Smackdown – July 25, 2017

Date: July 25, 2017
Location: Richmond Coliseum, Richmond, Virginia
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, John Bradshaw Layfield

We’re past Battleground and that means we’re off to the biggest party of the summer. Jinder Mahal is still the Smackdown World Champion and there’s a chance that Great Khali will be in his corner for at least a little while. Tonight we’ll likely find out who is next up for Mahal now that Randy Orton is out of the way. Let’s get to it.

Here’s the new US Champion Kevin Owens in the ring to open the show. Owens brags about winning the title back and says he can now go back to defending it with the pride that it deserves. Therefore, tonight it’s the return of the Kevin Owens United States Title Open Challenge, starting next week.

Cue AJ Styles to say he wants his rematch for the US Title tonight……and it’s CHRIS JERICHO interrupting! Jericho declares his return and shouts quiet over and over at Owens. Jericho: “And one more time: QUIET!” He’s sick of hearing Owens yacking and wants his rematch for the US Title tonight.

AJ says not so fast but Jericho cuts him off, saying someone cut in front of him at the supermarket the other day. Jericho: “Do you know what I did to him?” AJ: “You put him on the List.” Jericho: “No I punched him in the face and put him in the Walls of Jericho in aisle seven in front of the corn.” As for AJ though, HE JUST MADE THE LIST! Owens goes to leave but Shane McMahon cuts him off to make the triple threat match for the title tonight.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Baron Corbin

Rematch from Sunday. Nakamura knocks him to the floor to start but gets BLASTED with a clothesline as we go to an early break. Back with Nakamura making a comeback off some strikes, only to miss Kinshasa. A big kick to the head is countered with a chokebreaker, followed by some hard knees to the ribs. Deep Six gets two but End of Days is broken up. Corbin tries the same low blow, only to eat back to back Kinshasas for the pin at 9:28.

Rating: C. So what was the point in the low blow on Sunday? If they’re just going to have Nakamura pin him clean two days later, I have no idea why they didn’t just do this on Sunday. Neither guy really gets anything from the back to back matches and the clean pin would suggest that the feud is over (in a normal promotion that is). That’s a rather odd booking choice.

Naomi is ready to defend her Women’s Title at Summerslam but Natalya interrupts her. Natalya brags about how awesome she is but Naomi talks about how Natalya needs to get out of the dungeon of the past and gets ready to feel the glow.

Becky Lynch/Charlotte vs. Tamina/Lana

Lana’s gear now has more material on it, likely for the sake of staying PG. Tamina powers Becky around to start and pulls her off the middle rope for a big crash to start. It’s off to Lana for a chinlock before pulling Becky down to the mat by the hair. We get the YOU CAN’T WRESTLE chants before it’s off to Tamina, who allows the hot tag to Charlotte. A knee to the back of the head gets two on Tamina but a superkick staggers Charlotte. Lana tags herself in and eats a big boot for the pin at 4:24. Becky seems to have hurt her knee and needs help getting out of the ring.

Rating: D. You know, WWE has this whole developmental system for training wrestlers. I hear it’s actually pretty good and readily available for their usage. Why Lana is stuck here, when she’s clearly not ready for this level, is beyond me. Why not just send her down to NXT for six months or so and let her actually train instead of learning on the job? My guess is that might be accepting that WWE’s decisions aren’t completely brilliant and we can’t have that. No instead the solution is to let her drown on live TV (when she’s not losing in less than a minute that is). Nice job WWE, as always.

Tamina looks frustrated with Lana and leaves on her own.

Video on the Punjabi Prison match.

Here’s Jinder Mahal to brag about what he did on Sunday. The modern day Maharajah retained the title on Sunday and he’ll be defending it at Summerslam. Therefore, he needs an opponent. Cue John Cena to interrupt but Mahal cuts him off. Mahal thinks Cena is going to call him out as unworthy but Cena has other ideas.

He respects how much Mahal cares about the title and wants to put him on notice: Mahal is facing Super Cena (his words) at Summerslam and it’s going to be title #17. Cena leaves after a very short exchange but here’s Daniel Bryan to cut him off. As great as Cena is he doesn’t get to make the matches around here. Therefore it’s going to be Nakamura vs. Cena next week with the winner getting the title shot at Summerslam.

I really, REALLY hope they’re kidding and don’t do that match for real next week. That match should be headlining Summerslam, not the match that sets up a title match at Summerslam. One more thing: two years ago, imagine being told that you would see John Cena vs. Shinsuke Nakamura in a #1 contenders match on free TV to face Smackdown World Champion Jinder Mahal at Summerslam. Wrestling is a funny place sometime.

Owens is livid at Shane but the triple threat is still on.

Sami Zayn/Tye Dillinger vs. Aiden English/Mike Kanellis

We take a break less than forty five seconds in and come back with Sami in the wrong corner. Kanellis comes in and kicks Sami in the face for two. English comes back in and eats some forearms, only to miss a charge and wind up on the floor. The hot tag brings in Tye to clean house as everything breaks down. Tye sends Kanellis into the corner and Sami tags himself back in, allowing the Helluva Kick to put Mike away at 6:12. Not enough aired to rate but this was just a step above a squash.

Here’s New Day for their celebration but the Usos jump them from behind and leave them laying.

Nakamura says Cena won’t be able to see him next week, but he’ll see Jinder at Summerslam.

US Title: Chris Jericho vs. AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens

Owens is defending and gets double teamed right at the bell, sending him outside in the process. The challengers trade near falls but Owens comes back in to deck AJ, setting up the showdown with Jericho. Now it’s Jericho being sent outside so the champ can beat on AJ with some crossface shots to the jaw getting two. The Calf Crusher goes on but Jericho breaks it up with a Lionsault for two on AJ as we take a break.

Back with Jericho sending Owens to the floor with a hurricanrana but getting dropped down for the springboard 450. Owens makes the save and steals a two count, only to have Jericho get up and catapult him into AJ. The Walls have Owens in trouble but Jericho releases it to hit a Codebreaker on AJ for two.

Owens is back up for Cannonballs to both but AJ hits the running forearm, only to get caught by AJ’s forearm. Jericho enziguris AJ, who immediately Peles him to put all three down. Owens knocks AJ to the floor and grabs the Pop Up Powerbomb for a VERY close two on Jericho. A frog splash gives Owens two on Jericho with AJ making the save and stealing the pin and the title at 14:08.

Rating: B+. Heck of a match here which also seems to answer a question about the ending on Sunday. There were rumors that it was a botched ending and if they’re changing the title back that fast, there’s a good chance that they’re correct. Having Jericho take the fall is fine as it sets up Styles vs. Owens for the title one more time, likely at Summerslam.

Owens is livid and demands his rematch for the title next week to end the show. So much for Summerslam.

Overall Rating: B. It was an entertaining show but it also felt like they were trying to pack a little too much into one night. That being said, next week is looking quite stacked with Cena vs. Nakamura (Again, why?) and the US Title match, plus whatever else they can throw together for the show. It certainly was fast paced tonight though and that’s one of the most important things they can do.


Shinsuke Nakamura b. Baron Corbin – Kinshasa

Becky Lynch/Charlotte b. Lana/Tamina – Big boot to Lana

Sami Zayn/Tye Dillinger b. Aiden English and Mike Kanellis – Helluva Kick to Kanellis

AJ Styles b. Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho – Frog splash to Jericho

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