Written by: The Immortal KB
This interesting edition of SmackDown is live from the Richmond Coliseum in Richmond,Virginia, USA. The next PPV is WWE SummerSlam next month August 21st live from the Barclays Center in the one and only Brooklyn.
After the chaos that was WWE Battleground there’s many questions that could only be answered on Tuesday nights.
They show opened with the ring announcer introducing Kevin Owens as the new US Champion.
Owens entered the ring and looked at his title belt and said, “This just feels right, doesn’t it?” He said he is their United States Champion. He said he proved at Battleground that if your heart is pure and you’re a good person, good things will happen. He called Styles a thief from whom he took back his title. As the crowd chanted “A.J. Styles,” he said he will reinstate the Kevin Owens U.S. Title Open Title challenge (long giant pause) “next week.” The crowd booed. He said there is no way under any circumstances he would defend his title in front of “a bunch of hicks from Richmond, Virginia.”
Styles’s music played and he walked to the ring. Owens said Styles better be there to admit he is the better man and congratulate him. Styles said, “Nope. I came out here to get my rematch for that United States Championship.” He said he won’t defend against him or anyone. Then, surprisingly Chris Jericho’s music played. (None of the dirtsheets had that Jericho would return)
Jericho smiled at the crowd. Owens looked as if he had seen a ghost. Jericho entered the ring and said, “It’s the return of Jericho. Welcome back, mannn!” Owens stammered and asked what he is doing there. Jericho told him, “Quiet, quiet, quiet, quiet, quiet, quiet, quiet, quiet, quiet, quiet, quiet, quiet, quiet! And one more time… Quiet!!” He told Owens, “This isn’t Montreal, this is American, man!” He said the last time he was on Smackdown, he left on a stretcher because of him, but after a few months of rehab, Crossfit, eating well, and a few beers, he’s back. He said he is back to get his rematch for the U.S. Title “right here, right now, tonight.” Styles said everyone is glad he’s back and hasn’t lost his sense of humor, but a lot of things have happened. He said as of right now, he’s the next guy in line for a U.S. Title match. Jericho asked Styles if he’s trying to butt in front of him in line. He said “a guy at the grocery store tried to jump in front of him, and he punched him in the face and put him in the Walls of Jericho in aisle seven in front of the canned corn”. Owens really tried to sneak out of the ring as those two talked. Jericho asked Styles if he knows what happens when he cuts in front of him for a U.S. Title match. “You just made the list!” he said. To a massive pop.
Jericho noticed Owens leaving. He told him to get back to the ring. Instead, Shane McMahon’s music played. Shane said both Jericho and Styles are due rematches for the U.S. Title. He said they’ll both get that opportunity. He said they’d get their opportunity at the same time because it will be defended in a Triple Threat match tonight. Owens went ballistic.
The first match of the night was a rematch of a match at Battleground between Shinsuke Nakamura and Baron Corbin. Nakamura came out to a giant pop with the crowd singing in unison to his theme music. After the entrance they showed freeze-frames of Corbin getting himself DQ’d at Battleground. Nakamura ducked Corbin’s early blows, then took him down with some strikes. Saxton said Nakamura was livid after the DQ last night to the point that he had to be escorted out of the arena. Nakamura took it to Corbin at ringside, but when he charged for a clothesline, Corbin popped up and clotheslined him. Corbin rolled him into the ring and scored an early two count. Corbin stayed on offense. Nakamura surprised Corbin with a cross arm breaker, then an overhead face lock. Corbin suplexed out of it. Both were slow to get up. Corbin mounted a comeback and drove some knees into Corbin’s head. Nakamura landed a second rope sidekick to the jaw of Corbin for a two count. Corbin came back and eventually landed a Deep Six for a near fall. Corbin looked pissed after the kickout. Nakamura came back and kicked Corbin’s right knee followed by a running knee to the back of his head. Then he hit the Kinsasha for the pinfall in the nine minute match.
