WWE SmackDown recap & reaction (7/11)

This week’s episode of SmackDown kicked off with the new United States Champion AJ Styles coming down to the ring to a great reaction from the crowd. The crowd chanted “AJ Styles” as AJ stood in the ring. AJ stated that his face is an upgrade over Kevin Owens’ as the face of America. Styles also claimed that Owens’ face looked like a monkey’s buttocks.



AJ Styles said that he was bringing back the United States Championship Open Challenge. Styles said that the US Title has been overlooked for far too long and he is going to bring the United States Championship back to relevancy. Styles then challenged someone to come out and face him for the belt.

John Cena then sprinted to the ring and the crowd got on their feet. Cena grabbed a microphone and accepted the challenge. Referee Charles Robinson then jogged to the ring and the match was made official.






Kevin Owens then interrupted and said that nobody wants to see another AJ Styles versus John Cena match. Owens stated that nobody missed John Cena and that nobody wants to see him in WWE. Cena then told Owens that “he can’t see him”. Cena called Owens “the Michelin Man” and dared Owens to step in the ring. Rusev then showed up and attacked Cena from behind. Owens then hit Styles with the Pop Up Powerbomb and Rusev locked Cena in the Accolade.

A tag match between Owens & Rusev versus Cena & Styles was announced for later tonight.

Reaction: I thought this was a fun start to SmackDown. Rumors of this match happening were leaked earlier today, but I was actually hoping for another Cena and Styles match. I am also a fan of the US Open Challenge being brought back on a weekly basis on SmackDown.

Jinder Mahal vs Tye Dillinger

The crowd chanted “10!” as Mahal controlled the match early. Dillinger battled back and connected with a Crossbody for a two count. Mahal responded with a massive Clothesline that knocked Dillinger to the mat. SmackDown then went to a commercial break with Mahal in control of the match.

When SmackDown returned, Mahal was still in control of the match. Mahal slammed Dillinger to the mat and shouted at the crowd as they booed him. Dillinger connected with an elbow and then trapped Mahal in the corner. Tye connected with a series of right hands but Mahal shoved him off the second rope. Jinder then connected with a running knee and planted him with the Khallas for the victory.

Winner: Jinder Mahal

After the match, Mahal cut a promo and claimed he brings class and diversity to WWE. Mahal said that the crowd still cheers for that snake Randy Orton. A few people started to chant “USA” and Mahal said that the 1.3 billion people in India know that Jinder Mahal is the greatest champion of all time. Mahal said that he is bring the Punjabi Prison to SmackDown next week.

Reaction: I’ve said it several times but Jinder Mahal’s matches remain incredibly boring and basic. At the very least, he won this match without any interference from the Singh Brothers. I’m worried that WWE has absolutely no idea what to do with Tye Dillinger and he will eventually fade into obscurity. I still don’t like Mahal’s promos at all. The content is there, I just don’t think the delivery is right. His promos are like a lecture to the crowd and there is no anger in his voice. I’m not going to fault Mahal for that as it seems like he is being instructed to speak in that tone. I just don’t get why WWE doesn’t have him shout at the crowd and rub it in their face that he is the WWE Champion. I honestly have no reaction to his promos. I usually just shrug my shoulders once they are over and don’t think they accomplish anything.

Jey Uso vs Xavier Woods

WWE replayed highlights from the rap battle next week but left out the comment about Xavier Woods. Jimmy Uso, Kofi Kingston and Big E were ringside for this match. Woods started off the match in control and connected with a massive right hand that knocked Jey to the mat. Referee Charles Robinson was distracted by New Day on the ring apron and Jimmy Uso tripped up Woods as he was bouncing off the ropes. Robinson then kicked out Big E, Kofi and Jimmy from ringside.

Jey then connected with a Superkick on Woods for a two count. Jey climbed up to the top rope and went for a Splash but Woods got his knees up. Woods then hit a kick to the side of Jey’s head and hit him with an Elbow Drop off the top rope for the victory. Jimmy then rushed the ring after the match but Woods escaped out of the ring.

