Original Air Date: August 1, 2017
Event Date: August 1, 2017 (aired live)
Commentary: Tom Phillips, JBL, Byron Saxton
Ring Announcer: Greg Hamilton
Last week, AJ Styles won the US Title for the second time by pinning Chris Jericho in a triple threat match. Tonight, Styles faces Owens one-on-one for the title. Also tonight, John Cena will face Shinsuke Nakamura for the opportunity to face Jinder Mahal for the WWE Title at Summer Slam.
US Title Match
Kevin Owens vs AJ Styles (US Champ)
(referee: Mike Chioda)
Result: AJ Styles wins via pinfall with a wheelbarrow roll-up
Time: 10:26 (1 break)
Great match. There was some referee shenanigans at the end which didn’t completely work (the ref was supposed to get hit but it was completely unbelievable how it happened), but other than that, this was a great title match. The finish here isn’t definitive, but that doesn’t detract from the quality of the action, and it’s completely understandable this close to Summer Slam. If they can expand on matches like this for an even better match at Summer Slam, I will be very happy.
Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon are talking to Mike Chioda about his bad call when Kevin Owens shows up. He’s apoplectic. Shane tries to calm Owens down. He says that the referee’s call stands, but Owens will get a title rematch at Summer Slam. That’s not enough for Owens. He wants a ref that won’t screw up. Daniel Bryan has an idea: why not have Shane ref the title match? Owens hates the idea which means Shane likes it. And so the match is made, with Shane McMahon as the special referee.
The Usos imitate the New Day’s pre-entrance speech before coming out to the stage. They briefly talk about how they beat up New Day so bad last week that New Day isn’t here tonight. They then steal New Day’s catch phrase. “U-so Rocks!”
In an episode of Fashion Peaks, Fandango has been abducted. Possibly by aliens. Breeze has a vision of Fandango dancing in red as Konnor pours syrup on a log and Viktor holds a rose. Breeze wakes up, now knowing who kidnapped Fandango.
Sami Zayn vs Aiden English
(referee: Danilo Anfibio)
Result: Aiden English wins via pinfall with a roll-up
This match was too short to have much to it, but I liked it for the point it made. Anyone can win on any given night.
Maria and Mike Kanellis come out to the stage and express their love of the outcome of Sami Zayn’s match.
Carmella & Natalya vs Becky Lynch & Naomi (SD Women’s Champ)
(referee: Ryan Tran)
Result: Naomi forces Carmella to submit to the FTG
Not a bad match. A lot of focus seemed to be put on Carmella’s overconfidence, though Naomi’s dominance was also put over. This was alright as away to get Natalya and Naomi in the ring together while keeping Carmella on everyone’s mind. Oh yeah, Becky Lynch was there too.
Renee Young welcomes Jinder Mahal with the Singh Brothers. Mahal doesn’t care who wins tonight’s “dream match.” Also, xenophobia makes him stronger…
Rusev vs Chad Gable
(referee: Dan Engler)
Result: Rusev wins via submission with The Accolade
Time: 6:18 (1 break)
I know it’s not a competition, but if it were, Chad Gable would be way ahead of Jason Jordan after the dissolution of American Alpha. This was a great match, and Gable looked fantastic. Gable matches up extremely well with Rusev (who looked very good as well), and seeing Gable repeatedly suplex Rusev was a lot of fun.
After the match, Rusev gets on the mic and says he was promised competition on SmackDown Live. He claims Cena didn’t beat him, and that no one can beat Rusev. No one wants to face Rusev at Summer Slam because Rusev beats everybody. Randy Orton heads to the ring.
Rusev won’t let Orton enter the ring. Orton understands. He wouldn’t let himself get in the ring either. Rusev then steps back and Orton enters the ring. Orton points out that Rusev has never beaten him. If Rusev wants competition at Summer Slam, Orton would be happy to oblige. Rusev responds in Bulgarian. Orton responds to that with an RKO. Apparently we have a match?
WWE Title Number One Contender Match
John Cena vs Shinsuke Nakamura
(referee: Dan Engler; watching from a skybox: Jinder Mahal, Singh Brothers)
Result: Shinsuke Nakamura wins via pinfall after a Kinshasa and will face Jinder Mahal for the WWE Title at Summer Slam
Time: 9:48 (1 break)
Very good match. I would have been happy if this had gone on for another five to ten minutes, but this show was so packed already I understand why it wasn’t given more time. This one built well and I especially liked the finishing sequence. I feel like Cena usually lasts longer in high-profile matches like this, but the way the finish went down was totally believable. As I’ve been saying a lot about the matches on this show, I’d like to see this match again.
After the match (and on the WWE Network), Baron Corbin runs into the ring and attacks Nakamura. Cena returns to help Nakamura, but Corbin knocks Cena down and sets the ring steps next to the announce table. Corbin drags Cena up the steps, but that gives Cena time to recover. Cena drops Corbin through the table with an AA. Back in the ring, Cena shakes Nakamura’s hand.
This was a great show! It had some huge, important matches that were allowed some decent TV time, and it had other matches that were very entertaining for their own reasons. It also did well by setting up a lot of things for SmackDown’s side of Summer Slam. This is a show that I would watch again from start to finish.
Match of the Night
John Cena vs Shinsuke Nakamura
This is actually a really tough call, and I could have just as easily picked the US Title match. There was a little weirdness with the referee stuff in the Owens/Styles match though, so that was probably the deciding factor in my head. The Gable/Rusev match would have gotten Match of the Night on any regular episode of SmackDown, but this episode felt special.