Hello and welcome to another episode of Smackdown Live! In this episode, we have the rematch for the US Championship between AJ Styles and Kevin Owens, we’ll hopefully be one step closer towards finding any shred of truth in The Fashion Files and we have the tantalising matchup between Shinsuke Nakamura and John Cena, with the winner facing Jinder Mahal at SummerSlam for the WWE Championship! Let’s get stuck in, shall we?
Match One: AJ Styles (C) vs Kevin Owens – US Championship Rematch
What a tremendous match to start off the night! AJ makes his entrance first, followed by Kevin Owens. Owens has this look of intent and anger on his face, obviously still hurting that he wasn’t even pinned last week and he lost his title. The crowd throws vicious boos towards KO, whilst Styles is met with “AJ Styles!” chants, filling up the arena.
Both superstars start off aggressively, with Owens trying to keep the innovative offence of Styles own on the ground. KO takes it outside, with a forearm to the back of Styles’ head knocking him outside, and a powerful clothesline to the outside before rolling him back in for a 2 count, as he shouts, “You think YOU’RE phenomenal!?” Classic Owens, classic. AJ responds with a beautiful dropkick before the middle-of-the-match back and forth ensues. Styles later attempts a Phenomenal Forearm, with Owens rolling outside, Styles innovating with a plancha forearm to the outside. Owens regains the upperhand on the outside, managing to hit a running cannonball to the outside barrier as we head into the break.
We come back to Styles hitting Owens with the ushigaroshi and then attempting a Styles Clash which, obviously, get countered. He instead tries for the Phenomenal Forearm but KO responds with a superkick for a 2 count. Following this, Owens goes for the Pop-Up Powerbomb, but Styles stays on the ropes and locks the charging Owens in for a Calf-Crusher. KO manages to break the submission by grabbing Styles’ soccer-mom hair. After both getting up, Owens goes for his rarely-seen package powerbomb, but AJ flips out, hits a Pele kick then goes for the Calf-Crusher again. KO once again goes for the hair, unable to reach and manages to grab the rope instead. After hitting Styles with not one, but two superkicks, KO goes to punch AJ, who ducks and Owens instead connects with the Ref, knocking him flying (yenno, these ragdoll refs are really weak aren’t they?). Owens hits AJ with ANOTHER superkick, and goes for the Pop-Up Powerbomb, but AJ rolls through into a pin attempt and gets a dubious 3 count, with KO’s shoulder seemingly off the mat and the injured Referee not seeing.
After the match, Owens is clearly livid. Screaming “My shoulder was up!”, remonstrating with the Referee, who is in the corner being “checked over” by the medical staff. Backstage, “Mike The Ref” is being told by both Daniel Bryan and Shane O’Mac that it was a bad call. A furious (and rightly so) Kevin Owens storms over, demanding justice before shoving Mike halfway across the backstage area. O’Mac and Owens then have a shouting match, before DB announces that he’ll get a rematch at SummerSlam. Owens, clearly mistrusting off the quality of reffing on show, demands that another Referee takes charge… DB responds that KO’s favourite person, Mr. Shane O’Mac himself, will be the special guest referee, interesting.
Result: AJ Styles win via pin.
A very entertaining match to start us off! Once again, KO is not at fault for the loss. His shoulder was up, after him not being involved in the match-decider last week. The prospect of a Special Guest Referee match between AJ Styles and Kevin Owens, with Shane O’Mac being the Referee, doesn’t make much sense apart from the fact that KO and O’Mac have had some sort of rivalry recently, but it should nonetheless make for an entertaining match!
The New Usos?
Next we have a little segment with The Uso’s parodying The New Day’s entrance. They start, and continue, insulting The New Day and belittling their PG-friendly-with-innuendo behaviour, before mimicking their “Becaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaause! U-So Rocks!”.
This didn’t really add much aside from the fact that it generated heat and got the crowd temporarily excited for a New Day showing.
Now for my, and probably a large population of Smackdown Live viewers’, favourite segment of the show. We enter with Breeze speaking into a Dictaphone, detailing that Fandango has been kidnapped, before joking that he probably should’ve just called him because he didn’t know what to do with a Dictaphone… Poor lovable Breeze.
