Written by: The Immortal KB
This exciting edition of SmackDown is live from the AT&T center in San Antonio, Texas USA. The next SmackDown PPV is WWE Battleground live from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA on July 23rd exclusively on the WWE Network.
The show opened with a vignette showing the footage of AJ Styles earning the US title shot last week, and then the footage of Styles beating Owens at MSG last friday. They included fan footage and social media blurbs over the championship change.
The US Championship hasn’t felt this important in over a decade.
AJ Styles made his way to the ring in a new American flag themed P1 shirt. He said even though his face isn’t the “Face of America,” since Owens’ face looks like a monkey’s butt, this is an upgrade. He said this isn’t about Owens or Styles, it’s about what the U.S. Title belt represents. He said it wasn’t long ago the U.S. Champion took on any and all comers, and he called it the U.S. Title Open Challenge. “I think it’s about time we brought it back,” he said. “This championship has been overlooked way too many times.” He said if any WWE Superstars disagree, tonight is their lucky night. He said right here, right now is his U.S. Title Open Challenge. After nearly a minute, Styles said “Come on!” And then finally John Cena’s music played. Cena asked Styles if the U.S. Title Open Challenge applied to him. Styles said it does. Cena said that solves it, let’s do it. He called for a ref. The referee Charles Robinson ran out
We got championship match ring introductions but just as the bell was about to ring, Kevin Owens walked out to his music. He shook his head and said, “No, no. Nobody wants to see another stupid John Cena vs. A.J. Styles match. We’ve already had to sit through way too many of them.” He said he is the rightful owner, so he would have the chance to get it back. He said nobody missed Cena and he doesn’t deserve to be anywhere near it. Cena said it’s not that he doesn’t want to see him, it’s that he “can’t see me.” He waved his hand in front of his face. He called Owens “Michelin Man” (because he’s fat with a gut) and told him if he steps into the ring, he will run through him. He turned and said then he will run through Styles. Rusev then jumped Cena. Styles threw Rusev out of the ring. Owens then jumped Styles. He gave him a Pop-up Powerbomb. Rusev re-entered the ring and gave Cena a running boot and then put him in the Accolade. Owens and Rusev walked away to Rusev’s music as the ref checked on Styles and Cena in the ring.
They announced that Owens & Rusev would face Styles & Cena in the TV main event.
The first match of the night was Tye Dillinger vs Jinder Mahal. This match was a squash in the sense that it went fast on purpose. Mahal won in five minutes flat with the only thing that was impressive was how jacked he is.
After the match Jinder said the fans keep disrespecting him, but he is there to speak the truth. He said he brings class, diversity, and excellence to WWE, yet the fans still cheer “that snake Randy Orton.” He said chanting “USA” doesn’t change the fact that 1.3 billion people in India know he is the greatest champion of all time. He said Orton wants to make his life a living hell, but he’s going to bring heel to Orton next week on Smackdown Live. He said he’s bringing the Punjabi Prison. JBL said it dwarfs Hell in a Cell.
Giving the match a grade of C- for being below average.
The second match of the night was Jey Uso vs Xavier Woods. It started with Xavier got in some offense early, but Jimmy tripped him running off the ropes. Big E and Kofi protested. Jey shoved Kofi off the ring apron. Big E and Kofi entered. The ref pushed them away and then kicked Kofi and Big E out of ringside to the back. He sent Jimmy back, too. Saxton said it’s a fair call. Back in the ring, Xavier went for a roll-up, but Jey held on to the ropes and then superkicked Xavier for a near fall. Xavier came back with a kick to Jey who landed on the middle rope. He positioned himself perfectly for Xavier’s top rope elbow then the pin. The match was only three minutes.
With a match this short It was kinda a waste of time to have this after the excellence that was last week. The elbow from Xavier was A+ fire.
Backstage Shane McMahon talking on his cell with Daniel Bryan. Shane told Bryan he is right, no one has asked about James Ellsworth. He said to say hi to his baby and Brie for him. In walked Smackdown Women’s Champion Naomi who said they have a bit of a situation. She wanted to know who she gets to defend her title against. She said, “You better not say Lana again.” Charlotte walked in and said if Lana gets another title shot, she’ll have to be banned like Ellsworth, because she’s due. In walked Becky Lynch to make her case. Then on the other site, Nia Jax, Natalya, and Lana walked in Shane said it’s great they’re all there because they’re going to discuss who is next in line to face the Smackdown Women’s Champion. He said Becky, Charlotte, Tamina, Natalya, and Lana would be in a five-way elimination match, and the winner would face Naomi. Charlotte said this is supposed to be the Land of Opportunity, not the Land of Make-believe. Nia told her to shut her mouth. Natalya said if she’s so genetically superior, why is she worried, because all she’s done is ride her family coattails. Becky said, “Uh! You’re one to talk Bret, I mean Nattie.” That was kind of funny. Shane said Becky & Charlotte would face Natalya & Tamina later so they can work out their aggression.
Naomi hung around as Carmela walked up to Shane and told him her lawyer says he has to reinstate Ellsworth right away. Shane read the letter. Then he tore it up. He said his decision stands. Carmella screamed.
The fatal five ways happen too much in the women’s portion of Smackdown.
Renee Young interviewed Baron Corbin backstage. They replayed Shinsuke’s attack on him last week. Renee said Shinsuke’s clearly not afraid of him. Corbin said Shinsuke has to learn that he’s not Mr. Money in the Bank, he is. He said it’ll be “sayonara Nakamura.” Then he laughed.
Nakamura made his way to the ring then as Corbin came he yelled at fans on his way to the ring. Nakamura charged at him at ringside to jump-start their battle. Corbin threw Nakamura over the ringside barrier into the crowd. Four referees and two producers tried to break them up. Corbin backed off as they were separated while Nakamura entered the ring taunting him.Corbin grabbed his MITB briefcase and walked to the back.
