WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from May 21
While most were talking about the show's effect on WWE Raw, Money in the Bank also established the stars who will be at the head of SmackDown Live for the coming months.
Bayley won the MITB briefcase and cashed it on Charlotte Flair to win the SmackDown Women's Championship, crowning a new name at the head of the division. She and the Raw women's champion, Becky Lynch, would team together against The Queen and Lacey Evans on Tuesday.
WWE champion Kofi Kingston once more proved his mettle Sunday, overcoming the biggest threat to his title run to date in Kevin Owens. With Big E set to return, he and Xavier Woods promised a party before Kofi fought Sami Zayn one-on-one later in the night.
Roman Reigns continues to be a huge star on both brands with MITB solidifying his status, after he took down Elias just seconds after the bell rang. The Living Truth refused to let that result stand and expected to fight The Big Dog again with Shane McMahon in his corner.
With the introduction of the 24/7 Championship as well as fallout from other matches on the night, the blue brand promised a slew of important segments and matches that would hopefully continue the momentum from Sunday's pay-per-view.
Big E Makes His Big Return to The New Day
Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods introduced Big E back to the WWE Universe after getting rid of an imposter. As they enjoyed the moment, an angry Kevin Owens came out, followed by Sami Zayn, who spoke for both of them.
After KO got fed up and walked away, The Underdog from the Underground kept talking, putting over what he would do to the WWE champion in their match later in the night. Kingston was unfazed.
While it was nice to see The New Day reunited here, this felt like an unnecessary segment as a whole. Big E didn't say much, and the end result was setting up a match that was already announced ahead of time.
This segment could have been limited to a pre-match entrance before Kofi vs. Zayn, but it was another example of the company overusing certain stars rather than trying to maximize the two hours of television.
Andrade vs. Ali
Andrade and Ali fought back-and-forth in this physical contest, despite both clearly still hurting from Sunday.
While Ali came out strong early, El Idolo sent him crashing off the apron into the barricade on his bandaged back.
The injury put Andrade far ahead with his opponent seemingly out of sorts. After barely avoiding a count-out loss, however, the underdog managed to tangle up the legs of the heel in an inside cradle for a surprise three-count.
Ali def. Andrade by pinfall
This was a fantastic story-driven TV match that showed how good both men are. They used every minute and developed a complete match with no real buildup. The fans were fully behind Ali down the stretch as he rallied through the pain.
It was surprising that Ali took the win with Andrade about to fight for the Intercontinental Championship at Super ShowDown on June 7, but it may be a sign he is on the rise. With his heavily featured role on Sunday and this victory, a major push may be coming for the fantastic babyface.
Mandy Rose vs. Carmella
With R-Truth in her corner disguised in drag to avoid wrestlers going after his 24/7 title, Carmella tried to focus on taking down Mandy Rose with Sonya Deville backing her up.
However, many stars came running out from the back to get to Truth, and Carmella ran out with him, causing the referee to throw out the match as a no-contest.
The two ran backstage and out into the parking lot, where Truth barely escaped The B-Team's attempt to steal his championship.
Rose vs. Carmella goes to a no-contest
While Truth is a great comedy performer, this was a weak way to use him as champion. His disguise was a cheap gag that quickly didn't matter, and this entire match was thrown out rather than just having him get chased to the back.
The 24/7 title has potential, but WWE will need to limit the championship a bit. If it doesn't, this situation will keep coming up where hasty run-ins ruin matches.
Kofi Kingston vs. Sami Zayn
Big E was found backstage holding his repaired knee, stating that Owens had attacked him. While Woods looked after E, a clearly distracted Kingston headed to the ring for his match with Zayn.
Despite the best efforts of the dastardly heel, though, the WWE champion was on fire and never stayed down, managing to reverse the Blue Thunder Bomb into a Trouble in Paradise for the win.
Paul Heyman appeared to taunt Kingston with a potential cash-in, only for Dolph Ziggler to assault The New Day leader from behind.
The Showoff badly injured the champ using a steel post and chair until he had to be stretchered out. Kingston refused to go out that way and limped off the stretcher to the back.
Kingston def. Zayn by pinfall
While the bout felt rushed and was fairly disappointing, the post-match assault more than made up for it. It remains to be seen if this will actually lead anywhere for Ziggler, whose career has been defined by start-and-stop pushes, but this was an impressive heel return.
He laid out an old rival viciously and instantly established himself as a threat. He and Kingston have fought many times but never with stakes like these. The WWE champion standing back up afterward and demanding to walk out under his own power was a fantastic moment for his reign.
Bayley and Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair and Lacey Evans
Becky Lynch and Bayley showed some tension backstage before their match, talking about how much they would both like to be the champion of both brands.
That friction was not enough to cost the champs the match, though. The Hugger caught The Queen with an inside cradle for three.
Bayley and Lynch def. Charlotte and Evans by pinfall
This was a perfectly fine but largely forgettable match that was rushed through to the finish. It never felt like Bayley really got a chance to celebrate her title win. This match mostly about Lynch trying to get revenge on her rivals.
While it would be great to see The Irish Lass Kicker fight The Hugger eventually, it is odd for WWE to tease tension between the two. They should be mostly focused on defending their own titles at this point.
Dolph Ziggler Explains His Actions
Backstage, Dolph Ziggler was asked why he attacked Kofi Kingston. Instead of answering, he took the microphone to speak directly to the WWE Universe.
The Showoff walked on to the stage and admitted he was jealous of the WWE champion. He was jealous that he seized his moment and took it straight to the top.
Ziggler promised to take that spot back by knocking Kingston off his perch at WWE Super ShowDown.
This was a passionate promo from The Showoff, who sold himself as being on the verge of tears for his actions. The honest admission of guilt and sense of remorse at his violent actions showcased a refreshing perspective that could make him a far more complicated character than he has been recently.
However, with the likelihood that all this pays off at Super ShowDown, it is possible this was a sign that this will be a one-off moment for Ziggler again, who will quickly fade back into the background.
Roman Reigns vs. Elias (w/ Shane McMahon)
After speaking with Shane McMahon, who promised to be in Elias' corner, The Living Truth waited for Roman Reigns in the parking lot, playing for him on top of a truck as he promised to avenge his Money in the Bank loss.
Shane-O-Mac did his best to make sure The Big Dog lost, but it didn't work. As McMahon distracted the referee, Elias grabbed his guitar but ran into a Spear for the loss.
Afterward, Boy Wonder tried to attack Reigns, who recovered only to get wiped out by a Claymore from Drew McIntyre.
Reigns def. Elias by pinfall
This was a fine match, clearly an attempt to make up for the two not getting to do anything at Money in the Bank. Elias looked good with Reigns and got to open up his move set for once.
In the end, though, this whole segment was about McMahon, whose frequent interference bogged down the contest. With McIntyre proving a better aid than the musician, it is likely Elias is going to be working on his own again soon, which is for the best.