It’s time for SmackDown live. Fans were promised a Punjabi Prison and that’s exactly what they got. There was also plenty of awesome action and story line advancement as they headed into Battleground. So let’s get right into it.
The Singh Brothers introduce the Modern Day Maharaja and Jinder Mahal came out looking like a true Indian Hero. The Punjabi Prison was already set up around the ring and they got inside the strange looking structure to do the first segment of the night behind the bars of this… thing. The outer area was lowered to circle the ring inside and the crowd sat in awe as light Indian music played on the PA system.
Jinder talked up his feud with Randy Orton and said the Punjabi Prison will be the final resting place for The Viper’s legacy. Clever wording because Randy was in Legacy.
The rules of the match were explained and we forgot how confusing the rules to one of these matches is. Essentially you have to climb out of both bamboo fences that surround the ring. But there are other rules because, why not?
The crowd chanted for Randy but Mahal used the chant against them by saying he won’t be able to do anything about it. Everytime Jinder Mahal says “my people” it sounds so convincing.
Then Mahal spoke in Punjabi while inside the Punjabi Prison. Suddenly Randy Orton’s music hit and RKO hit the stage.
Orton talked some smack to Mahal and mocked him for making the conscious decision to be locked in a prison with him. He said the Singh Brothers are the only reason he lost his title in the first place. Then he took off his neat RKO merch and stood lounged against the outside of the Punjabi Prison while he said they’ll be no escape at Battleground.
Randy started climbing the side of the Prison and continued to cut his promo in between spurts up the Punjabi Prison’s ladder-like outside walls. Orton asked Jinder what he was going to do when those 1.3 billion souls in India consider him a disgrace. He perched himself on the top of the Punjabi Prison and said that was going to be his view after he left Mahal’s “jacked up ass for dead in the ring.” That was fun verbiage to use.
Then Randy said he was going to win at Battleground and they played his music while he posed on the top of the Punjabi Prison.
Jimmy Uso vs Kofi Kingston
Kofi started the match off with some stomps in the corner. It was quite entertaining as he kept going in between the ropes and around the turnbuckle like he was tagging himself back in. Jimm got dumped outside and Kofi teased a dive and then hit him with one when Jimmy wasn’t looking.
The New Day celebrated a bit to rub in the high spot until Kofi tossed Jimmy in the ring. Kofi kept wrestling around Jimmy and showing him up around every corner until he powdered out. Jimmy went back in but Kofi clotheslined him back outside. He went for a kick from the apron but Jimmy blocked his kick and sent him face-first into the apron. That’s the hardest part of the ring!
Jimmy maintained the advantage with some offense to keep Kofi grounded once they returned to the ring. Jimmy went for his Rikishi-homage hip attack in the corner but Kofi countered with a stomp to the chest that nearly hit its target but it was nonetheless effective.
Kofi hit his double leg drop and got the “New Day clap” going. He went for Trouble In Paradise, but Jimmy caught him and sent him into the turnbuckle. 1-2-kick out by Kofi.
Jimmy looked like he was stalking Kofi and went charging. Kofi dodged the attack and jumped to the apron to land a kick. They both climbed to the top turnbuckle and Kofi tried to block a superplex from Jimmy. He eventually pushed Jimmy down and Jey jumped on the apron to distract him. Kofi jumped back up and hit a top rope cross body but Jimmy used Kofi’s momentum to roll him around for a pin. 1-2-3 and The Usos have one more win under their belts before heading off the SmackDown Live exclusive PPV Battleground.
SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon was backstage with all the women in the fatal 5-way at Battleground. He hyped their #1 contender’s match and then asked what they wanted to do tonight. Charlotte said she wanted to fight Lana. Nattie called her delusional because she was fighting Lana. Then Becky said she wanted to fight Lana.
Tamina finally jumped in and said nobody’s fighting Lana tonight. Then Natalya suggest Charlotte fight Becky tonight. Charlotte said she won’t be fighting Becky because Shane wants a competitive match. Then McMahon booked The Lass Kicker vs The Queen for later on.
