Date: August 1, 2017
Location: Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH
The Big Takeaway --
Shinsuke Nakamura beat John Cena. Nakamura will face Jinder Mahal for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam. The match certainly delivered, though there was a scary moment where Cena landed right on his head/neck.
AJ Styles is still US champ, but thanks to another screwy finish, Kevin Owens will get a rematch at SummerSlam with Shane McMahon as the referee.
Show Recap --
The show started with a big promo for the US title match and the John Cena-Shinsuke Nakamura match.
U.S. Championship Match: AJ Styles defeated Kevin Owens (16:38)
Owens has ditched his America-themed gear in favour of black and red. Byron Saxton said Owens barricaded himself in the locker room until 3am last week because he was so upset about losing the title. Owens knocked Styles out of the ring and nailed him with a clothesline. Commercial break - less than 2 minutes into the match (and less than 10 minutes into the show).
They went back-and-forth after the break. Owens bailed from the ring to avoid a Phenomenal forearm, but Styles nailed him with one anyway outside the ring. Styles went after Owens, but Owens launched him into the barricade and hit a cannon ball. Owens went for the cover but Styles kicked out. (I’m watching in Canada where they don’t continue airing the show during commercials. They went to commercial just as Styles was kicking out. The sound cut out well before that.)
Back from break, Styles is in the middle of his comeback. He nailed a forearm and fireman’s carry neckbreaker for two. Owens ducked a Phenomenal forearm and hit a superkick for a nearfall. Styles countered a powerbomb into the Calf Crusher but Owens used a headbutt to escape. Styles then countered a package powerbomb into a Pele kick and applied the Calf Crusher but Owens got a rope break.
Owens hit two superkicks but then punched referee Mike Chioda by accident when Styles ducked. (He actually completely missed Chioda, who sold it anyway.) Chioda was dazed but not knocked out. Styles used a rollup and the Chioda counted three, but Owens’ shoulder was up. Styles retains. Decent match but another bad finish. The clunky commercial break didn’t help either. The announcers immediately acknowledged that Owens’ shoulder was up.
Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon approached Chioda backstage, who was being tended to, and let him know he made a mistake. Owens charged in screaming and pushed Chioda. Shane got in his face and gave him a rematch at SummerSlam. Owens wanted a good referee. Bryan jumped in and made Shane the ref. Owens didn’t want this, but Shane said it was the only way he’s getting a rematch. Owens was pissed, but agreed.
They aired a replay of the Usos’ assault on the New Day. Big E began making his usual introduction and the crowd sang along, but it was actually the Usos. The Usos came out and asked if the crowd was expecting to see three clowns on a tricycle or three grown men talking about their popsicles. Usos said New Day were three grown men blowing their own trombones. They said New Day could keep their unicorns, ice cream cones and socks, because they were taking the tag titles and their catchphrase. Usos led a “U-so rocks!” chant. Really good stuff.
There’s a missing person’s poster with Fandango’s picture. Breeze was leaving a message for “Diane” when Fandango showed up. Suddenly, the Ascension showed up with him and they poured maple syrup on a log. The lights started flickering as Breeze yelled, “Enough with the metaphors! No more metaphors!” Turns out, he was dreaming. He woke up and seems to know who kidnapped Fandango. To be continued. (Again, I can’t possibly do this justice.)
Aiden English defeated Sami Zayn (1:59)
English won quickly with a rollup. They played it up like Zayn was caught off guard. English was filled with glee and Zayn was stunned.
Maria and Mike Kanellis came out immediately afterwards. They love each other and love that Zayn lost.
Women’s Champion Naomi & Becky Lynch defeated Natalya & Carmella (4:53)
Natalya and Carmella did a spot where they split the legs of Naomi, which looked super painful, except they were doing it to Naomi and not to me, so it probably wasn’t. Natalya knocked Lynch off the apron and applied the Sharpshooter. Naomi struggled to the ropes and Carmella made a blind tag. Carmella then applied the Code of Silence but Naomi countered into her own submission, Lynch suplexed Natalya out of the ring, and Carmella tapped. Nothing match.
Renee Young interviewed Jinder Mahal and the Singh Brothers. Samir is wearing a neck brace and Sunil is wearing tape around his shoulder/arm (over his shirt). Mahal said he didn’t care who won tonight and would be watching from his suite. He said some stuff about xenophobia and that nobody could end the reign of the Maharaja.
Rusev defeated Chad Gable (9:19)
Gable has kept the American Alpha theme. After a break, Gable hit two consecutive overhead belly-to-belly suplexes, followed by a German suplex for two. That woke up the crowd. Gable then nailed a moonsault for a close nearfall. Gable went for the O'Connor roll into a German but Rusev reversed and hit a superkick for two.
Gable applied an ankle lock but Rusev kicked him out of the ring, the followed with a superkick and Accolade. Gable tapped. Good match and a good showing for Gable, despite the loss. Crowd was quiet at the start but got into Gable a bit by the end.
Afterwards, Rusev said he was promised competition. He said Cena didn’t beat him, he just waved his flag around. Rusev said nobody could beat him and wanted an opponent for SummerSlam. Randy Orton came out. The crowd chanted “Randy.” Orton said Rusev has never beaten him and offered a match at SummerSlam. Rusev laughed at him and yelled in Bulgarian. Rusev tried to attack but Orton ducked and hit an RKO. This was a perfectly fine setup.
They showed the following in a graphic, accompanied by Jinder Mahal’s music playing in the background: “The World is Watching: Since Sony launched its new program WWE Sunday Dhamaal in India less than two months ago, the show has been viewed by over 100 million people.”
AJ Styles defending his US Title at SummerSlam against Kevin Owens with Shane McMahon as referee was made official. Rusev vs. Orton was made official as well.
Naomi vs. Carmella was announced for SmackDown next week in Toronto. They said Carmella demanded the match, but it’s not for the title.
Shinsuke Nakamura defeated John Cena to become number one contender (13:15)
Nakamura came out last. JBL is really putting this over big as a dream match. Crowd was buzzing when the bell rang. Cena did the “you can’t see me” gesture, so Nakamura later feigned putting glasses to his face, letting Cena know he could see him just fine. They had a back and forth exchange leading to Cena applying a headlock and a commercial break.
Nakamura came back with kicks and a running knee for two. Cena did his usual comeback, but Nakamura countered before Cena could hit the fistdrop and applied a triangle choke. Cena simply lifted him up but Nakamura nailed a facebuster.
Nakamura setup for the Kinshasa but Cena countered into an STF. Nakamura slipped out and went for an armbar but Cena rolled into a cover for two, followed by a big clothesline. “This is awesome” chants. Nakamura hit a forearm and shining wizard but Cena again avoided a Kinshasa and hit an AA but Nakamura kicked out.
Cena countered a guillotine into an AA. Cena went for another AA, but Nakamura slipped out and hit a reverse Exploder (dropping Cena on his head/neck). Nakamura nailed a Kinshasa for the win. Huge pop.
Cena raised Nakamura’s hand after the match. They bowed to each other. Mahal was shown watching as Nakamura celebrated.
After they went off the air, the show continued on the Network. As Nakamura celebrated, he was attacked from behind by Baron Corbin with the briefcase. Cena ran back down and gave Corbin an AA through the announce table. Cena faced off with Nakamura one more time and they shook hands. Cena left and Nakamura continued to celebrate with his music playing.
Final Thoughts --
It wasn’t a classic, but the main event was very fun to say the least. The high stakes really added to the match, not only because it was the first time, but also knowing that it was a rare occurrence even if we get a rematch down the road.