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SmackDown Recap & Review – Episode 931

WWE SmackDown Live
Episode 931

Original Air Date: June 20, 2017
Event Date: June 20, 2017 (aired live)

City: Dayton, OH
Venue: Wright State University Nutter Center

Commentary: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, JBL
Ring Announcer: Greg Hamilton


The first-ever women’s Money in the Bank match ended in controversy, so tonight Daniel Bryan will return to SmackDown Live and sort things out.

Tamina, Charlotte, Natalya, and Becky Lynch wait outside Daniel Bryan’s office. They want to discuss the MitB situation, but Bryan wants to talk to Carmella and James Ellsworth first.

Ring Area
Carmella and James Ellsworth head to the ring. Carmella is carrying the MitB briefcase that Ellsworth handed to her at Money in the Bank on Sunday. Ellsworth calls for everyone to get up and give it up for the first ever female Money in the Bank winner, Carmella. Carmella then welcomes everyone to the “fabulous era of Carmella.”

Carmella complains about trending on Twitter not because she won, but because of people angry at how she won. She says she doesn’t care how she won. She’s not about “girl power,” she’s about proving how smart she is after being disrespected for so long. She talks about how other people have had help in MitB matches (conveniently leaving out the fact that all of the people she mentioned actually retrieved the briefcase from the top of the ladder themselves).

She blames “the Internet” for forcing Daniel Bryan to address the situation, but she says he’ll have no choice to agree with what she’s saying. After all, how can you break a rule if there is no DQ?

** This is seriously a stupid story line. I understand what they’re doing, but it’s a totally cheap way to get Carmella booed. It’s one of those times when WWE chooses to not follow what they’ve previously established just because doing so fits with what they want to do. The argument that Carmella used (and JBL so annoyingly and smugly keeps repeating) is that it was no DQ so there was no rule to break. Yeah, we get that, but that has nothing to do with why this is stupid.

WWE has pretty much always said the way you win a ladder match is by climbing the ladder and retrieving whatever is hanging above the ring. No one in the women’s MitB match retrieved the briefcase from above the ring. That is a rule, and that rule was not followed. That’s the end of it. There should be no controversy. There’s only controversy because it fits this stupid, insulting story that they want to push.

I wish the live crowds wouldn’t react the way WWE wants them to for stuff like this. If you want to show WWE they’re doing stupid stuff, don’t boo Carmella, just be quiet. No reaction is the worst thing from the WWE’s perspective. It shows that what they’re doing doesn’t work. If people react strongly to this then they’ll keep doing cheap, illogical things because they think it’s working. **

Daniel Bryan watches Carmella’s speech on a monitor. Charlotte walks up and says Bryan needs to do something. Charlotte says all the women were excited about the match, but she’s not happy about how history was made at MitB.

Ring Area
New Day heads to the ring. They had planned to head into tonight with the SD Tag Titles, but The Usos prevented that by walking away from their match on Sunday. Because of that, New Day invites The Usos to step into their “playpen.”


Match 1
Big E w/ Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston vs Jimmy Uso w/ Jey Uso (SD Tag Champs)
(referee: Jason Ayers)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Big E wins via pinfall after a Big Ending
Time: 3:20 (joined in progress)

Match Thoughts
This was pretty good. They revisited The Usos attempting to take a walk like they did at MitB and showed New Day stopping it, so I think this is a pretty good next step in the feud. I’d like to see The Usos get a good, definitive win at some point though. I don’t think it would hurt New Day at all.


Natalya tells Bryan that it’s great to see him and wishes him a happy belated Father’s Day. Tamina gets to the point and asks Bryan if he’s going to do something about Carmella. Bryan says he’ll have a decision shortly.

John Cena returns to SmackDown Live on the 4th of July.

Dasha Fuentes asks Naomi her opinion on the outcome of the women’s Money in the Bank match. Naomi thinks it’s “unfortunate,” but she also thinks Bryan will make the right decision. Lana walks up and tells Naomi she should thank Carmella for causing a distraction during the title match at MitB. Lana then tells Naomi that she wants a rematch. For some reason Naomi agrees to it, saying Lana will get another title match next week on SmackDown.

Earlier today, Tom Phillips sat down with Randy Orton. Phillips asks Orton what happened during the title match at MitB. Orton says he lost control when the Singh Brothers messed with his father. He also says Mahal made things personal by disrespecting his family, so now Orton is out to hurt Mahal.


Match 2
Dolph Ziggler vs Shinsuke Nakamura
(referee: Dan Engler)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Shinsuke Nakamura wins via pinfall after Kinshasa
Time: 13:43 (1 break)

Match Thoughts
Great match! This might have been better than their match at Backlash. It seems like Nakamura is really starting to hit his stride. This match had some brutal strikes, some great chains and sequences, and you could feel the energy gradually build all the way to the end of the match. I’ll be watching this one again.


Daniel Bryan tells Sami Zayn that he has a match with Baron Corbin next week. Becky Lynch walks up and Zayn tells her the she got robbed at MitB. Zayn walks off.