Cena walked in on Styles in the locker room nursing his neck. Cena said he might want to do that U.S. Title challenge when he’s “gone again, because I will accept.”He said he knew Cena couldn’t resist when he decided to issue that open challenge. He said he took a piece out of him the last time they wrestled. He held up his U.S. Title belt and told Cena he’s going to hold not out for a long time. Cena said it’s obvious he wants to be the best. He said he’s big on respect and that’s not something you just get, it’s something you earn. He told him tonight he has his back when he needs him. He gave him his word. Styles said that’s great, because he’s got his, to.
Tamina and Natalya teamed up to face Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair for the third match of the night. After some time Lana walked out to ringside. A minute later she stood on the ring apron. Charlotte dropped her attack on Natalya to take swing and yell at her. Natalya secretly tagged out, but then lay on the mat. Charlotte turned around and began to apply the figure-four. The ref half-heartedly told Charlotte that there was a tag, and asked her what she was doing. Meanwhile, Tamina entered legally and kicked Charlotte and pinned her.
Giving this match an F+ grade no disrespect but in a two hour show the women don’t need to be on every Smackdown.
In a backstage segment Maria Kanellis was walking down the hallway. She pounded on the “Male Locker Room.” Chad Gable answered the door. She said Sami Zayn owed her an apology. Chad said, “Oh, Sami Wow Wow?” She asked what that meant. He said that’s what he calls him. He called for him. No answer. Maria said to tell Sami the First Lady of Smackdown Live is looking for him.
Backstage again after a commercial break, Sami approached Maria and Mike Bennett being all lovey-dovey with one another. He interrupted. She said she wants an apology. Sami said he’s already apologized twice and he’s getting a little sick of apologizing. He said he’s not even sure why he’s apologizing. He said they always seem to be getting in his way with their love-ins. He asked if Mike even fights. He said, “What do you actually do here? Mike, do you compete here? What is all this about? Wait, I think I have it figured out – you’re the lover and she’s the fighter. Is that what this is?” She slapped him. Mike then hit him over the head with a glass vase. Maria bent down and said, “That was brought to you by the power of love. Sometimes, Sami, love hurts.”
Phillips said they’ve just heard from Shane McMahon that Corbin vs. Nakamura has been added to Battleground. JBL said it’ll be a physical match-up of Japanese Strong Style vs. Golden Gloves Style. Phillips threw to the latest Fashion Files.
The Fashion Files had a Western theme because they were in San Antonio reminiscent of brokeback mountain.They called themselves “Sexy Fashion Rangers” and they included Chuck Norris footage from WCW in the opening credits, but noted he’s not really in the segment. Tyler Breeze asked Fandango if he has a plan. He said he should hit them with his lasso. Breeze said they’d have to tell the truth like Wonder Woman. Fandango walked up to Zack Ryder and gave him his hobby horse. As Fandango engaged in small talk, Breeze ran up and tried to lasso him. Breeze got wrapped up in it. Ryder asked if it really works. Breeze said ask him anything. He asked if he wears a bra under his clothes when he dresses up. Ryder said, “Of course, I’m not a hippy.” Fandango said they’re trying to figure out why the day Ryder returned to WWE, someone jumped Breeze. Mojo Rawley said they were looking for Shane and Daniel Bryan to talk about them being number one contenders again, and they wouldn’t do something shady like that anyway. Ryder asked if by shady he means eliminating him from the battle royal last week. Mojo said that’s not shady, those were the rules, and they talked about every man for himself before the match. He said they need to get to work. Ryder said he might be right, but maybe he needs to get his head back into reality. He looked Fandango and Breeze, “Maybe we all do.” They noticed that someone took their hobby horse. They agreed it was probably Ghost Aliens. The crowd laughed as they said next week it will be “The Fashion (X) Files.” At the bottom of the image it said The truth is H.
The main event of the evening was a tag team match. John Cena & AJ Styles faced off against Kevin Owens & Rusev. A “Let’s Go Cena! / Cena sucks!” chant started. Cena looked at the crowd. Then he and Rusev locked up. Owens and Rusev got the better of Cena before they cut to a break. Cena fought back and managed to hot-tag Styles. Styles entered and charged at Rusev, but Rusev elbowed Styles in the chest. Styles countered quickly with a Calf Crusher. Owens entered and broke it up. Styles tried to lift Rusev, but Rusev powered out and shoved Styles into Owens. Styles took a shot at Owens. Rusev kicked Styles and scored a near fall. Owens settled into chinlock on Styles. Rusev tagged in and kept on the offense. Styles eventually came back with an enzuigiri. Cena got the hot tag and landed an Attitude Adjustment on Owens for the win in a fifteen minute match.
Grade B+. AJ and Cena had amazing chemistry as partners in the match.to become a Triple Crown winner AJ can team up with Cena down the line to win some tag team gold. Russev hasn’t missed a step he and AJ had excellent chemistry as well.
After the match, Cena and Styles celebrated together. Phillips said they put their rivalry aside for one night to score a big victory. Cena presented Styles with his U.S. Title belt. Cena’s music played as Styles and Cena saluted the crowd. The music stopped and Styles stared at Cena, teasing tension. He looked at his U.S. Title belt, then held it up. Cena raised his arm at the same time. More solidarity. They cued up Cena’s music yet again.
Overall, this smackdown would have been way better if the teased matches happened. Next week is the go-home show before WWE Battleground so I’m curious how they bring the rest of the card together moving forward. Then in August is Summerslam which is a dual brand PPV. I’m curious to see what Raw/Smackdown superstars face off. We need Roman Reigns vs John Cena before either of them win a World Championship again.