Let’s get into SmackDown Live! There’s a new US Champion and Tye Dillinger is set to take on Jinder Mahal in one of the biggest matches so far in his career. It looks to be a fun time so let’s see if they can be as unexpected as they were when Kevin Owens and AJ Styles battled at MSG.
AJ Styles was introduced as the New United States Champion and forgive this writer for not describing this moment better because he was marking out so hard.
He stood there and soaked in the “AJ Styles” chants from the crowd a little bit and he said “looks like Battleground came a little bit early in Madison Square Garden.” He said he’s not calling himself the New Face Of America but seeing how ugly Kevin Owens is, AJ would say it’s an upgrade. That was a nice little piece of verbiage they gave him.
Then AJ Styles pulled a John Cena and reinstated the US Open Challenge. Because when you see a man with the US Title around his waist people will know he’s the best. He said if anyone disagrees then tonight is their lucky night because they can come out and prove him wrong.
He asked for someone to come out and suddenly John Cena came to answer his challenge. The place exploded with a thunderous ovation in a good way. This is gonna be fun.
John looked AJ up and down and then did his pose while the crowd popped big. John took the mic and said, “I just wanna make sure I realize what you just said” and then he asked AJ if that means everybody but him.
AJ said it included John Cena and Cena accepted it and they called for a referee. I’ve never heard a crowd cheer for Charles Robinson so hard. They did the ring introductions and were ready to go.
But just before the bell could ring Kevin Owens hit the entrance and ruined the party.
Kevin said nobody wanted to see AJ vs Cena again. He said the only thing people should care about is that the rightful owner of the title gets it back. He said nobody missed John Cena and said they didn’t need him.
John said it’s not that Owens doesn’t wanna see him, they can’t see him. That was clever.
Suddenly Rusev jumped out of the crowd and jumped Cena. Kevin came in and hit AJ with a pop-up powerbomb and Rusev locked in the Accolade. The heels left the babyfaces in the middle of the ring. So that was a great match, right?
Jinder Mahal vs Tye Dillinger
The Singh Brothers came out and introduced India’s Hero, the Modern Day Maharaja Jinder Mahal. He came to the ring looking like an amazing heel champion. Seriously though, he’s really carried the ball well since it’s was handed to him.
Hey, Tye Dillinger is on television! Nobody forgot about either. There were tons of “10” chants and he got a great reception.
The announce team said they just spoke to a mother and son who traveled from New Delhi just to see Jinder Mahal in San Antonio, Texas. That is how much of a hero Jinder is to his people! What a hero.
Jinder took an early advantage and was really rough with Tye. He used his share of rest holds but for the most part, everything he did looked like it hurt.
Jinder came down with some knees to Dillinger and wrapped him over the top rope. Mahal hammered away at Dillinger and knocked him back down. Jinder’s just got a very stiff looking move set and it’s working. He does a lot of punches and headlocks, but it works for him as a heel.
Jinder shot Tye off the ropes and he came back with a flying strike. He mounted the WWE Champion in the corner and hammered down a couple of shots. But in the end, it was just enough to irritate Jinder Mahal.
Mahal soon hit the Khallas and got the win over the Perfect 10.
Mahal picked up a microphone and talked about how he speaks the truth week after week but people still disrespect him. He brings class, diversity, and excellence to WWE. He was soaking up the heat. He said people still cheer for that snake Randy Orton. People were really hating him at this point.
Mahal turned a USA chant around on the crowd pretty well by saying it doesn’t change the fact that 1.3 billion people in India know he’s the greatest champion of all time.
Then Jinder Mahal said he’s bringing the Punjabi Prison to SmackDown Live next week. That’ll be fun.
Xavier Woods vs Jey Uso
The New Day came out to seek revenge from the savage burns from last week’s rap battle. They might have won over The Usos, but we all know what really went down there.
