mocked Carmella with a strut, then a moonwalk, before tagging in Lynch for a middle-rope double ax-handle. She kept up the intensity with several pinning combinations when Carmella entered the match, spinning the Princess of Staten Island with a rolling body-scissors maneuver. JBL said WWE would have to go from HD television back to nanotubes if Ellsworth accompanied a champion Carmella. The Welcoming Committee took over when Carmella dumped Lynch outside the ring, where Natalya hit her with a discus clothesline.

Back in the ring, Carmella hit a bronco buster on Lynch. Tamina tagged in to land a heat butt, then pull Lynch into a rear chinlock. The heel trio took turns putting the boots to Becky in their corner. Natalya hit Lynch with two snap suplexes, then threw her back into the corner for another Tamina chinlock. Tamina showed some viciousness by throwing right hands at Lynch’s face as she wrapped her up. A discussion of Lana’s spurned MITB request led to this sweet-talk:

Byron Saxton: “Sometimes you wish upon a star, too.”

JBL: “No, Byron, that doesn’t work. Cuz you’re still here.”

Natalya entered to step on Lynch’s stomach. She jeered Naomi and Charlotte on the apron, allowing Lynch to roll her up for a two-count. Natalya angrily beat Lynch down, then slammed her with a Michinoku driver. Lynch finally gained the upper hand with a sharp-looking enziguri kick. Carmella prevented the tag, only to be brought down with a sunset rollup. Her kickout launched Becky into her corner, allowing her to tag Naomi. The champion lit up Carmella with kicks and a sit-down jawbreaker. Tamina fared little better, eating a kick to the face and a springboard cross-body-block. Charlotte and Natalya got involved as Lana walked back to the ring. Natalya and Tamina whipped Naomi into the turnbuckle, but were both kicked to the mat after Naomi met their charges. She went back to the ring apron, but Lana interfered to sweep her legs out from under her. Naomi crawled under the ropes back into the ring, where Tamina met her with a superkick for the victory. Lana smiled and applauded the match result.

Result: The Welcoming Committee beat Naomi, Charlotte Flair, and Becky Lynch when Tamina pinned Naomi following a superkick.

Grade: B-

Backstage, Shane wrapped up a cell phone call as he chanced upon the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal trophy during his walk. Mojo Rawley eyed Shane and told him that winning that prize was the greatest moment of his life. But that victory didn’t serve as a springboard to greater heights, said Rawley, noting that, “I’ve been a ghost around here on SmackDown.” He reminded Shane that he’s the only man on the blue brand’s roster to defeat WWE Champion Jinder Mahal since the Maharaja came to SmackDown. Shane told Rawley that there are a lot of guys trying to break through, name-checking Tye Dillinger and Luke Harper. He offered Rawley a shot at joining the men’s MITB match – if he could beat Mahal again tonight. Mojo accepted the match. Rawley benefits from turning down his vocals a bit. He’s more sympathetic and easier to cheer when he refrains from constantly jumping around and yelling his lines.

Two men’s singles matches were announced for tonight’s show. Kevin Owens would face Shinsuke Nakamura, while a rematch would take place between AJ Styles and Dolph Ziggler. Wow, they didn’t waste time giving Styles his win back after he did the hometown honors last week.

AJ Styles vs. Dolph Ziggler

Lots of counters to start this match, broken up by strikes from both men. Ziggler scored a couple of two-counts as we go to an early commercial. We return to Styles fighting out of a Ziggler chinlock, then both men battering each other with right hands. Styles landed what Saxton called “a statement clothesline.” Ziggler fought out of a fireman’s carry, then double-legged Styles and tried to score a pin with his boots balanced on the top rope for leverage. Really obvious cheating here, and the referee stopped his count to admonish the Showoff. Styles maintained momentum with a fameasser for a near fall. JBL said that Ziggler had to be the betting favorite to win the MITB match. After Mahal’s ascension to his current spot, it’s tough to discount anyone’s chances to become the brand’s top guy.

Ziggler perched Styles on the top turnbuckle. Styles slipped underneath him, then dumped Ziggler when he went for a tornado DDT. Styles geared up for a Phenomenal Forearm. Ziggler tried to trip him off the top rope, but Styles evaded his attack this week and tried to snare Ziggler with a slingshot sunset flip. Ziggler grabbed Styles’ leg and held the ropes for leverage, but could not keep his opponent down. Styles failed to get the fall with another pinning combination, but turned Ziggler’s kickout into a Styles Clash for the win. Phillips announced that Styles “gets one back” on Ziggler. Saxton said that Ziggler’s momentum had now shifted to Styles.

Result: AJ Styles pinned Dolph Ziggler with the Styles Clash.

Grade: B-
Good match for what was shown, but the untimely commercial break and short running time held it back somewhat.

