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WWE SmackDown recap & reaction (7/25)

WWE SmackDown Live

United States Champion Kevin Owens kicked off this week’s episode of SmackDown. Owens defeated AJ Styles at WWE Battleground via a roll-up. The crowd booed Owens as he stood in the ring. Owens was back to wearing a suit and tie to the ring. Owens held up the title and said that it just feels right. Owens referred to Styles as a “thief” and stated that he was happy to have his title back. The crowd started to chant “AJ Styles!” as Owens vowed to defend the title with the pride and the honor it deserves.

Owens announced that he was reinstating the Kevin Owens United States Championship Open Challenge and that it will begin next week. The crowd booed and Owens said that “there is no way I would ever defend my title in front of a bunch of hicks in Richmond, Virginia”.

AJ Styles interrupted and made his way to the ring to a great reaction from the crowd. Owens said that Styles better be out here to congratulate him and admit that Owens is the better man. Styles stated that he was in the ring to get his rematch for the United States Championship. Owens said that he literally just said that Owens would not defend his title tonight in Richmond, Virginia.

Chris Jericho then appeared and the crowd went nuts. Jericho had the List of Jericho in his hands and joined Owens and Styles in the ring. Owens started freaking out and Jericho told him to be quiet several times. Jericho said that after a few months of rehabbing from Kevin Owens’ attack, he is back. Jericho stated that he was back to get his rematch for the United States Championship tonight.

AJ Styles welcomed Jericho back but stated that he was next in line for a shot at Owens’ United States Championship. Jericho then added AJ Styles to the list for trying to cut in front of him for a shot at the US Title. Kevin Owens started walking away and Jericho called him a “stupid idiot” while he was on the entrance ramp.

SmackDown commissioner Shane McMahon then joined Owens on the entrance ramp and Owens rolled his eyes. Shane said that both AJ Styles and Chris Jericho will get their opportunity tonight. Shane McMahon announced that the United States Championship will be defended in a Triple Threat Match tonight. It will be Kevin Owens (c) vs AJ Styles vs Chris Jericho.

Reaction: Jericho has been missed in WWE ever since he left to tour with his band Fozzy. It is awesome to see him back and SmackDown already has a great main-event tonight.

Baron Corbin vs Shinsuke Nakamura

These two Superstars faced off at WWE Battleground and the match ended in a DQ after Corbin struck Nakamura with a low-blow. Nakamura started off tonight’s match in control and beat the hell out of Corbin. Byron Saxton informed the viewing audience that Nakamura was infuriated after the events at Battleground and was looking for Corbin before the show started. Corbin connected with a massive Clothesline outside the ring and brought Nakamura back to the ring and went for a pinfall but Shinsuke kicked out at two. SmackDown then went to a commercial break.

During the break, Corbin continued to beatdown Nakamura and slammed him into the barricade outside the ring. The action returned to the ring with Corbin still in control, only taking breaks to taunt the crowd in attendance. Corbin planted Nakamura with a Suplex and both men fell to the mat as SmackDown returned from a commercial break.

Corbin applied a Chin Lock in the middle of the ring. Shinsuke broke the hold and connected with a running kick that sent Corbin to the mat. Corbin got to his knees but Nakamura greeted him with a series of kicks. Corbin caught one of the kicks and smacked Nakamura in the face. Shinsuke responded by kicking Baron in the face. Nakamura perched Corbin up across the top rope and kneed him in the chest.

Shinsuke then climbed to the second rope and connected with a flying kick for a two count. Nakamura geared up in the corner and went for the Kinshasa but Corbin avoided it and planted Shinsuke with a Backbreaker for a two count. Corbin then shoved his boot in Nakamura’s face and mocked Shinsuke’s “Good Vibrations” move.

Corbin missed with a Clothesline but connected with Deep Six for a two count. Corbin was pissed off that Shinsuke kicked out and looked at the referee in disbelief. Corbin went for End of Days but Shinsuke countered it and booted Corbin in the back of the head. Corbin went for another low-blow but Shinsuke avoided it and booted Corbin in the back of the head. Nakamura then hit the Kinshasa for the pinfall victory.

Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura

Reaction: Tonight’s match was much better than the cluster they put on at WWE Battleground. Having said that, I’d like for this feud to conclude because I do not want to see this match again next month at WWE SummerSlam. For whatever reason, these two don’t seem to work too well together in the ring.

SmackDown Women’s Champion Naomi was interviewed backstage. Naomi discussed Natalya refusing to shake her hands after winning the Fatal 5-Way at WWE Battleground. Natalya immediately interrupted and said that Naomi has tarnished everything a WWE Champion stands for. Natalya poked fun at Naomi’s “glow” decorated SmackDown Women’s Championship. Naomi said that Natalya was stuck in the past and her decorated title represents the now. Naomi told Natalya that at SummerSlam she was going to be blinded by the glow. Carmella interrupted after Natalya walked away and reminded Naomi that she could cash in her MITB contract at any time.

