Date: August 1, 2017
Location: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, John Bradshaw Layfield
It’s one heck of a big show tonight as we have two major matches announced in advance (which thankfully seems to be a bit more of a trend lately). Tonight it’s AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens for the US Title but the big match is an actual dream match between Shinsuke Nakamura and John Cena for the Smackdown World Title shot at Summerslam. Let’s get to it.
The opening video looks at the setup of both matches.
US Title: AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens
Owens is challenging and sends AJ into the corner to start. The drop down into a dropkick is blocked and a forearm to the back of the head knocks Styles outside. Owens is right there after him with a clothesline for a break because that’s what Raw does and if one show does it, the other has to as well.
Back with AJ hitting a dropkick and dropping the knee to the face for two. A suplex is good for one and AJ stomps away in the corner, which isn’t very common for him. The threat of the Phenomenal Forearm sends Owens to the floor so AJ hits one out there instead. Owens sends him into the barricade for a Cannonball though and we go to another break. Back with AJ hitting the fireman’s carry neckbreaker but the Styles Clash is countered with a backdrop.
A superkick gives Owens two more but he has to use a headbutt to break up the Calf Crusher. AJ is right back with a Pele and grabs the hold again in the middle of the ring, sending Owens crawling over to the ropes for another break. Owens nails two more superkicks but misses a punch and “hits” the referee by mistake. The Pop Up Powerbomb is countered into a rollup for the pin at 16:49, even though Owens had his shoulder WAY up, which JBL and Tom loudly point out.
Rating: B. Ending to set up another match aside, this was a heck of a back and forth match with the two of them beating each other up by trading spot after spot. Styles winning is fine enough though I’m wondering what kind of match we’ll be seeing between the two of them at Summerslam. I’m not wild on one more match when there are so many options for Styles to face but these two on a huge stage could be interesting.
In the back, the bosses are checking on the referee and saying that was a mistake. Owens comes storming in and yells a lot with a very orange Shane McMahon saying Owens needs to respect the referee. There’s going to be a rematch at Summerslam with Shane as the guest referee. Owens calls Shane the most incompetent of them all.
We look back at the Usos beating down New Day last week.
Here are the Usos with Jimmy doing Big E.’s signature entrance. The Usos are the reasons New Day isn’t here because they’re not grown men riding a tricycle throwing out fake cereal. They’re be taking the titles and the catchphrase because U-SO ROCKS.
It’s time for the Fashion Files, or Fashion Peaks in this case. Tyler Breeze is on his own in a suit talking about how Fandango has been kidnapped, perhaps by extraterrestrials, and wondering why he’s recording this message instead of just calling the person he’s recording it for.
The lights dim and here’s Fandango, seemingly in a trance. The Ascension are next to him and pour syrup on what looks like a big piece of bread. Fandango stings himself on a rose and the three laugh as Breeze shouts about not understanding any of this. Breeze: “NO MORE METAPHORS!” And of course it’s a dream sequence with Breeze waking up next to some pastries. Breeze knows who kidnapped him.
Sami Zayn vs. Aiden English
English sings his way to the ring. A wristlock has Sami in some very early trouble but he’s right back up and spins English down into an armbar. English turns that into a rollup though and gets the completely clean pin at 1:59.
Both English and Zayn are stunned but here are the Kannellises to say they love Sami losing.
Becky Lynch/Naomi vs. Natalya/Carmella
Natalya and Becky fight over arm control to start with Lynch possibly tweaking her knee coming out of the corner (she tweaked it last week too but seemed fine coming into the match). Naomi comes in and takes Natalya down for a very big legdrop. It’s off to Carmella, in a James Ellsworth shirt, for a slap to Naomi’s face. Naomi actually gets caught in the wrong corner and a hard spinebuster from Natalya sets up the Sharpshooter. She makes it over to the ropes so Carmella comes in for the Code of Silence, which is quickly countered into Naomi’s reverse Rings of Saturn for the tap at 3:57.
