The women of WWE Smackdown Live were the headliners on this week’s show with the Money in the Bank briefcase on the line for the second time in nine days. The reason for the match is because James Ellsworth grabbed the briefcase at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view and handed it to Carmella. That led to Smackdown general manager Daniel Bryan telling the women that they had to do it again on this week’s show.

Smackdown began with Bryan doing a promo to hype up the main event match. Carmella interrupted, along with her buddy Ellsworth. This felt like a waste of time more than anything because Carmella offered up the same complaints that she had last week while Bryan told her the match is on.

The key part of the opening segment was Bryan telling Ellsworth that not only was he banned from ringside, but he was ejected from the building to prevent his interference. Ellsworth was taken away by security with the fans singing the “nana nana nana nana hey hey goodbye” song. Of course, as soon as I saw that happen I knew he’d still be at ringside later because that’s how WWE does angles like this.

Carmella defeated Natalya, Charlotte Flair, Tamina & Becky Lynch in a Money in the Bank Ladder Match

The match started with about 30 minutes left in the broadcast, which meant that they were going long. It also meant two commercial breaks during the match. I know that some fans hate that because it hurts the flow of the match. I don’t like it either, but WWE and USA Network have bills to pay just like all of us. It’s part of the business. To WWE’s credit, they timed the commercials well with all five women being down all around the ring as the show cut to break both times.

I thought it was a better match than what they did at Money in the Bank two weeks ago. They did well in terms of having all five women making it look like they had a legit shot to win. In their first match, they didn’t tease that finishing spot well enough. This time, there were some good teases and even a funny moment when Carmella was about to grab the briefcase, but the four other women moved the ladder with her on it.

There were also some cool spots in the match like when Charlotte put a ladder on the side of another ladder and ran up the ladder to prevent Natalya from grabbing the briefcase. They didn’t do anything crazy in terms of trying big moves off the ladder. There was no moonsault off the top to the floor like Charlotte did during the PPV match.

The finishing sequence was excellent. Natalya and Becky Lynch prevented Tamina from getting the briefcase and they did a double-team Powerbomb to take her out. Natalya brawled with Charlotte on the floor. It got so intense that they fought over the barricade into the crowd. That showed that they were so focused on each other that they didn’t even care about winning, which makes them look a bit silly.

Ellsworth made his way down to ringside (even though he was banned from the building) and it looked like he was going to help Carmella win again. However, this time Becky Lynch there. Lynch shoved the ladder so that Ellsworth crashed into the top rope groin-first. Give him credit for taking the bump perfectly because it’s not easy to do from that high up sometimes. It looked like Lynch might win, but Carmella attacked her with a chair. Carmella hit Lynch in the leg with the chair followed by a chair to the back. That led to Carmella climbing up and grabbing the briefcase to win after 25 minutes.

Going into the match, I thought Charlotte or Becky would win because it would be a happy ending to have a face wrestler leave as the victor. Instead, they went with Carmella proving she was good enough to win on her own. Yes, Ellsworth was there momentarily, but it was Carmella who stopped Lynch from winning and climbed the ladder herself. It makes a good story because Carmella needs the briefcase to get to that level while women like Charlotte and Becky have already been champions. I can totally understand why WWE booked it that way. No complaints from me.

Carmella posted this photo on Twitter of her with the briefcase likely on a shuttle bus taking her to the airport for a red-eye flight home to Orlando from San Diego.

It’s been a big month for Carmella and her boyfriend Big Cass, who turned heel on tag partner Enzo Amore last week. The couple were split apart on the main roster, but they are still together even though they are on opposite shows. Both of them have very bright futures in WWE.

Great job by the five women in the main event, by Ellsworth with the big bump and by WWE’s creative team in truly elevating women’s wrestling by having them take part in a historic Money in the Bank match like this.

This Week’s Smackdown Live Matches

Here are the other matches from Tuesday’s action on Smackdown.

The Usos defeated Hype Bros (Ryder & Rawley)

This was non-title. It was a five-minute match with only two minutes of action that was shown. Lame. Why not time the commercial so it shows the whole match? I know part of the reason was the post-match Usos/New Day promo, but it would have been nice if more of the match aired. Anyway, clean win for The Usos means that the Hype Bros don’t get a title shot.

After the match was over, New Day challenged The Usos to a Tag Team Title match at Battleground and The Usos agreed. No surprise, since The Usos held onto their titles at Money in the Bank because they lost by countout. There were some funny lines by both sides in the promo.

There’s also going to be a New Day vs. Usos “Rap-Off” next week. Both teams have been able to do some creative promos, so it should be funny at least.

Naomi defeated Lana to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship

This was a rematch from Money in the Bank a few weeks ago. That match went about 10 minutes. This one was much shorter. Lana attacked Naomi before the bell. When the bell rang, Lana hit a sitout spinebuster for a near-fall. Naomi came back with a kick to the head and a split-legged moonsault off the top rope for the win. It was just a one-minute match that ended Lana’s quest (for now) as a title contender.

On Twitter, Lana complained about how she got her shoulder up and the ref didn’t see it. She spelled pinned wrong too.

I’m not sure if that means Lana is still a contender or if she’s just being a whiny heel on social media. I would lean more towards her just being a whiny heel.

Baron Corbin defeated Sami Zayn

I knew this was coming. I talk about WWE booking patterns all the time. If you watch WWE with regularity, you know they repeat the same things. In this case, Zayn beat Corbin three times in the past few months (the announcers mentioned it to drive the point home) before Corbin held the Money in the Bank briefcase. Now that Corbin has the briefcase, it was obvious what was going to happen.

