It’s a new and exciting time for SmackDown Live. As confusing as the climate of WWE’s blue brand might be with Jinder Mahal as champion it opens up a new landscape for the other top WWE superstars to do battle. Fans were excited for this night of SmackDown Live for the first confrontation of Shinsuke Nakamura and Kevin Owens. It certainly piqued our interest for sure.

Money In The Bank was fast approaching and SmackDown needs to get things going on the way to arguably WWE’s fourth biggest night of the year.

With the addition of the first women’s MITB ladder match fans were thrilled to get going on the road to St. Louis for a duo of intense ladder matches. But SmackDown Live needed to happen first to lay the groundwork on the way to the big day.

Opening Segment

Shane McMahon’s music hit and everyone was happy to see Vince’s baby boy. Daniel Bryan was still at home with Brie and his new baby girl. All of the ladies who were going to participate in the Money In The Bank ladder match were circling a podium in middle of the ring.

Shane said it was his honor and privilege to introduce everyone to the women who were going to be in the first-ever women’s Money In The Bank ladder match. Tamina got a light boo, and Natalya got an even bigger boo, Carmella received a much larger boo, Becky Lynch received a pretty nice ovation, and Charlotte Flair was wooed out of the building.

Then Shane lowered a covered briefcase down from the ceiling and unveiled a pretty white MITB briefcase. Carmella just chomped on her gum and smiled and Becky Lynch wanted to grab it right away.

Shane said everyone who competes in a MITB match leaves a piece of themselves in the ring during the match. He said the winner is guaranteed a shot at the SmackDown Women’s Champion anytime or place she wants. He also reiterated the fact that it’s also almost a guarantee a title run.

James Ellsworth said “there’s no need to mansplain what’s going to happen at Money In The Bank.” Carmella stated to talk herself up and Charlotte interrupted her by saying “pipe down princess, The Queen has something to say!”

Charlotte went on to say everyone in the match was brushing up against greatness and said she’s adding to her greatness. Natalya said she couldn’t stand hearing one more woo and accused her of ripping off her father. Then she started her best there was etc speech.

Becky told Nattie all she does is rip off her uncle Bret. Tamina said she was going to shut everyone up in St. Louis.

The lights cut out and Naomi turned the arena into a rave as she made her way to the ring.

Naomi was way over and her popularity seems to grow even more every week. Naomi said as much as she loves being the Women’s Champion she wishes she could be in the MITB match because it is going to be lit.

Suddenly the lights went out again and Lana came down. Forgive me while I mark out a little bit.

Lana came down in a blue dress and she looked so happy to be with all of her friends on SmackDown Live. Lana stood there and smiled as Shane said hello and she took in all of the chants for her.

Shane said this isn’t working for him right now and finally Lana spoke and she was just as Russian as ever. Lana said Naomi couldn’t compete in the match, but she could. “Yes” chants erupted in the building.

Naomi started laughing and Lana asked her what was so funny. The Glow replied, “Bugs Bunny, and you.”

Naomi said Lana can’t compete in the match. She asked Lana who she’s ever beat in a singles match, “don’t worry I’ll wait” she said. Then Naomi started humming the theme for Jeopardy.

Lana said she could beat Naomi. Shane told her she had to earn her spot in the match and the crowd started chanting for Lana while they booed Shane. Lana threw a little fit in Russian and left as Shane said a six woman ladder match would be next.

So, that seemed like a waste for Lana’s debut if that’s all they’re going to do with her. “I want to wrestle” — “No”…. then she leaves.

Welcoming Committee vs Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Naomi

Nattie and Charlotte started off the match and the two second generation superstars wrestled around for a bit. Nattie got to show some strength and arrogance with a shoulder tackle with a taunt afterward. Then Charlotte gave her some stiff chops.

Becky Lynch got the tag and The Lass Kicker kept up the pressure on Natalya until Carmella got the tag. They traded some holds and Carmella kicked out of a sunset flip pin. Becky wrapped her legs around Carm and rolled her around the ring.

As soon as Carm got up, she was taken back down for a quick pin and a kick out. Becky tried to connect with a kick in the corner, but Carmella sent her to the floor. Natalya hit her with a discus clothesline on the outside and Becky went down hard.

Carmella went out to get Becky and tossed her back in the ring for a pin and a kick out. Carm did her moonwalk and hit her bronco buster on Lynch. Then she pressed Becky against the middle rope while she lounged on Becky.

