By Steven Flora
Rusev made a major statement after WWE Champion Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton revived their highly personal rivalry in a grudge match. Elsewhere, SmackDown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan made major SummerSlam match between John Cena and Baron Corbin on the heels of their wild brawl on WWE Network at the end of SmackDown last week.
Nakamura meets Mahal for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam
Grudge Match (Non-Title Match): Randy Orton def. WWE Champion Jinder Mahal
Randy Orton and Jinder Mahal rekindled their longstanding rivalry in a grudge match, competing against one another for the first time ever on SmackDown Live and for the first time since The Great Khali cost The Viper the chance to regain the WWE Championship from The Modern-Day Maharaja by interfering in their Punjabi Prison Match at WWE Battleground.
They brawl right away, the action spills to the floor and Orton keeps control slamming Mahal off the barricade. Orton slams Mahal off the commentary table, dismantles it but Mahal retreats back into the ring. Mahal fights back, but gets taken back to the floor and Orton takes control back. Orton teases the RKO on the table, but Mahal shoves him off into the barricade. Orton attacks, and hits the superplex for 2. Orton runs wild, hitting a fall-away slam and mounted punches in the corner. The snap slam follows and Orton covers for 2. Mahal makes a comeback, hitting a knee strike and covering for 2. Mahal looks for the khallas, Orton escapes and hits the draping DDT. Orton sets for the RKO, but Mahal counters into a roll-up for 2. Mahal looks for the khallas again, but Orton hits the RKO and pins Mahal. Winner: Randy Orton.
Side Note: Surprisingly a great match from the two men, hell, seeing Jinder get those chants was just awesome. However why did Mahal lose? He got the better of Orton three times on PPV yet he has to lose to him clean? Wouldn't it make sense for Rusev to interfere and completely dismantle the Viper? Just a really weird way to end Smackdown after a tremendous main event.
Shane McMahon Lays Down The Law to Styles & Owens
With SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon slated to be the Special Guest Referee for the United States Championship Match at SummerSlam between AJ Styles and Kevin Owens, Shane-O-Mac wanted to address both competitors face-to-face.
A gamut of reactions was had, including an “apology” from KO, acknowledgment of the frosty past between Styles and McMahon, and Owens’ examination into Shane’s checkered history as a Special Guest Referee with a clip from the award-winning WWE Network. Shane-O-Mac, who stated his intentions to call the title bout right down the middle at The Biggest Event of The Summer, did not appreciate any of the accusations being hurled his way from either The New Face of America or The Phenomenal One.
However, Styles didn’t want to wait until SummerSlam and challenged Owens to an impromptu title match, but KO said he would rather win the United States Championship in the United States, in a “city that actually matters.” A shoving match ensued. Shane tried to break it up, Owens landed a sucker-punch and Styles inadvertently drilled Shane in face with a Pele Kick, as KO laughed and made his exit.
Side Note: Easily the segment of the night. The constant references by KO was just too hilarious, followed up by Shane screwing Austin at the Deadly Games tournament in 1998 … it was just perfect. I honestly don't know how they'll top this segment to hype up their match toward SummerSlam but it'll be interesting to see how Shane fairs in this match as he currently has problems with Owens and has a checkered history with AJ Styles. Nonetheless, I hope the finish is clean and there's no influence from the referee in the finish. This match will ultimately decide who is the better man.
Corbin vs Cena at SummerSlam
Following an out-of-control melee with Baron Corbin exclusively on WWE Network last week after SmackDown Live went off the air, John Cena kicked off tonight’s show by addressing his loss to Shinsuke Nakamura. Cena quickly shifted his focus, however, as The Lone Wolf made his way onto the stage, and the two Superstars immediately started trading verbal barbs. The heated exchange between the brash Corbin and the 16-time World Champion led to The Leader of The Cenation challenging Mr. Money in a Bank to an impromptu fight, though Corbin didn’t seem too keen on the idea and started to make his exit. SmackDown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan hit the scene to announce that the two Superstars would indeed settle the score in a one-on-one bout at SummerSlam!
