SmackDown Live was set to blow the roof off the Verizon Arena in North Little Rock, Arkansas. Not only will Bobby Roode further cement himself into the WWE main roster, but Kevin Owens will start his mission of revenge on Shane McMahon, and Shelton Benjamin will finally make his WWE return alongside Chad Gable. Breezango also might reveal who the Uggos were who trashed their dressing room and murdered their stick horsey Tully. Wrestling is fun, so let’s get right to it!
It looks like Rusev and Jinder Mahal are back together as they will be tagging together in the main event against Shinsuke Nakamura and Randy Orton.
The Singh Brothers introduced The Modern Day Maharaja and he came out looking jacked. Jinder started to talk about how he was going to show his skills and acumen tonight in the main event. He got booed pretty heavily. When he said Orton’s name it got a little pop but Nakamura’s name got a much bigger ovation.
Mahal said he was representing the entire continent of Asia now so he’s moved on from 1.3 billion people to 4.436 billion. That’s quite a promotion.
Jinder said he’s no fool like Nakamura made him look like last week. He said someone will have to pay the price and the Singh Brothers said they failed him last week and apologized to everyone in the great continent of Asia including the 1.3 billion people in India. There were some really fake tears and bad acting going on between those Singh Brothers but they’re still priceless.
Then the Singh Brothers said they wanted to kiss Jinder’s royal feet. Yup, they’re priceless and Mahal was going to let them do it until Shinsuke Nakamura’s music hit.
Nakamura parted the Singh Brothers and got in Mahal’s face. It didn’t take long for these two to start slugging it out and the Singh Brothers jumped Shinsuke giving an opening for Jinder Mahal to jump on him too until Randy Orton came running down to help out his new buddy.
Rusev appeared to stop Randy in his tracks and Mahal hit Nakamura with a powerful Khallas to leave The King Of Artist Style laying on the mat to end the segment.
Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable vs The Ascension
Benjamin and Gable came down to new music and they looked great together. It looks like neither Gable or Jordan kept the American Alpha music in the split. Did I mention these two looked great together? Because they did.
The Ascension make a great first team for these two because they’re good at putting people over which is what happened.
Shelty received a big pop for just tagging in and he hasn’t lost a step. Konnor lowered the top rope when Gable was shot to the ropes and he went toppling to the floor. After that Chad took some damage.
The longest-reigning NXT Tag Team Champions (and 6th all-time longest running WWE tag champions) kept taking it to Chad using some nice tandem offense for a while.
Finally, Shelton got the hot tag and hit a nice backdrop on Viktor and a kick on Konnor. Shelty was soon on the top rope hitting a top rope clothesline and covered for a pin which was broken up by Konnor but then he hit the Paydirt and got the win.
Baron Corbin was walking backstage when Renee Young told him it’s been two weeks since he squandered his Money In The Bank briefcase. Baron said John ruined his cash in and it wasn’t squandered. Then he said he hated hearing people chant “where’s your briefcase” which means they want people to chant that now.
Corbin said he was going to cash in on the US Title Open Challenge tonight instead.
AJ Styles’ US Open Challenge
Well, this one was kind of ruined by Baron Corbin. But who knows what kind of swerve Road Dogg and the SmackDown crew might have in store for this one.
AJ grabbed the mic and let the crowd chant his name for a bit before starting. He said last week Kevin Owens lost the opportunity to challenge for the US Title as long as he holds it so SmackDown Live (The House That AJ Styles Built) gets to reopen the US Open Challenge and it starts right… now…
Tye Dillinger’s music hit instead of Baron Corbin’s. That’s a nice surprise even though Baron Corbin came up behind him and told him it’s his challenge. They shoved each other and Tye kept walking to the ring giving The Lone Wolf a chance to jump him from behind.
Then Baron went to get in the ring but Dillinger jumped in the ring and knocked him off the apron. The ref rang the bell and the match got started.
Tye got quite a few “10” chants while he hit some mounted punches. AJ slipped out of a quick Tye Breaker and rolled Dillinger up into a very quick Calf Crusher. Tye tapped out and Baron beat him down on the outside.
AJ caught Baron with a forearm when he went in the ring. Corbin looked pissed and threw a little bit of a fit at ringside while the fans chanted “AJ Styles.”