We got another episode of the Fashion Files, this one titled, “Dumb on Arrival”. Breeze introduced himself as a fashion cop. We enter his office with a focus on dual photos of Humphrey Bogart and Billy Kidman, with post-it notes spelling out, “Here’s lookin’ at you kid … man.” Well done, sir. Breeze stared at additional bulletin board material, which featured “Colon Cologne”, an Usos picture labeled “Anoa’ing”, another Tony Chimel appearance, and a sheet of Michael Hayes photos labeled “Repeated Offender”. Fandango entered while wearing a tie with no shirt. He said he brought last week’s mystery substance to the boys in the lab, only to discover that there are no boys or lab. Tasting the cologne himself (for prints) left Fandango with “a really bad taste in my mouth.” The two failed to work out the difference between Colon and cologne, which they took to mean they must be close to cracking the case.

Full color and an upright bassline kicked in as The New Day piloted their ice cream cart down a hallway. They entered the Fashion Police Department to find themselves rendered in black and white. Xavier Woods asked for Breezango’s help in solving a case. As the detectives chose to communicate telepathically (and only with each other), Big E told them there was something in it for them. Woods and Kofi Kingston pulled two rompers out of Big E’s singlet, bequeathing them to Breezango. Fandango threw the garment to the ground. He told Big E (if that even is his real initial) that he may like dirty dancing, but he’s not a dirty dancer. His department doesn’t take bribes or sell out. Breeze then sold him out by reappearing dressed in his romper. Fandango acquiesced upon seeing how cool the romper looked. New Day asked for some intel on the Usos, leading Breezango to hand over three boxes of evidence. The sleuths then regressed into communicating telepathically, mentally chanting “New – Case Rocks!” as New Day backed out of the room.

Back at ringside, JBL encouraged Saxton to follow Breezango’s example and stop talking. Rawley made his ring entrance as we go to commercial.

Phillips announced that John Cena would return to SmackDown Live on July 4. With Mojo waiting in the ring, the Singh Brothers made their way to the entrance ramp. Their bilingual introduction induced Mahal to join them. He bowed to touch the championship belt to his forehead, and strode confidently down the aisle. Putting aside SmackDown’s television ratings, he appears to have gained a champion’s confidence. Phillips said the WWE Universe is still feeling the shock of the title change at Backlash, but we are “settling into the reality” of Mahal being champion. JBL said that winning the championship left Mahal brimming with confidence. He said that, if Mahal could beat Randy Orton in the Viper’s hometown, we could be living in the new era of the Modern Day Maharaja.

Mojo Rawley vs. Jinder Mahal

Phillips reiterated that Mojo would become the seventh participant in the men’s MITB match if he won tonight. He battered Mahal with right hands to the midsection, invoking their WrestleMania battle royal scuffle. Remarkable to see how Mahal has skyrocketed to the world title and Rawley has been cast aside during the ensuing two months. Rawley hit a hip toss as Mahal scrambled to safety in the ropes. Collecting himself, Mahal responded with right hands before being shoulder-tackled out of the ring. The Singhs counseled the champion with unwanted advice as Rawley led the crowd in “He ain’t hype!” chants.

Back in the ring, Rawley hit a running tackle off the ropes. He set up his forearm smash finisher, but a Singh distraction gave Mahal enough time to fire off a boot to Rawley’s face. Mahal stomped Rawley down, then hit him with a short-arm clothesline in the corner. His resurgence was short-lived, as Rawley rebounded with a back suplex and more shoulder-tackles. Mojo hit a Stinger Splash against the turnbuckles, but Mahal raked his eyes to escape a fireman’s carry. He sent Rawley into the ring post shoulder first, then slammed him with the Khallas for the victory.

Result: Jinder Mahal pinned Mojo Rawley after hitting the Khallas.

Grade: C+
A lot of offense for Rawley in a relatively short match.

After the match, Mahal told the crowd to be silent when he speaks. Mild boos turned into a “USA” chant. Mahal said he dismantled Rawley’s dreams, and he’ll do the same to Orton. He said that Orton and his supporters were sick, and Mahal is their antidote. Once he cures the WWE Universe of Orton, the fans would have no choice but to accept Mahal as their Modern Day Maharaja. Mahal spoke Punjabi to “his people” as the Singhs applauded. Mahal then walked to the turnbuckle, where he stumbled on the bottom rope to laughter before holding up the title belt. JBL said that Orton carries all the pressure as he prepares to fight in his hometown.

The Nakamura/Owens match is promoted as we go to a vignette for…calligraphy? A Nakamura voice-over introduced footage of an artist painting interspersed with Nakamura’s moves and dancing. The ending sequence featured a resounding “Nakamura” chant as the camera panned in toward a finished canvas depicting Shinsuke throwing a flying kick. This was an effective short promo that highlighted Nakamura’s charisma and made him feel like a special performer.

