Smackdown – August 15, 2017

Smackdown
Date: August 15, 2017
Location: Dunkin’ Donuts Center, Providence, Rhode Island
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, John Bradshaw Layfield

It’s the last show before Summerslam and there’s a big main event to send us home. This week features Jinder Mahal vs. John Cena in a non-title match, which likely means that Baron Corbin and Shinsuke Nakamura will be lurking around. Other than that we’ll be pushing some of Sunday’s lower card matches as well. Let’s get to it.

A narrated video talks about tonight’s main event.

Phillips says this might be the biggest match in Smackdown’s history. This isn’t even Cena’s biggest match on Smackdown this month.

Here’s Mahal to talk about today being Independence Day in India. An Indian band performs a quick dance and then a woman sings the Indian national anthem. Mahal takes credit for the success of the WWE Network and goes on about how awesome India is until Nakamura interrupts. Nakamura says today is India’s Independence Day but it’s also Veterans Day in Japan. On Sunday, he’s taking the title. This was long and accomplished absolutely nothing.

The announcers send their best wishes to Ric Flair.

Natalya vs. Becky Lynch

Naomi comes out for commentary. Becky grabs a rollup for one but gets the taste slapped out of her mouth. That earns her a slap right back, sending Natalya to the floor as we take a break. Back with Becky caught in an abdominal stretch until she makes her comeback with the clotheslines. The Bexploder looks to set up the Disarm-Her but Becky has to escape the Sharpshooter. A top rope legdrop misses though and the Sharpshooter makes Becky tap at 7:33.

Rating: D+. Natalya continues to be the same performer she’s been for years now: completely competent in the ring but mostly lacking charisma or anything interesting. I still don’t know why she’s getting the shot when you have Becky and Charlotte on the sidelines. In theory they’re saving that for a bigger stage, but there’s not much of a bigger stage than Summerslam. Unless they’re just setting up the Money in the Bank cash-in and don’t want to waste a big match, I really don’t get the point in a glorified midcard match for the title.

Post match Naomi chases Natalya off from another Sharpshooter attack. Carmella comes out and teases cashing in her briefcase at Summerslam.

Tamina wants to know why Lana hasn’t made her ravishing yet. Lana says Tamina isn’t ready, which doesn’t sit well.

The Usos come in to see Daniel Bryan, who thinks they want him to join their rap group. It turns out they want to know which New Day members they’ll be facing Sunday. That would be Big E. and Xavier Woods, but the Usos want Woods and Kofi tonight. That’s cool with Bryan, who dances a bit as they leave.

Rusev vs. Chad Gable

Gable wastes no time in suplexing him to the floor but Rusev sends him into the steps a few times. Rusev tosses Gable over the announcers’ table and it’s a double countout at 1:16.

Post match Rusev puts Gable in the Accolade on the announcers’ table. Rusev grabs a mic and gets in the ring, only to have Orton come in from out of nowhere with an RKO. How did he not see a 6’4 wrestler running right in front of him?

Here’s AJ Styles to talk about Sunday’s match where Shane McMahon will be guest referee. AJ calls Shane to the ring and apologizes for accidentally kicking him last week. Shane says no apology is necessary but AJ is worried that Shane will use what happened last week to screw him over on Sunday. The boss says that won’t happen, but if AJ puts his hands on him on Sunday, Shane will put his hands on AJ as well.

AJ asks if that’s a threat but here’s Kevin Owens to interrupt. Owens loves those rules for Sunday because he thinks AJ has something planned. Kevin thinks AJ is going to try to get him to get into a fight with Shane on Sunday and cause a DQ. Shane tells them to shake hands but the fight breaks out with Shane having to block an errant AJ right hand. The ensuing argument lets Owens superkick Shane by mistake.

New Day vs. Usos

Non-title. Before the match, New Day said they’ll be seeing the Usos at Summerslam and goes over a list of places the Usos can see them before then. Kofi and Woods take turns hitting a long string of elbows, legdrops and splashes (over ten of them total) on Jey in the first minute. Double baseball slides drop the Usos and we take a break after a very fast start. Back with Kofi making his comeback and bringing Woods in off the hot tag to chop away. A double superkick to the legs set up a double superkick to the jaw but Jimmy makes the save. Jey superkicks Kofi’s knee and a double superkick his jaw for the pin at 7:49.

Rating: C-. That was a great opening but MY GOODNESS I’m sick of superkicks. This match didn’t even go eight minutes and there were seven superkicks included. Remember back in the day when one superkick finished a match? Well now it takes seven times that and most of them don’t even come close to finishing a match. Cool it with those already, as I assure you there are multiple other options out there.

It’s time for the final episode of Fashion Peaks with Fandango recapping everything that’s gone on so far, including the alien probes, which went very deep. They were MENTAL probes of course. Here’s Breeze in a dress and blond wig because that’s what he does these days. Breeze says they need to figure this out because the last thing they need is people thinking they’re making it up as they go along.

Fandango has a space rock that the aliens gave them, which he says can predict the future. He throws the rock and hits Ascension, who were returning pie. There’s a hair in the pie, along with a used Band-Aid and….GLUTEN! Viktor panics because they live a gluten free lifestyle and gets dragged away. There’s also a note in the pie, saying “Two B”. Fandango says he senses danger for the whole tag division. A graphic says they’ll return in two weeks.

Jinder Mahal vs. John Cena

Non-title and Jinder’s entrance is joined in progress. They fight over a test of strength to start until Cena shoves him away. One of the Singh Brothers gets in a cheap shot from the floor though and Mahal slowly takes over. Jinder throws him outside and we take a break. Back with Cena initiating his finishing sequence.

The Singh Brothers pull Mahal to the floor before the AA but the referee catches them for an ejection. That means the STF but Mahal is over to the ropes. Mahal snaps his throat across the top and hits a knee to the face for two. The Khallas is broken up and the AA….gets two? Well I’m a bit surprised. That means a super AA but here’s Corbin for the DQ at 9:59.

Rating: D. And so much for Mahal meaning much. He’s one of the worst choices for a champion you can find and now he can’t even get a full entrance in “one of the biggest matches in Smackdown history”. The fact that he didn’t get pinned helps a bit but he was completely destroyed at the end. Mahal needs to lose the title on Sunday, but it wouldn’t shock me if they kept it on him as a swerve.

Post match Corbin knocks Cena out and leaves….before realizing how stupid he would be to not cash in right now. Corbin cashes in the briefcase and IT’S ON!

Smackdown World Title: Baron Corbin vs. Jinder Mahal

Cena offers a quick distraction and Mahal grabs a rollup to retain at 9 seconds. THANK GOODNESS as that means there’s no cash-in on Sunday and we’re done with one of the stupid briefcases for the next eleven months.

Corbin is livid and Mahal celebrates with the Singh Brothers to end the show.

Overall Rating: D+. That ending alone saved this show as I couldn’t be happier about the briefcase being gone. One of the dumbest things they could have done was have Nakamura win and then have Corbin cash-in to win the title. Now we don’t have to worry about that and Nakamura can Kinshasa Mahal back to the midcard where he belongs. Other than that, this was a show similar to last night as the bigger stories were in deep freeze (until the main event of course) and not much really happened. It’s not much of a show but hokey smokes that ending was a great call.

Results

Natalya b. Becky Lynch – Sharpshooter

Rusev vs. Chad Gable went to a double countout

Usos b. New Day – Double superkick to Kingston

John Cena b. Jinder Mahal via DQ when Baron Corbin interfered

Jinder Mahal b. Baron Corbin – Rollup

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