'SmackDown' Recap: The Miz, Charlotte Flair and Rusev Qualify for ‘Money in the Bank’

Rusev vs. Daniel Bryan on SmackDown Live on Tuesday, May 8, 2018
Courtesy of WWE

With June right around the corner, every Superstar in the WWE Universe has their sights set on a pair of briefcases. Like Thanos' fully loaded Infinity Gauntlet, the now-iconic Money in the Bank briefcase grants the owner a massively advantage: the ability to challenge a WWE champion for the belt at any given time. And, as of last year, the women's division has their own briefcase as well. Carmella recently used her briefcase to great effect, taking advantage of a weakened Charlotte Flair to claim the SmackDown Women's Championship.

As mentioned on Raw earlier this week, both brands will have eight superstars—four men and four women—qualify for the coveted briefcase ladder matches. With three of Raw's superstars decided earlier this week, it was time for the residents of SmackDown Live to find out who would be able to prove themselves to be worthy of the briefcase.

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The first round of qualifiers had SmackDown's resident Hollywood celebrity The Miz against current United States Champion Jeff Hardy. The two accomplished superstars had a lengthy back-and-forth, with Hardy delivering no less than three Twists of Fate to Miz. Unfortunately, Hardy's patented Swanton Bomb proved to be his undoing, with Miz reversing Hardy's pin for the victory.

 

The women's qualifier of the night featured Charlotte Flair against Peyton Royce of "The Iconics." Flair had a score to settle with Royce and her teammate Billie Kay, as their surprise ambush a few weeks prior left Flair unprepared to face Carmella, setting up Flair to surrender the Women's Championship belt. But once Flair forced Royce to submit to the painful "Figure 8" position, she got the payback she wanted.

 

The last match of the night was one with two huge crowd favorites: The legendary Daniel Bryan (himself a former briefcase winner) against Rusev, aka "The Bulgarian Brute" (and the creator of everyone's favorite holiday, "Rusev Day"). Bryan's athletic skill was undeniable, but ultimately he couldn't handle Rusev's massive frame, falling victim to a counter that led into a visceral Machka Kick and the pin.

 

So far, six superstars have qualified for the briefcase matches. That's only a third of the total superstars that will qualify. We'll see who else is in the running for the Money in the Bank in the weeks to come.

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