Rating: D+. Nothing to see here due tot he lack of time but Naomi’s hold is starting to grow on me. It’s certainly better than the Rear View and Naomi is really starting to feel like a top level champion. I’d love for them to get rid of the Money in the Bank briefcase already though as it’s just looming over everything like it always does and that gets very old.
Jinder Mahal is sick of xenophobia and doesn’t care if he’s facing the American or the man from Japan. No one can end his reign so it really doesn’t matter.
Rusev vs. Chad Gable
Gable can’t take him down to start and gets thrown outside without too much effort. Back in and Gable gets him down this time before starting in on the knee. That earns Chad a knee to the chest though and a gutwrench suplex takes us to a break. Back with Gable hitting a German suplex followed by a moonsault for two.
Rusev is slow to get up so Gable tries Rolling Chaos Theory. That’s quickly countered though and Rusev kicks him in the head for two. I’d have bet on that for the pin. The Accolade is broken up and Gable grabs an ankle lock, which is eventually kicked off to send Gable outside. Back in and Rusev eats the superkick, setting up the Accolade for the tap at 9:03.
Rating: B-. Much better match than I was expecting here but Gable losing was the right call here. Rusev is a big time established star who Cena had trouble putting away at Battleground. Having Gable defeat him in one of his first major singles matches would have been a big stretch. At least it was entertaining while it lasted though.
Rusev says he wants competition (please ban that line already) and knows he can’t be beaten. He wants an opponent for Summerslam….and here’s Randy Orton for a staredown. Orton can’t get in the ring so he grabs the mic and says if he were Rusev, he wouldn’t want Orton in the ring either. Rusev takes a step back so Orton gets in and the match is set. Rusev rants in Bulgarian and eats an RKO for his efforts. These two have never actually had a singles match so it’s a genuinely fresh match.
We look at the ending of Styles vs. Owens again.
John Cena vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
The winner gets Mahal, who is watching from a sky box, at Summerslam. Nakamura wastes no time in sending him into the corner for the head on the chest with the arm shakes. Cena gets taken into the corner for Good Vibrations as John doesn’t know what to do with him yet. Another attempt at Good Vibrations is countered as Cena lifts the boot (You could say he’s picking up good vibrations.) and grabs a belly to belly to take us to a break.
Back with Nakamura winning a slugout with a spinning kick to the head. More kicks stagger Cena and the running knee to the ribs gets two. Cena tries his finishing sequence but gets reversed into an attempt at an armbar. Nakamura settles for a triangle choke which is reversed with a powerbomb. The STF is countered into a cross armbreaker which is turned into a rollup for two.
Cena’s big running clothesline that he uses when he needs to get out of trouble gets him out of trouble but Nakamura is right back up with the sliding knee. An AA gives Cena two and we get a triple reaction shot, including one that is shown again while we see the replay. Another AA is countered into a guillotine choke but Cena powers up into a second AA. Cena isn’t done yet and tries a third, only to be reversed into the reverse Exploder. Kinshasa sends Nakamura to Summerslam at 13:19.
Rating: B+. Heck of a match here but it’s certainly not the definitive match between these two, especially not with nearly a fourth of it cut out due to commercial. Nakamura was stepping his game up a bit tonight and Cena getting a bit too fancy at the end made for a good story, especially with Cena losing completely clean for the first time since last September.
Cena raises Nakamura’s hand so posing can end the show.
Overall Rating: A-. Why was this show so much better than Raw? Well for one thing it didn’t need an hour of padding and they didn’t do the big stuff in the middle and leave nothing special for the end. They also set up a bunch of stuff for Summerslam, which really needs to be done with only a few weeks before the show. Very good show here with only the women’s match not being great and it’s not even four minutes long. Check this one out if you have the chance.
AJ Styles b. Kevin Owens – Rollup
Aiden English b. Sami Zayn – Rollup
Becky Lynch/Naomi b. Natalya/Carmella – Reverse Rings of Saturn to Carmella
Rusev b. Chad Gable – Accolade
Shinsuke Nakamura b. John Cena – Kinshasa
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