SmackDown comes to us live in Little Rock, Arkansas tonight as the blue brand tonight deals with last week's fallout over the United States title.
Kevin Owens failed to regain the title following interference from Shane McMahon. Since the stipulations stated that Owens can never again challenge for the title while Styles is champion, one has to assume Owens is not too pleased about the situation. Where will he go from here, and what is Shane McMahon's response regarding last week's main event?
AJ Styles also promised that he would bring the United States title open challenge back. Baron Corbin made it clear he was looking for a title match last week -- will he challenge Styles?
Two returns also highlight tonight's show. Dolph Ziggler, who has been off TV for a few weeks, promises to make an impact tonight with a new gimmick. Shelton Benjamin, who hasn't competed in WWE in seven years, makes his return tonight in a tag match, teaming with Chad Gable.
Bobby Roode made his SmackDown debut last week, pinning Aiden English. Who else will challenge someone who is so....glorious?
Join us for live coverage tonight at 8 p.m. ET.
They announced Shinsuke Nakamura and Randy Orton vs. Jinder Mahal and Rusev as the main event for tonight.
The Singh Brothers came out to start the show and introduced WWE Champion Jinder Mahal, who talked about the main event for tonight. He moved on to his usual promo, talking about being a representative of Asia and how people disrespect him whenever he’s in an airport or hotel. He brings up Nakamura embarrassing him last week.
Samir Singh grabs a mic and apologizes to him, the continent of Asia and the 1.3 billion people in India regarding what happened last week. It was their incompetence that led to Nakamura laying one finger on him, he told Mahal. Sunil said they would kiss his feet as an apology. They got down on their knees and were about to do it when Nakamura’s music hit.
Nakamura goes in to confront Mahal. One of the Singh Brothers jump him as it becomes a 3 on 1 affair. Orton speeds to the ring and clears house. Rusev comes in and evens the odds, laying out Orton with a superkick. Mahal lays out Nakamura with the khallas, sending a clear message for later tonight.
Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable defeated The Ascension
Both Konor and Viktor worked over Gable for most of the match. Gable posted Konnor in the corner and tagged in Benjamin, who cleared house to a huge pop. Gable eliminated Konnor to the floor, then shoved Viktor into Benjamin who hit the paydirt for the win.
The Usos and The New Day are set for later tonight, with the winners getting to choose the stipulations for their upcoming tag team title rematch.
Backstage, Renee Young interviewed Baron Corbin asking him about how he squandered his Money in the Bank title match last week. Corbon disputes that, saying Cena distracted him during his moment. Furthermore, he didn’t care about what happened at SummerSlam -- he doesn’t live in the past, unlike the WWE Universe. He also said last week that AJ Styles promised him a match for the US title, and he think he’ll cash that in and become the next United States champion.
AJ Styles came out and called for someone to come out and challenge him for the United States title. Tye Dillinger’s music hit as he came out to accept. Corbin was right behind him and asked him what he was doing. The two ended up fighting on the outisde, with Dillinger getting the better of him and hit the ring first, setting up the match.
WWE United States Champion AJ Styles defeated Tye Dillinger to retain the title
This didn’t last long at all, maybe a minute at most. They both traded offense before Styles locked in the calf crusher, and Dillinger submitted.
Corbin attacked Dillinger after the match. Styles attacked Corbin, sending him reeling to the back.
Backstage, Jinder Mahal met Rusev backstage. Rusev says this isn’t about India, United States, Bulgaria or Japan tonight, it’s about getting revenge. Mahal said of course, my friend. Rusev made it clear to Mahal this was not about him making friends, either. He said after tonight, he was coming for the WWE title.
Bobby Roode defeated Mike Kanellis
This lasted a bit longer than the previous match, but not by much. It was mostly Roode on offense. He quickly dispatched Kanellis with the Glorious DDT for the win.
Owens started to talk about last week’s main event, where Shane McMahon interfered in the main event and made himself referee, making the three count for Styles to retain his title. He said that back in the good ‘ol days on Raw, Stephanie McMahon would never abuse her power like this. But this isn’t Raw, it is SmackDown...not the land of opportunity, but Shane McMahon’s personal playground.
This brought out Shane. Owens said it’s about time he came out and stole the spotlight at him. McMahon explained that Corbin was bias towards him the whole time, and when he left, they needed a referee for such a big match. In the end, Owens lost, and the WWE Universe, as well as himself, is tired of him complaining.