Winner: Xavier Woods

Shane McMahon was on the phone with Daniel Bryan backstage. Naomi interrupted and asked who she is going to defend her SmackDown Women’s Championship against at Battleground. Lana, Natalya, Tamina, Becky Lynch and Charlotte then all randomly showed up. Shane McMahon then announced a 5-Way Elimination Match at Battleground and the winner will go on to face Naomi at SummerSlam. Charlotte complained about Lana being included in the match and Tamina told her to shut up. Shane then announced a tag match later tonight between Charlotte & Becky versus Tamina & Natalya. Carmella then showed up with a petition from her attorney that demanded that Shane reinstate James Ellsworth. Shane then ripped up the petition and Carmella flipped out and walked away.

Renee Young interviewed Baron Corbin backstage. Footage was shown of Corbin attacking Shinsuke Nakamura from behind last week on SmackDown. Corbin said that he was afraid of what he is going to do to Nakamura tonight. Corbin then said it will be “sayonara Nakamura” tonight, awkwardly chuckled and walked away.

Reaction: I’d rather Corbin cut badass promos than deliver goofy lines like “sayonara Nakamura”. It was embarrassing. The 5-Way Elimination Match at Battleground should be interesting. I still don’t know anything about Tamina’s character at all. I would hate to see Lana win that match. I think the most logical outcome for SummerSlam would be for Carmella to have cashed in the briefcase already and be the champ and go up against Becky Lynch.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs Baron Corbin

Nakamura attacked Corbin on the entrance ramp before the match started. The fight spilled into the crowd and the great Charles Robinson and Mike Chioda showed up in the crowd and directed the action back towards the ring. Nakamura then stood in the ring and challenged Corbin to join him. Corbin grabbed his briefcase and walked away.

Reaction: I guess we will have to wait until Battleground to see this match. Nakamura versus Corbin should be a good match. Nakamura should be a star on the main roster and I feel the same way about Corbin. I hope that both of them gain some momentum with their match at Battleground. Corbin won the MITB briefcase, sorry “contract”, but he hasn’t done anything memorable since. Nakamura has come off as just another guy that happens to have a cool entrance since joining the main roster. I can’t stand it.

Cena and Styles had a conversation backstage. Cena stated that he respected Styles and promised to have his back tonight in their tag match. Cena also said that he is coming after Styles’ United States Championship in the future.

Becky Lynch & Charlotte vs Tamina & Natalya

Charlotte and Becky took turns beating up Tamina in the beginning of the match. Tamina connected with an elbow to Charlotte and tagged in Natalya. Natalya posed in the ring and Charlotte got back to her feet and connected with a chop. Becky was tagged in and hit a Dropkick that knocked Natalya to the mat. Becky planted Natalya with an Exploder Suplex and Natalya rolled out of the ring. Becky followed her out there and Natalya threw her into the steel steps as SmackDown went to a commercial break.

Tamina and Natalya stomped on Becky in the corner of the ring during the commercial break. Tamina slammed Becky to the mat for a two count. When SmackDown returned, Lana made her way to the ringside area as Tamina had Becky locked in a Chin Lock. Becky battled to her feet but Tamina hit her with a Clothesline. Tamina then booted Charlotte of the ring apron.

Charlotte ran back into the ring but Charles Robinson prevented her from attacking Tamina. Natalya was then tagged in and went for the Sharpshooter but Becky blocked it. Becky finally was able to tag in Charlotte and she beat the crap out of Natalya for a couple of minutes. Charlotte then strutted in the ring and the crowd popped. Lana hopped up on the ring apron and distracted Charlotte. Tamina was tagged in and Charlotte didn’t notice. Charlotte went to apply the Figure Four to Natalya but Tamina connected with a big kick for the victory.

Winners: Tamina & Natalya

Reaction: Lana and Tamina continue to work together. Tamina told Charlotte to shut up earlier tonight when she insulted Lana. I’m assuming that this is going to result in a feud between Tamina and Charlotte. At least I hope that is what happens, rather than a feud between Charlotte and Lana.