Tamina got the tag and kept the pressure on Becky. They wouldn’t let her get to her corner and make the tag as hard as Becky tried to break free.

Jimmy Snuka’s baby girl showed her impressive power over Lynch until Natalya got the tag and then traded off to Carmella as they used tandem offense to carry on the assault on Becky Lynch. Nattie hit a nice suplex on Lynch and applied a headlock.

Lynch flipped Nattie off of her but The Queen Of Harts still wouldn’t let her get to her partners.

Tamina got the tag and came back in to apply another headlock and a few pounding blows to Becky. Becky got shot off the ropes but was taken down by Tamina for a two count.

Nattie got the tag back in and they carried on the assault to Becky Lynch. The Lass Kicker was taking a lot of punishment in this one. Lynch tried to roll Nattie up but she kicked out and took control back over once again.

Becky fought hard to get up and the crowd started to rally for her. Becky hit a kick to the side of Nattie’s head and started to crawl toward her corner. Carm ran across the room and belted Charlotte off the apron, but Naomi got the tag.

Naomi started lighting up Carmella with kicks and took a jawjacker. Tamina got the tag and The Glow kept up the advantage. Naomi hit Tamina with a cross body off the top and got a two count.

Naomi fought off Nattie and Tamina as Lana came back down to the ring. Naomi jumped to the apron and Lana came up from behind and swept her leg sending her crashing to the apron. That’s the hardest part of the ring!

Tamina caught Naomi with a superkick and 1-2-3 the match was over. Lana stood on the ramp and loved every second of it.

The five female heels (including Ellsworth) stood on the ramp looking very pleased with themselves.

Backstage Segment

Shane was backstage talking on his cell phone when Mojo Rawley walked up to him and pointed to his Andre The Giant Battle Royal Trophy that he’s apparently still having to check at the airport.

Mojo said he’s been a ghost on SD Live since he won his battle royal at Mania. He said he understands why he was left out of the MITB ladder match. Then Mojo said he’s the only man who’s beat Jinder Mahal since he’s been on SmackDown Live and wants a chance to prove himself.

Shane said there are several people who deserve to be in the match like Luke Harper and Tye Dillinger. McMahon said if Mojo wants in the MITB ladder match then he’s going to have to beat Jinder Mahal again tonight.

Mojo seemed very hyped about the chance to join the big ladder match in St. Louis.

AJ Styles vs Dolph Ziggler

The match kicked off and “AJ Styles” chants filled the arena. The two wrestled around a little bit and Dolph tried a quick roll up for a two count. Then AJ took control and pulled off a few kicks.

Dolph took control and applied some of his veteran skill for a two count of his own. The crowd was hot for this match. If they were excited for Styles vs Ziggler, just imagine how loud they will be with Nakamura vs Owens later on in the night.

Dolph wrapped AJ up in a headlock and Styles eventually broke free of the hold. Ziggler shot AJ off the ropes but held on to shove a knee into AJ’s stomach. Then Styles countered with a kick and picked up The Show Off.

Ziggler rolled Styles up and put his feet on the top rope, but AJ kicked out as the ref noticed Ziggler’s feet on the ropes. Dolph hit a Zig Zag and got a two count.

Ziggler placed AJ on the top rope and looked like he was trying for a top rope move, but AJ slipped under. AJ was kicked in the head and Dolph went for a DDT, but Styles just tossed him to the mat.

AJ positioned himself for a Phenomenal Forearm, but Dolph countered it. Ziggler tried to hit a power move, but AJ countered out of it.

AJ eventually got Dolph Ziggler in a Styles Clash and actually hit the devastating move. 1-2-3 and AJ Styles is the winner of this one. AJ Styles beat Dolph Ziggler and got his win back from when he recently lost in his hometown to Ziggler.

Fashion Files

Breezango were back with another Film Noir version of The Fashion Files. These guys are just amazing and we can’t put them over enough. They had one joke after another. Fandango’s delivery and the way he’s able to pull off the back-and-forth with Breeze was outstanding.

They played on the fact The Colon’s name sounds so similar to cologne and it was outstanding.

Suddenly The New Day were in the hallway in full color, but once they stepped in the Fashion Files world they turned to black and white.

