– Tonight’s WWE SmackDown opens up with a look back at last week’s Independence Day Battle Royal to crown a new #1 contender to the WWE United States Title. We also see footage of AJ Styles winning the title from Kevin Owens at Friday’s Madison Square Garden live event. We cut to the SmackDown opening video.
– We’re live from the AT&T Center in San Antonio, TX with Tom Phillips, JBL and Byron Saxton.
– We go right to the ring and Greg Hamilton introduces new WWE United States Champion AJ Styles and out he comes to a pop.
Fans chant AJ’s name as he enters the ring. AJ says it looks like Battleground came a little early at MSG. Styles jokes that Kevin Owens’ face looks like a monkey’s butt. He says this isn’t about Owens, this is about the United States Title that is around his waist and what it will represent. He goes on and mentions how it’s time to bring back the Open Challenges, inviting someone from the back to come prove him wrong. AJ announces that his own Open Challenge is kicking off right now. Fans chant USA as AJ waits for someone to answer the challenge. The music finally hits and out comes John Cena to a pop.
Cena hits the ring as some fans sing their own version of his theme song. Cena says he wants to make sure AJ realizes what he just said – US Title Open Challenge. Cena says that must mean everyone but him. AJ says no, Cena is included in that. Especially Cena. Cena accepts the challenge and calls for a referee to be brought out.
WWE United States Title Match: John Cena vs. AJ Styles
The crowd pops as AJ and Cena get ready. Greg Hamilton does formal ring introductions and referee Charles Robinson raises the title. The match gets ready to begin but the music interrupts and out comes Kevin Owens shaking his head.
Owens says no one wants to see another stupid Cena vs. Styles match, we’ve already sat through way too many of them. Owens says no one cares about Cena or AJ, all they should care about is the rightful champion getting his title back and that’s Owens. Owens asks Cena why he’s back. Owens says no one missed Cena and we don’t need him here. Owens says this is his title and Cena doesn’t deserve to be near it. Owens tells Cena to do himself a favor and leave because no one wants to see him. Cena says it’s not that Owens doesn’t want to see him, it’s that he can’t see him. Cena calls Owens The Michelin Man and tells him to come do something about it. Cena promises to run through Owens and then through AJ. Rusev hits the ring and attacks Cena from behind.
AJ takes Rusev and sends him to the floor. Owens hits the ring and attacks AJ, hitting a pop-up powerbomb. Rusev comes back in and drops Cena with a superkick. Rusev applies The Accolade on Cena as fans boo. Owens stands tall over AJ. Owens leaves with Rusev right behind him as Rusev’s music plays.
– Still to come, Baron Corbin vs. Shinsuke Nakamura. Also, Tye Dillinger vs. WWE Champion Tye Dillinger in a non-title match. We go to commercial.
– Back from the break and Tom reveals that SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon has made Cena and Styles vs. Rusev and Owens for tonight’s main event.
Jinder Mahal vs. Tye Dillinger
The Singh Brothers introduce WWE Champion Jinder Mahal and out he comes to the ring for this non-title match. Tye Dillinger is out next.
The bell rings and they go at it. Dillinger hits a crossbody out of the corner and covers for a 2 count. Jinder turns it around and floors Dillinger with a clothesline. Jinder keeps control and takes Dillinger to the mat. We go to commercial with Jinder still in control.
Back from the break and Jinder continues to work Dillinger around the ring. Jinder takes his time and drops Tye, standing over him as fans boo. Dillinger fights back but Jinder cuts him off. Tye comes off the ropes and looks to make another comeback, mounting Jinder in the corner with right hands as fans count along with him. Jinder pushes him off. Tye comes back with more rights in the corner but Jinder pushes him back off and drops him.
Jinder follows up and hits the Khallas for the pin.
Winner: Jinder Mahal
– After the match, Jinder takes the mic as fans boo. He comes week after week and speaks the truth but the people still disrespect him. Fans can boo all they want but The Modern Day Maharaja brings class, diversity and excellence to the WWE Title. Jinder says Randy Orton threatened his family and the people of India but fans still cheer him. Jinder says the 1.3 billion people of India know that he is the greatest WWE Champion of all time. Jinder says Orton can try to make his life hell but Jinder will bring hell to Orton next week on SmackDown as he brings the Punjabi Prison structure to the show. Jinder’s music hits as he exits with The Singh Brothers.
– We see The New Day backstage walking. Back to commercial.
Xavier Woods vs. Jey Uso
Back from the break and out comes Xavier Woods with Big E and Kofi Kingston. SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos are out next. We see a replay of last week’s Rap Battle, which The New Day won.
The bell rings and Woods goes right to work on Jey. Woods unloads and talks some trash to Jimmy Uso. Woods runs the ropes but Jimmy pulls his foot while the referee was focused on Kofi and Big E. Jey with a cheap shot at Kofi and Big E, which brings them into the ring. The referee sends Jimmy, Kofi and Big E to the back.
