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SmackDown Live Recap & Review – Episode 978

WWE SmackDown Live
Episode 978

Original Air Date: May 15, 2018
Event Date: May 15, 2018 (aired live)

City: London, England, UK
Venue: The 02 Arena

Commentary: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
Ring Announcer: Greg Hamilton


Ring Area
The commentators talk about the three matches AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura have had in the past month and a half. Tonight, they will have a match with the winner picking the stipulation for their title match at Money in the Bank.

Ring Area
In the ring, Renee Young welcomes Daniel Bryan. Young asks Bryan about his loss to Rusev. Bryan says he doesn’t like losing. When he came out of retirement, he was just happy to be back. But that’s not good enough now. He wants to be back on top, and he will become WWE champion.

Big Cass comes out and wants Daniel Bryan to hold on. Bryan might be fooling the crowd, but he’s not fooling Cass. Cass is going to make sure that Bryan doesn’t achieve his dreams. He says he didn’t tap out at Backlash because he was in pain, he tapped so he could get back up and beat on Bryan. He also reminds Bryan that Cass is the one who eliminated him from the Greatest Royal Rumble.

Cass enters the ring, and Bryan attacks. Bryan gets Cass in the corner and continues to beat on him and his knee until referees come out to stop him. Bryan exits the ring, but he circles around and slams Cass’s knee into the ring post. Bryan then enters the ring and puts Cass in a heel hook. Four referees and Adam Pearce come out to save Big Cass from Daniel Bryan.


Match 1
Money in the Bank Qualifying Match
Xavier Woods & Big E w/ Kofi Kingston vs Sheamus & Cesaro
(referee: Charles Robinson; guest commentary: The Miz; stipulation: The winning team gets to pick a member to enter the MitB ladder match.)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Xavier Woods pins Cesaro after a rope-walk elbow drop
Time: 9:23

Match Thoughts
Very good match. There was one moment when Woods was clearly stalling for time, waiting for Sheamus to cut him off outside the ring, but other than that this was a very good and exciting match. Cesaro and Woods were exceptional standouts here, both men putting together some great sequences and very nice moves.


The Bludgeon Brothers say family is for the weak and friendship is a hindrance. Time is up for the SmackDown tag division.

Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville approach Paige. Rose gloats because she won last weak and says she’s headed to Money in the Bank. Paige says last week’s match wasn’t a MitB qualifier, but Rose will get a qualifying match tonight. Rose will face Becky Lynch and Sonya Deville in a triple threat match.

Renee Young asks AJ Styles what tyoe of match he’ll pick if he wins tonight. Styles lists some ridiculous stipulations, saying that whatever he chooses will entertain everyone. Everyone except Shinsuke Nakamura. Nakamura can’t beat Styles in the house he built, so Styles will be picking the stipulation for their title match.


Match 2
Andrade “Cien” Almas w/ Zelina Vega vs Jake Constantino
(referee: Danilo Anfibio)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Andrade Almas wins via pinfall after a hammerlock DDT
Time: 1:20

Match Thoughts
Squash, but it’s very good to see Almas finally on SmackDown.


Ring Area
Zelina Vega gets on the mic. She says she and Almas were expecting more from SmackDown. His opponent tonight was pathetic, almost as pathetic as everyone in the locker room. Vega and Almas didn’t come to SmackDown to play nice, they came to take over.

Rusev appreciates the food and stuff Aiden English set up for him, but he expected more. English tried, but this is London. English makes up for it by beginning to sing a song, but Lana interrupts. She is excited because she has a Money in the Bank qualifying match next week. She expects herself and Rusev to be the first ever Mr. and Mrs. Money in the Bank. And it will all happen on Rusev Day.

Ring Area
The Royal ‘Mellabration commences. After being announced by a town crier, Carmella heads to the ring with her title belt. She allows the audience to cheer for her, but they decide not to. Carmella does not appreciate the crowd’s reaction, so she proclaims that she is better than everyone. She keeps talking until Paige interrupts.

In the ring, Paige starts by saying it’s great to be home. Paige also has a royal proclamation. She announces that Carmella will face Asuka at Money in the Bank. Asuka heads to the ring and smiles at Carmella. Carmella takes her title and leaves.

Renee Young welcomes Shinsuke Nakamura. Young tries to ask Nakamura about his chances tonight, but Nakamura questions her choice of words. Tonight’s match isn’t up to chance, it is a certainty that Nakamura will win.


Match 3
Triple Threat Money in the Bank Qualifying Match
Becky Lynch vs Mandy Rose vs Sonya Deville
(referee: Jason Ayers)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Becky Lynch forces Mandy Rose to submit to Disarm Her
Time: 7:57

Match Thoughts
Good match. The truce between Rose and Deville didn’t last long, so this was a good match with all three women fighting hard. I liked the interactions between all three, and it will be interesting to see if Rose and Deville stick together or starts to split apart after this.


Samoa Joe tells Big Cass that ambition has made him a victim. Joe has dealt with fake tough guys like Cass before, and they always come up short. Joe’s ambition demands the Money in the Bank briefcase, and Cass is standing in his way. Next week, Cass is just an obstacle for Joe to put to sleep.

The IIconics play word association. Billie Kay is a winner, and the future is IIconic.


Match 4
Shinsuke Nakamura vs AJ Styles (WWE Champ)
(referee: Ryan Tran; stipulation: the winner gets to choose the stipulation for their WWE Title match at Money in the Bank)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Shinsuke Nakamura wins via pinfall after Kinshasa
Time: 13:37 (1 break)

Match Thoughts
Great match. Realistically, I think it’s strange to book a match between the champion and challenger like this before a title match. If the challenger wins, then he has a legitimate gripe about beating the champ but not winning the title. If the champ wins, it diminishes the intrigue of the title match. Regardless, this was a great match between two great competitors.

The finish understandably had some shenanigans going on. I think it had to. A completely clean finish wouldn’t have been good for either guy. It also gives me hope that when they finally do decide to pay this feud off, the finish will be completely clean.


Show Impressions
I liked the show. Three good matches, a fine debut for Almas, and some nice teases for next week. I like that the tag match and the main event had stipulations attached to them that weren’t paid off tonight. What will Nakamura pick and which member of New Day is headed to Money in the Bank? We’ll have to watch to find out.

I also really liked how Daniel Bryan utterly destroyed Big Cass on the opening segment. I’m not a big fan of Cass right now, but seeing that reaction out of Bryan was great.

Match of the Night
Shinsuke Nakamura vs AJ Styles
It would be hard to beat this match-up on any night.



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