Written by: The Immortal KB
This enthralling edition of SmackDown is live from the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, USA. The next PPV is WWE SummerSlam later this month on August 21st live from the Barclays Center in the one and only Brooklyn.
The show opened with the US Championship match between the champion AJ Styles vs Kevin Owens the challenger. Styles came out first then Owens in my opinion the champion should always come out last. Owens knocked Styles out of the ring with a forearm to the back of his head. Owens caught a charging Styles with a boot to the face and then scored a two count. Styles took over and the momentum swinged when he went for a Phenomenal Forearm, Owens bailed out to ringside. Styles slingshoted himself onto Owens with a flying forearm on the floor instead. When Styles charged, Owens side-stepped him and threw him into the barricade then he hit a running cannonball.
Back from the break, Styles made a comeback with a flying forearm, a clothesline in the corner, and a fireman’s carry neckbreaker for a near fall. Owens backdropped out of a Styles Clash attempt, then ducked a subsequent Styles springboard and superkicked him leading to a near fall. Styles came back with a Calf Crusher. Owens headbutted himself free. Styles landed a Pelé kick next and then went for a Styles Clash. Owens resisted and powered out of it. Styles then went into another Calf Crusher. Owens teased tapping as he cried out in agony. Owens reached the bottom rope. Owens shoved Styles into the ref, then surprised him with two super kicks. Owens took a swing at Styles, but Styles ducked and Owens hit the ref.The ref went down. Owens gave Styles a super kick and tried for the Pop-up Powerbomb, but Styles countered with a roll-up for the three count to retain the US Championship in the twenty minute match. The ref didn’t see the shoulder of Owens was up. Owens protested to the referee afterward as a trainer tended to the ref.
Giving this match a B+ it would have been an
A+ if the ending didn’t look so clunky. Maybe this is what was supposed to happen at Battleground because of this it’s highly likely that the two will meet again at SummerSlam.
They showed Owens hitting the ref. Saxton said it appeared almost intentional. The replay clearly showed Owens’ shoulder was up.
They went backstage to the ref who was squinting as a medic tended to his eye. Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon approached the ref. Shane said he blew the call and he should have called for a second referee. The ref said his eyes were blurry and he didn’t have time to call for a second official. Owens barged in and began throwing things and yelling at Bryan and Shane. “I just got screwed!” he yelled. Owens called the referee an idiot. Owens called him an incompetent moron. Shane told him to show some respect. Owens shoved the ref, who went flying backwards. Owens said Shane should be worried about him, not the ref. Owens said the ref shouldn’t be allowed to make a crap call. Shane said his shoulder was up, so he’s going to give him a rematch for the U.S. Championship at Summerslam. Owens said he wants a referee who can do his job and has two good eyes. He said he wants a referee who won’t screw him. Bryan said he has a referee for him. He pointed at Shane. Shane was caught off guard. Owens said he’s the most incompetent person here and the worst option. Shane said if he wants the match, then he should accept him as referee and go cool off. Owens threw some things and stormed off. Shane looked at Bryan and said, “I think that went well."
This unfortunately feels like a set-up to Owens vs McMahon down the line.
The Usos came out mocking the New Day entrance and asked the fans what they were expecting. “Three clowns on a tricycle or three grown men talking about each other’s Popsicles?” They took a series of more digs at New Day. They said they have fake cereal and rainbow colored cones. “You’re just three grown twerking men blowing your own trombone,” said Jey. Jimmy said New Day can keep their rainbows and unicorns, but they’re taking their tag titles and catch phrases. They sang “U-so Rocks!"
Fashion Files this week had a Twin Peaks theme. On the pinboard was a picture of “Fandango” who was listed as “Missing: Disappeared 25 Years Ago.” Next to his pic was Kane with the words, “Firewalk with me.” A picture of the Bellas had the words “Bella Twin Peaks.” Breeze talked into his recorder and said he’s stumbled onto quite a few mysteries on the Fashion Files. He said his partner has been abducted, possibly by extra terrestrials. Breeze asked who kidnapped Fandango and wondered why he recorded his thoughts instead of just calling them in. The coffee was syrupy and then the lights flickered. In stumbled Fandango, but he wasn’t himself he seemed like Johnny Curtis . The Ascension were with him. Breezango asked if they were helping, since they ruled them out as suspects several times. They squirted Mrs. Butterworth syrup on a log. Then they began laughing which creeped out Breeze. Breeze yelled, “Enough with the metaphors!” Then they went to Breeze waking up from a dream. He announced that he has figured out who kidnapped Fandango. “To be continued.” The audience
No Comment on that.
