WWE comes at us for the fourth night in the final night of their stretch at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, NY. We will have all the fallout from SummerSlam, including new champions in The Usos, and Natalya, plus Shinsuke Nakamura’s next step in the quest for gold, Kevin Owens dealing with his loss to AJ Styles, and much more.
Tune in here live starting at 8pm for complete coverage of the show as it happens, and follow along on Twitter, @RingRap!
The show leads with highlights from SummerSlam this past Sunday – beginning with Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles with Shane McMahon as the guest referee. This appears to be the only clip, actually, so you know this will be a major focus tonight.
AJ Styles gets things started in the arena. He comes out to a full entrance, United States Title around his waist. The announcers talk about Shane McMahon’s officiating on Sunday, and say he called it down the middle.
Styles stands in the middle of the ring among a massive AJ Styles chant. He welcomes the fans to “Smackdown Live – the house that AJ Styles built.” He says he’s still the United States Champion after beating Owens. He told the world that he is the workhorse of WWE, and nothing will change. Tonight, he’s reinstating the United States Open Challenge. “And it starts right now.”
Styles waits for his challenger, and then Kevin Owens’ theme hits. He comes out, mic in hand. Styles says it’s not happening – he beat him at SummerSlam and they’re done. “It’s over.” Owens says “You did not beat me at SummerSlam.” He says that 20 years later history repeated itself – a McMahon screwed a legendary Canadian out of a title once again. He tells Styles he cannot take any credit for the win – Shane McMahon screwed Owens. Apparently Shane has something to say about this – he interrupts.
Shane enters the ring and grabs a mic. He hypes the crowd and says he loves “being back in the BK.” He addresses Owens immediately and says he did exactly what he would to – he called the match right down the middle. In the end, Styles won fair and square. Owens disagrees. He says he won’t talk about the fact that the man who survived a helicopter crash gets grazed by a 450 splash and he can’t make it in time to count a 3-count. Or when he physically assaulted him which directly led to AJ Styles winning. But Owens will show this: A clip of Owens getting a pop-up powerbomb on Styles, but his foot is on the rope as McMahon counts to 3. Owens says another referee counted to 3 weeks ago even though Owens shoulder was off the ground, and that decision held. He’s upset.
Shane McMahon says he noticed Styles’ foot on the ropes when he counted 3, and he immediately called it off. As the referee, his decision stands. Owens yells – Shane counted 3 and it’s his title. Styles cuts him off and tells him to shut up. Owens asks him if he doesn’t like the truth – Styles says he doesn’t like a whiny bitch like Owens. He’s had enough and wants the match, and Owens eggs it on. Shane says it’s against his better judgement but he wants match so he’s got it. Owens doesn’t want a regular referee, or a special guest referee – he wants to pick his own referee. Shane tries to shoot it down, but AJ is furious – he says let him pick the referee, hell there’s a little girl in the front row with a hat on, she can probably count to three. No matter who he picks, Styles will win.
McMahon agrees to the stipulation and says that as long as Styles holds the title, this is Owen’s last shot. “No more excuses.”
A somewhat disappointing match considering some of the rumors that are out there for tonight, but these two work really well together. I’m curious to see who his referee will be and how this all plays out.
Backstage, Daniel Bryan is chatting on the phone. He says tonight will be great and they have a few big surprises. He’s interrupted by The Singh Brothers, who clap. They say he requested an audience with the Modern Day Maharaja, and they introduce Jinder Mahal. Mahal says Bryan is a progressive thinker and brings value to Smackdown Live. He also says Bryan recognizes that he’s an international star and unstoppable. Bryan says he can’t win without the Singh Brothers. Mahal immediately goes the xenophobe route. Bryan shoots that down and says a hero doesn’t take shortcuts. He says Shinsuke Nakamura deserves retribution tonight. Mahal insists he doesn’t have to face him again – it’s in his contract. Bryan agrees and says he won’t face him tonight – but The Singh Brothers will. They flip out in horror.
Up next, Naomi and Becky Lynch will take on Natalya and Carmella in a tag match.
After a break, we see still-photos from some of the Smackdown matches at SummerSlam. We go backstage and Kevin Owens is walking around. He approaches Sami Zayn, and begrudgingly speaks to him. He says they’ve fought each other and by each other for 15 years. Tonight, he needs someone he can trust in his match, and Zayn is the only one that fits. Zayn says he watched the Kevin Owens DVD recently, and he feels like they’ve been fighting for so long that sometimes they forget what they’re fighting about. Owens agrees with him. He says he’s not busy tonight because since Zayn came to Smackdown he really hasn’t done much of anything. So tonight, he can do something that counts – “Please just think about it.” Zayn looks like he’s pondering the situation.
In the arena, Aiden English requests a spotlight in the dark arena. He sings his standard song, and demands Brooklyn “respects the artist.” Suddenly, the lights go out… piano plays… and it’s BOBBY ROODE! Smackdown just got Glorious!
Roode comes in with the fans singing along, full entrance. Looks like it’s a match!
