Tonight’s episode of the second longest running series on television, SmackDown Live comes in live from the Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio.
We start things off with Kevin Owens getting his rematch against the United States Champion, AJ Styles. AJ Styles makes his way first to the ring, followed by Kevin Owens, and this is going to be a U.S. title match.
AJ Styles vs Kevin Owens: Owens and Styles trade off with headlocks initially and AJ misses with a drop kick and prompts Owens to throw AJ to the outside. Owens follows him to the outside and drops him with a lariat. Owens boots Styles back in the ring, and AJ levels things up with a drop kick. AJ follows with chops and a snap mare suplex, followed by a kick to the back. AJ connects with a knee drop and a vertical suplex, setting Owens up for the phenomenal forearm, but Owens avoids and rolls out of the ring. AJ connects with a springboard forearm on the outside to Owens and charges at him, but Owens avoids and throws AJ into the fan barricade.
Owens follows it up with a cannonball splash on Styles and throws Styles into the ring, for a senton drop. Styles comes back with a forearm and a Fireman’s carry turning into a neck breaker over the knee. Styles goes for another forearm, but Owens dodges it with a super kick of his own. Owens continues to whip AJ off the ropes, but Owens dodges and AJ grabs Owens’ leg for the Calf crusher. Owens is able to get out of it and goes for a power bomb, but Styles gets out and connects with the Pele kick. AJ calls for the Styles clash and fails but locks Owens in the calf crusher again. Owens bumps the referee accidentally and connects with a super kick to Styles. Owens calls for the power bomb, but AJ rolls him up and the ref counts to three. Winner: AJ Styles.
Owens freaks out as his shoulder was up but the ref had his vision impaired and a medic checks on the ref.
Post-match, the commissioner, Shane McMahon and the general manager, Daniel Bryan are talking to the referee who seems to have injured his eye. They say the ref made a wrong call, but the ref is only concerned about his injured eye. Owens runs in and throws a fit and starts throwing things around and freaks out. Shane says he is going to give Owens a rematch for the U.S. Championship at Summerslam. Owens is not satisfied and he says that he needs a referee who will not be knocked down by the gust of wind, prompting Daniel Bryan to suggest that Shane be the ref for the match at Summerslam. Owens is pissed off and flips a table over in frustration and leaves.
The Usos are out next to cut a promo on the New Day and they call the New Day ‘three grown men talking about each other’s popsicles’ and make fun for their twerking.
We have a new episode of the Fashion Files and Fandango seems to have gone missing and Tyler Breeze is all alone. Breeze appears to have a dream where Fandango and the Ascension appear laughing. He wakes up and says that he now knows who kidnapped Fandango.
Sami Zayn vs Aiden English: English sings a song as usual. Zayn connects with a series of arm drags and has English in an arm hold when English rolls him over and pins him for the three count after a very short match. Winner: Aiden English
English looks equally shocked as Zayn to win the match and immediately retreats on the ramp. Even before Zayn could get up to his feet, we are interrupted by the verily in love couple, Mike and Maria Kanellis. They say they love each other, and they love that Zayn just lost the match. Their music hits and they raise their hands and get back.
Becky Lynch and Naomi are shown backstage getting ready for their tag team match against Natalya and Carmella.
Becky Lynch and Naomi vs Natalya and Carmella: Becky and Naomi are in control in the opening moments of the match.
Naomi connects with a leg drop on Natalya for an early two count. Carmella tags herself in and Naomi chops and connects with a leg kick. Carmella slaps Naomi and Naomi responds with a kick and an uppercut. Naomi follows it up with a knee to the face and is distracted by Natalya who is on the apron and Carmella pulls Naomi down by the hair. Natalya comes in briefly and double teams on Naomi with an Alabama slam and locks her in the sharp shooter. Naomi is able to get to the ropes and Carmella tags herself in. Natalya and Carmella briefly argue with each other and Carmella locks Naomi in the code of silence, who reverses into the rings of Saturn. Natalya runs in and Becky does too, and Becky takes Natalya out with a T-bone suplex. Carmella taps out to the rings and the winners of the match are, Becky and Naomi.
We have an interview with Jinder Mahal backstage who is accompanied by the injured Singh brothers. The WWE Champion says he does not care if the American, Cena or the guy from Japan, Nakamura wins tonight, because he will beat either one of them. Jinder says that he is going to his skybox and watch the rest of the show and ends it off by saying that nobody can end his reign and that everybody must bow down at his feet.
Rusev vs Chad Gable: Gable tries to take Rusev down, but Rusev overpowers him. Gable gets into a hold on Rusev and Rusev runs to grab the ropes away from him. Gable shoots for the single leg takedown, but Rusev throws Gable to the outside. Gable runs back in and gets Rusev down and works on his left knee. Rusev comes back with a kick and a gut wrench suplex. Rusev continues to mount the offense on Gable till Gable catches him in a series of belly to belly suplexes. He follows it up with belly to belly suplex for a two count. Gable throws Rusev into the corner and Rusev hits him off his head.
Gable goes to the top and connects with a moonsault for a two count. Gable calls for a german suplex but Rusev gets out and tosses Gable and kicks him in the head. Rusev calls for the Accolade, but Gable fights out and locks Rusev in the ankle lock. Rusev is able to fight Gable off and connects with the big boot who locks Gable in the accolade and it appears Gable is unconscious, prompting the referee to call for the bell.
Post-match, Rusev cuts a promo on Cena and claims that nobody can beat him. He complains about not having an opponent for Summerslam since everyone’s afraid of him. Randy Orton’s music hits and Orton makes his way out to the ring. Orton grabs a mic and steps into the ring. Orton says that Rusev has never beaten him and that he’s not afraid of Rusev. Orton says he will face Rusev at Summerslam. Rusev says something in Bulgarian and the two of them charge at each other. Orton then connects with an RKO out of nowhere. Orton poses on the turnbuckle and leaves.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs John Cena: The winner of the match faces the WWE Champion, Jinder Mahal at Summerslam for the WWE Championship.
The two match each other with wrist locks and head locks. Nakamura connects with kicks and stomps on him in the corner. Cena comes back with belly to belly suplexes and grounds Nakamura with a chin lock. Nakamura comes back with kicks and running knee strikes for a two count. Cena fights back and shoulder blocks and a back suplex and calls for the five knuckle shuffle, but Nakamura drops him with a reverse vertical suplex. Cena drops Nakamura into the STF and he gets out. Cena drops Nakamura with a lariat and Nakamura comes back with elbows and knees to the face. Nakamura goes for another knee but Cena dodges it and connects with an AA, and goes for a quick pin, but Nakamura kicks out at two. Cena calls for another AA but Nakamura reverses it into a choke, but Cena overpowers him and connects with an AA. Cena calls for a third one, but Nakamura escapes and connects with a T-bone. He follows it up with the Kinshasa on Cena for the win. Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura.
Post-match, Corbin attacks Nakamura from behind, prompting Cena to run in for the save, but Corbin takes him out too. Corbin takes Cena outside and tries to put him through a table, but Cena grabs Corbin and connects with an AA on the table. Cena and Nakamura shake hands and leave.