Date: July 18, 2017
Location: Legacy Arena in Birmingham, AL
The Big Takeaway --
Kevin Owens and Baron Corbin beat AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura in the main event, with Owens pinning Styles after a powerbomb. Becky Lynch picked up a somewhat surprising tap-out victory over Charlotte. The two were laid out by Natalya, Tamina and Lana, then Natalya was taken out by Tamina.
Rusev laid out John Cena after a long promo. Mike Kanellis won his debut match against Sami Zayn with help from Maria. Also, at Battleground, it looks like we will finally find out who was behind the attack of Breezango.
Show Recap --
Jinder Mahal and the Singh brothers opened the show. Tom Phillips gave us the details of the Punjabi Prison--the inner structure is 16 feet high and the outer structure is 20 feet. Mahal said this would be the final resting place of Randy Orton’s legacy and the crowd chanted “USA.”
The Singh brothers explained the rules of the match, which was nice of them. Basically, the inner doors will open be open for a short time, and if you miss it, you have to climb out. Either way, you have to climb out of the outer cell. Mahal said he would smash Orton’s face until it represents the ugliness of this country’s people. Mahal’s voice started to crack as he began speaking Punjabi.
Randy Orton interrupted. Orton questioned Mahal’s decision to lock himself in there with him because there would be no escape. Orton said he had nothing to lose after Mahal took his title, messed with his family and left him for dead. Orton slowly began climbing the prison as he spoke.
Orton let Mahal know he has the pressure of the entire nation of India on his back. He stood atop the structure and said this would be his view after he leaves Mahal’s “jacked up” ass in the ring and would be declared the new champion.
The crowd liked Orton but this wasn’t much of a segment. The prison is impressive to look at, but it’s also hard to see through.
Jimmy Uso (w/Jey Uso) defeated Kofi Kingston (w/Big E & Xavier Woods)
Like last week, Phillips let us know how personal the feud is and again they showed clips from the rap battle excluding the thing that made it so personal. Kingston twerked in Jimmy’s face after getting a two count then tossed him outside. Kingston faked a dive then hit a springboard flip dive instead, which was an amusing spot.
Jimmy got the heat during commercial by dropping Kingston on the apron. Kingston came back with a foot stomp and boom drop. Kingston went to the top but was distracted by Jey on the apron. Kingston hit a crossbody anyway, but Jimmy rolled through into a small package for the win at 8:37. This was fine and pointless.
There was a meeting backstage with Shane McMahon and the five women in this Sunday’s number one contender’s match. They were all facing the camera, so they were essentially standing shoulder-to-shoulder-to-shoulder etc. Shane basically wanted them to book their own match for tonight.
Charlotte wanted a match with Lana, Natalya wanted a match with Lana, and Becky Lynch wanted a match with Lana. Tamina said no and Natalya suggested Charlotte face Lynch. Charlotte said Shane wanted a competitive match for tonight, which offended Lynch. They argued and Shane made the match official, which the crowd popped for.
Chad Gable sit-down interview
A video package aired of the Kurt Angle-Jason Jordan segment from Raw. They cut to Renee Young who sat down with Chad Gable backstage. Gable didn’t know anything before the announcement. It didn’t just change the lives of Angle and Jordan, but changed his as well. Gable has spoken with Jordan since last night and understood what he was going through. He said they’ve been through a lot together and ran down their accomplishments. Jordan has his support. Gable said the WWE can look forward to seeing him on his own.
Mike Kanellis (w/Maria Kanellis) defeated Sami Zayn
Mike Kanellis won in 3:00 with a Samoan Driver. Zayn dominated for the first two and a half minutes but Maria jumped in the ring after Zayn hit an Exploder in the corner. This was somehow not a DQ, and the distraction allowed Mike to clock Zayn with a right hand and nail the Samoan Driver for the win. Mike Kanellis’ tights have pink and red lips all over it, as well as a big pink heart with the words “M+M 4ever” and a drawing of Maria in a bikini.
John Cena promo
Cena plugged some of the matches for Sunday, including the women’s match, the Nakamura match, and the Punjabi Prison match. He said the match we remember will be the flag match, taking place in the very city the country was founded. He pointed out the flags which were positioned in each corner as they will be on Sunday.