Rusev was shown backstage and Jinder walked up to him and said this would be a great night. Rusev said tonight isn’t about India, America, Japan, or Bulgaria. He said he’s not Mahal’s friend and he came to SmackDown Live to be WWE Champion and after tonight’s win, he’s coming for Mahal’s title even though they already booked a match for next week to determine the #1 contender and Rusev isn’t in it.
Mike Kanellis vs Bobby Roode
It’s time for the Glorious One vs The Power Of Love. Bobby Roode is already making a great babyface on WWE’s main roster especially if they keep placing him against heels.
There hasn’t been someone in quite some time who looked like they belonged on the WWE main roster more than Bobby Roode. Kanellis started off the match with some offense but he was soon taken to the mat by The Glorious One.
Bobby did his Glorious taunt and he was eating up the cheers while smiling like a truly good guy. That look suits Bobby Roode very well.
Bobby lit up Kanellis with some assault and hit a blockbuster off the middle turnbuckle. Mike caught Bobby with an elbow in the corner just long enough to charge and take a spinebuster while Roode did another Glorious taunt and hit the Glorious DDT for the win.
It was just… Glorious.
Kevin Owens Isn’t A Happy Camper
English was in the ring already singing when the commercial break concluded. It looks like they couldn’t wait to get to that acapella magic.
Insert Kevin Owens here and he didn’t look very happy.
Owens said, Mr. English with all due respect I can assure you that none of these unrefined Arkansas hillbillies can respect or appreciate you and then he allowed Aiden to leave the ring so The Drama King took off.
KO replayed the footage from last week and said he didn’t choose Shane McMahon to be the special guest referee last week but he didn’t get what he wanted.
Kevin said one year ago today was when he was crowned Universal Champion. It was also the day Gene Wilder died. Just saying in case you ever needed that for trivia.
Owens said this kind of thing would never happen on Raw and he called Stephanie lovely because she wouldn’t screw KO like that.
Shane McMahon came out to talk a little bit too. KO said Shane is out right on cue to take the spotlight off the actual talent and make it all about himself.
Shane-O said when Corbin tossed him his referee shirt then McMahon did what he had to do because a match of that magnitude needed a referee… actually when you think about it all matches need a referee, don’t they?
McMahon said he was tired of hearing KO complain and he told English to get back in the ring because he had a match against Sami Zayn.
Zayn then came out to prove to Kevin that he’ll never be rid of The Underdog From The Underground. KO jumped on commentary and he didn’t sound happy while he told Byron Saxton to shut up.
Aiden English vs Sami Zayn
Sami and Aiden wrestled around for a bit until Zayn clotheslined English over the top rope and executed a dive on The Drama King.
KO said he couldn’t take it while on commentary and said he was going to show the ref how to do his job. He took the ref’s shirt off him and put it on himself. Okay, so you can do that now.
Kevin started officiating fairly while he started counting on Sami who stood on the top rope. Then Kevin hit Sami Zayn with a pop-up powerbomb like a good referee and English covered for a very quick pin.
Aiden English’s music started playing and it was weird and operatic. We’ve never heard it before since he always sings his own entrances acapella and well… he never wins. So hearing The Drama King’s actual music was kind of weird.
Shane said he was very upset and Sami Zayn was not beaten and it will be stricken from the record. He said he was informed KO had already left the building and he was about to do the same thing.
Dolph Ziggler was interviewed about the new side of himself he will be showing tonight. Dolph said they’re in Little Rock do you can expect nothing. He said he was motivated by being the best in WWE for ten years and getting nothing in return.
Dolph said he’s an afterthought but he’s really a star. Because people get distracted by twinkling lights, sequence jackets, then he bashed Elias’ gimmick on Raw, and asked if he needed to ride a motorcycle to the ring, he said he could ride a 4-wheeler like Stone Cold and throw beer everywhere, or he could wear body paint like Finn Balor to hide his vacuum of a personality, or Ziggler said he could be a superhero and call himself Zig Man!
Whatever Ziggler is going to do, he said we will see it next week (even though he said we’ll see it this week).
The Usos vs The New Day
With Xavier Woods apparently injuring his knee at a house show last night this match was kind of a surprise but let’s see how they book this one.
Xavier Woods came out with a knee brace on with a sign around his neck that said “it’s sore” while Big E showered the fans at ringside with cereal.