Lynch vents her frustration over being so close to retrieving the MitB briefcase but having it taken away by James Ellsworth. She feels that every time she tries to get ahead on SmackDown her opportunities are taken away. To her, SmackDown isn’t the land of opportunity, it’s the land of handouts. She asks Bryan what he plans to do about it. He says it’s complicated, but Lynch asks why doing the right thing is complicated.

Ring Area
Kevin Owens heads to the ring. Owens says the only reason he’s not currently Mr. Money in the Bank is because everyone else in the match knew he was the most dangerous competitor, so they all conspired against him. But Owens is still the new face of America, and he’s still the United States Champ.

Owens says the USA was the original land of opportunity, so with that in mind he is going to give someone from Dayton, Ohio a chance to win the US Title. The Kevin Owens Face of America Open Challenge begins with AJ Styles heading to the ring. Unfortunately, Owens informs Styles that he specifically said that his open challenge is for someone local to Dayton, Ohio. With that, American Alpha comes out and Chad Gable heads to the ring.

Owens tells Gable he knows that he isn’t from Dayton. Gable says he just moved to Dayton. This morning. Owens asks Gable for his address, so Gable gives him one (which just happens to be the address for Wright State University where SmackDown is being held tonight).


Match 3
New Face of America Open Challenge US Title Match
Kevin Owens (US Champ) vs Chad Gable
(referee: Danilo Anfibio; guest commentary: AJ Styles)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Kevin Owens wins via pinfall after a pop-up powerbomb
Time: 2:57 (1 break)

Match Thoughts
This was really short, but it was a fun segment overall. It was really about about the stuff leading up to the match rather than the match itself.


The Hype Bros talk to Daniel Bryan and make the case that they still deserve the tag title shot they earned last year. Bryan says he’ll give them an opportunity. If they can beat The Usos next week, then they’ll get a title match in the future.

A commercial for Sonic milkshakes. Sami Zayn asks Tye Dillinger to rate two different shakes. He gives them both a 10.

Ring Area
Daniel Bryan heads to the ring. Bryan says he’s glad to be back on SmackDown, but he wishes it was under different circumstances. He invites all of the competitors from the women’s MitB match to the ring, so Charlotte, Tamina, Natalya, Becky Lynch, Carmella, and James Ellsworth head to the ring.

Bryan says he listened to Carmella and she had some good points. He agrees that there has been interference in past MitB matches, but there has never been an instance where someone climbed the ladder, unhooked the case, and handed it to someone else. Ellsworth says that being a father has made him soft, so Bryan responds by saying if Ellsworth talks about his baby girl one more time that he’s going to punch Ellsworth in the face and fire him on the spot.

An argument starts to break out among everyone in the ring. Bryan calms things down and says that history is going to be made again. Carmella is going to be the first women ever to give up the MitB briefcase, and next week there will another women’s MitB match featuring the same five women. Bryan then takes the briefcase and walks away. A brawl breaks out in the ring anding up with Charlotte and Becky Lynch isolating and attacking Carmella.

** This was the best thing they could do in the situation they created up to this point, but I still don’t like the story. All my complaints are still valid. A redo is not the same as the original match and the original moment. And like I mentioned in my recap of the Money in the Bank PPV, Carmella should have cashed in on Sunday because this announcement was really inevitable. It might have made things more interesting if Carmella actually became champ since all the women on SmackDown would be involved in the situation, and it would have been a lot more complicated. **


Match 4
Jinder Mahal (WWE Champ) w/ The Singh Brothers vs Luke Harper
(referee: Ryan Tran)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Jinder Mahal wins via pinfall after The Khallas
Time: 6:46 (1 break)

Match Thoughts
This was pretty good. Harper was all over Mahal for most of this match. Baron Corbin came out at one point and did a lap around the ring with the MitB briefcase which caused a distraction, but a distraction from one of The Singh Brothers is what led directly to the finish of the match.


Ring Area
After the match Randy Orton heads to the ring. He takes out both The Singh Brothers and attacks Mahal. Orton beats on Mahal around ringside before attempting to continue the beating in the ring. The Singh Brothers attack Orton, giving Mahal time to escape through the crowd before they’re both taken out by Orton yet again.


Show Impressions
I think I’ve made my thoughts on the women’s MitB stuff pretty clear already, so I won’t go over that any more. Except for this: if they’re just going to wipe the slate clean and redo the MitB match (as well as the Women’s Title match) almost immediately, then what was the point? To get Carmella more over as a heel? I don’t think it really helped her to any degree. And everyone already hates Ellsworth since he doesn’t do anything and has greatly overstayed his welcome.

Other than that, there was some okay stuff on the show. The WWE Title situation still feels like it’s maybe second or third in terms of importance on SmackDown right now, though I appreciate how the feud is becoming more personal. Ziggler vs Nakamura was great, and I liked the Owens/Styles/Gable segment. And really, I wouldn’t have as much of a problem with the women’s MitB stuff if it wasn’t such an insulting way to end the match on Sunday and if it wasn’t such an eye-rolling contrivance to create the whole “controversy” in the first place.

Okay, I’m done ranting.

This episode of SmackDown wasn’t bad overall. It was pretty good actually.

Match of the Night
Dolph Ziggler vs Shinsuke Nakamura
This was a PPV quality match. Great stuff.



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