The second match of the night was Sami Zayn vs Aiden English. As English sang his way to the ring. The crowd chanted “You suck!” at him as he dragged out the lyrics and indulged himself in his singing. Sami applied an armlock at the start of the match after an arm drag. English pulled Sami over and leaned on him with a roll-up three count out of nowhere to win in one minute. Sami sat in the ring in disbelief as English celebrated in the aisle.
This really didn’t count as a match because after the match Mike and Maria Kanellis walked out onto the stage to their music. Maria said it’s a fact that they love each other. They said they love each other and that Sami lost. Sami looked depressed.
I found it so bad it was good.
The third match of the night was Naomi & Becky Lynch vs Natalya & Carmella in a tag team match. Natalya applied a sharpshooter mid-ring. Naomi crawled toward the bottom rope, but Natalya yanked her back to the middle of the ring. Naomi reached the rope on a second attempt. Carmella tagged herself in and yelled at Natalya to “get out!” Carmella applied the Code of Silence head scissors around Naomi’ head. Naomi countered into a submission hold. Becky suplexed Natalya out of the ring as she tried to interfere but Carmella tapped out for her team to lose the five minute match.
Giving this match an A for what it was. Naomi was the star of the match by far. Also this match didn’t make sense for Becky to be in the match with Naomi facing Natalya at SummerSlam and watching out for Carmella. Also Becky keeps calling out MMA fighter Cris Cyborg who would cause Becky to lose a major a part to her, arm, leg, head.
Renee Young interviewed WWE Champion Jinder Mahal and the Singh Brothers. She asked if he prefers who wins tonight between Cena and Nakamura. Jinder said he doesn’t care if it’s “the man from Japan or the American.” He said he will walk out as champion. He said all he cares about is going to his personal skybox to watch this “so-called dream match.” He said when he walks down the street, all he feels is xenophobia, but that makes him prouder of heritage. He said he does nothing but destroy the heroes presented to him so they have no choice but to bow and scrape at his feet. He said nobody can end the reign of the Modern Day Maharaja.
The fourth match of the night was Rusev vs Chad Gable. Rusev came out first. Gable got in early offense, working over Rusev’s left leg. Rusev eventually kneed Gable as he charged, then powered him over with a double underhook suplex. Then there was long bearhug by Rusev. Gable came back with a belly-to-belly after the break. He held on and hit another. Rusev headbutted Gable. Gable hit a German suplex immediately into a bridge for a two count. Gable set up a top rope move, but Rusev shoved him off balance. Gable side-stepped a charging Rusev and threw him into the turnbuckle and ringpost then he landed a moonsault for a near fall. Gable went for a roll-up, then tried to roll through into a suplex. Rusev blocked it and landed a spinning roundhouse kick for a crazy near fall. Rusev stomped on Gable and set up the Accolade. Gable escaped and applied the Ankle Lock. Rusev yelled in pain, but twisted and powered out, sending Gable flying through the ropes to the floor. Rusev then kicked Gable in the head and applied the Accolade for the win.
Giving this match an A+. Chad Gable is a future world champion. Gable played the underdog role so well and had excellent chemistry with Rusev.
After the match Rusev said ever since he came to Smackdown, he was promised competition and opponents worthy of being in the ring with him. He said they gave him Cena, and yeah Cena waved his flag around, but he did not beat him because nobody can beat him. He said he has no opponent at Summerslam because everybody is afraid of him. After a pause, his music played, which seemed to startle him for some reason. Then Randy Orton’s music played. He walked out onto the stage and then strolled to the ring, in no hurry. The crowd chanted “Randy! Randy!” Orton said, “If I was you, I wouldn’t want me to get in that right either.” Rusev stepped back and seemed to invite Orton on. “RKO!” rang out. Orton entered the ring and told Rusev, “You’ve never beaten me, and I’m not afraid of you, either. You want an opponent at Summerslam, look no further. You got one right here.” He dropped the mic.
Rusev picked up the mic and spoke in Bulgarian. Orton didn’t like what he thought he heard and charged and gave him an RKO. Orton posed in the corner as Rusev laid out in the ring.