They played a highlight from last week and cut it up big time to make it look like the Total Divas line from Woods was what made the Usos jump New Day when in reality it was a crack about them carrying Roman’s bags. Of course, they didn’t include Usos’s line about the Paige sex tape to Xavier Woods.
Xavier got taken down pretty early on and Jimmy Uso and the rest of the New Day got involved. Then the ref threw them out. Jey hit a superkick and Woods kicked out at 2 1/2.
Then Jey climbed to the top rope and went for the splash but Woods got his knees up to block him. Woods got lifted onto the turnbuckle and ended up hanging Jey up over the second rope. Woods hit a very nice top rope elbow on Jey for the quick win.
Shane was on the phone and said nobody’s asked about James Ellsworth. Naomi walked up and asked who she was defending her SmackDown Women’s Championship against. Lana, Tamina, Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Natalya all came in too.
Shane said there will be a fatal five-way elimination match at Battleground to determine Naomi’s #1 contender.
They all traded some prewritten lines and it came off like a high school play. Charlotte asked why Lana was in the match and Tamina answered for her. It looks like they’re going for the whole bodyguard deal.
Carmella walked up with a letter from her attorney demanding he reinstate James Ellsworth and Shane ripped it up. He told her to give that to her attorney. If only that worked in real life without consequence.
Baron Corbin was interviewed to hype his match with Shinsuke Nakamura. They played the highlight from last week where Baron jumped him wearing a nice button-up shirt and Corbin looked very proud of himself. He said he’s afraid of what he’s going to do to Shinsuke.
Corbin said he needs to learn he’s Mr. Money In The Bank and Shinsuke’s not. It’s going to be “sayonara Nakamura”… that was a neat little line.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs Baron Corbin
Nakamura came down and got to do his whole entrance but Baron Corbin got jumped during his. Nakamura and Baron Corbin fought over the barricade and into the crowd. The spilled back into the entrance ramp and kept hammering at each other. A slew of WWE officials had to run out and do a pull apart on them before their match was scheduled to being.
Nakamura stood in the ring and Baron Corbin was sent back to the backstage area whole Shinksuke’s music played on.
AJ Styles was getting ready backstage and John Cena came up to him. They talked a little bit of trash and John Cena said he’s a man of his word. Cena said he had AJ’s back tonight and you could really believe him. You could feel the intensity through the television.
Becky Lynch and Charlotte vs Natalya and Tamina (without Lana)
So Lana needs Tamina, but Snuka could give or take having Lana around. But what if someone wanted to jump Lana backstage while Tamina is having a match? That’s not very good bodyguarding.
Becky and Tamina started things out and Snuka showed some power until taking a boot to the face. Lynch hit a legdrop and tagged in Char Char.
Charlotte went for a German suplex but Tamina blocked it. Charlotte got knocked to the opposite corner and Nattie got the tag. While Nattie taunted, Charlotte kipped up and hit her with some Flair chops. Becky got the tag and hit a Becksploder suplex after Natalya begged her not to do it.
Becky got thrown outside and Nattie sent her crashing into the ring steps outside. Becky kept taking punishment even after she got back in the ring. Tamina got the tag and this abuse kept up. The heels traded tags and isolated Lynch and even though Becky almost got to her corner they were able to keep her from tagging in The Nature Girl.
Nattie ended up locking Becky in a headlock and she got out of it. Lynch almost made it to her corner but Nattie picked her up and brought her back to Tamina for more hurting.
Suddenly Lana came down to the ring because she wanted to show off her pretty new dress I guess. She just stood there with a sour look on her face while she watched the action in the ring.
The heels double teamed Becky while Charlotte got led back to her corner by the ref. Nattie went to lock in a sharpshooter but Lynch used her legs to send Nattie flying and tagged in Charlotte for the Woo tag. Everything The Nature Girl did from her chops to the knee drop got a huge “woo” from the Texas crowd.
Tamina got the blind tag and Charlotte didn’t see it because Lana distracted her. While Char Char was going back to work on Nattie, Tamina came in and kicked her head off. 1-2-3 and the heels win.
