For the first time since 2019, WWE broadcast SmackDown from the United Kingdom, live for British audiences on BT Sport. On the eve of Money in the Bank, what would go down in front of a rabid British audience?
On a show set to be main evented by a WWE Women’s Championship match between Charlotte Flair and Asuka and with a face to face meeting between The Usos and Roman Reigns looming large, SmackDown got underway live from the O2 Arena in London, England.
Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships Defended
The nights action opened immediately with a match for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships with the champions, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, defending against England’s own Pretty Deadly. For a match containing hometown superstars, this didn’t last very long and it didn’t appear as if Pretty Deadly would have any chance against the champs. Shame, really. After a stunner to Elton Prince and a Helluva Kick to Kit Wilson, the champs retained the titles without much challenge.
Brutes Want Solo; Get Theory Instead
Next on SmackDown, we were presented a recap of a WWE digital exclusive encounter between the Brawling Brutes and Adam Pearce. The group were searching for Solo Sikoa but they we’re told that he had other business to take care of. To placate the group, Ridge Holland especially, it was announced that Holland would face Austin Theory in a United States Championship contenders match. Ridge had a decent showing in this match, dominating Theory for the majority and being talked up heavily by Michael Cole and Wade Barrett. This was shortlived, though, as Theory chopped Holland in the throat from the outside of the ring before delivering a pinpoint dropkick to the larynx to pick up the win.
We’d like to take this time to pay out respects to Darren Drozdov, a.k.a. Droz, who passed away today. WWE paid tribute to the former WWE Superstar at the top of the show. He was 54. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.
Before the next in ring action, Karrion Kross challenges AJ Styles to a rematch in a video package and we get a recap of the story so far in the fracture of The Bloodline. Later in the night, Styles accepted Kross’ challenge.
Bayley and Iyo Inflict Damage
In the next contest, Bayley – accompanied by Iyo Sky – defended her spot in the Money in the Bank ladder match against Shotzi. As the match got underway, the British crowd serenaded the Damage Ctrl leader with “Hey Bayley” in the same way that they did in Cardiff during Clash at the Castle last September. This did not deter Bayley, however, and she dominated the early portion of the match. Shotzi did manage to get herself back into the match and seemed poised to win until Iyo Sky put her partner’s foot on the bottom rope during a pinfall attempt. As the referee admonished Sky, Bayley capitalised with a rake of the eyes and the Roseplant to keep her spot at Money in the Bank. This wasn’t the end of the encounter, though. After the commercial break, Shotzi confronted Damage Ctrl but this was ill advised. Shotzi was beaten down and stripped of a chunk of her hair by Bayley.
The Logan Paul Effect
In case we didn’t have enough garrulous non-celebrities in the country already, Grayson Waller hosted his Grayson Waller Effect with special guest, Logan Paul, next. Paul spoke about taking part in his first Money in the Bank ladder match and talked down his opponents in the match. At the mere mention of his name, LA Knight interrupted proceedings, to the delight of the crowd. Knight declared his intentions to win the Money in the Bank ladder match and Paul retaliated by taking shots at Knight’s prior managerial endeavours.
Santos Escobar got involved next and stormed to the ring in a London World Order shirt – nice. He was closely followed by
Pete Dunne Butch but the Brawling Brute had no words for the group, instead punching Logan Paul and spreading chaos into the ringside area. This developed into a triple threat match during the commercial break with Knight, Escobar and Butch facing off. Logan Paul, who really should have been thrust into this random match in my opinion, kept Knight distracted outside the ring, allowing Butch to pick up the win with the Bitter End.
Belair Crashes Women’s Title Match
With Bianca Belair watching on from the crowd, the main event of SmackDown saw the WWE Women’s Champion, Asuka, defend her title against Charlotte Flair. The Queen started the match off quickly, attempting to hit the showers early with several quick pinfall attempts. Charlotte dominated much of this content, securing a further nearfall with the Spear. As the match spilled to ringside, Asuka pulled a ticket waving Bianca Belair in front of Charlotte Flair’s boot. Inevitably, this led to Bianca attacking Asuka and causing a no contest. After taking care of Asuka over the announce table, Belair and Flair went at it. The beef between these three is just getting started.
Bloodline Brawl to Close SmackDown
Ahead of tomorrow night’s Bloodline Civil War, Roman Reigns, flanked by Solo Sikoa and Paul Heyman, made his way to the ring to address the crowd in London, England on the 1034th day of his historic championship reign.
Roman kicked off the promo describing how for the past two years he has allowed his cousins to say ‘We the Ones’ when the fact is that he’s the one, the only one, and that The Usos would be nothing without him. He went on to say that while he feels betrayed by his cousins, Reigns is not without mercy. If The Uso’s were to come to the ring, bow down, apologise and acknowledge their Tribal Chief, all would be forgiven. Apologies and acknowledgement were far from the mind of The Usos, however.
The pair came to the ring and questioned whether Reigns truly knew the consequences of losing to them at Money in the Bank. They suggested it would result in a new Tribal Chief taking over but that it wouldn’t be Jimmy or Jey but that their vote would be for Solo Sikoa. Reigns laughed this off and got in the face of Jey. An irate Head of the Table was then surprised by a Superkick from Jimmy. The group brawled in and around the ring as SmackDown went off the air.
What did you think of WWE’s go home show for Money in the Bank? Was this show worth the ticket price? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below and come back for coverage of Money in the Bank!