In a thrilling 10-Woman Tag Team Match main event, Asuka made a massive statement heading into WWE Money in the Bank when she defeated SmackDown Women’s Champion Carmella just five days before their title match in Chicago, literally putting all eyes of the SmackDown LIVE Women’s division on her.
After taking exception with what Daniel Bryan’s idea of a “hard worker” is on Twitter, Shelton Benjamin looked to prove a point against The Beard tonight on SmackDown LIVE.
Facing off for the first time ever in WWE, the two world-class grapplers had the WWE Universe enthralled from the jump. With both Superstars possessing such technical prowess and high in-ring IQs, Bryan and Benjamin exchanged several counters at a lightning-fast clip. Benjamin was crafty, targeting Bryan’s knee, even viciously slamming it across the announcer’s table. However, Bryan was able to battle back, also targeting Benjamin’s knee, equaling the score as the two continued to duke it out.
With both their knees worse for wear, The “Yes!” Man was able to claim a major win over Benjamin when he countered Shelton’s Half Boston Crab into his signature Heel Hook just five days before his clash with Big Cass this Sunday at WWE Money in the Bank.
After exchanging verbal blows over social media this past weekend with United States Champion Jeff Hardy, Shinsuke Nakamura took exception to The Charismatic Enigma suggesting that AJ Styles would defeat him in the WWE Championship Last Man Standing Match this Sunday at WWE Money in the Bank. Because of all this, the two Superstars collided for the first time ever on the blue brand.
Nakamura attempted to keep Hardy grounded with his aggressive strong style approach, but The Charismatic Enigma weathered Shinsuke’s best efforts and even stopped a Kinshasa attempt from Nakamura and connected with a Twist of Fate and Swanton Bomb. It seemed Hardy was on the verge of victory, but when he couldn’t capitalize immediately on the Swanton due to nagging pain in his back, Nakamura was able to get his foot on the rope to break the count. From there, Hardy tried to seal the deal by connecting with a second Twist of Fate, but with The Artist beginning to feel desperate, he countered the attempt by delivering a savage low blow blatantly in front of the referee for an immediate disqualification.
Seemingly unconcerned with the defeat after using a move that will be legal on Sunday, Nakamura then delivered a ring-rattling Kinshasa to knock him out cold. Shinsuke then proceeded to count to 10, sending one last message to The Phenomenal One: He, much like Styles, firmly believed he would be the last man standing.
After The IIconics, Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville ruined the Women’s Money in the Bank Summit earlier in the evening and Asuka pleaded with Paige to get her hands on SmackDown Women’s Champion Carmella tonight, the General Manager opted to have the largest Women’s Tag Team Match in SmackDown LIVE history, as Asuka, Becky Lynch, Naomi, Charlotte Flair and Lana squared off against Princess Mella, Rose, Deville, Peyton Royce and Billie Kay.
Despite having to compete against one another this Sunday, the team comprised of the Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match participants and Asuka worked cohesively throughout most of the contest. After she defiantly stated that Asuka wasn’t ready for her earlier in the evening, near the end of the contest Carmella tagged herself into the match to prove her point. During a flurry of activity, Carmella was able to catch Asuka with her patented kick to the face, but Asuka was saved when Lana broke up the pin. From there, Asuka was able to thwart Carmella’s next attempt at an attack and was able to apply the Asuka Lock for the submission victory.
After the match, Asuka’s celebration quickly transitioned into a tense scene between the Women’s Money in the Bank Match competitors, as all of them took turns sizing each other up and gazing at the briefcase above. However, Asuka’s eyes? They weren’t looking up, but solely on Sunday and becoming SmackDown Women’s Champion.
In other action … Paige hosted a Women’s Money in the Bank Summit … Jerry “The King” Lawler interviewed WWE Champion AJ Styles … and Rusev def. Samoa Joe with The Miz as Special Guest Referee.