WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from May 29
The final spot in the men's Money in the Bank ladder match was up for grabs in another action-packed episode of SmackDown Live Tuesday night.
Originally slated to be Daniel Bryan vs. Samoa Joe, the match would undergo a drastic change, thanks to the return of a certain seven-foot-tall Superstar with eyes on demolishing the leader of the YES! Movement.
Tye Dillinger battled Shinsuke Nakamura, The New Day took on The Miz and The Bar in a Six-Man Tag Team match, and the Women's Revolution stopped off in 2002 for a Dance-Off pitting Naomi against Lana.
Find out what else went down and what it means for the blue brand heading into June 17's Money in the Bank pay-per-view with this recap of the May 29 show.
Samoa Joe Promo
Samoa Joe kicked off the show and immediately claimed he would win Money in the Bank and create an anxiety and fear across SmackDown that the WWE champion will have to endure. He vowed to introduce Bryan to a fate worse than "forced retirement" and brought up Bryan's wife Brie and daughter Birdie, claiming Bryan will be home with them soon enough.
Bryan appeared and threatened to break Joe's legs if he mentioned his family again.
Big Cass interrupted the proceedings and had a revelation for fans: The advertised match between Bryan and Joe would not take place tonight. Instead, it will be Joe vs. Cass when the big man is medically cleared, and he will be cleared soon.
Cass eventually laid out both Joe and Bryan with shots from the Money in the Bank briefcase and stood tall, leaving Bryan and Joe seething.
The Joe promo was fantastic, as it usually is, but the bait-and-switch nature of WWE's booking of Bryan vs. Joe is disappointing. Fans tuned in expecting a dream match of sorts and were informed shortly after this that the match will now be a Triple Threat match involving Cass.
The Cass character is so bland, so unexciting and underdeveloped that it is difficult to get behind him.
That he literally has no gimmick outside of his height does him no favors.
A just slightly above-average promo segment that would have been better if it was limited to Bryan and Joe.
Tye Dillinger vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
The product of a Twitter war of words, Tye Dillinger battled No. 1 contender Shinsuke Nakamura in singles competition.
Heading into the break, Dillinger looked to be rolling, but Nakamura caught him with a knee, and The Perfect 10 crumbled to the floor.
Nakamura played up the Last Man Standing stipulation for his match with AJ Styles, demanding the referee count Dillinger down while he played to the crowd.
Dillinger mounted a comeback but could never sustain his offense. Nakamura scaled the ropes, caught him with a flying knee from the middle rope and finished him with a Kinshasa.
Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Tye Dillinger
Nakamura playing up the stipulation of his upcoming match with Styles was a great touch and really added to a match that was much more one-sided than you would hope for.
Heel Nakamura is so much more effective than the babyface version that never truly connected with fans. It remains to be seen if he wins the title in Chicago, but his work, like this against Dillinger, suggests he should get a run with the gold.
Dance-Off: Naomi vs. Lana
Because the writing team apparently forgot this is not 2002, Lana and Naomi met in a Dance-Off as they build to the women's Money in the Bank match.
Lana went first, drawing an impressive pop while doing whatever it is she does that constitutes dancing. Naomi brought more energy and drew a nice pop in her own right. After a while, the participants inexplicably danced together, only for Lana to show her true colors and drop Naomi.
The entire thing broke down, The Usos took the fight to Aiden English and Rusev, and Lana found herself on the receiving end of the Rear View.
The babyfaces stood tall to close out the segment.
Was there really no better way to set up next week's Six-Person Tag Team match pitting Naomi and The Usos against Lana, Rusev and English?
A Dance-Off? In 2018?
It was a waste of a segment that did nothing to create any more or less excitement for the Money in the Bank match. Worst of all, it harked back to a time when women who could not wrestle made up for it in segments like this.
Even if it plays to the characters involved, it was unnecessary and a waste of everyone involved.
New Day vs. The Miz and The Bar
The New Day sought to continue its winning ways of late, teaming up to face The Miz, Sheamus and Cesaro in a huge Six-Man Tag Team match.
Kofi Kingston found himself on the receiving end of a three-on-one beating as the heels isolated him from his partners and took them out, preventing a hot tag. At one point, the heels laid waste to Big E, leaving the babyfaces at a disadvantage.
Kingston made the hot tag to Xavier Woods, who exploded into the match. After an exchange with Cesaro, he made the tag to Big E, who entered with endless energy.
With Woods and Kingston subduing The Bar at ringside, Big E delivered the Big Ending on The Miz and scored the win.
The New Day defeated The Miz and The Bar
Any combination of the talent involved here is guaranteed to deliver. None of the six men involved right now, in a tag team setting, have bad matches. Or in singles settings. They are workhorses for WWE and among the most reliable performers on the roster.
Big E was properly spotlighted, and if I did not know better, it would seem as though the talented big man may be in line for a singles push at some point soon.
Miz eating the pin could be a good thing. Typically, the guys who win Money in the Bank briefcases are on a bit of a losing streak ahead of the match, a red herring of sorts to keep fans guessing.
Asuka vs. Mandy Rose
SmackDown women's champion Carmella joined the commentary team, and Sonya Deville attacked Asuka before she could make it to the ring for her match with Mandy Rose.
The ferocious Asuka still took the fight to her opponent despite the pre-match assault.
Rose controlled throughout the commercial, but Asuka came back right on schedule.
A counter to a pin attempt led to the Asuka Lock and a tapout victory for The Empress of Tomorrow.
After the match, Carmella came face-to-face with Asuka before raising the title high overhead.
Asuka defeated Mandy Rose
Corey Graves unabashedly throwing his support behind Mandy Rose makes for some hilarious television in the same way his support of Eva Marie in NXT did.
That said, this was a one-dimensional match that really did nothing to strengthen Asuka or enhance Rose's credibility. It was a match that existed to exist, and the staredown between Asuka and Carmella was more awkward than engaging.
Not exactly the intention.
Money in the Bank Qualifier: Daniel Bryan vs. Samoa Joe vs. Big Cass
Daniel Bryan and Samoa Joe started the match a proverbial house of fire. They teamed up to stomp on Cass in the corner, avenging the assault that left them lying at the top of the show.
The alliance was short-lived, as Joe turned on Bryan, only to pay for it moments later when the popular babyface executed a suicide dive that left both heels reeling heading into the break.
The fight continued, Cass earning control heading into the final break of the night.
Joe fought back, unloading with a series of chops, but Cass cut him off, continuing to keep Bryan and Joe at bay.
Bryan blasted back into the match, chopping his larger opponents down to size with a series of strikes. He connected with a missile dropkick to Cass, laying the much taller opponent out before kipping up and engaging the audience in YES! chants.
The running knee flattened Cass, but Joe grabbed Bryan in the Coquina Clutch. Bryan tried to fight out but faded, leaving the referee no choice but to call for the bell.
The Samoan Submission Machine was proud of himself following the victory, while Cass waited in the wings like a lion ready to pounce. Fuming, he obliterated Bryan with a big boot and stood tall to close the show.
Samoa Joe defeated Daniel Bryan and Big Cass
Joe going over was the right call given the momentum he came to SmackDown with and how much of it he lost with that miserable showing against Roman Reigns in a boring match at Backlash.
With that said, Bryan looked like the real star, especially late, as he erupted with a flurry of offense that had fans believing he was en route to a Money in the Bank appearance.
Cass standing tall after another sneak attack fits his character, and while he was spotlighted nicely here, it remains difficult to invest in him and his white-bread persona.