Charlotte & Becky Lynch vs Tamina & Lana

Becky Lynch and Lana started off the match. Becky immediately went for the Dis-Arm-Her and Lana started screaming and scrambled her way to the corner to tag in Tamina. Tamina entered the match and shoved Becky to the corner. Lynch almost locked in the Dis-Arm-Her but Tamina fought it off. Becky booted Tamina in the face but Tamina lifted her up and slammed her into the turnbuckle. Tamina then slammed Becky face-first into the canvas for a two count.

Lynch desperately tried to tag in Charlotte but Tamina prevented it and beat her down some more. Lana was then tagged in and she planted Becky with a Suplex for a two count. Lana locked in an Arm Bar but Becky powered to her feet but Lana dragged her back to the mat by Becky’s hair for a two count. Some of the crowd started chanting “you can’t wrestle!” at Lana as she tagged in Tamina.

Tamina bounced Becky’s head off the top turnbuckle and then booted her in midsection a couple of times. Becky fought out of the corner and connected with a kick to the side of Tamina’s head. Charlotte was finally tagged in and she sprinted to the opposite corner and knocked Lana off the ring apron. Charlotte then leveled Tamina with a Clothesline and strutted across the ring as the Richmond crowd chanted “woo!”.

Tamina caught Charlotte with a boot to the face and Lana tagged herself in. Charlotte booted Tamina off the ring apron and then leveled Lana with a big boot for the victory. Tamina was shown outside the ring frustrated about the loss and was staring at Lana in the ring. Tamina booted the steps outside the ring and continued to stare at Lana as she walked around the outside of the ring. Tamina started shouting at Lana and Lana sat in the ring with a frightened look on her face. Tamina then walked away very pissed off and Lana slumped behind her up the entrance ramp.

Winners: Charlotte & Becky Lynch

Reaction: I thought this match was decent. The Lana and Tamina storyline is bizarre to me. It has never been explained why Tamina has had Lana’s back and now it looks like their friendship is already about to end. I don’t think too many people are clamoring for a Tamina versus Lana feud, so I really have no idea what WWE is going for here.

WWE Champion Jinder Mahal made his way to the ring decked out in a blue suit and tie. Mahal came down to the ring alone, as the Singh Brothers were selling their injuries after Sunday’s Punjabi Prison match WWE Battleground. Mahal claimed that he crushed the legacy of Randy Orton at Battleground and the legend of the modern day Maharaja was born. Mahal stated that just like everyone in the WWE Universe, Randy Orton underestimated him at Battleground. Mahal demanded to know who his opponent at WWE SummerSlam and demanded silence from the crowd as he spoke in Punjabi.

John Cena came down to the ring and Mahal said that he wasn’t finished. Mahal said that he knows what Cena was going to say that Jinder doesn’t deserve to be WWE Champion. Cena stated that Mahal sucks as a mind reader, and said that he respects the fact that Mahal is in the best shape of his life and that the WWE Championship means so much to him. Cena then gave Mahal a heads up that at SummerSlam, Jinder Mahal is facing “Super Cena”. Cena then vowed to walk out of SummerSlam as a 17 time WWE Champion.

Cena’s music hit and Cena exited the ring. Smackdown GM Daniel Bryan then came down to the entrance ramp and Bryan congratulated both of them at being victorious at Battleground. Daniel Bryan announced that John Cena doesn’t make the matches and said that on SmackDown, opportunities are earned even if your name is John Cena. Daniel Bryan then made a match for next week’s SmackDown. John Cena will face Shinsuke Namaura to determine who will face Jinder Mahal for the WWE Championship at WWE SummerSlam on August 20th.

Reaction: I think it is pretty obvious that Cena will win the match next week and Baron Corbin will probably get involved and cost Nakamura the match. It still an exciting match, I just hope that the outcome isn’t as predictable as I think it is. John Cena versus Jinder Mahal at SummerSlam makes more sense to me at this time anyway.

Kevin Owens confronted Shane McMahon backstage about having to defend his United States Championship later tonight. Owens said that if Shane wasn’t the commissioner of SmackDown, he wouldn’t give a damn about him. Shane McMahon said that he is not to fond of Kevin Owens either and really doesn’t care what he thinks.

Sami Zayn & Tye Dillinger vs Aiden English & Mike Kanellis

SmackDown went to a commercial break right as this match started. Kanellis and English controlled the match during the break. When SmackDown returned, English and Kanellis were taking turns beating down Sami Zayn. Sami finally was able to tag in Dillinger and he immediately went after English. Kanellis tagged himself in and Tye knocked him to the mat. Dillinger connected with a series of punches to Kanellis and tagged in Zayn. Sami then connected with the Helluva Kick to Mike Kanellis for the victory.