Suddenly, a red light fills the room. We see his swaying, as if he is trying to dance his famous hip-jiggle but can’t quite nail it. It pans back to Breeze, then back to ‘Dango, now flanked by The Ascension, who seem to be doing some weird things with a ketchup/strawberry sauce looking condiment and some bread or a large cake. Breeze startles awake, from this apparent dream, now knowing who kidnapped ‘Dango, as “To Be Continued” fills the screen amongst applause from the WWE Universe.
Before watching the show, I had already heard from friends and off Twitter that this was a fantastic continuation of the Fashion Files, as they mimic pop-culture sci-fi with hilarious results. I’ll say it before, and I’ll say it again; this is one of the best, if not the best, non-wrestling segment on sports entertainment television at the moment (with Breeze even retweeting me when I expressed my love for his segments!).
Match Two: Sami Zayn vs Aiden English
As per his usual entrance, albeit it from the entrance and not the ring, English makes his way down to the ring where Zayn is already waiting. English is now being allowed to finish his entrance monologues, which I am a fan of! Jokes aside he has a fantastic voice and it’s fun to see somebody act upon certain talents.
With a very quick match that essentially consisted of a few headlocks, English manages to roll-up Sami Zayn for the win, much to Zayn and the crowds surprise. As English is making his way up the ramp, Maria and Mike Kanellis come down and simply say “We love each other, and we love that you lost” … Huh, very weird and adds literally nothing to their story.
Result: Aiden English win via pin.
Very weird. The match was very quick, not even enough to write any reasonable notes on. The only reason Maria and Mike would come out is to just (somehow) further their feud, but who knows, I hope this doesn’t turn out to be another dead-end stupid feud.
Match Three: Natalya and Carmella vs Becky Lynch and Naomi
Natalya and Becky Lynch start us off, with Lynch tagging in Naomi and putting together an effective tag-team move that culminates in leg drop by Naomi onto Natalya, who manages to wriggle free and tag in Carmella. Naomi introduces Carmella to the match with some strong kicks to her legs and back before getting distracted by Natalya and getting slammed to the mat with a hair-pull by Carmella, regaining the advantage.
Natalya goes to lock in the Sharpshooter on Naomi, who instantly looks for the rope but is dragged back into the centre, before finally reaching the ropes to break the submission. Carmella tags herself in, much to Natalya’s displeasure and shock, and instantly goes to put in her submission manoeuvre, the Code Of Silence. Almost instantly, Naomi reverses it into the Rings of Saturn and Lynch intercepts the oncoming Natalya with a Becksploder Suplex as Carmella taps, giving Becky Lynch and Naomi the win.
Result: Lynch and Naomi win via submission
The match was as standard as a tag-team match can be. Carmella trying to use her momentum and confidence to get the win, instead being submitted by the Champion she is stalking and oh so often reminding that she is just around the corner, advantage to Naomi!
Renee Young interviews Jinder Mahal
Jinder Mahal simply states that he has decimated everybody who has come into his way, thus furthering the legacy of the Modern Day Maharaja, before commenting that all he feels when he walks down the stress is xenophobia and discontent. He finishes by saying that he’ll be watching the main event in the Skybox with keen interest, not caring who wins.
Match Four: Rusev vs Chad Gable
Ah, Rusev competing against another staunching America superstar, classic. JBL comments the interesting fact that both superstars have represented their country in national competitions (Gable in the 2012 Summer Olympics in Amateur Wrestling and Rusev in the Baltic Games as a Powerlifter, although I can’t find any records of that!).
Gable starts off the match, using his amateur wrestling background to keep the tremendous power of Rusev to the ground, working around his legs and knees with takedowns and strikes. Rusev regains control with a huge gutwrench release suplex for a 2 count, and Gable replies with two equally huge belly-to-belly suplexes before nailing Rusev with a German suplex, amazing power by the noticeably-smaller Gable! Gable then goes for a moonsault, unmounts to deal with Rusev again before once again going for the moonsault for a 2 count and it was a sublime one! Definite Angle vibes there, odds on Gable and Jordan being long-lost half brothers? I wouldn’t be surprised with how ridiculous Creative have been recently.
Gable goes to hit another German suplex, but Rusev reverses it and hits a wicked roundhouse kick to the back of Gable’s head. “Ruseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeev! Matchka!”, Rusev goes to lock in the Accolade but Gable wriggles through and puts the Ankle Lock on Rusev insead. Rusev uses his tremendous power and kicks back, launching Gable to the outside. As Gable is running back in, he connects with the foot of Rusev and is out for the count. Not wanting to ever win by pin, Rusev puts Gable under the Accolade for the win.
