Kevin Owens Promo
KO says that as new United States Champion he will reinstate his US Open Challenge, starting nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnneext week (clever). He then went for the easy insult by saying he wouldn’t defend his Championship in front of the hicks in (insert local town here).
AJ Styles came down to ask for his rematch. Owens told him he ‘literally’ just said he wouldn’t be defending until next week (I love how Owens will make the obvious remark, it feels natural).
Chris Jerico returns
Y2J surprised everyone with a return and demanded his own rematch. Styles argued to be first and Jericho asked him if he knew what happened to people who cut in front of Jericho. He told the story of a guy cutting in front of him at the grocery store, the crowd assumed the food-buying man ended up on the list, but no, Jericho punched him in the face and put him in the Walls of Jericho right there in aisle 7 in front of the canned corn.
Owens walked away while the two non-champions argued in the ring.
Shane McMahon interrupts
Shane says both men have the right to a rematch so they’ll have a three-way right here on Smackdown Live.
An exciting return
Shinsuke Nakamura vs Baron Corbin (again!)
That’s right, the WWE is giving us yet another match between two guys that haven’t mustered up much chemistry in the multitude of matches they have week after week. Their PPV match was nothing special and overall Nakamura hasn’t had a chance to shine. He needs more than the short matches he gets to tell a proper story.
When Nakamura is on, it can be breathtaking, but finding that sweet spot has been the challenge.
Fortunately, Nakamura seemed incredibly fired up for this match, running around the outside to attack Corbin and eating a huge clothesline, flipping over backwards in the process.
Nakamura showed off his great strikes better than I’ve seen in this feud. Corbin imitated not only the striking, but Nakamura’s patented pose as well.
After a lethal kick to the back of Corbin’s head, Nakamura hit his finisher and got the clean win.
This felt like both men were as disappointed in the feud as I was and went all out to (hopefully) end on a high note.
Again, Nakamura could have done even better with more time, but he seems to be getting the hang of how to execute an impactful match in less than ten minutes.
Naomi and Natalya argue backstage
The new no.1 contender Natalya says Naomi disrespected the belt by making it look like a toy.
Naomi says Natalya is stuck in the dark dungeon of the past (nice reference to the Hart dungeon of course).
Carmella saunters in at the end to remind Naomi she has the Briefcase.
Charlotte & Becky vs Tamina & Lana
Charlotte comes down looking especially smiley, leaning a lot closer to the face side of her current hybrid face/heel persona.
The Smackdown production team does a great job of angling the camera a little lower, making the women appear taller. Nice touch.
Lana starts but after the first lockup with Becky, she scampers screaming back to her corner. Tamina comes in and after gaining control, let’s an eager Lana come in to press the advantage.
Lana is good considering her lack of experience, but her overly exaggerated expressions and movements remind me of 1980’s WWF.
After Charlotte got the hot tag, Lana tagged herself in but was immediately taken out and pinned.
After the match Tamina scolded Lana and demanded she follow her back to the dressing room. It was hard to tell exactly what was happening as Lana’s expression jumped from hurt to almost laughing at some points.
A very short match, but at least they’re furthering a mysterious storyline between Lana and Tamina. It feels like I’ve written the same critique of the same Smackdown matches for weeks. I just might have to switch to RAW!
Jinder Mahal demands a SummerSlam opponent
I’ve noticed Mahal is extremely careful with the belt. He always gives it a look before putting it back on his shoulder.
Mahal says he beat Orton and then goes on to speak Punjabi until….
“John Cena Suuuuuuucks”
I don’t think Cena sucks. Well, he’s cringe-worthy at many things (the juvenile jokes and his atrocious STF), but overall he is consistently above average. He builds up his opponents well and delivers memorable matches.
Cena says he respects Mahal for being in great shape and loving the championship. He also tells Mahal that ‘Super Cena’ (I love that he calls himself that) is coming for him at SummerSlam.
Daniel Bryan’s music hits?!
Bryan tells Cena he doesn’t get to make his own matches, but will have Cena vs Nakamura next week for the no.1 contender spot. Maybe that’s why Nakamura was so fired up tonight?
Mahal’s segments are usually boring and predictable so it was refreshing to have two surprises from yesteryear. I was actually interested to see what Cena could do with Mahal and assume he’ll win the title to break Flair’s record. But now I’m much more excited to see what he can do with Nakamura, and hope we get some kind of promo-off before then. Hopefully Nakamura ‘wins Cena’s respect’ in the loss and chases him for the title in the fall.
Aidan English & Mike Kanellis vs Tye Dillinger and Sami Zayn
Aidan started in the ring singing. He might be a bit to good for the audience to truly hate it.
Zayn was in peril just long enough to give Dillinger a hot tag and decimate English and Kanellis. It was over in five minutes.
Kanellis has looked fairly worthless after their interesting return. He might end up as bottom-level comedy heel before they leave for something more interesting.
Zayn was on the winning side but it seems like WWE is much more interested in Dillinger, who also had a strong showing in the last Battle Royal, hanging with the big boys at the end.
New Day Celebration
During Big E’s entrance-rant to the crowd, The Usos attacked them viciously, tossing them out to the entrance ramp and looking like a real bunch of jerks (awesome talented jerks).
When asked about his upcoming match with Cena, Nakamura says Cena won’t see him, which means he’ll be seeing Mahal at SummerSlam.
Owens vs Jericho vs Styles
The surprise main event turned out to be fantastic. Jericho was fired up to be back and the other two also seemed like they wanted to make up for a mediocre PPV.
Normally, three-ways can be a real cluster, but the precisely timed domino effects were quite entertaining and the finish fit the match and situation well.
Owens had Jericho down for the pin, but a crafty Styles swooped in, tossed Owens like yesterday’s garbage and stole the pin for himself.
Post-match, Owens complained that the situation wasn’t fair (it wasn’t) and demanded a real match with Styles next week, one on one.
Smackdown has been bad for several weeks, culminating with the lame PPV on Sunday. It appears the Blue roster has had enough of complacency or were perhaps given a talking to. Next week’s lineup of Cena/Nakamura and Styles/Owens should cause even more internal competition, prompting a stellar show.