The New Day walked happily backstage, eventually stealing a guy’s dinner plate and bottled water. Phillips said New Day would be in action for the first time since coming to SmackDown Live; Big E then grabbed somebody’s paper and began eating it as we went to commercial.

We remain backstage, as Renee Young interviewed Randy Orton. The Viper said he received calls from his father, Ric Flair, and Harley Race after last week’s SmackDown. Those legends all told him to let Mahal run his mouth, because actions will speak louder than words in the end. To him, Orton said, their advice meant he didn’t need to say one word – “and Jinder Mahal’s going to hear me just fine.”

The New Day vs. The Colons

Big E Frisbee-tossed Booty-O’s boxes into the crowd before force-feeding the cereal to fans along the aisle. JBL paid tribute to the Greatest Generation on the 73rd anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy. Xavier Woods and Primo got off to a fast start, with Woods hitting a flying head-scissors move and running dropkick. Epico entered to receive some forearms from Woods, who then whipped him into a Big E clothesline. The New Day hooked their opponents into stereo abdominal stretches, adding insult to injury by spanking their opponents to the “New Day Rocks” beat. Woods played trombone as we stay with the action through commercial break.

Woods and Big E hit the Colons from behind as they stalked Kingston outside the ring. Big E got a big running start before ramming Epico into the barricade, then brought him back inside the ring to allow Woods to engage. Primo entered the ring, distracting Woods long enough for Epico to whip him face-first into the bottom rope. A nasty move that brought back memories of Enzo Amore getting knocked out at Payback 2016. Back in the ring, Primo landed left hands and stomps to Woods’ head. He cut off Woods on a tag attempt with a clubbing clothesline against the turnbuckles. Primo mounted Woods onto the top turnbuckle, but was knocked back-first onto the mat with a head butt. Woods fired up with a big missile dropkick, then made the hot tag. Big E caught Epico with three belly-to-belly suplexes, then hip-swiveled his way into a running splash. He backdropped Primo out of the ring, then played traffic cop, waving on Woods as his teammate somersaulted over the ropes onto Primo. Meanwhile, Epico crept from behind to roll up E for a two-count. Epico fell victim to a blind tag, however, as Woods kicked him into Big E for the Midnight Hour.

Result: The New Day beat Primo and Epico Colon when Xavier Woods pinned Epico following the Midnight Hour.

Grade: B

The New Day’s post-match celebration was cut short by the Usos. The tag team champions called them “yesterday” and “old news.” Uce said they had the tag team division on lock, and welcomed New Day to the Uso penitentiary. But the twins said they weren’t always serious; they got jokes, too, as presented here:

Kofi Kingston runs around with pigtails and a croptop; all he’s missing is a tutu (“Get ‘em!”).

Big E’s name could also be his bra size (“Get ‘em!”).

Xavier Woods has whack taste in curly-toed footwear, which Woods doth protested. That line was exceedingly merciful compared to some of the post-WrestleMania Raw chants directed towards Woods.

The Usos said there’d be no more jokes or laughter at Money in the Bank. When the event gets closer, New Day would feel the goosebumps. It’s not paranoia, it’s the Usos. Good timing by WWE to bring back New Day to face the Usos as they’re peaking.

Owens was shown taping his wrists backstage. His first-time singles match against Nakamura is coming up.

Back from commercial, Dasha Fuentes interviewed Sami Zayn. She asked how he’s preparing for the MITB ladder match. Zayn said he’d been watching a lot of footage of his opponents, which, even though he’s faced them in the ring repeatedly, helped him pick up on a lot of their minor tendencies. He admitted that Nakamura is the one guy he can’t figure out no matter how footage he watches. Zayn said he’d provide commentary on Nakamura’s match tonight. This was a good Q&A segment that lent a realistic sports feel to Zayn’s promo, and portrayed Nakamura as unique even among the top superstars.

Baron Corbin walked into the shot. He asked Dasha if he could pose a question, then sucker-punched Zayn. Corbin grabbed a short ladder and bashed Zayn across the back with it. The Lone Wolf picked up Zayn and threw him face-first into an upright ladder. He told his prone foe that it looked like a spot on commentary had just opened up.

Shane was shown on his cell phone again, telling the other party that he just saw Sami get attacked and needed to deal with the situation. Naomi approached him to demand a match against Lana at Money in the Bank. Shane told Naomi that she was under no obligation to fight Lana, but Naomi insisted that she wanted the fight enough to put her title on the line. Shane agreed to book the match.

Kevin Owens entered the ring for his main event match against Shinsuke Nakamura, staring up at the MITB briefcase as we went to commercial.