This was by far the best match by these two and hopefully their last. The match at battleground was horrible for the PPV and everyone involved. Baron Corbin is still green but within his young big men contemporaries he’s solid number two miles ahead of Big Cass but miles behind Braun Strownman. Shinsuke is a future WWE Champion. Giving this match a B+ grade.
Dasha Fuentes interviewed Naomi backstage. She asked about Natalya refusing to shake her hand after the match on Sunday. Naomi said Natalya is tough as nails, but she won’t stand for her disrespecting her. Natalya walked in and said Naomi has “tarnished everything that a WWE Championship stands for. She said she turned the belt into a toy. She said she doesn’t respect the Hart Family and she will take the belt and restore honor to the championship”. Naomi said Natalya is stuck in the “dirty dungeon of the past.” Naomi said, “This is the now!” She said she respects tradition, but she’s added a little piece of herself to it. She said at Summerslam, she’ll be blinded by the glow. Natalya turned and left. In walked Carmella with her Money in the Bank contract. She said this is part of her future.
The second match of the night was a Women’s tag match with the duo of Tamina and Lana taking on the duo of Becky Lynch and Charlotte. Lana tagged in after Tamina beat up Becky for a few minutes. She suplexed Becky and scored a two count. Eventually Charlotte and Tamina both tagged in. Tamina kicked Charlotte, then Lana tagged herself in and went after Charlotte. Charlotte kicked Tamina to the floor and then turned and gave Lana a big boot and scored a clean three count in the four minute match.
This match was very sloppy by botches by all four women. Lana got multiple chants of “You can’t wrestle” from the crowd. It also seems that maybe Charlotte is in the dog house she went from a focal point the moment she arrived via the superstar shakeup to being a major afterthought. No disrespect to the other women but Charlotte’s skills and accomplishments mean she must always be a serious contender or be the champion. Overall the match itself was a D-.
To start off the final hour WWE Champion The Modern Day Maharaja Jinder Mahal made his ring entrance without the Singh Brothers and The Great Khali. He boasted about crushing the legacy of Randy Orton and said the legend of the Modern Day Maharaja was born. He said Orton agreed to face him on his turf at his own game, but he came up short because Orton underestimated him. He demanded to know who his opponent would be at Summerslam and whose hopes he would crush at Summerslam. Jinder demanded silence so he could speak to his people in in his language.
John Cena’s entrance music played and out came the man who can’t be seen to the ring. Jinder told him he knows what he’s going to say. He’s going to stay he is 16 time champion and that Jinder is a weak champion who relied on the Singh Brothers to win. Cena told him to stop moving his mouth for just one second. Cena said as a mind reader, he’s a piece of crap. Piece of crap? He said he is the one guy who will come out and tell him congratulations. He said he doesn’t like what happened, “but I’m big on respect.” He said he respects that he’s in the best shape of his life and that the WWE Championship means so much to him that he’ll do whatever is necessary to keep it. He said this isn’t a crazy moral shakedown, it’s a congratulations. He said it’s also a heads up. He said he is John Cena, and he may know his voice from pistachio commercials. He said he’s giving him a heads up because at Summerslam he’ll face Super Cena. He said that means he is walking out of Summerslam a 17-time champion. He said: “It was nice to see you. You can’t see me. Hit the trumpets.” Cena’s music played and he left the ring. Jinder pointed down at him and yelled.
Suddenly Daniel Bryan’s music played. Bryan congratulated both Cena and Jinder for being victorious at Battleground. Bryan said it’s clear Cena is on a quest to make history, but he doesn’t make matches, he and Shane do. “Around here, opportunities are earned, even if your name is John Cena.” He said Cena performed brilliantly at Battleground, and next week he’ll face a man who performed brilliantly tonight – Shinsuke Nakamura. He called it a first-time dream match. He said the winner of that match faces Jinder at Summerslam.
I feel like this match really won't happen but if it does without interference it will literally be Goku vs Superman. Goku is a man who breaks limits while Superman is a man without limits. This match truly is a dream match.
