0 of 7
After a murky week, “Tribal Chief” Roman Reigns returns to SmackDown with several topics to deal with, including the status of his cousin Jimmy Uso and Money in the bank’s opponent Edge.
What will the Table Head have to say as he prepares for the Hall of Fame challenger for his Universal Championship on July 1
Elsewhere, who qualifies for the final spots in men’s and women’s money in the bank ladder, and who challenges Bianca Belair at pay-per-view following Friday’s grim announcement of Bayley’s unintentional injury?
Find out now with this summary of the July 9 broadcast.
1 of 7
Announced for Friday’s show are:
- Roman Reigns returns
- Money in bank qualification: Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins
- Money in the bank’s qualification: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Baron Corbin
- The latest on Bayley following WWE.com’s announcement of a knee injury that will keep her sideways for up to nine months
Coverage begins at 20.00
2 of 7
Universal champion Roman Reigns started tonight’s broadcast and almost immediately took exception to Edge’s claims a week ago that he’s scared of the Hall of Famer, or that The Iconoclast is in his head. He’s not. He dominated WrestleMania, won the match and printed a shirt based on it.
The topic of conversation turned to the family, and Jimmy Uso took to the ring. After insinuating Reigns was on vacation, the boss of the table said he was busy doing what his cousin could not. Jey Uso took to the ring and said he was back for all of them.
Jey always promised to have his brother’s back and Reigns repeated that no one can touch them when they are together. The big dog embraced Usos and put their family drama behind them, presenting an overall front for any babyface challenger to overcome.
Anyone wondering if WWE should acknowledge Jimmy’s legal issues this week got their answer pretty early on when Jey promised to stick with his brother throughout the darkness. An emotionally charged Jimmy could be caught after the middle ring embrace with Reigns.
The segment itself reunited The Bloodline and presented an almost insurmountable obstacle for Edge to overcome if he hopes to capture the universal championship that has eluded him through 2021.
However, as has been the case throughout the family drama, there is potential for further disagreement sooner rather than later. It only takes a Uso scrub to earn Reign’s anger and put the relationship back on the rocks. Until that happens, though, the creative team has created a hell of a heel act for SmackDowns babyface to try to overcome if they want to remove the table leader.
3 of 7
With Big E and commentator Pat McAfee looking at the ring edge and enjoying pedicures at the same time, Shinsuke Nakamura and Baron Corbin continued their endless feud in a Money in the Bank qualifier.
Corbin shook shots of his economic status and loss of the King of the Ring crown to dominate his opponent early. Nakamura fought back and got the former Arizona Cardinal to roll, but Corbin drove the new king into the announcement table as the show went on to break.
Corbin survived a triangular choke from a re-flared Nakamura and turned him inside out with a large clothesline. The king responded with a Kinshasa and scored the pinfall victory to advance to money in the bank.
Nakamura defeated Corbin
This was the best of their last matches, but for the sake of all goodness can we please never ever book this match again? It has been exaggerated, the wrestlers involved do not have much in the way of chemistry in the rings, and the pairing’s overexposure last month has made it incredibly difficult to ever want to see it again.
Corbin as the broken heel after a solid year and a half of bragging and celebrating his status as the King of the Rings is a good touch. The underdog will hopefully breed a new persona for the underrated big man who has quickly evolved into one of WWE’s unoccupied workhorses.
4 of 7
The women’s tag team champions Natalya and Tamina went to the ring and addressed the idea of a new team debuting at SmackDown to try to threaten their reign as the top tag team in women’s wrestling. Shotzi Blackheart and Tegan Nox (apparently recognized as Shotzi and Nox) exploded through the curtain on the former tank, announcing to the world their call to the main list.
NXT exports dominated the match, completely capturing the champions and winning a disrupted victory after Blackheart’s Ballpit finisher at The Queen of Harts.
Shotzi and Nox defeated Natalya and Tamina
This was a glorified squash, a victory aimed solely at creating challengers for Nattie and Tamina, while at the same time adding depth to a SmackDown women’s division that suddenly and inexplicably found itself devoid of stars after the Bayley injury that will take her out of the money in Bank pay-per-view.
Shotzi and Nox looked good in their short outing and more importantly than looking like they belong. Now it’s up to them to build on the momentum they have and for WWE Creative to move forward with what appears to be a pretty big push right out of the gate.
If both sides can keep up with their termination on the deal, the result will be two new stars ready to do great things in a company eager to find new faces to carry it into the future.