Maria Kanellis was looking for Sami Zayn backstage. Maria knocked on the men’s locker room door and Chad Gable answered. Maria asked if Sami was in there and Gable referred to Sami Zayn as “Sami-wow-wow” and said that he wasn’t there. Maria told Gable to tell Zayn that the “first lady of SmackDown” was looking for him.

Mike and Maria Kanellis were shown backstage showing affection to each other. Sami Zayn interrupted and said that he was getting sick of apologizing to them. Sami asked Mike if he actually wrestled in WWE. Maria then slapped Zayn in the face and Mike bashed Sami in the back of the head with a glass vase. Maria then told Sami that the attack was brought to him by “the power of love and sometimes love hurts”.

Another episode of the “Fashion Files” was shown. This time it was a parody of “Walker, Texas Ranger” and it was entitled Sexy Fashion Rangers. Fandango and Breeze were dressed up as cowboys and came across Zack Ryder backstage. Breeze tried to lasso Ryder but couldn’t get the rope off of his shoulders. Mojo then showed up and asked what he just walked into. Mojo and Ryder started arguing about Mojo eliminating him from the Battle Royal. Mojo told Ryder to get his head together and that it was time for them to get back to work. Mojo and Ryder walked away and Breezango realized that someone stole their fake horse. Breezango concluded that it was “ghost aliens” and apparently the next episode with be a parody of the “X-Files”.

Kevin Owens & Rusev vs John Cena & AJ Styles

Rusev and Cena started off the match. Rusev leveled Cena with a shoulder tackle and rolled out of the ring. Rusev then started waving the Bulgarian flag around ringside. Rusev returned to the ring and Cena planted him with a Bulldog for a two count. Kevin Owens was then tagged in and he knocked Cena to the mat. Owens then stomped on Cena and took a break to taunt AJ Styles on the ring apron.

Rusev got back into the match and beatdown Cena some more. Rusev hit Cena with a right hand and SmackDown went to a commercial break. When SmackDown returned, Rusev was still in control of the match. Rusev went for a headbutt of the second rope but Cena was able to roll out of the way.

Styles was tagged in and AJ connected with a Clothesline and followed it up with a flying forearm. AJ locked in the Calf Crusher on Rusev but Owens got into the ring and broke it up. Styles punched Owens on the ring apron but Rusev booted Styles in the face for a two count. Owens entered the match and hit Styles with a flurry of punches.

Rusev got back into the match and continued the beatdown of Styles. Rusev then put Styles in a Bear Hug and Styles fought his way out of it with a few punches. AJ then connected with a kick to the side of Rusev’s head and finally tagged Cena in. Owens was tagged in at the same time and Cena hit him with the Five Knuckle Shuffle.

Cena then lifted Owens up for the AA but Rusev got back into the ring. Rusev kicked Cena in the face but AJ flew into the ring and hit Rusev with a Phenomenal Forearm. Styles then hit Owens with a Pele Kick and then Cena connected with the Attitude Adjustment for the victory.

After the match, Cena and Styles had a stare down in the middle of the ring. Cena raised AJ’s hand and showed him some respect to close out the show.

Winners: John Cena & AJ Styles

Reaction: The main-event was solid and I also enjoyed the opening segment of this week’s SmackDown. The rest of the show didn’t do anything for me. At this point, I am just waiting for Battleground to pass so we can start seeing the build towards SummerSlam. I’m not really invested in any feud heading into Battleground a week from Sunday. I’ve been ready to move on from the Randy Orton and Jinder Mahal feud for a long time now and the rest of SmackDown’s feuds are boring right now.  I am assuming that Owens will get his rematch for the title at the PPV and that Sami Zayn will face Mike Kanellis. I can’t really see anything happening on next week’s SmackDown that will make Battleground’s card more interesting.

What did you think of this week’s SmackDown? Share your thoughts below.

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