The New Day and Usos did their thing in the ring and it was a little bit of back and forth until Big E missed a splash on the apron and took the bump to the chest on his own. He was then dropkicked against the barricade and rolled in the ring to take a brunt of the damage.
The winner of this match will apparently decide the stipulation for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships. Even though Xavier Woods’ knee might be sore he was still able to play the trombone as Kofi got the hot tag and hit the Boom Drop.
Jey ducked the Trouble In Paradise but Kofi hit a cross body off the top for a two count. Jimmy hit Big E with a superkick to send him out of the ring. Kofi almost got hit with the pop-up Samoan Drop from Jey but transitioned it into a nice submission.
Jimmy got the blind tag on Kofi and rolled him up for the three count while holding the tights.
James Ellsworth took the mic from Dasha backstage and introduced Carmella. She said she’s not going to tell him anything ever again after Ellsworth ruined her plan from last week.
James asked if she got the flowers he sent her and she said she got some with a card that said “my sympathies” and asked him if he stole flowers from a funeral.
Natalya rolled up and said if Carmella tried to cash in her briefcase on her then she’d make her the “Baron Corbin of the women’s division.”
Naomi came in next and said Nattie might have Carmella next week, but the week after that she would be defending her SmackDown Women’s Championship against Naomi.
Lana was in the ring and introduced Tamina with the same gusto she used to give to Rusev. She called Tamina the future SmackDown Women’s Champion before Snuka came to the ring to face her opponent who happened to be an enhancement talent.
Lana kept the microphone and told Tamina to crush her so that’s what she did. It was over rather quickly after Tamina turned it up a notch.
After the match they had camera men jump in the ring to snap some photos of Tamina and Lana posing.
Fashion Files Season 2 Premiere
Crime never takes a vacation and neither does Breezango. They were back with another season of their hit SmackDown Live segment.
Breeze and Dango went through their table of gadgets and each item was full of puns and hilarity. Those two are simply the greatest. They wanted to test out their black light and found arrows painted on their boxes.
They followed their glowing arrows to a message on the board that said “2 B or not 2 B” where Breeze decided to share some of his knowledge of Shakespear.
They finally came to the conclusion that Shakespear wrote in English so naturally, that points them to Aiden English next… to be continued…
Jinder Mahal and Rusev vs Shinsuke Nakamura and Randy Orton
Orton stopped his pose in the middle of his entrance to jump the heels. Jinder and Rusev ended up being thrown over the barricade to give the babyfaces a chance to celebrate in the ring.
However, when the heels returned to the ring they took control for a bit. Mahal beat Shinsuke down until Nakamura caught him with a kick to the head and tried to get to his corner. Jinder cut him off and hammered away at Nakamura’s head for a bit and latched on a headlock to tire him down.
The crowd started chanting for Randy and then he got the tag to take it to The Modern Day Maharaja. Randy went for an RJO but Mahal slid out of the ring to avoid it. Orton followed him to do some damage on the outside.
Once they got inside Randy hit a fallaway slam and the Singh Brothers distracted the referee to save their hero and he tagged off to The Bulgarian Brute. Randy was tossed to the outside and Rusev stomped away at Orton.
Orton took some damage from the heels and they did stuff like choke him while the referee wasn’t looking, etc. Rusev had Randy in a headlock for a bit until Randy broke the hold and Rusev hit a nice back heel-kick for a two count. Rusev does actually look very good right now.
Mahal got the tag and ate the post on a charge. Randy crawled toward Nakamura and made the tag as Jinder tagged to Rusev. Then Shinsuke started kicking Rusev very hard.
Nakamura hit his knees to the corner and drove his knees into Rusev’s ribs while he was draped across the top. Shinsuke set up for the reverse exploder but Rusev said “no” therefore Nakamura locked in an arm bar.
Mahal broke up the arm bar and then all hell broke lose. Randy ended up dispatching of Mahal and Nakamura hit the knee from the top rope followed by the Kinshasa for the win.
While Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura were in the same ring after their win they knew next week they’d be facing each other to determine the #1 contendership.
The show endeed with the two smiling at each other. Randy gave Nakamura’s back a pat and hit an RKO OUTTA NOWHERE. The music changed from Shinsuke’s to Randy’s while The Viper posed to close out the show.