Kurt Angle Loves His Baby Boy Jason Jordan
They played a recap from the angle last night where Jason Jordan turned out to be Kurt’s son. Then they cut to Renee Young in the back with Chad Gable.
When asked what his first thought was when he heard the news, Gable started laughing and said: “yeah… what?” He said Jason didn’t mention anything to him. He said a little heads up would have been nice. He said they talked after Raw but after all that time together he knew something was wrong.
Gable said Jordan explained everything to him word-for-word and now that American Alpha is no more he’s still going to support Jason. He said, “I’ve got some ideas” on what’s next for himself but the SmackDown star didn’t want to ruin ay surprises. He said this is a chance to see Chad Gable on his own.
Mike Kanellis vs Sami Zayn
Hey, Mike Kanellis is going to wrestle on SmackDown! Their music is awesome by the way, why couldn’t WWE have given that to Big Cass instead of that weird mesh of three genres he has now.
Sami and Mike have been bickering a little bit lately and it looks like WWE wants to let these two get at each other ASAP. Sami started out taking it to Mike and his awesome haircut right off the bat. He hit some chops in the corner and some mounted punches. Then Mike rolled out of the ring to collect himself.
Zayn followed and sent Mike back in but Kanellis got the upper hand when they got back in. Zayn clotheslined Kanellis over the top rope and then took a bump into the barricade from Sami.
The Underdog From The Underground tossed Mike back in and Kanellis took advantage until Zayn caught him with a stiff clothesline followed by an exploder suplex.
Maria jumped in and blocked the Helluva Kick until the ref got her to leave. Mike jumped Sami and hit him with a Samoan Driver for the win.
John Cena Segment
Cena came down to the ring with the flags on either side all set up for a Flag Match. Big Match John put over Battleground and the Punjabi Prison match. Then he moved on to asking people out of all the things you’ll see at Battleground, what will we remember.
John Cena said we’ll remember the Flag Match. The crowd popped hard at the mention of the USA flag not so much at the Bulgarian flag. Cena said the first person to grab their country’s flag wins but there’s a whole lot more to it.
Super Cena said everyone can agree that they all love the USA flag. The real question this Sunday is will the US flag fly or fall. He said he’s got his work cut out for him, but he’s ready. He promised he was ready. Cena said America is a nation of fighters and we never give up. That’s catchy, WWE should put that saying on a million t-shirts.
John kept cutting a great promo as always running us through Ameican history but after every event, “the flag flew high”… he concluded it by saying “when the towers fell the flag flew high.” Surprisingly a 9/11 reference didn’t get much of a reaction.
He said “America kicks ass” and climbed up to get the American flag. He waved it around and his music hit. Suddenly Rusev ran into the ring through the crowd and blindsided him. The flag hit the mat and so did John. Rusev kicked him in the head to finish him off and then stomped him to lock in the Accolade.
Suddenly John Cena powered up and picked Rusev up while the Accolade was locked in. Cena eventually fell back to his face while Rusev kept on his finisher. Cena couldn’t quite pick him up again even with all the “USA” chants coming his way.
Rusev let Cena go and grabbed the Bulgarian flag to wave it around before exiting up the ramp.
AJ Styles and Nakamura were backstage when Styles asked him if he wanted a strategy. Shinsuke didn’t say anything, he just pointed at the US Title and said something about getting that title off of him someday. Then he walked away. Can we just have Styles vs Nakamura now?
Charlotte vs Becky Lynch
Natalya was at the announce table for this one and called herself the smartest woman in the fatal 5-way match at Battleground. She said Charlotte got a lot due to her last name and that’s unacceptable.
Charlotte and Becky traded some moves and seemed evenly matched early on as Nattie said he hopes they don’t break a nail tonight. Becky offered a handshake but it turned into a clothesline. Charlotte flipped across the ring and got a nice pin attempt but Becky kicked out.
Lynch went for a Dis-Arm Her but Charlotte rolled out of the ring to avoid her finisher submission hold. Charlotte blocked a springboard move off the turnbuckle and turned it into a neckbreaker and then drove some knees into Becky’s back. Charlotte kept Lynch down and taunted the crowd as she played heel in this match.