The New Day said they need Breezango’s help. Fandango said New Day, new case. They asked if New Day could hear them and Breeze said “maybe that’s why they communicate by clapping.” That was a good one.

Fandango said he might be a dirty dancer but he’s not a dirty cop. Thyey said they didn’t take bribes when The New Day tried to give them some clothes.

The New Day asked for some help with The Usos. They started to talk about The Usos and Breezango and The New Day were amazing working with each other. It was an amazing comedy moment for sure.

Jinder Mahal vs Mojo Rawley

Mojo was more than hyped to prove himself. The Singh Brothers came out first and introduced The Modern Day Maharaja. The arena went dark and Jinder Mahal made his entrance. He looked fierce and ready to do battle as India’s hero.

As Jinder entered the ring he had a huge Indian rug waiting for him. The WWE World Champion held up his title with pride and India’s hero was looking jacked buddy.

The Singh Brothers took the carpet away and the match started. If Mojo won this match he would become the 7th man in the MITB ladder match. That would make it pretty crowded but stranger things have happened.

Mojo took off like a rocket and started doing everything he could to slow down the Maharaja. Mojo hit him with some punches and a hip toss. Jinder rolled to the apron in order to slow the match down.

Jinder landed a forearm to Rawley’s face and shot him off the ropes. Mojo returned with a shoulder tackle and Mahal powdered out of the ring. Jinder and the Singh Brothers argued outside and wasted some time as Mojo yelled, “he ain’t hype!”

Mojo took Mahal down in the corner and ran to smash him but he was distracted by a Singh Brother. Jinder took advantage of the distraction and started kicking Mojo. He hit him with a short clothesline and the applied a rear chinlock to keep Rawley on the mat.

Mojo turned Jinder’s hold into a suplex and it was totally ignored by the announce team. Rawley hit a few shoulder tackles and a splash in the corner. He got Mahal up in a fireman’s carry, but Mahal raked his eyes and sent him into the ring post.

Jinder hit the Khallas and made the pin for the three count. Jinder Mahal won a quick match, but Mojo still looked pretty strong. If it weren’t for the Singh Brothers, Mahal might not have won this one.

Jinder grabbed the mic and told the crowd to be silent while he was speaking. It didn’t work. He reminded everyone he was the WWE Champion and he received more than a few “USA” chants. He said he dismantled the dreams of Mojo just like he’ll dismantle the dreams of Randy Orton in St Louis.

He called Orton sick and all of his supporters are sick too. But Jinder is the antidote. He said once he cures the WWE Universe of Randy Orton people will have no choice but to accept him as their Modern Day Maharaja. Then he spoke in Punjab and got some massive heat for it.

Backstage Segment

Randy Orton was interviewed by Renee Young and her hair. Orton said he had the honor getting some calls from his father, Ric Flair, and Harley Race. They told him to let Jinder Mahal talk because actions speak louder than words.

In St. Louis at Money In The Bank Orton doesn’t need to speak one word. He just needs to beat Mahal. Then he walked off.

The Colons vs The New Day

Don’t you dare be sour, just clap for your longest running WWE Tag Team Champs and feel the power! There were Booty-O’s being poured everywhere as they dances and clapped their way to the ring.

Xavier Woods stated the match out which is odd because he usually gets tagged in second. Woods wrapped Primo up in the ropes and hit a dropkick to his back for a two count.

Epico got the tag and the Colons kept up the damage to Xavier until he countered out of a move and made a splash in the corner as Big E got the tag.

Big E Langston (yes, his last name is still Langston to us) hit an abdominal stretch and Woods applied one to the other Colon. They hit their midsections to the “New Day Rocks” rhythm and took them both down afterward.

The New Day took the action to the outside where Big E drove one of them against the barricade. The action returned to the ring and then splashed Woods on Epico for a two count. Woods kept up the assault until the other Colon interfered and Woods got thrown out of the ring. Xavier hit his head against the bottom rope much in the same way Enzo got a concussion months ago. It looked like a bad bump and Woods wasn’t moving much but the Colons kept stomping on him and brought the action back to the ring.

Xavier fought back the best he could, but he was outmatched. Primo placed Woods on the top rope and tried to hit a top rope move, but Xavier fought out of it and hit a very pretty missile dropkick.

Big E got the tag and started taking The Colons to Suplex City New Day Style. E hit a big splash and hyped up the crowd for the end of the match. Xavier ran in the ring and hit a flipping slash on Primo.

