Even though Raleigh was probably a consistent city for Jim Crockett Promotions and The Horsemen in more ways than one, I’m not sure how many tapings or live events centered around the kind of wrestling that my colleagues and I cover on this website ever took place at NC State University. Given their prime generation, I can only imagine how many after hours shows the boys participated in when cameras weren’t pointed at the ring in this city. Spit balling, Vinnie’s current circus most likely does live television from half-a-dozen to a dozen college campuses per year. Last night’s SmackDown Live was for those in The Wolfpack. Shall we join them in the hunt?
Hard camera shot finds a ladder in the ring, Samoa Joe’s music greets the crowd as the tough talker goes between the ropes. His first act was to climb the ladder and remove the briefcase from it’s tempting position, reminding perspective opponents of the ultimate purpose of the encounter in Chicago. After doing this, Joe climbs to the mat and drops The Biblical Story of Jacob’s Ladder on Daniel Bryan while striking down the Heavenly details for The Yes Man. “No light, no Angels at the top of this ladder for you.” Until now, the final slot for the Men’s Money in The Bank Match had yet to be filled.
Joe mentioned Daniel’s family one too many times, bringing The Bearded One from the back to respond. Except he didn’t wanna talk. He wanted to fight. A wrestling show was seconds away from putting a main event in place of a curtain jerker! The winner would be given the last opening in MITB. Then Big Cass comes out to wreck the vibe. He tells us that he has talked to GM Paige and he gets an opportunity to qualify for MITB upon receiving medical clearance from the leg injury he suffered in London. Surprise, The Long Island Redwood is cleared to compete and throttles both competitors as confirmation. Cut backstage and Renee Young catches up with The Sexy Goth Chick who backs up Cass’ claim. Our Main Event is now a Triple Threat Match. Winner gets a one-way ticket to Chicago.
Before heading to break, we find The Challenger for WWE Gold walking the halls with a set of cards numbered from 1 to 10. After scattering them, Shinsuke Nakamura was ready for action. Let’s go to Twitter to find his opposition? Not kidding, when The Con Artist set the parameters of his latest shot at Gold, he took up temporary residence on Sesame Street. He was trolling AJ Styles with a tweet asking him how high he can count. The harassment was intercepted by The Forgotten Perfect 10, Tye Dillinger.
Talk about an ignored athlete. Outside of one random promo, we haven’t seen him in months. There are rumors flying that Dillinger is headed back to NXT and I’m wondering why? Shinsuke is so physical, and the dude gave him a fight to be proud of. He survived multiple “ten-counts” before succumbing to The Kinshasa. I see why NXT marks love him. Come on Vince. You can’t find something useful for a pro like this? That’s on you. We see it. Anybody else think Tye Dillinger would be an interesting fit in Impact?
Two recess segments last night. Starting with a “Dance Off” between Naomi and Lana. Both Ladies brought their full compliment of backup. There was no way this was ending clean. If I must cover the goofiness of this segment, each lady can move in her own way. Rusev’s better half is classically trained in ballet. She may truly have a more flexible skillset than that. How many in ballet can break into pure breakdancing just because? Jimmy Uso’s wife is a former NBA Cheerleader whose athleticism has led to Women’s Gold in New York.
Now that that’s done, do we have reason to believe Lana’s deer in headlights look is almost gone when it comes to in-ring physicality? The ladies did a tandem spot that ended with The Ravishing Russian giving The Glow Worm a neck breaker. Then she got up and slapped the taste out of Jimmy’s mouth. Yes, she got beat up and took a rearview from Naomi. That’s not the point. Lana doesn’t look quite so scared, and that’s a big deal for her!
More female flavor as Mandy Rose had consequences for disrespecting Paige. When will these girls learn? What was The Pound for Pound Pinup’s punishment? Oh nothing. Just a showdown with Asuka! Despite absorbing an assault from Sonya Deville; which gave Rose the advantage throughout the match, The Japanese Ace was displaying enough offense to remain dangerous. Eventually securing her personalized submission for the tap out victory. PS: For some strange reason, Corey Graves keeps forgetting his marital status when Mandy Rose competes. It’s alright man, we’ve all got ours. Now, quit talking crap about mine!
Six-Man Tag Was next. Of course the primer segments involved pancakes. The Unicorns were being served by their new assistant Mr. Bootyworth. The other locker room found Mike trying to catch breakfast that was being flung at him by both members of The Bar. This was supposed to remind us that Mike got “shamed” last week. Doesn’t he get shamed every week? Anyway, the match itself was a typical coin flip. Kofi Kingston took quite a bit of heat. Eventually, Big E got the tag. Extended Tag Matches are designed to break down, and this was no exception. Most memorable spot? Mr. SOS jumping off the top rope to the outside taking both Bar members out. This left Big E inside alone with Mike to deliver The Big Ending and get his win back. We still don’t have a clue which member of The New Day will enter the namesake fight in The Windy City.
As was established when SmackDown kicked off. This week’s last act was a Triple Threat Match for the final spot in Chi town. These matches are built around false finishes and broken pinning combinations. Even though most of them aren’t exactly believable. Daniel and Joe did most of the heavy lifting. If Cass wasn’t 7’’0’ tall, would WWE even look at a performer with his move set? Some of it probably stems from his knee surgery. He looks really stiff in the ring. Bryan’s intensity, nor the loyalty of his supporters have wavered one bit. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough for him in this instance. Samoa Joe got the win by putting his Clutch on Daniel after the underdog knocked Cass out with a running knee. Overall, we’ve left fun tracks on campus. Now it’s time to party before hitting Charlotte in the morning so we can see an old friend in Houston next week.