WWE SmackDown results, recap, grades: Kofi Kingston fends off ambush as Money in the Bank build closes
Kingston has the upper hand heading into his WWE title defense on Sunday night
With just five days to go until the annual Money in the Bank pay-per-view takes place this Sunday, the go-home edition of SmackDown Live again emanated from the O2 Arena in London, England, as WWE continues with its current European Tour.
Once again, SmackDown brought us another action-packed episode as we get set for one of the biggest PPV events of the entire year. All the major pieces of the Money in the Bank build from the blue brand were properly showcased heading into Sunday, the WWE champion once again came out looking strong and we even had another tag team receive a bit of a rebranding that surely the internet will handle in a completely rational manner. Couple tonight's show with a, and we're headed into Money in the Bank on a fairly positive note.
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Let's now have a look at everything that went down on Tuesday night's edition of SmackDown before this Sunday's Money in the Bank.
WWE SmackDown results, grades
Shane McMahon exercises his power again: Roman Reigns kicked off this week's edition of SmackDown, and after saying he had some unfinished business from Monday night, he brought out The Miz. As Miz was running down McMahon on the mic, they were interrupted by the newest duo of Shane McMahon and Elias, and McMahon proceeded to proclaim that he's banning Miz from the arena tonight despite Reigns inviting him from Raw. The new SmackDown tag team champions Daniel Bryan & Rowan were announced out by McMahon to help attack Reigns and Miz, but The Usos were out to make the save as the babyfaces triumphed in the brawl. In a backstage segment, McMahon announced that Reigns & The Usos would be competing tonight in a 4-on-3 handicap match, with the stipulation tied to it that should Miz interfere, then the steel cage match set for Money in the Bank is off. Grade: C+
Andrade def. Finn Balor (via pinfall), Randy Orton and Ali: Incredible, high-paced men's Money in the Bank preview match with some incredible spots eventually saw Andrade earn the pin over Balor after a Hammerlock DDT. Following the match, Andrade climbed the ladder that was introduced earlier in the bout in an attempt to stand tall by retrieving the briefcase, but Ricochet from the Raw brand thwarted those efforts. He hightailed it to the ring, springboarded onto the ladder, fought Andrade off and walked back up the aisle with the coveted prize on the line this Sunday in his possession. Grade: A
Charlotte Flair promo: Very brief promo here from the challenger for the SmackDown women's title on Sunday but to the point in stating that her long rivalry with Lynch will culminate at Money in the Bank with her as the SmackDown women's champion. They then cut to a stellar video package that chronicled their history, from their time in NXT together to the present day.
Lacey Evans promo: Backstage, Evans was in her dressing room and she warned people not to forget about her Raw women's title match on Sunday at Money in the Bank. After Sunday, Lynch will have a new nickname of "Becky Two Black Eyes" while she'll have a new one as well of "Lacey Evans: Raw women's champion."
Let's give another standing ovation for the WWE video content team because that Flair-Lynch package was phenomenal; they rarely fail to disappoint, and tonight was another example. It was also a very nice touch to immediately bring people down to Earth following that Lynch-Flair segment to quickly remind everyone that the double-champ has quite in tall order on her hands this Sunday in defending both of her titles on the same night. It's really a unique situation which is only enhanced by the fact that a women's Money in the Bank winner could be lurking for possibly both of these women's title defenses come Sunday night in Hartford. Grade: A-
Aleister Black promo: This week's ominous promo from Black discussed ambition and the manner in which one pursues their goals. For his opponents who try and get inside his head, they will not like the place in which they find themselves. While these promos are unique, what we really need is Black back inside the ring where he excels the most sooner rather than later. Grade: C+
Shane McMahon, Elias, Daniel Bryan & Rowan def. The Usos (via pinfall) & Roman Reigns: McMahon emerged victorious for his side in this one after connecting with the Coast to Coast onto Jey Uso as chaos ensued on the outside. Just as it appeared the heels were about to inflict further damage on their babyface opponents, Miz emerged with a chair to prevent the beatdown, which he could do without putting his match with McMahon in jeopardy since the match had concluded. Grade: B+
Carmella, Ember Moon and Bayley state their cases: As is customary, all three women cut respective pre-taped promos proclaiming why they'll be walking out with the women's briefcase at Money in the Bank on Sunday.
The Kabuki Warriors def. Fire & Desire via pinfall: No, your eyes are not deceiving you. Prior to the match, Paige announced that the team of Asuka & Kairi Sane shall now be known as "The Kabuki Warriors" going forward -- just in case you haven't gotten over the Viking Experience controversy yet. Asuka earned the win for her newly-named duo with Sane with a crucifix roll-up on Mandy Rose while the women's tag team champions The IIconics sat in on commentary. As for the name change ... well, like everything else, let's just give it time to see if it maybe catches on. Grade: C-
Lars Sullivan keeps quiet: After a hype package surrounding Sullivan aired, Kayla Braxton attempted to get his thoughts backstage on the havoc he's been wreaking on both Raw and SmackDown lately. Sullivan didn't utter a word, and merely stared at Braxton until she ran off. Grade: D+
Kofi Kingston stands tall: Earlier in the evening, Kingston asked New Day teammate Xavier Woods to stay back so he could make his scheduled appearance on the "KO Show" alone. The segment began with Kingston in the ring, but rather than being in there to host, Owens was shown still backstage. He told Kingston that he's facing the most dangerous man in WWE on Sunday, then he cut to a video package chronicling his journey from Day 1 when he arrived to challenge John Cena. Owens did eventually make his way to the aisle after being coerced by the champion, and Kingston again took the fight to his WWE championship challenger. Given the luxury of the new Wild Card Rule, Sami Zayn from Raw showed up to aid his longtime buddy Owens in fending off the champ. Woods made an appearance to even the odds, though Owens and Zayn continued to have the advantage. Kingston was able to avoid the cannonball attempt from Owens in the corner, though, and dispose of Zayn to stand tall heading into Sunday.
Here we had yet another instance where Kingston has been presented in an incredible light as the WWE champion, which is something you'll never hear a complaint about from me; however, I'd be lying if I said I'm not a bit worried his WWE title reign will be cut short now that Zayn is lingering around his best friend of late. Regardless, the build to this title match has been well done to this point, even if the Owens turned was forced to come to fruition a little earlier than expected. I expect these two to potentially steal the show come Money in the Bank, no matter who comes out on top. Grade: A-
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