Date: July 11, 2017
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Commentators: Tom Phillips, John Bradshaw Layfield, and Byron Saxton
- I’m glad to see John Cena back, but I’m not looking forward to his feud with Rusev that will culminate at Battleground in a flag match. I don’t like the pair facing off because I know how this story ends because I’ve seen it before. Rusev’s first loss in the WWE was against John Cena at Wrestlemania 31, and it was all downhill from there for him.
- Hopefully after Jinder Mahal beats Randy Orton in the Punjabi Prison Match at “Battleground,” John Cena will step up and beat the “Majaraja” at Summerslam.
- I would like to see Tye Dillinger featured more regularly. He is just wasting away in the back.
- AJ Styles announced that he is bringing back the weekly US Title Open Challenge! This is awesome news that will guarantee a good to great match every week on Smackdown. A new opponent will step up and challenge Styles for his US Championship. I can see names like Aiden English, Baron Corbin, Dolph Ziggler, Jason Jordan, Luke Harper, Mojo Rawley, Sami Zayn, Tye Dillinger, Tyler Breeze, and even John Cena be contenders for the title.
- Ultimately, I am picking the current NXT Champion, Bobby Roode, to eventually defeat Styles for the US Championship.
- During this segment, John Cena answered the open challenge, which shocked the hell out of me. I was very interested in the match until Kevin Owens and Rusev interrupted them before the bell rang. There was no match between Styles and Cena, which was very disappointing, but it will likely happen again at some point down the line. They always have classics together, and I imagine that they next time they square off, it will be no different.
Jinder Mahal Vs. Tye Dillinger
- This was not exactly what I had in mind when wanting Dillinger back on television. All signs point to him losing to Mahal.
- Mahal beat Dillinger with the Kalas.
- Rating: D+. It was nice to see Dillinger back on television for a week, but then we are reminded that Dillinger is just another guy on the roster when Mahal beats him in short order. When Dillinger would enter the arena a few months ago, you would think that it was Steve Austin, judging by the reaction from the crowd. Now he is losing to average Jinder Mahal.
Xavier Woods Vs. Jey Uso
- Xavier Woods beat Jey Uso with an elevated elbow drop from the top rope.
- The rest of New Day and Jimmy Uso were ejected in the middle of the match
- Rating: C-. The match was fine given the small amount of time they were given in order to get their point across. Xavier Woods’ finisher was also awesome to see.
- Shane McMahon is shown backstage talking to Naomi, the Smackdown Women’s Champion. After some bickering from the remainder of the women’s division, McMahon decides to make a fatal five-way match to determine the number one contender to the Women’s Championship at “Battleground.”
- Backstage Corbin is shown what he did last week. The video shows Corbin attacking Shinsuke Nakamura backstage with “The King of Strong Style” fighting back. Corbin has a message for Shinsuke: Sayonara Nakamura.
Shinsuke Nakamura Vs. Baron Corbin
- The match doesn’t happen because Nakamura attacked Corbin at the entrance ramp. The official match will likely happen at “Battleground.”
- John Cena and AJ Styles have a moment in the locker room, where Cena showed “The Phenomenal One” respect for announcing the return of the “US Title Open Challenge.”
Becky Lynch and Charlotte Vs. Natalya and Tamina Snuka
- Lana comes out to distract Charlotte. This allowed Tamina to superkick Charlotte for the pin to further the unlikely alliance between Lana and Tamina.
- Rating: All girls shined at different points of this match. Charlotte continues to be a huge asset to the roster by putting over other talent. She loses and will not lose credibility due to known talent.
- Sami Zayn gets attacked by Mike and Maria Kanellis backstage.
- The Fashion Police continue to be in whacky form, dressed as cowboys for “Texas Sexy Rangers.” They are still attempting to find out who trashed their office. Tyler Breeze attempted to put Zack Ryder under the power of the “Lasso of Truth,” but he fumbled the ropes and the loop fell over himself instead.
- Next week, the Fashion X-Files are coming. I’m all for that.
- Mojo Rawley got upset at Ryder for living in a fantasy land and Ryder agrees. I like the direction that the Hype Bros are going, but a split seems to be coming sooner rather than later, which is disappointing.
Rusev and Kevin Owens Vs. John Cena and AJ Styles
- AJ Styles hit the Phenomenal Forearm and Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment on Rusev for the pin.
- Rating: C. This was a standard main event tag match, but it did its job by reminding everyone what Cena can do.
- Post-Match Cena looked at Styles at US Title and posed with him to end the show.
Overall Rating: C-. This show mostly came across as filler, but it was entertaining filler nonetheless. The biggest take-away for me is the return of the US Open Challenge, and I cannot be more excited. Nakamura/Corbin and the women’s five-way elimination match for Battleground was also announced. Other than that, this show was not very noteworthy. Raw wins again this week.