Post-match, Rusev takes up the microphone. He states that ever since he came to Smackdown Live, he wanted competition. “Even though Cena waved his flag around at Battleground, he didn’t win because nobody beats Rusev!” This is just begging for a walk-out isn’t it?
“I hear voices in my head!”, Orton is out! He throws down the gauntlet, “you’ve never beaten me. If you want an opponent at SummerSlam, look no further!” Monumental. Rusev responds with a dialogue in Bulgarian to a much-confused Orton. Rusev lunges to Orton… straight into an RKO (as JBL said, “outta nowhere!!”).
Match Five – Main Event: John Cena vs Shinsuke Nakamura – Winner Faces Jinder Mahal at SummerSlam for the WWE Championship
What a dream match this is, eh? Cena vs Nakamura, what a match up this has the potential to be. With Jinder Mahal watching from his Skybox, we get this matchup underway.
Cena starts off on the offensive, throwing at an early “You Can’t See Me!” and Nak replies in similar style by backing Cena up into a corner, placing his head on his chest and waving his arms around, textbook Nakamura. Nakamura hits some strong leg kicks, and Cena returns some strong right punches, very hefty. Nakamura looks to irritate Cena with his “Good Vibrations” manoeuvre, but Cena grabs his foot and pushes him back, not today Nak!
We come back from the break with Nakamura on the offensive, hitting Cena with the double knees as Cena is suspended on the top turnbuckle and pins him for a 2 count. Cena regains the advantage with a couple of spin-out powerbombs and looks to go for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Shinsuke grabs Cena’s arm, rolling him over into an armbar before trying to convert it into an triangle choke. Cena uses his famous strength to lift Nakamura up, triangle choke still locked in, and sets him on his feet. Both on their feet, Nakamura hits Cena with a front-release suplex to set up the Kinshasa. As he is running forward, Cena trips up Nakamura and puts him in the STFU submission hold. Nakamura once again reverses that into an armbar, which Cena rolls into a pin attempt for a 2 count which is swiftly followed by a thunderous clothesline. Nakamura gets back to his feet and hits Cena with a knee strike, once again looking for his Kinshasa. Cena counters this and picks him up for the AA and gets a remarkable 2 count, to Cena’s disbelief, as well as the crowds! Cena attempts to finish it off with another AA but Nakamura reverses this into a front-guillotine choke, before finally getting hit with a second AA. Not wanting to leave any doubt in his mind, he rolls over into another AA but Shinsuke reverses this into brutal looking exploder suplex, with Cena landing nastily on his head. Nakamura follows this up with the Kinshasa for the 3 count! Nakamura will be facing Jinder Mahal at SummerSlam!
In the post-match pleasantries (and away from kayfabe for a moment), we can see Shinsuke Nakamura apologising for the minor botch, with Cena waving it away before lifting his arm up in victory. What a guy! What a match!
Result: Nakamura wins via pin. Nakamura faces Jinder Mahal at SummerSlam.
What a match! Both superstars were made to look strong, with Nakamura kicking out of the AA and Cena losing to a typically-vicious Kinshasa. With Cena not winning the match, one must think what his next move could be. He’s still technically a free-agent so he could go to RAW to face whoever wins between Roman Reigns, Samoa Joe, Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar, or he could even drop back into the US Championship after whoever wins between Kevin Owens and AJ Styles. For a superstar of Cena’s calibre, anything is possible. Nakamura having the potential to be WWE Champion just leaves me beyond excited, simple enough!
A decent show! 2 very good matches in the US Championship match and the #1 Contenders match, as well as a decent showing from Gable and Rusev was countered by a shockingly-short and otherwise boring match with Zayn and English, but it remains to be seen what happens between them. More importantly, Breeze seems to be no closer to finding his partner, Fandango, but seems to have some sort of idea of who it could be.
Naomi submitting Carmella puts the onus on Carmella to walk the walk, after so often talking the talk, but I don’t think we’ll see a SummerSlam cash-in just yet, not unless Naomi either loses her title to Natalya or retains but is under a large amount of pain, but who knows!
Thank you for tuning in once again! Let me know in the comments down below what you enjoyed about this episode, and I know you all have a great week!