Epico rolled Big E up but he kicked out. Xavier got the tag and they performed the Midnight Hour double team move. 1-2-3 and The New Day wins against the former bullfighters. I miss El Torito.

Suddenly The Usos came out to lay down a promo. They look like they’re having so much fun. Welcome to the Uso Penitentiary. The Usos hit each member of the New Day with a one-liner including asking Big E if it was his name or his bra size then they made fun of Woods’ Sheik boots.

It’s not paranoia, it’s the Uso!

Backstage Segment

Sami Zayn was interviewed backstage and talked up the MITB match and his competitors. He said he’s been watching footage of everyone in the match and is figuring them out. He said the one guy he can’t figure out is Shinsuke Nakamura.

Sami Zayn said he’ll be at ringside to watch the Nakamura/Owens match later in the night. Zayn said MITB is too important — suddenly Baron Corbin showed up and said “mind if I ask him a question?”

Then The Lone Wold proceeded to beat Sami Zayn down with his fists and a ladder. He said Nakamura isn’t who he should worry about and then he threw him through a stack of ladders that just happened to be there.

Baron said “looks like a spot on commentary just opened up” and he walked away.

Naomi walked up to Shane McMahon and told him she wants Lana at the Money In The Bank PPV and is even willing to put her title on the line. That might prove to be a mistake.

Shane asked her if she really wanted the match and she said she did. Then Shane booked the match. Naomi told Shane to tell Lana to get one of those furry Russian hats because she’s going to snatch her bald.

Kevin Owens vs Shinsuke Nakamura

Yes this match happened for the first time ever on SmackDown Live, but nobody was complaining.

Baron Corbin joined the commentary booth as Shinsuke Nakamura’s entrance hit. The entire arena went dark and The King Of Strong Style made his entrance to a sea of people screaming his melody. The unnecessary pyro they added last week was still there, but it didn’t take away from anything because Nakamura is still outstanding.

While Nakamura performed his iconic entrance, Kevin Owens stood on the outside and didn’t look impressed.

The bell rang and “Nakamura” chants filled the arena. The two sized each other up and Nakamura hit a kick. Owens immediately wrapped himself in the ropes to cause the ref to back Shinsuke up.

They locked up and Nakamura flipped out of the hold to reverse the leverage. Owens ran toward Shinsuke and he got kicked a few times causing him to roll out of the ring in retreat.

While the match carried on the announce team interviewed Baron Corbin. The Lone Wolf showed some real personality and he was really quite funny as he passively commented how much fun it was to assault Sami Zayn the way he did earlier in the night. Baron was one of the earliest people pegged to capture the MITB briefcase, and it might look like they’re priming him for that role with the briefcase by the way they’re interviewing him and letting him dominate in the way he is.

Kevin Owens unleashed against Shinsuke Nakamura by smashing him against the apron and the barricade and once they returned to the ring, he didn’t let the King Of Strong Style get up at all. Nakamura kicked out at two and Owens locked in another headlock.

Nakamura started to fight back with some forearms and Owens got him up in a fireman’s carry. Shinsuke squirmed out of it and hit a kick to Owens. Then he started hitting KO with several more kicks and a Strong Style forearm.

As Baron Corbin called Owens, Cartman at the announce booth, Nakamura hit a stunning running forearm in the corner and got a two count.

As the MITB briefcase hung above both of them, KO pounded on Nakamura’s head to break up Shinsuke’s attempt at a reverse exploder suplex. Kevin sat Nakamura up on the top rope, but Shinsuke held on.

The Artist knocked The Prizefighter down, but KO pulled him down and hit a cannonball. Baron Corbin called Owens’ cannonball a “marshmallow.”

Nakamura soon hit a reverse exploder suplex and hit the Kinshasa for the win.

SmackDown Live ended with Shinsuke Nakamura’s music playing loud and the crowd singing along to the song with no lyrics even louder. Suddenly Baron Corbin threw down his headset and ran in the ring. He pulled Nakamura around and hit the End Of Days on The King Of Strong Style. Nakamura took the move beautifully and sold it like a champ.

As JBL called Baron Corbin the dark horse of the Money In The Bank ladder match, Baron walked up the ramp looking very proud of himself. The Lone Wolf’s music played as Shinsuke Nakamura rolled around in the ring to sell the finisher he had just taken.