Back from break, TJP said the cruiserweight division only exists because of him. He claimed to have watched a bunch of “loserweights” fight over a title that he made great. TJP told Neville that he couldn’t backstab someone standing right in front of him, and said it’s time to see who the real king is in their division.

Baron Corbin enjoyed his usurped seat at the announce table. He told the play-by-play team that he did them a favor by ensuring Zayn wouldn’t be out there to annoy them.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kevin Owens

A loud “Nakamura” chant emerged as the combatants eased into action. The two men traded wrist locks until Nakamura goaded Owens with his “C’mon!” taunt and scored with some kicks. Owens bailed to ringside as we went to the final commercial break.

We returned to find Owens kicking Nakamura while showboating for the crowd. A replay showed Owens tripping his opponent on the ring apron, then hitting a sweet fall-away slam into the barricade. Back in the ring, Owens takes us to Chinlock City. Nakamura fought out, only to get dropped with a DDT. Owens applied another chinlock, and this time Nakamura created separation and nailed a flying kick to Owens’ face. Nakamura floored Owens with another kick, then hit knees in the corner for a near fall. Owens battled out of a reverse exploder, then clotheslined Nakamura in the corner. He set up for a superplex; Nakamura knocked him off the turnbuckle, but Owens swept his leg off the ropes, bouncing Nakamura’s head off the top turnbuckle. Owens charged into his seated opponent with a cannonball. Corbin asked if that move was a cannonball or a marshmallow. Ugh. Maybe Corbin’s the guy who scripted the “tater tots” promo for Roman Reigns.

Owens glanced at the hanging MITB briefcase, then threw Nakamura into the ropes for the pop-up powerbomb. Nakamura responded with a spinning heel kick, then grabbed Owens and executed the reverse exploder on his second attempt. Nakamura hit the Kinshasa, pinning Owens with that move for the third consecutive week.

Result: Shinsuke Nakamura pinned Kevin Owens after a Kinshasa.

Grade: B

The announce team commented on various replays of Nakamura’s offense, then showed Nakamura gesturing to the hanging MITB briefcase. With his back turned, Corbin snuck into the ring and hit End of Days on Nakamura. Corbin smiled at his prone opponent before exiting the ring. JBL noted how destructive Corbin was tonight, then wondered what damage he could inflict in a no-disqualification ladder match. Nakamura sold neck pain as Corbin smirked at him from the entrance ramp.

 

HIGH SPOTS

Lana’s return
Lana looked, acted, and was received like a true star. Surprisingly, the audience treated her as a plucky face looking to prove herself rather than an entitled diva. We’ll see if WWE calls an audible on her presentation after that warm reception.

Nakamura settles in
SmackDown’s crowds have really taken to the Japanese superstar. After WWE introduced him with a thoughtfully considered rollout, the company must be happy with how Nakamura has been embraced by live audiences during his first two months on the main roster.

 

LOW BLOWS

Lack of in-show booking logic
Shane told Lana that she hadn’t done enough to deserve a slot in the Money in the Bank ladder match. Then he approved a title shot for Lana within the same program. That’s poor commissioning. The announce team responded by asking what Lana did to earn this match, but gave that question about two seconds of thought. This decision also makes the five Money in the Bank match participants look like fools for not confronting Naomi directly. They’ve got to break themselves just to attempt to earn a title shot, while Lana gets rewarded without wrestling anyone.

Presentation of Styles vs. Ziggler

These wrestlers are two of WWE’s top in-ring performers, and this 50/50 booking helps neither of them. Their rematch didn’t seem to have a purpose, was not built up by any promos earlier in the show, and got no favors from the ill-timed commercial break that broke it up. Styles and Ziggler deserve better, and SmackDown can’t afford to throw out this caliber of match in such a condensed, haphazard manner.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

This week’s show made it obvious that the WWE Championship match is being booked as the tertiary pay-per-view bout behind the two ladder matches. The Money in the Bank promotion seems strange considering that the winners of those contests will receive world championship opportunities. Mahal was presented as a powerful champion this week, but SmackDown audiences still seem to view him as a mid-level guy who was quickly airlifted into a higher position. Orton’s rebuttal was brief and direct. He got across the WWE title’s importance through referencing past world champions and their communication with him about the championship.

We’ll likely see another mishmash of encounters between the MITB participants next week before the June 18 pay-per-view. It will be interesting to see what feuds grow out of the match itself; Owens vs. Nakamura may have run its course tonight, although Zayn vs. Corbin appears to have legs. Oh, and JBL went back to ripping on his broadcast partner (Saxton this time) tonight. After a few weeks of tolerating Saxton’s presence – almost like he was afraid to belittle the people sitting next to him for some reason – JBL must feel he’s off probation, and can safely ridicule his fellow color commentator on the air.

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