Winners: Sami Zayn & Tye Dillinger

Reaction: It is nice to see Dillinger back on SmackDown. I actually would be in favor of the team of Sami Zayn and Dillinger going forward. Both RAW and SmackDown need more teams and WWE clearly isn’t invested in either Zayn or Dillinger when it comes to singles competition.

New Day were about to make their entrance but The Usos attacked them. The Usos slammed Kofi into the LED board on the entrance ramp and then dragged him down the entrance ramp. Big E tried to fight them off but got a double Superkick to his face for his troubles. Multiple referees then came down to the entrance ramp to break up the action.

Shinsuke Nakamura was interviewed backstage about his match next week against John Cena to determine who will face Jinder Mahal at SummerSlam. Nakamura said that “next week, John Cena, you can’t see me. Which means Jinder Mahal will see me at SummerSlam”.

United States Championship Match: Kevin Owens (c) vs Chris Jericho vs AJ Styles

Styles and Jericho attacked Kevin Owens right when the bell rung. Owens rolled out of the ring and Jericho went for a roll-up on Styles but AJ kicked out at two. Owens got back in the ring and punched Styles in the face and knocked him out of the ring. Jericho and Owens had a stare down in the ring and then traded punches. Jericho went for the Walls of Jericho but Owens shoved him to the corner. Jericho then connected with a Dropkick for a one count as Styles broke up the pinfall.

AJ knocked Jericho out of the ring but Owens knocked Styles to the mat with a Clothesline. Owens then punched Styles in the face several times and then taunted him. Owens launched Styles into the turnbuckle and then punched him the face a couple more times. Owens punched Jericho off the ring apron and then connected with a Senton onto Styles for a two count.

Owens rolled out of the ring and booted Jericho in the chest while he was lying on the floor surrounding the ring. Back in the ring, Styles connected with a flurry of chops and jabs to Owens. Owens connected with an elbow to AJ’s face for a two count. AJ locked in the Calf Crusher in the middle of the ring but Jericho flew into frame with a Moonsault to break up the hold. SmackDown went to a commercial break with all three Superstars on the mat.

When SmackDown returned, Jericho was in control of the match and perched Styles up on the top turnbuckle. Jericho joined him up there but Kevin Owens picked up Jericho onto his shoulders. Styles fell out of the ring and Jericho rolled off of Owens and went for the Walls of Jericho. Owens blocked it and connected with a right hand that sent Jericho to the mat.

Owens charged at Styles on the ring apron but AJ pulled down the ropes and Owens went flying out of the ring. Styles then connected with a springboard 450 Splash on Jericho and went for the cover but Owens broke it up. Styles then launched Owens into the barricade surrounding the ring. Back in the ring, Jericho locked in the Walls of Jericho onto Styles. Owens got back into the ring and Jericho catapulted him into Styles and AJ fell out of the ring. Jericho then locked in the Walls of Jericho onto Owens in the middle of the ring. Styles ran into the ring and Jericho broke the hold and hit a Codebreaker onto AJ for a two count.

The crowd started to chant “this is awesome!” as Jericho slapped AJ across the face. Styles went for a punch but Jericho ducked and knocked AJ to the mat. Jericho went for another Moonsault but Owens prevented him. Owens then hit a Cannonball onto Styles and then Jericho on opposite sides of the ring. Owens hit Jericho with a Superkick and then turned around into a Pele Kick courtesy of AJ Styles.

Styles leaped up to the top rope and Jericho Dropkicked the rope and Styles fell out of the ring. Owens then Superkicked Jericho in the face and hit him with a Pop-Up Powerbomb for a two count. Owens was in disbelief that Jericho kicked out and went up to the top rope. Owens connected with a Frog Splash and went for the cover. AJ then got back into the ring and threw Owens out of the ring and covered Jericho for the victory.

After the match, Owens was in shock outside the ring as AJ just stole the title from him. Owens started flipping out and destroying the announce table. Owens proceeded to throw a chair at the ring as Styles celebrated with the title on the entrance ramp. Owens grabbed a microphone and told everyone in the arena to shut up. Owens got into the ring and stated that this wasn’t fair. Owens said that it is not fair that Shane McMahon forced him to defend his title in a Triple Threat match and accused Styles of stealing his victory. Owens added that it is not fair that the people in the crowd dislike him because he is better than than they ever will be.

Owens then demanded that he get his rematch for the United States Championship next week on SmackDown.

Reaction: We seem to be heading towards a showdown between Kevin Owens and SmackDown commissioner Shane McMahon. I’ve never been a big fan of playing hot potato with titles. In the past three weeks, AJ Styles has won the United States Championship twice. Overall, I enjoyed tonight’s SmackDown and WWE did a hell of a job building up next week’s SmackDown as well.

Winner & New United States Champion: AJ Styles

What did you think of this week’s SmackDown? Let us know in the comments below.

  • Sparti Love

    Did anyone see Dillinger’s entrance? It was embarrassing. He was doing his Ten thing and the crowd wasn’t responding.. I felt bad for him. He should have stayed in NXT longer.