Woods comes from behind and tries to roll Jey up but it’s blocked. Jey with a superkick for a 2 count. Jey goes to the top for a big splash but Woods gets his knees up. Woods gets Uso between the top and middle rope before going to the top. Woods nails the big elbow drop while Uso is laying on the middle rope and covers for the pin.
Winner: Xavier Woods
– After the match, Jimmy hits the ring but Woods avoids a cheap shot and hits the floor. We go to replays and come back to The New Day celebrating on the ramp.
– Still to come, Corbin vs. Nakamura. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and Shane is on the phone with SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan. He confirms that no one has asked about James Ellsworth, who is suspended. Shane sends his best wishes to Brie Bella and baby Birdie Joe. SmackDown Women’s Champion Naomi walks in and is curious about her next challenger. She says Shane better not mention Lana again. Charlotte Flair walks in and she agrees. Becky Lynch, Natalya, Tamina Snuka and Lana are all in the room. Shane announces a Fatal 5 Way Elimination Match with Charlotte, Becky, Natalya, Tamina and Lana for Battleground. The winner will face Naomi at SummerSlam. Charlotte complains about Lana being in the match. Tamina tells her to watch her mouth. Natalya blasts Charlotte and accuses her of riding Ric Flair’s coattails. Shane makes Becky and Charlotte vs. Tamina and Natalya for later tonight. He asks them all to leave. Naomi sticks around but here comes Ms. Money In the Bank. She has a petition from her attorney to reinstate Ellsworth as he was wronged last week. Shane reads the paper and rips it up. The decision stands. Carmella storms off. Shane says Naomi now has her answer.
– We go backstage to Renee Young and Baron Corbin. We see what happened between Corbin and Shinsuke Nakamura last week. Corbin says he’s going to teach Nakamura a painful lesson tonight. Back to commercial.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Baron Corbin
Back from the break and out comes Shinsuke Nakamura to a pop. Baron Corbin is out next with his Money In the Bank briefcase.
Nakamura meets Corbin before he gets in the ring and attacks him. They brawl and Corbin sends Nakamura over the barrier. They fight among the fans now. Corbin brings it back over the barrier and yells at the referees. They continue brawling at ringside as producers and referees try to break it up. Nakamura enters the ring and stares out while his music plays. Corbin makes his way up the ramp and stops on the stage to look back.
– Styles and Cena are backstage. AJ hasn’t forgot what Cena took from him the last time they were in the ring together. AJ plans on holding this title for a long time. Cena says AJ won’t keep the title picking a fight with Cena but he also says he has AJ’s back if he needs him tonight.
– Still to come, Flair and Lynch vs. Snuka and Natalya. Back to commercial.
Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch vs. Natalya and Tamina Snuka
Back from the break and out first comes Charlotte Flair, followed by Becky Lynch. Natalya is out first for her team. Tamina Snuka is out last.
Tamina starts off with Becky and beats her down. Tamina and Charlotte have words as Tamina keeps up the beating on Becky. Becky turns it around and takes out the knee. Becky with a leg drop and an elbow drop. Charlotte tags in for a bit of double teaming. Charlotte covers Tamina for a 2 count. Charlotte counters in the corner and goes for a German suplex but Tamina knocks her back with an elbow. Tamina sends Charlotte into the corner and tags in Natalya.
Natalya drops Flair and steps on her. Natalya shows off and taunts Becky. Charlotte kips up behind Natalya and turns it around. Charlotte chops Natalya and tags in Becky for another double team. Becky dropkicks Natalya and hits a Bexploder suplex. Natalya goes to the floor. Becky tries for a baseball slide but Tamina pulls Natalya out of the way. Natalya pulls Becky out and sends her into the steel steps as we go to commercial.
Back from the break and Natalya has Becky grounded. Becky breaks free and goes for the tag but Natalya rams her into the corner. Tamina tags in and they double team Becky in the corner. Tamina takes Becky to the mat now. Lana comes walking down the ramp.
Charlotte yells something at Lana and tries to rally Becky for the tag. Becky fights up and out but Tamina drops her again. Tamina knocks Charlotte off the apron with a cheap shot. Charlotte runs in but distracts the referee while Becky is double teamed in the corner. Natalya shows off and wastes time, allowing Becky to get her boot up in the corner. Becky drops Tamina off the apron. Becky goes for the tag but Natalya stops it. Becky blocks a Sharpshooter and tags in Charlotte.
Charlotte unloads, knocking Tamina off the apron and chopping Natalya. Flair keeps control and drops Natalya. Flair scoops Natalya as Lana gets on the apron to provide a distraction. Flair swings at Lana but she jumps off the apron and Flair misses. Flair doesn’t see Tamina get the tag. She goes back to grab Natalya for the Figure Four but Tamina comes in and superkicks her for the pin.
Winners: Tamina Snuka and Natalya
– After the match, Lana is all smiles as Tamina joins her at ringside. Natalya stands with them as Becky checks on Flair and we go to replays. Lana, Tamina and Natalya leave as Charlotte looks on from her knees.