He instructs Owens to leave the ring and for English to re-enter the ring, as he will face this man....Sami Zayn. Owens didn’t look too pleased about that.
Aiden English defeated Sami Zayn
Again, another short match. Owens fumed on commentary as Zayn was on offense. He exited the ring and took off the referee’s shirt and put it on himself. Zayn was distracted in all of this and asked Owens what was going on. English jumped him while he was distracted, which allowed Owens to grab Zayn and hit him with the pop-up powerbomb. Owens did a fast count to secure the win for English.
Backstage, Renee asked Shane McMahon about his thoughts on what just happened. Shane says he was not happy about the result and it would be stricken from the record book. He heard Owens had left the arena, and he would follow suit.
Dasha Fuentes asked Dolph Ziggler about the new persona he was talking about last week. Ziggler says since we’re in Little Rock, you get nothing. He starts talking about how he gets taken for granted. He’s an afterthought. People get distracted by twinkling light, fancy jackets. Does this mean anything? He talks about Raw, with a guy playing a guitar with fancy lighting, Finn Balor who paints himself up because he’s a charisma vacuum, among others. So if you want all flash and no substance, you’ll get it...next week.
The Usos defeated The New Day
Xavier Woods accompanied Kofi Kingston and Big E, who worked the match. His knee was in a brace, wearing a sign that says “It’s sore”.
This seems to be a night of short matches. It was a relatively good back and forth match. Kingston had Jey in a Dragon sleeper when Jimmy broke it up. Kingston rolled Jey up, but didn’t see the tag and instead Jimmy rolled up Kingston for the win.
Dasha was about to introduce Carmella when James Ellsworth shooed her away and did it himself. Carmella was upset with Ellsworth, talking about how he opened his big mouth last week and how their plan was spoiled. Natalya came in and she should be lucky Ellsworth stooged her off, because if she ever cashed in on her, she’ll become the next Baron Corbin of the women’s division. She said she’ll get her revenge for the double cross when they meet in a match next week.
Carmella walked away as Naomi entered the scene. Natalya asked what she wanted. Naomi said she needed to calm down, after all she has a busy two weeks ahead of her. Natalya wanted to know what she was talking about. Naomi said that in two weeks, she’ll get her rematch for the SmackDown Women’s title here on SmackDown Live. Natalya wasn’t too happy about these turn of events.
Lana introduced the woman who would lead the Ravishing Revolution, Tamina...
Tamina defeated Tina Stock
This only lasted a minute, but was pretty awful. Just looked like a complete mess. On the mic, Lana told Tamina to crush, and she obliged. Tamina picked up the quick win with a superkick.
Fashion Files: Back 2 Basics aired. Back at the station following a vacation, the Fashion Police focus on their latest clue, Two B. They look at the new technology the boys in the lab created. Fandango grabs a belt and says hey, this is a title. Breeze says no, it’s a belt.
They focus on a backlight that sees things in the dark. After admiring their shirts, they notice arrows painted on their file boxes. Eventually, it points back to the note they found two weeks ago where it now says Two B or Not 2 B. After throwing out names like Bob Ross and Shinsuke Nakamura, they figure out someone who would be interested in poetry, Shakespeare or artistry would be none other than Aiden English. To be continued...
Shinsuke Nakamura and Randy Orton defeated Jinder Mahal and Rusev
A lot of the focus on the match were between the two feuds, Rusev/Orton and Nakamura/Mahal. Mahal worked over Nakamura in the first portion of the match and Rusev followed that by working on Orton.
After Mahal continued the assault on Orton, he’s posted and Orton tags in Nakamura who works with Rusev for a bit. Mahal tries to come in but Orton blocks it, leading Nakamura to hit the knee off the top rope on Rusev. He follows with the kinshasa for the win.
Nakamura and Orton celebrate, but Orton takes out Nakamura with the RKO, knowing what is on the line next week. He poses as the show goes off the air.
Most weeks, SmackDown feels like a shorter version of Raw with the long matches. This wasn’t the case at all this week, with a bunch of short matches sandwiched in between two medium-sized tag team matches.
While the wrestling was just okay, the show did a pretty good job in building matches and stipulations for the next two weeks. With their next PPV not until early October, it’s best for SmackDown right now to focus on building towards the TV show before going into Hell in a Cell build.