Becky and Charlotte moved to the outside where Lynch laid the Nature Girl out. But when they returned to the ring, Charlotte took control once again. She did some Nature Boy strutting while Nattie said all Flair does is exploit her father.
Charlotte tried to get a figure 8 and Becky countered out of it. She hit a dropkick and nailed a Becksploder suplex. Lynch hit a flying firearm for a two count. Charlotte went for a Natural Selection, but Becky turned it into a Dis-Arm Her. Flair got out and took control once again.
Charlotte climbed up to the top rope but Lynch moved out of the way and locked in a Dis-Arm-Her. Charlotte tried her best to get out of the move but she ended up having to tap out in order to save her arm from being ripped off of her body.
The two shook hands in the middle of the ring after the match when Tamina and Lana came to the ring. Nattie jumped Becky from behind and Tamina and Lana joined the assault. The heels beat up the two babyfaces and then Nattie sent to get a sharpshooter on Tamina. Lana stopped her and spoke some Russian. By the time Natalya turned around Tamina was there to kick her head off.
Naomi was interviewed by Mrs Dean Ambrose when she said when it’s glow time there’s no stopping her. Then Carmella walked up and reminded her wherever she goes, Mella won’t be far away with her briefcase.
Fashion Files Segment
Breezeango were back at it with one of their amazing segments. This time the SmackDown stars parodied an X-Files episode and it was just too amazing to describe in full. You just need to find this segment and watch it immediately because it was that hilarious. If anything you have to see Tyler Breeze in his red Gillian Anderson wig.
They also went a little bit Godfather meets Seven when a “special delivery” came in and Breeze cautioned to “not look in the box” but when Dango finally looked in there he found the decapitated head of his stick horsey that was stolen last week. Inside the horsey head was a note that said “Battleground” implying we might finally find out who the mysterious Uggos are who trashed their office so very long ago.
AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura vs Kevin Owens and Baron Corbin
Baron Corbin tried to jump Nakamura during his entrance but Shinsuke fought back. Kevin Owens came out to help fight off Nakamura and AJ ran up the ramp to assist his partner. They finally separated and properly started the match.
The heels took advantage early on and traded off tags very well. AJ ended up getting a tag off to Nakamura and he started taking some stiff strikes to KO. Nakamura hit the Good Vibrations in the corner and an enziguri. He landed a knee drop and gave Owens time to get to his feet.
Nakamura landed a few knees to KO and shot him to the ropes, KO reversed it and Corbin lowered the top rope to send Nakamura to the outside. Corbin threw Shinsuke back in and hit a running senton for a two count.
Baron Corbin got the tag and started kicking at Nakamura. Referee Charles Robinson pulled Corbin off of him after counting to five and Corbin yelled: “I can count!” right in his face.
Corbin locked in a bear hug on Nakamura. But Shinsuke would soon turn things around for his team by kicking Corbin in the face. Baron ran over and knocked AJ off the ring apron and returned his focus to Nakamura.
Shinsuke hit some stiff kicks and dodged out of the way of a charge in the corner. Nakamura kicked Owens in the side of the face and turned around to get a Deep 6 from Baron Corbin for a two count when AJ jumped in to break up the pin.
Nakamura caught Corbin with another couple of kicks and the competitors in the US Title match at Battleground got the tag at the same time.
AJ hit a clothesline and a forearm to the face to a seated Owens. He kept up the abuse to KO until Kevin made the tag to Corbin. AJ quickly locked Baron in a Calf Crusher until the long arms of the Lone Wolf got to the ropes.
AJ was set up for a Phenomenal Forearm but KO pulled him to the mat. Nakamura jumped Owens until Corbin came from behind him and dumped him in the timekeeper’s area.
Once back in the ring AJ looked like he was going to hit a Styles Clash on Baron Corbin until KO kicked him in the face. Kevin pulled off a pop-up powerbomb and the heels got a clean win to send us into Battleground.