It looks like Lana and Tamina might have a nice little thing going there.
Maria Kanellis was walking backstage and she knocked on the male locker room door. Chad Gable opened the door and she asked for Sami Zayn because he owes her an apology. Gable said he calls Zayn “Sami Wow Wow” which needs to stick.
Maria said for Gable to tell Zayn that the First Lady Of SmackDown Live is looking for him.
Later on, Mike and Maria Kanellis found a little nook to snuggle and Sami walked up to them. She said she demands an apology now. Sami said he’s already apologized twice and it seems like every time he’s getting ready for a wrestling match they’re getting in the way with their love fest.
Sami asked Mike if he even competed here. Zayn asked if Mike was the lover and Maria was the fighter. Then Maria slapped him and Mike smashed Sami over the head with a glass vase.
Maria got down and told Sami that was brought to you by the power of love. Very nice. Those two are super heels.
They did the Sexy Fashion Rangers segment featuring Chuck Norris (not really). These guys are gold. They were in chaps and rode stick horses. Dango let Zack Ryder pet his horsey and he told him he’s wearing a nice suit.
Tyler ran up and tried to lasso Ryder but it didn’t work because he’s awful at rope tricks. Mojo walked up and asked what he just walked into.
Dango asked where the Hype Bros were when their office got trashed. Mojo said they were looking for D-Bry for a #1 contendership. They wouldn’t do anything shady like that. Zack asked Mojo if he thought it was shade when he eliminated him from the battle royal last week.
Breezango said it was time to ride back to their office and when they looked back Dango’s horsey was missing. They decided it was ghost aliens. Looks like we’re getting an X-Files theme next week. They’re just going to keep up the parodies of mystery tv shows until they run out and it’s all amazing, just amazing.
AJ Styles and John Cena vs Kevin Owens and Rusev
I’m just going to come out and say it: Rusev is my favorite Bulgarian pro wrestler.
Super Cena and Handsome Rusev started things off and The Bulgarian Brute immediately slapped on a headlock to take some direction. He hit a shoulder block that sent Cena to the mat and he got out of the ring. Rusev picked up the Bulgarian flag to hype their Flag Match.
Cena got the upper hand when Rusev got back in and he tagged off to Kevin Owens. Kevin got Cena down and stomped on him. Cena got kicked to the heel corner and Rusev got the tag.
Cena took some kicks in the corner and Owens did some damage to Cena while the ref’s back was turned. Cena kept taking a beating until Rusev missed a second rope headbutt from Rusev.
Cena made the tag to AJ Styles and the US Champion came in to take Rusev down. Rusev returned with an elbow to slow him down, but AJ turned it into a calf crusher. KO came in to break up the submission.
Rusev hit a kick to the back of AJ’s neck and got a two count out of it. KO got the tag and kept kicking AJ.
Kevin got a headlock on The Phenomenal One to give the crowd time to root for Styles to tag in John Cena. Rusev got the tag and kicked AJ’s shoulder really hard. He covered for another two count.
AJ tried to climb up Rusev to get to his feet but The Bulgarian Brute used this as an opportunity to slap on a bear hug. Cena stretched out for the tag but AJ couldn’t quite reach him.
AJ fought out of the bear hug with some shots to Rusev’s head. Rusev went for a suplex but AJ landed on his feet like the cool cat he is. Both corners got the tag at the same time and Cena started taking it to Kevin Owens in quick fashion. He hit the 5 Knuckle Shuffle on KO’s head and got him up for the FU. Rusev ran in to break it up but AJ hit the Phenomenal Forearm on Rusev.
John Cena got Kevin Owens back up for the Attitude Adjustment and hit it that time. 1-2-3 and the babyfaces win to cap off SmackDown Live.
SmackDown Live went off the air while the announce team hyped Battleground and John and AJ were left in the ring staring each other down. AJ held the US Title in his hand and John took a second before raising his arm in victory like the true babyface he is.