5 of 7
Sonya Deville officially announced the injury Bayley suffered before throwing in a pre-recorded video in which the role model accused fans of her accident. From there, Pride Fighter and WWE official revealed that Bianca Belair will defend her SmackDown Women’s Championship next week against Carmella.
The most beautiful woman in the world walked into the ring and thanked Deville, only to be cut off by Liv Morgan, who took exception to what she considered favoritism. Deville told Morgan she was to replace Carmella in Money in the Bank, which the former member of the Riott Squad promised to win and monetize on her rival.
Belair showed up and questioned Bayley’s injury before promising to beat Carmella next week.
A video package was aired promising the upcoming debut of Toni Storm on the main list.
If there is one positive in the segment, it was continuity.
Deville has repeatedly shown questionable bias against Carmella, and this decision continues this story so that Morgan can crusade for justice. Now that she’s got it, there’s a very real opportunity to advance the story with Carmella stealing her place back if she loses to Belair a week from tonight.
In what universe would it make sense for Bayley to fake an injury and miss her title opportunity? It was a silly claim from Belair that was intended to attack Bayley’s integrity but landed with a blow.
The impending debut of Toni Storm will be fantastic for the SmackDown women’s division, but the key to success will, as always, be her creative. Here she hopes that her enormous talent is supported by appropriate reservation because the division as a whole will have an exponential advantage of having her in it.
6 of 7
Cesaro and Seth Rollins wrote the final chapter of their rivalry in a qualifying for the bank, where their championship aspirations are at stake.
The back-and-forth battle saw both men take control at various points, until Swiss Cyborg spanked Rollins repeatedly. The architect fought back and opened his opponent’s forehead when Kevin Owens, who was sitting in a commentary, warned the viewer of an exposed knob.
Cesaro, slowed by his head injury, repeatedly found himself fighting the referee’s count on the floor until Rollins delivered an evil DDT on the entrance ramp. Cesaro fought through the blood flowing into his, hitting the referee’s count back in the ring only to be swapped on the trunk when Rollins redeemed his ticket for the July 18 paycheck.
Rollins defeated Cesaro
Rollins and Cesaro will always deliver in this kind of longer matches and this did not disappoint. What made it was WWE’s sudden abandonment of Cesaro’s main event button.
After losing to Roman Reigns on WrestleMania Backlash, the Swiss superman was the biggest baby face the bruise had. The unnecessary continuation of the feud with Rollins and a lack of dedication to continue his run at the title cooled him.
After losing this match, it looks like he is completely out of the title picture and his place near the top of the map is also in danger.
Why? He did everything you could possibly want someone in that position to do. He performed so far, had a Match of the Year nomination with Reigns and was the talk of the internet wrestling world. What now?
Does he get out of the middle card? Is WWE pushing him back into a tag team?
Maybe someone should send him over to Raw, where he could benefit from feuding with Bobby Lashley as a new hot challenger.
7 of 7
Edge took to the ring to end Friday’s show, ready to call Roman Reigns ahead of their nine-night Universal Championship Match at Money in the Bank.
The classified R Superstar doubled the idea that Reigns feared him and promised to take the universal championship by money in the bank. He threw down the proverbial punk card and called out Reigns. Tribal Chief, who looked in the locker room, got up and ordered his cousins to stay behind the scenes.
Reigns took to the ring, only for Usos to come to his side, Jey referring to his concern for a trap. The table leader entered the ring without his cousins and exchanged rights and left with Edge before Rey and Dominik Mysterio returned and wiped out Usos at the edge of the ring.
Jimmy and Jey fought back, but not before Edge planted Reigns with an impaler DDT. The iconoclast sat up for a spear, but Usos took him down. Mysterios made the save, but Reigns escaped the ramp. Edge used the chair-assisted cross surface for Jey with the help of the brand champs when Tribal Chief watched from the stage.
Mysterios were right off the television long enough for you to forget them, making their return to the concluding segment a pleasant surprise. That Rey and Dominik have established problems with The Usos and Reigns only makes it much better. In particular, their involvement in this segment was not only sensible, but it also created a potential six-man tag team match that could serve as a giant main event match for next week’s episode of SmackDown in front of a live audience if the team wanted to go on the way.
Edge looked like a man who did not get stuck, sending a message to Reigns while inflicting pain and punishment on one of the men responsible for not currently holding the Universal Championship.
Reigns to look at how his cousins endured a blow will inevitably cost him, especially when Jimmy and Jey get tired of taking ass-kicks in his name. No matter how many dream matches WWE throws around, it still feels a lot like the only fitting end to Reigns’ title race is in the hands of (or the foot) of Jey Uso.