This week’s Friday Night SmackDown was an explosive showing as live crowds have returned for the first time in 16-months.
SmackDown Women’s Champion Bianca Belair was able to defend her title for the first time in front of a crowd since she won it at WrestleMania in April. Carmella was her opponent and what a formidable opponent she was.
The match received plenty of time to showcase each woman and the crowd was firmly behind the champion. At one point in the match, Carmella had the champion in trouble with a submission in the center of the ring. Although Belair started to fade, she powered through and countered into a vertical suplex.
Carmella was her cocky self throughout the match and focused on Belair’s braid towards the end of the match. She went for a superkick but Belair used her braid to the midsection. This allowed the EST to execute the K.O.D. to get the three count and retain her championship.
Despite a lot of speculation and hopes for Sasha Banks to return during or after the match, The Boss did not show up. Banks has been off WWE programming for the past three months since losing the SmackDown Women’s Title to Belair.
The second women’s match this week was a rematch involving the recently debuting Shotzi & Tegan Nox taking on the Women’s Tag Team Champions Natalya and Tamina in a non-title bout. Shotzi picked up the win for her newly formed team last week in their debut by pinning Natalya. This week, Natalya took the pin once again, this time from Nox.
With both Natalya and Tamina being in this Sunday’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match, Liv Morgan and Zelina Vega who are also participating in the upcoming match were on commentary. As the tag team match was still going on, Morgan and Vega got heated and the tension led to punches flying. This distraction caused Natalya to lose her focus as she was trying to get Nox in the Sharpshooter. Nox then rolled through for the pin.
With Shotzi and Nox making the quick exit, the four women left at ringside continued the fight. Morgan became the last woman standing as she stood tall in the middle of the ring pointing to the Money in the Bank briefcase.
During the commercial break, Morgan took advantage of the live crowd being back as she delivered a heartfelt promo for the upcoming MITB Ladder Match. Morgan got emotional talking about earning her spot in the match and it had nothing to do with luck. She is confident that she will go on to win it. The crowd was firmly behind her.
A dark match took place before SmackDown began. As reported earlier today, the match involved Xia Li and Aliyah. Li picked up the win. Aliyah broke off her partnership with The Robert Stone brand last Tuesday on NXT and is rumored to be moving to the main roster.
What did you think about the return of fans for this week’s SmackDown? Check back in with Diva Dirt as we will have coverage this week and a discussion post for Money in the Bank.