Aiden English vs. Bobby Roode
The Action: The fans chant for Roode as the bell rings. English talks trash and Roode winds up with his Glorious pose. English insists Smackdown is his stage. Roode clotheslines English and sends him out of the ring.We go to break?
It’s a picture-in-picture break, but I don’t understand why they would do it during a debut. In the ring, Roode lays in some chops and a back body drop out of the corner. Roode lays in kicks in the corner. English recovers and gets in some offense, working Roode in the corner. The action spills outside the ring. Roode slams English into the barricade. English returns the favor and follows it up with a splash near the timekeeper. Back in the ring, cover for two.
English continues to work Roode over. English cinches a headlock. Roode fights out of it and recovers on the ropes. English immediately chokes him out. We go back full-screen again as Brooklyn chants for Roode. Roode shoulders English in the corner and lays in chops. Atomic drop into a forearm gets Roode some energy. He hits a clothesline in the corner. He hits a blockbuster from the middle rope. English hits a Director’s Cut for a near fall. He goes up top and dives through a failed maneuver. Roode catches him with a spinebuster. He nails him with the Glorious DDT for the win.
Winner: Bobby Roode
After the match, Renee Young interviews Roode in the ring. She says he shocked the world with his arrival, and and asks why the former NXT Champion chose to come to Smackdown. Roode congratulates Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon for breaking the bank and cashing in on the hottest free agent in sports entertainment – Bobby Roode. “If you don’t know by now, you’re about to find out that everything I touch and everything I do is big box office.” He says in a New York Minute, Smackdown Live went from being great to being “absolutely Glorious.” He laughs as his music plays him out.
I’m reasonably upset that Roode’s debut primarily took place during a commercial break. Thankfully we got to see it anyhow, but you couldn’t hear the crowd. That said, he looked good in the ring, but I think his promo really nailed it. For Vince McMahon, that’s more important.
The announcers set the rest of the show and we go to break.
We come back to more stills from SummerSlam, and then once again Daniel Bryan is backstage. Chad Gable walks in – Bryan asked to see him. Bryan apologizes about Jason Jordan going to Raw – Gable says he’s trying to worry about his own future. Bryan agrees and says he’s doing the same. He made a deal with Kurt Angle – in exchange for signing Jason Jordan, Angle would help him sign a friend, and he feels this person would be an excellent partner for Gable. He introduces Gable to Shelton Benjamin!
Benjamin walks into frame and Gable just gushes. Gable is super excited. Benjamin seems like Gable is charming but overwhelming. Bryan asks if they want to give the new tag team a test spin next week (Boos from Brooklyn, and me). Gable answers for both of them and walks away. Benjamin moves in to speak but my video cut out briefly and I’m not sure what was said. Thanks PlayStation Vue!
Kevin Owens approaches Sami Zayn once more, this time with a referee shirt. Zayn says he thought about it long and hard, and the more he thought about it, the more he thought about every time Owens stabbed him in the back. He hopes he gets help, because he’s not getting it from Zayn.
The Hype Bros (Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley) vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso)
The Hype Bros make their entrance and we go to break. After the break, The Usos are in the ring among a recap of their win Sunday.
The Action: Jey and Mojo start it out. Jey misses a charge in the corner. Mojo hits a sloppy slam and gets the fans hyped. Splash in the corner, but Jimmy distracts him and makes the tag.
Jimmy stomps Mojo and hits a running hip bump. Rapid tags here. They tie Mojo up and work him over. Jimmy legal, leg drop for two. Mojo sends Jimmy face-first into the ring post and makes the hot tag. Ryder hits a face buster and unloads in the corner. He sets up for a Broski Boot, and Jey pulls Jimmy out of the ring. Mojo literally runs through one of the Usos at ringside. Inside the ring, Ryder is distracted off a double-team. Superkick gets the win.
Winners: The Usos
This had a lot of moving parts to it, as The Usos matches usually do. Good action here.
After the match, The Usos cut a promo – they have Smackdown Live on lock, and the tag division on lock. They welcome Brooklyn to the Uso Penitentary. They deliver a message to the tag division – they’ll all feel their hair standing on the back of their neck, goosebumps, etc. It’s not paranoia – it’s The Usos!
Shinsuke Nakamura warms up backstage. He’s heading to the ring for his handicap match against The Singh Brothers, next!
After the break, more photos from SummerSlam, and then Shinsuke Nakamura makes his full entrance. Then, The Singh Brothers come out, but they still introduce the WWE Champion Jinder Mahal.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. The Singh Brothers (w/ Jinder Mahal)in a Handicap Match
The Action: The bell rings. No tags required apparently. Nakamura immediately strikes both men. They cower in the corner and seek advice from Mahal, who dispenses instructions. Nakamura launches one with a kick and sends the other into the corner. He hits Good Vibrations on both brothers at the same time. He sets both on the top turnbuckle and hits a running knee into the corner, and then tosses both out of the ring.
Mahal provides a distraction and both brothers attack from behind. They work Nakamura over in the corner. He fights back, sending one out of the ring and locking a triangle choke on the other, earning an immediate tap out.