It was a good match that went about eight minutes with Corbin hitting the End of Days slam for the victory. There wasn’t a point in the match where I thought Zayn was going to win. The match was designed to put over Corbin strong and that’s what it did. Simple booking.

The main event was the women’s ladder match, which I already covered.

Other Key Items From Smackdown

1. Randy Orton and Jinder Mahal set up a Punjabi Prison match for the WWE Title

Randy Orton entered for a promo at the top of hour two. He was still angry about what happened at Money in the Bank when the Singh Brothers put their hands on his dad. Orton threatened to attack WWE Champion Jinder Mahal everywhere unless he got a WWE Championship match. Shane McMahon, the Smackdown Commissioner, showed up to say that he can’t have Orton acting like that. McMahon noted that Orton has attacked families in the past (including Shane’s), but Shane claimed he had never seen Orton in a state like this before. Shane announced that Orton would get another WWE Title match, but claimed Jinder Mahal could name the stipulation.

Mahal appeared on the ramp with the Singh Brothers to complain about Orton getting another title match. Mahal had a good point since he beat Orton in the title rematch. Anyway, Mahal ended up choosing the Punjabi Prison match that hasn’t been seen in WWE since Batista beat Great Khali at No Mercy in October 2007. The first Punjabi Prison match was supposed to be Khali vs. The Undertaker one year before that, but a health issue prevented Khali from wrestling. There have only been two of these matches, so WWE used a video package to try to explain it to the fans.

It doesn’t make a lot of sense that Mahal would pick a stipulation that has two giant cages that are supposed to keep people out. If he wins his matches because the Singh Brothers help him, then why pick a stipulation that prevents his buddies from helping? It’s weird to me, but I don’t expect WWE to explain it. Perhaps they want to show Mahal can win clean and this is how he can do that.

Good luck to Orton and Mahal having a good match in the Punjabi Prison. It’s not going to be easy, but at least it’s different than what we normally might see.

2. Shinsuke Nakamura thinks Baron Corbin is afraid of him

Shinsuke Nakamura wasn’t featured on this show very much. He was shown watching the Corbin/Zayn match backstage and did a brief promo. Nakamura claimed that Corbin was afraid of what he can do and that Corbin should be afraid.

It should lead to a Battleground match between Nakamura and Corbin, who attacked Nakamura at the start of the Money in the Bank ladder match two weeks ago.

3. Mike & Maria Kanellis were interrupted by Sami Zayn

Mike and Maria Kanellis appeared on the stage to annoy the fans about their “power of love” when Sami Zayn made his entrance to interrupt them. That’s because Zayn had a match with Baron Corbin. Zayn just shrugged his shoulders as he went by the married couple.

This was likely done because it will be the first feud for Mike & Maria against a good guy like Zayn. It makes sense since Zayn is a midcard face with credibility who really doesn’t have a feud now. Feuding with Zayn would be a good rivalry that would help establish Mike early in his WWE run.

It will probably lead to a Mike Kanellis vs. Sami Zayn match at Battleground and it wouldn’t surprise me if Mike got the win.

4. “Fashion Vice” continued the story of mystery attackers messing with Breezango

There was another comedy segment with the Breezango duo of Tyler Breeze and Fandango dressed like the guys on the 1980s Miami Vice TV show. They interrogated The Ascension about attacking Breeze, but The Ascension said it wasn’t them. While the questioning was going on, there was a noise in another room and it was Breezango’s office getting trashed again. That made Breezango realize it wasn’t The Ascension, so the mystery continued.

This would be a smart way to debut a new team to the main roster (perhaps Sanity from NXT?) or possible turn somebody heel like American Alpha. I don’t know who it is, but I like mystery angles. 

Looking Ahead to WWE Battleground

The next Smackdown pay-per-view is Battleground on July 23 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

WWE Championship Punjabi Prison Match: Jinder Mahal vs. Randy Orton

Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Usos vs. The New Day

United States Championship: Kevin Owens vs. winner of battle royal next week. That will probably be AJ Styles.

Other likely matches are Baron Corbin vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and maybe Sami Zayn vs. Mike Kanellis. There should be one or two women’s matches as well.  

In Closing

Very good episode of Smackdown like usual. The main event was treated like a big deal and given a lot of time, which is always nice to see. I thought the story development for everything else on the show made sense. Smackdown doesn’t have a lot of filler like Raw does.

It was a historic week in WWE since Raw was headlined by the women’s gauntlet match, Smackdown was headlined by the second ever women’s Money in the Bank ladder match and tonight’s NXT show has a women’s match in the main event too. We can criticize WWE for a lot of things, but they deserve a lot of credit for the way they are utilizing their female performers. It’s great to see.

They advertised three things for next week’s Smackdown Live in Phoenix, which takes place on July 4:

** The return of “free agent” John Cena, who has been off WWE TV since WrestleMania, so it was a three month WWE break for him.

** The Usos and New Day will have a “rap off” segment.

** A battle royal will take place with the winner getting a shot at Kevin Owens and the US Title at Battleground.

That’s all for now. I’ll be back next week for more.

About John Canton

John has been writing about WWE online since the late 1990s. He joined The Comeback/Awful Announcing team in 2015. Follow John Canton on Twitter @johnreport or email him at with any comments or questions. For more of his wrestling opinions, visit his website at Cheap pop!