WWE SMACKDOWN PRIMER 6/12: A Women’s Summit and Twitter Wars taken to the ring, final MITB hype, Bryan vs. Shelton

By Frank Peteani, PWTorch contributor

Paige (photo credit Wade Keller © PWTorch)

JUNE 12, 2018


This evening for the first time since January 2017, the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tenn. will host WWE Smackdown.  We get ready to wrap up the Smackdown side of the build towards this Sunday’s WWE Network/PPV event Money in the Bank.  A summit and two matches have been announced by WWE and confirmed on their website.

Summit: Smackdown Participants of Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match Hosted by G.M. Paige

As announced last week, G.M. Paige will host a summit with the women of the Smackdown roster taking part in the MITB ladder match which includes Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Naomi, and Lana.  WWE.com is acknowledging that this will take place in the ring.

Lana and Naomi have been at it recently in different ways.  They had a “dance-off” a few weeks ago and took part in a mixed tag match last week which saw Naomi and her husband Jimmy Uso defeat Lana and Aiden English.  Other than touting their respective merchandise on Twitter, there hasn’t been any chatter to speak of between these two this week.  We’ll see how they come across towards each other this evening.

Becky and Charlotte had a one-on-one match last week which saw Charlotte tap out to Becky’s “Dis-arm-her.”  It was a much-needed victory for Becky, who’s push has been stagnant at best in recent memory.  I wouldn’t call the match their best work, but it wasn’t terrible and could be planting a seed for something else down the line.

There’s nothing specific about the particulars of this summit, but I’m certain there will be tension and a war of words from all parties.  If there’s any physical activity, it will be interesting to see what spots they do especially with Paige in the ring.  With her being forced into retirement due to injury, I can’t imagine WWE putting her in any kind of harm’s way.

Daniel Bryan vs. Shelton Benjamin

Last week in an interview with Renee Young, Big Cass talked about his MITB opponent Daniel Bryan.  He talked about how he was shocked Bryan became WWE World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania 30, how he had never been in the ring with someone as big or educated as him or a “star of his magnitude,” and how “a good big man will always beat a good little man.”  (Backlash must have been a dream, I suppose.)  At any rate, Bryan had a spirited response/rant on WWE.com later in the evening.  He called Cass “entitled and lazy,” talked about how he’s survived through the years in WWE and promised to make him tap out in their upcoming match at MITB.  He even dug out an old favorite line in “you can’t teach that.”

A few days later Shelton Benjamin weighed in on Twitter pertaining to Bryan’s rant.  He talked about how he’s worked for companies and won championships “around the globe,” and that it’s not enough to just be good on Smackdown.  Yesterday on her Twitter account, Paige acknowledged this and announced a match between Shelton and Bryan for tonight.

It’s good to see Shelton being used in this capacity as he’s been on and off the card since WWE split him from Chad Gable, now of Raw.  There is truth to his statement; however, he’s never reached the top of the mountain as Bryan has in WWE.  I look to see if he cuts any sort of worthwhile promo tonight and delivers in the ring in a way that makes us want to see him featured more on the show and perhaps on PPVs going forward.

Non-Title Match: U.S. Champion Jeff Hardy vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

I grew up in a time where if a single’s champion faced someone and the respective title wasn’t on the line, the announcers acknowledged that factor.  I will continue that practice as I feel it is important, especially when tonight’s match involves a champion holding a title first belonging to WWE Hall of Famer Harley Race.

On Sunday, Shinsuke Nakamura tweeted a picture of he and U.S. Champion Jeff Hardy standing in the ring not necessarily looking at each other.  He said he would “write a caption for this later… maybe.”  Hardy responded saying he should caption a picture of WWE Champion A.J. Styles being the last man standing after their match this coming Sunday.  According to WWE.com, the Twitter war continued until G.M. Paige made a match between Hardy and Nakamura for tonight.

It’s interesting to see these two go at it.  I may be jumping a few steps here but, I wonder if it’s a tell Nakamura won’t be winning the WWE Championship Sunday but rather may move on to a feud with Hardy which will eventually see Nakamura win the U.S. Championship.  While on a certain level it’s disappointing not to see Nakamura reach the top of the mountain, winning the U.S. Championship eventually would present programs we’d be interested in seeing.

Other Items

•In a backstage interview with Sin Cara, Zelina Vega stormed in and said Andrade “Cien” Almas requested a match with Cara for tonight.  Almas then attacked Cara from behind.  As far as a match is concerned, nothing is showing on WWE.com; however, Almas yesterday tweeted “see you tomorrow” to Cara.  There was also some trash talking by Vega in a separate tweet.  It’s hard to say what this all means, but a match could be on tap for tonight or the pre-show this coming Sunday at MITB.

•A.J. Styles got physical with Shinuske Nakamura in their contract signing last week for their Last Man Standing match at MITB for the WWE Championship.  Styles is not earmarked for anything specific, but he’s advertised for the show and I can’t imagine us not hearing from the champ in the run-up to Sunday.

•New Day was victorious over The Miz, Samoa Joe, and Rusev in the main event of last week’s show.  Joe and Rusev walked out on Miz following his accidental toss of pancakes in their face.  (While I can’t be 100 percent, I’m confident there was no syrup or butter involved in which case it could have gotten real “sticky.”).  Miz, Joe, and Rusev are all in the men’s MITB ladder match, so we’ll look for follow-up on that situation.  New Day has yet to choose who (Who!? Who!?) will partake in MITB.  It’s possible, not certain though, we still won’t find out tonight and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they all participate this Sunday.

•Asuka defeated Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville in a handicap match last week after Smackdown Women’s Champion Carmella “exposed” Asuka.  She pointed out her WrestleMania loss to Charlotte, and losing a tag match on Smackdown, as well as getting beaten up afterwards.  Carmella defends her title this Sunday at MITB against Asuka so, we should expect something between these two rivals.

•Karl Anderson defeated Luke Harper of The Bludgeon Brothers in three minutes.  Anderson and Luke Gallows will challenge Harper and Erick Rowan for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship this coming Sunday at MITB.  I don’t rule out the possibility we get Gallows vs. Rowan tonight.

•It’s been a few weeks since we heard from the IIconics, Peyton Royce and Billie Kay.

•Sanity has yet to make their debut.  I can’t be sure, but it’s possible they’re being held out to interfere in the championship match between Gallows & Anderson vs. The Bludgeon Brothers at MITB or possibly show up at the following Smackdown.

Wrestlers Advertised/Dark Match

On their website, the FedEx Forum is advertising A.J. Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, The New Day, “Rusev Day,” Samoa Joe, Sheamus & Cesaro, Charlotte Flair, Asuka, and “more.”  Randy Orton has been out with a knee injury and there’s not a definitive timetable for his return.

There’s no dark match advertised on the site.  I was unsuccessful in reaching the arena to find out if anything is planned for just the live crowd.  They show a start of 6:45 p.m. local time.

Follow me on Twitter @FrankPeteani

NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S SMACKDOWN REPORT: MAYLE’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 6/5: Alt-perspective detailed report on latest Money in the Bank hype

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