In the aftermath of Money in the Bank, WWE SmackDown offered delayed clarity on a number of issues.
We won’t find out how the controversy of the first women’s Money in the Bank ladder match will play out yet. Tuesday’s show didn’t reveal how Mike and Maria Kanellis will look in their new home. And fans will have to wait to see what kind of conclusion awaits the feud between Randy Orton and Jinder Mahal.
Carmella will have to re-win the Money in the Bank briefcase as SmackDown general manager Daniel Bryan ordered that a rematch of that historic bout be held Tuesday.
The blue brand’s newest power couple didn’t make a televised appearance on SmackDown. Orton and Mahal’s third battle isn’t yet official.
Questions about all that and Shinsuke Nakamura’s transition to the main roster emerged after the latest SmackDown. The following is a look at it all.
Maria Kanellis resurfaced on Sunday’s Money in the Bank. The former Mike Bennett, who has now taken his wife’s name, stood at her side.
The two talked about wanting to spread the power of love.
They didn’t get a chance to do that on Tuesday. At least not on the air. Mike and Maria cut a promo to the live crowd, but it wasn’t shown on SmackDown. Instead, it was billed as a WWE.com exclusive.
The clip didn’t hint at who these two may feud with. They didn’t confront any of the SmackDown Superstars.
And one would imagine these two will be presented as heels, but that’s not for sure. Mr. and Mrs. Kanellis were grating, not villainous.
Sami Zayn is need of a rival. Tye Dillinger has no direction at the moment. Erick Rowan appears to be done fighting his former “brother” Luke Harper. Those are the likeliest candidates to start clashing with Mike.
We won’t know what direction he and Maria are headed, though, until they interact with the roster.
Orton talked up the personal nature of his feud with the WWE champ in a sit-down interview on Tuesday. He wanted to go after Mahal’s family after seeing him and The Singh Brothers threaten his father at Money in the Bank.
The feud continues to escalate. Orton keeps getting closer to victory, only to have Mahal win in underhanded fashion.
That and the fact that their next match will be the third part of a trilogy, there’s likely to have a stipulation ahead. A cage match or Last Man Standing bout would fit the animosity level of this story.
Billi Bhatti of Sportskeeda has heard that Orton vs. Mahal III will be inside a Punjabi Prison.
That little-used match makes sense in this spot. WWE is playing up Mahal’s ethnicity, so its rarity will make it feel special to a degree and, in theory, the structure will keep The Singh Brothers.
During his short SmackDown tenure, Nakamura hasn’t looked himself. He and Dolph Ziggler put on an underwhelming match at Backlash. The King of Strong Style hasn’t been as electric in the ring overall as we’re used to seeing from him.
That wasn’t the case on Tuesday night.
Nakamura put on a stellar performance against Ziggler on SmackDown. He wowed the commentators with thunderous strikes. He elevated the drama of the bout.
Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful tipped his hat to the two-time NXT champion:
Sean Ross Sapp @SeanRossSapp
That was the best Nakamura singles match I’ve seen on the main roster.
Is this a sign of things to come? Has Nakamura made the necessary adjustments to draw on more of his potential in the WWE environment?
It sure looked like it on Tuesday. Another showing or two like this one and the concerns about Nakamura’s style translating to the SmackDown landscape will fade away.
The first women’s Money in the Bank ladder match ended awash in controversy. James Ellsworth retrieved the briefcase for Carmella, letting a man basically win a historic women’s match.
The move was bashed left and right.
It will be do-over time next week, though. Bryan announced that Carmella is no longer Ms. Money in the Bank and booked a rematch.
Will WWE get it right this time? Will it lose out on momentum by taking this rematch route? Would WWE troll the audience and have Ellsworth win it for Carmella again?
Whatever the outcome, there is sure to be big-time anticipation ahead. And lots of folks will be watching. Jason Powell of ProWrestling.net wrote: “WWE garnered a lot of attention by taking the approach they did, and the rematch will be seen by more viewers on SmackDown.”
WWE isn’t going to please everyone with how it books the second Money in the Bank contest, but it would diffuse much of the backlash by not including Ellsworth in the closing moments.