Backstage Shane McMahon talking on his cell phone. Owens walked in. He said it’s clear Shane doesn’t like him by putting him in the ring with Jericho and Styles. He said Jericho has it in for him and Styles can’t get over his loss. He said it’s not fair. Shane said they each have a rematch coming. He said he doesn't actually care who the US Champion is as long as it’s defended on Smackdown and he wants to give the audience great matches. Owens said he doesn’t care about the Smackdown audience of Shane.
The third and second tag team match of the night was Tye Dillinger and Sami Zayn vs Aiden English and Mike Kanellis. This match was back and forth with each of the four wrestlers getting time to shine Sami eventually hit a Helluva Kick on Kanellis for the win in the sixth minute match.
While the match itself was nothing special what surprised me the most was how well Tye and Sami teamed up. I wouldn’t be surprised if down the line the two made a run at tag team gold.Also Mike seemed like a jobber the plan to build him up isn't working so maybe he should go to 205 Live. This match was a C+.
As Big E began to introduce New Day, there was a ruckus backstage. The Usos dragged Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston onto the stage. They threw Xavier into the edge of the video wall. Unfortunately every week on Smackdown someone gets caught slipping.
Renee Young interviewed Nakamura backstage. Nakamura said, “Next week, John Cena you can’t see me, which means I’ll see Jinder at Summerslam.”
Nakamura the God
Finally the main event of the night. In a championship triple threat the new US Champion Kevin Owens defended his title against the former champion AJ Styles and former former champion Chris Jericho. Styles knocked Jericho off the ring apron. Owens then caught Styles with a quick clothesline to take over offense. Owens scored some two counts on Styles. He went to ringside to take some shots at Jericho to keep him out of the match a little longer. Then he re-entered the ring and continued to beat on Styles some more. Styles countered Owens and applied a Calf Crusher dead center of the ring. Jericho broke it up with a rare Lionsault onto both opponents. Jericho then scored a two count on Styles.
More back and forth action including three-way exchanges. Jericho went for a Walls of Jericho on Owens. Styles ran in to break it up.Jericho saw him coming, released the Walls, and gave Styles a Code Breaker out of nowhere. He covered Styles, but Styles kicked out for the nearest of near falls. Styles and Jericho exchanged blows. Owens tripped Jericho on a Lionsault attempt on Styles. Owens rolled into the ring and landed a Cannonball on Styles. Then the same to Jericho. Owens went at Styles, but Styles popped up and gave Owens a flying forearm. Jericho caught Styles with a step-up enzuigiri. Owens superkicked Jericho. Styles gave Owens a Pelé kick. All three were down and took a while to get up.
Styles charged at Jericho in the corner and then went for a Phenomenal Forearm, but Jericho dropkicked him out of mid-air. The crowd was chanting “This is awesome!” Owens then gave Jericho a super kick and a Pop-Up Powerbomb for another crazy near fall. Owens couldn’t believe it. A huge “Y2J!” chant broke out. Owens climbed to the top rope and landed a frog splash. Styles entered and threw Owens off of Jericho and then made the cover and scored the three count.
Owens threw a fit at ringside, throwing monitors and chairs in frustration. He told everyone to shut up and listen to him. He said this is not fair. He said it wasn’t fair Jericho was in the match and that Shane forced him to defend his title in a Triple Threat match. He said it’s not fair that Styles stole his victory. He told the fans it’s not fair they dislike him because he’s better than they ever will be. He said what is fair is him getting his one-on-one rematch next week. So basically a rematch of a rematch of a of a rematch of a rematch of a rematch. Hopefully after next week no more rematches.
Greatness was what that match was. For fourteen minutes it was believable that any of the three men could win the match. This is arguably the greatest triple threat match in Smackdown history. This match was an A++ match. AJ Styles is the best wrestler in the world, Kevin Owens is top thirty, and on nights like this Jericho can turn back the clock to his prime as the best in the world.
Overall, it can be argued that tonight’s Smackdown was better than Battleground. The stars shined bright. This was an A+ Smackdown off the strength of what was great. A lot of things were teased for the future and story lines progressed. This was a nice leapt on the road to SummerSlam. Smackdown’s contribution to Summerslam this year.