Cena noted that there was more to the match than just the flags. Cena doesn’t like Rusev. He said we’ll remember the match because of which flag is being flown at the end. He knows he’s not everyone’s favourite, but knows we all care about the American flag (presuming everyone watching this is American).
Cena said the pressure was on but he’s the man for the job. Cena promised that he was ready. He continued on with a long history lesson about how great this country was. He grabbed the American flag and said it will fly high on Sunday.
Cena’s music played and he posed with the flag when Rusev suddenly attacked from behind. Rusev nailed a superkick and applied the Accolade. Cena managed to stand up with Rusev on his back but Rusev never let go and managed to re-apply the Accolade as Cena passed out. Crowd booed Rusev and chanted "USA." He grabbed the Bulgarian flag and held it high.
Nakamura approached AJ Styles backstage. They both got big pops. Styles was about to reminisce about Japan when he noticed Nakamura was staring at his US Title. Nakamura pointed at the belt and said, “One day, you call... I answer.” This was good.
Becky Lynch defeated Charlotte Flair
This is the first singles match between these two in over a year. Natalya is on commentary. The crowd did dueling chants for each women. They had a couple of back-and-forth exchanges when Lynch almost applied the Disarmer, but Charlotte escaped the ring for a commercial break.
They traded strikes, an exchange Charlotte got the better of. Lynch escaped a Figure Eight attempt and hit a forearm and Exploder. They traded counters until Charlotte nailed a big boot for a nearfall. Charlotte missed a moonsault, Lynch applied the Disarmer and Charlotte tapped out. Lynch with the submission win at just under 9 minutes. Decent match. I’m just glad we got a clean finish.
Charlotte and Lynch shook hands afterwards. Tamina and Lana came out (to Tamina’s music) and the distraction allowed Natalya to attack the babyfaces from behind. The heels took out Charlotte and Lynch. Natalya argued with Lana, so Tamina superkicked Natalya.
Backstage, Naomi said she looks forward to every challenge. She didn’t come here to play, she came here to glow. She hoped her opponent was ready for SummerSlam. Carmella showed up and kicked out Renee. Carmella reminded Naomi that wherever she goes, so does Carmella and her contract.
The Fashion X Files: The Truth is not H
Tyler Breeze wore a wig, of course, playing the role of Scully. They heard a strange ghost-like noise from behind a curtain, but it was just Aiden English warming up. He asked, “Do you mind?” and they shut the curtain. A delivery guy showed up with a package. Breeze was horrified upon looking in the box. Fandango wanted to know what was in the box (a reference to Se7en). Fandango looked in the box -- it was the head of Tully (the horse). There was a note that read “Battleground” in the box as well, and it looks like this will come to a conclusion on Sunday.
Drew Gulak plugged his 2 out of 3 falls match against Mustafa Ali on 205 Live.
Kevin Owens & Baron Corbin defeated U.S. Champion AJ Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura
Corbin tried to attack Nakamura during his entrance, but he saw it coming and fought back. Owens ran out to double team him, so Styles jumped in for the save. The good guys got the better of this and jumped back in the ring ready to fight as they went to commercial.
The match was underway after a break with Corbin in control on Styles. Nakamura tagged in and had the better of Owens until Corbin got in the way and they got the heat on him. Nakamura came back with a flying boot but Corbin yanked him down by the hair and knocked Styles off the apron.
Nakamura came back with kicks to the chest. Owens distracted Nakamura and Corbin nailed a Deep Six, but Styles broke up the cover. Styles made the hot tag and nailed Owens with a strike combo, clothesline and sliding forearm for two. He followed that with a facebuster for two but Owens nailed him with a clothesline and tagged out.
Corbin launched Styles across the ring but Styles came back with a Calf Crusher. Corbin got to the ropes and Styles set up for the Phenomenal forearm, but Owens wiped him out on the apron. Nakamura went after Owens but Corbin knocked him into the timekeeper’s arena. Styles set up for a Styles Clash on Corbin, but Owens had made a blind tag and hit a superkick and pop-up powerbomb for the pinfall win. Fun match.
Final Thoughts --
This was another dull show, which is likely because they’re building to a particularly weak split-brand pay per view. Hopefully things pick up heading toward SummerSlam.
By the way, the last Punjabi Prison match occurred at No Mercy in October 2007, nearly 10 years ago, a show main evented by Randy Orton.