Side Note: Firstly credit where credit is due, Cena put over Nakamura as the potential next WWE Champion … Respect Cena. Corbin's new music is pretty eerie and gothic, much like him, so I definitely think it suits him. Corbin looked pretty cool with the whole swag thing he had going on, though when he's on the mic, I can't help cringe. His mic skills still need work on and hopefully his confrontation with Cena next week will allow him to show of a more dangerous side - a side the WWE universe haven't seen before.
Ms Money in the Bank sends a dangerous message
Non Title Match: Carmella def. WWE Smackdown Women's Champion Naomi
In what could be an omen of what’s to come in the SmackDown Live Women’s division, Naomi took on Carmella in a non-title match. Carmella was in an uproar after Naomi had defeated her in tag team competition last week, and she wanted to even the score in tonight’s singles bout. Carmella grounds Naomi, working a chinlock as we return to full screen. Carmella maintains control, as Natalya watches on from backstage. Naomi fires up, makes a comeback with a series of clotheslines and speedball kicks. The jawbreaker follows, and then the head kick. Naomi up top, gets crotched and Carmella follows her up and then gets shoved to the mat. Naomi fights her off again, Carmella grabs the hair but the ref backs her off as Ellsworth appears and knocks her off the top. Carmella hits a kick and pins Naomi. Winner: Carmella.
Side Note: Decent match and it made sense for Naomi to lose as Ellsworth got involved. It doesn't hurt Naomi because it was a 2-1 situation and it could happen to any champion. What happens next week will be interesting, maybe Daniel Bryan will restrict Ellsworth activities at SummerSlam?
Other Notable Moments
The Usos took on Canadian natives Sami Zayn and Tye Dillinger in tag team action. Dillinger controls early, Sami gets the tag but the Usos bail to the floor. We go screen in screen, with the Usos taking their time on the floor. They make their way back in, and work some back and forth with Sami. They cut off Sami, work quick tags and take control of the action. Sami fights for a tag, but gets grounded. Back to full screen, Jimmy misses a corner splash and Jey cuts off Sami, but Sami fights him off and tags in Dillinger. Dillinger runs wild, laying the boots to an Uso in the corner and sending him to the floor. Dillinger gets cut off as he looks for a suicide dive, but Sami follows with a tope. Back in and Dillinger hits a sitout powerbomb for 2. Sami taken out on the floor, Dillinger crotched up top but fights off the Usos, until they cut him off and attack Dillinger’s knee. Jimmy locks in the tequila sunrise and Dillinger taps. Winner: The Usos.
Post match the Usos promise to win back the tag team titles. Big E arrives looking to get some revenge, as Kofi and Woods jump the Usos from behind and beat the hell out of The Usos. They bring chairs in but Jey pulls Jimmy to the floor to save him.
Fashion Peaks: Breeze tells the Ascension about his dream last week, they try to steal the pie and leave. They only came for the free pie, Breeze just wants to find Fandango, and he appears behind him. Breeze gives him some coffee, and Fandango says it was aliens that took him. He jokes about anal probes, and then says he’s been given the gift to see into the future, An Anderson walks in looking for catering. They ask if he destroyed Tully, and he says he did, because they should have named him Arn; he then steals doughnuts. To be continued…
Charlotte Flair vs. Lana: Charlotte looks amused at Lana trying to “play wrestler” here. Charlotte talks shit, toys with Lana a bit and then lays in chops. Lana looks for a sunset flip, about pulls Charlotte’s trunks down and Charlotte tosses her to the corner. Charlotte gets a backslide for 2 and then struts. Lana slaps her. Charlotte murders her with a kick, figure 8 and Lana taps. Winner: Charlotte Flair.
We now go to Renee Young’s interview with Nakamura. Nakamura has always wanted to come to WWE to compete with the best, and he’s done that so far in NXT and now on Smackdown. He praises Cena as the measuring stick, and says it was amazing to share the ring with him and then beat him. As for Jinder Mahal, winning the WWE title is his destiny; the Nakamura dynasty will then begin. This was short, to the point and fine overall.
Overall Smackdown Live Rating: B
Things to look forward to next week
Who kidnapped Fandango?
How will Corbin react to facing Cena at Summerslam?
How will Shane McMahon respond to the Pele kick by AJ Styles ?
How will Natalya gain important momentum heading into Summerslam?
Perhaps a new tag-team of Sami Zayn & Tye Dillinger … Team Canada