– Still to come, Styles and Cena vs. Rusev and Owens.
– We see Maria Kanellis backstage walking. She knocks on the men’s locker room door and Chad Gable answers. She asks if Sami Zayn is in there because he owes her an apology. Gable checks but Sami isn’t there. Maria tells Gable to tell Sami that the First Lady of SmackDown is looking for him. She walks off and we go to commercial.
– Back from the break and Sami Zayn walks up on lovebirds Mike & Maria Kanellis. Sami is a bit put off by their PDA. Maria says Sami owes them an apology but he says he’s already given them one. He goes on about how they should apologize for being in his way on two occasions. He wonders what they even do here and takes a shot at Mike. Maria delivers a big slap to the face and Mike cracks a vase of flowers over the back of Sami’s head. Maria talks some trash before leaving with Mike as Sami sells the vase shot on the floor.
– There was a backstage promo with Cedric Alexander to hype his “I Quit” match with Noam Dar on tonight’s WWE 205 Live.
– The announcers reveal that Shane has confirmed Nakamura vs. Corbin for Battleground.
– Tom sends us to another edition of The Fashion Files with Tyler Breeze and Fandango. They sing a song about being The Sexy Fashion Rangers now, some sort of wacky play off Chuck Norris’ Walker Texas Ranger. They’re dressed up as cowboys backstage. Fandango rides a fake horse over to Zack Ryder. Breeze appears and gets tangled up in his lasso when he tries to get Ryder. They’re goofing off when Mojo Rawley appears and asks what he just walked up on. Breezango wonders if The Hype Bros had something to do with their office getting trashed on Zack’s first night back. Mojo brushes it off and says they wouldn’t do something shady like that. Ryder says what he did last week in the Independence Day Battle Royal was shady. Mojo comments on how it was for every man for themselves. Mojo tells Ryder to get his head back into reality and get away from Breezango. He walks off. Ryder ponders the idea and leaves also. Breezango discovers that his toy horse is missing for more bad comedy. To be continued.
Kevin Owens and Rusev vs. AJ Styles and John Cena
We go to the ring and out comes Kevin Owens for tonight’s main event. Back to commercial.
Back from the break and out comes Rusev with the Bulgarian flag. New WWE United States Champion AJ Styles is out first for his team. John Cena is out next for his first match in a few months.
Cena starts off with Rusev and they lock up. Rusev with a headlock. Rusev keeps control and drops Cena before going to the floor. Rusev raises his flag and waves it around as fans boo. Rusev runs back in but Cena drops him with a shoulder. Cena takes Rusev to the corner and works him over. Cena with the bulldog for a 2 count. Owens tags in and stares Cena down. Owens takes Cena down and stomps away. Owens with more stomps as the referee warns him.
Owens drops Cena with a right and takes Cena to the corner. Rusev tags in for a bit of double teaming in the corner. Rusev beats Cena down again. Rusev distracts the referee while Owens gets in a cheap shot. Rusev drops Cena and stands over him as we go to commercial.
Back from the break and Cena is trying to make a tag but Rusev fires away. Cena unloads back but Rusev drops him with a spin kick for a 2 count. Rusev goes to the second rope for a diving headbutt but Cena rolls out of the way. AJ finally tags in and drops Rusev with a clothesline. Styles with a forearm and a kip up. Styles runs into an elbow in the corner. AJ drops Rusev into the Calf Crusher but Owens breaks it up.
Rusev scoops AJ but AJ slides out and tries getting Rusev on his shoulder but Rusev counters. AJ goes at Owens on the apron but Rusev then drops him for a 2 count. Owens tags in and kicks AJ while Rusev holds his leg. Owens mounts AJ with shots. Owens keeps control and takes AJ to the mat for a headlock, asking the referee to see if he submits. Fans chant for AJ as Cena waits for the tag. AJ gets to his feet and rolls Owens up for a 2 count. Owens nails a big clothesline for a 2 count. Rusev tags in for some double teaming. Rusev nails a superkick and covers AJ for another pin attempt. Rusev has words with Cena before turning his attention back to AJ.
Rusev ragdolls AJ with a bearhug now. AJ tries to fight out with a headbutt. AJ finally gets out and connects with a kick to the head. Cena and Owens tag in at the same time but Cena unloads. Cena nails the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena goes for the Attitude Adjustment but Rusev runs in and he’s forced to put Owens down. Rusev drops Cena with a superkick. AJ springboards in with a Phenomenal Forearm on Rusev. AJ drops Owens wit a pele kick. Cena nails the AA on Owens for the pin.
Winners: John Cena and AJ Styles
– After the match, Cena and AJ have their arms raised before standing tall as Cena’s music plays. Cena raises AJ’s arm in the middle of the ring. AJ hits the corner to pose with the title as Cena poses in the opposite corner. We go to replays. Cena’s music stops as he and AJ meet in the middle of the ring. Cena raises AJ’s arm again as AJ raises his title. Cena’s music starts back up as the two celebrate the win. SmackDown goes off the air.