This is so random that I believe at SummerSlam Rusev is going to kick Orton’s head off.
The announcers commented on clips of the Owens-Styles controversial finish from earlier in the night. They announced that Shane as special ref is official for Summerslam, as is Orton vs. Rusev.
Tom Phillips announced Carmella vs. Naomi would take place next week based on what transpired in their tag match tonight.
Finally it was the main event John Cena vs Shinsuke Nakamura with the winner facing WWE Champion Jinder Mahal at SummerSlam. Cena’s ring entrance took place. Phillips called this a “once in a generation fight” and a “dream match.” They showed Mahal and the Singh Brothers watching in their luxury suite. Then Nakamura’s full ring entrance happened with a massive pop from the crowd. They showed Jinder and the Singh Brothers watching on a skybox. Cena ducked Shinsuke as moved toward him, then waved his hand in front of his face. Shinsuke wiped his eyes sarcastically. They locked up mid-ring. Shinsuke pushed Cena into the corner, then broke clean, but rubbed the top of his head into Cena’s chest first then Nakamura made finger goggles. Nakamura applied a side headlock. Cena escaped and leapfrogged Nakamura. Nakamura held onto the top rope and then gestured to Cena. He hit Cena with a step up enzuigiri. Nakamura put his boot to Cena’s neck in the corner. Cena came back with punches and a whip into the corner, but Nakamura avoided his charge and went back to a boot to the throat. Cena powered out and side slammed Nakamura for a two count. Cena applied a chinlock and they cut to a breakComing back from the break they showed Jinder and the Singh Brothers in the skybox again. Nakamura, meanwhile, took it to Cena with stiff kicks. Nakamura put Cena on the top rope, then gave him a running knee to the ribs. He scored a two count. Cena rallied and landed a side slam, then signaled for the Five Knuckle Shuffle. When he reached down, Nakamura grabbed his arm and went for a cross arm breaker. Saxton said Nakamura was playing possum. Nakamura then shifted into a triangle choke. Cena stood and shifted Nakamura into an AA position. Nakamura slipped out and gave Cena a face-buster. Nakamura signaled for the kinshasa. Cena countered with a drop toe hold and applied an STF. Nakamura escaped and applied a cross arm breaker. Cena rolled Nakamura’s shoulders onto the mat for a two count, then clotheslined Nakamura, who did a flip. Both were slow to get up with Nakamura getting up first and kneeing Cena in the head, then signaled again for the Kinshasa. Cena sidestepped him and applied an AA for one of the nearest of falls. The crowd popped heavy.
Cena got up and lifted Nakamura again. Nakamura shifted into a guillotine. Cena lifted Nakamura, though, and delivered another AA. He decided to immediately go for a third, but Nakamura gave Cena an exploder suplex onto the neck.The suplex looked bad until rewatching it Cena actually landed on his shoulders. Cena got up slowly with Nakamura in the corner waiting on his prey. Once Cena turned around KINSHASAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA Nakamura pinned Cena in the middle of the ring ONE ! TWO ! THREE ! clean as a white tee as soon as you buy it. They showed a stunned kid in the crowd dressed up in Cena gear. Which was hilarious that kid looked shocked as hell.
As Nakamura celebrated, Cena recovered enough to stand and shake Nakamura’s hand and raise his arm. They bowed to each other. JBL said this is what’s good about sports. They showed Jinder standing in the skybox watching, not really showing emotions regarding the outcome.
But then Baron Corbin attacked Shinsuke with the money in the bank briefcase then went and beat down John Cena. Corbin took off the top of one of the announcer tables but Cena got up and hit an AA on Corbin to break the table. Afterwards Cena raised Nakamura’s hand.
Nakamura and Cena needed at least an extra ten minutes. They had excellent chemistry this was the best match of the night an A+++ match. Nakamura going to be in a main event match at SummerSlam. I think the ending also leads to Cena vs Corbin at SummerSlam.
This Smackdown was an A+ and better than the show last week which was really good. The feuds moving forward are building but some of them will be quick. Other than that the SmackDown contribution to SummerSlam looks solid.But with SummerSlam being a mixed brand show I think that SmackDown will only have about four matches on the actual card and more on the pre-show which is useless. A pre-show is a stupid idea but overall I think with the show starting at 7 pm eastern time it won't end until maybe 1 in the morning.