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura
Jinder Mahal immediately attacks Nakamura from behind. Nakamura recovers and hits the Kinsasha knee in the middle of the ring, leaving Mahal laid out cold.
This is about what you would expect. It advances the feud while giving Nakamura a little bit of juice after losing Sunday night.
Backstage, Breezango are looking for their next case. They round a corner and run into Kevin Owens, who freaks out. Baron Corbin approaches him from behind and says he’ll referee for him but he wants the first shot at the US Title. Owens reluctantly agrees and hands him the shirt. Corbin says he better be a man of his word and walks away.
Up next, our women’s tag match!
Back in the arena, Greg Hamilton introduces the new Smackdown Women’s Champion, Natalya. She takes the mic and says SummerSlam will forever be known as the day The Glow was unplugged. She says she proved yet again that she is the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be. She tells Naomi to wipe the tears from her eyes and take a look at a real (non-glowing) championship. She says she is our new and forever Smackdown Women’s champion, with a promise to restore dignity to the title. She says it’s no longer Glow Time – “It’s My Time.”
Carmella heads out to join her. On her way, she says they’re happy for her. James Ellsworth says Nattie finally won something, unlike everyone in Brooklyn. Carmella scolds him for talking down to the champ. She wants to clear the air and says she’s got one thing she wants to talk to her about – “You said that this is your time, and you’re right – it is your time, but just remember you’re on my watch.” Ellsworth says she’s on borrowed time. Carmella says she let Nattie have her moment, but when the time is right she’ll trade in her contract for her championship. Ellsworth says Carmella could spend the whole match not tagging in and letting Natalya get beat up and then cash in.
My video skips ahead – having technical difficulties tonight apparently. Becky Lynch comes out, and then Naomi.
Natalya & Carmella (w/ James Ellsworth) vs. Becky Lynch & Naomi
The Action: Naomi and Carmella start it out. Carmella dances around then forces a tag to Natalya. She yells at Natalya to “get her.” We go to commercial, picture in picture.
Naomia lays in some kicks and tags in Lynch. Lynch goes up top, hitting a double axe handle and takes Natalya down to the mat. The two trade reversals with some fancy mat work. Lynch hits a suplex and a dropkick. Back kick and a tag to Naomi, who hits a clothesline and a cover for two. Lynch back in out of the break. She hits a leg drop for two.
Natalya recovers and stomps Lynch in the corner. Lynch struggles to fight free. Nattie takes her out with a discus clothesline. She goes for a tag, but Carmella isn’t interested and jumps off the apron. Natalya isn’t happy. Lynch hits a desperation move. Natalya cuts her off, yanking her off of the top turnbuckle. She yells at Carmella in the corner. Lynch dives for the tag and in comes Naomi, who hits an enzuigiri. She locks in her submission. Natalya breaks free and goes for a Sharp Shooter. Nattie recovers and tags Carmella in when she’s not looking. Carmella runs around the ring. Lynch grabs her and hits a Becksploder. Naomi follows it up with the split legged moonsault for the win.
Winners: Becky Lynch & Naomi
Not much to this one – all angle really. Fine for what it was.
After the break, more stills from SummerSlam. We see a shot of the arena, and then go back inside. Dasha Fuentes welcomes Dolph Ziggler back to Smackdown Live. Unfortuantely, no overhaul here. Ziggler says he’s excited to be back, reintroducing himself to the WWE Universe… in a backstage interview. He’s upset at the lack of fanfare. He says while he was gone he watched a lot of Raw and Smackdown, and he knows what it takes to be a star in WWE. He’s going to start singing, play guitar, maybe rap, dance like an idiot. He’ll get a bunch of lights, or one big spotlight on him. Lazers, a big fancy robe. That’s what it takes, right? He’ll have a beautiful woman escort him – not just a beautiful woman – one that glows in the dark. He says that’s what they want and that’s exactly what he plans on doing… next week.
We go to Lana backstage, on the phone. She says “Thank you so much, see you next week.” Tamina walks in. Lana says the journey to the title begins next week. Tamina wants something this week. Lana tries to help her visualize it – she tells her to close her eyes, and remember the feeling of being in a locker room full of people yet being alone. They talk about her because she’s different – they’re different. Take the feelings of being laughed at and let it fester until the anger boils over. She tells Tamina to open her eyes – she sees the rage in her eyes and says she’s ready. They won’t stop until she is champion. “Tamina, the most feared woman on Smackdown Live.”
AJ Styles heads to the ring for his match. Baron Corbin approaches and tries to secure a guaranteed title shot if AJ wins.Styles says when he wins, there will be an open challenge every week. “Step up to the challenge.” Corbin slaps him on the shoulder and heads to the ring. “See you out there, champ.”
Corbin walks out for the match, referee shirt on. We go to break.
AJ Styles (c) vs. Kevin Owens for the WWE United States Championship, with special guest referee Baron Corbin
The Action: Owens immediately ducks out of the ring when the bell rings. Corbin doesn’t even bother counting. Owens attacks from behind and stomps on Styles. Styles recovers and sends Owens to the floor, and follows it up with a flying forearm to the outside as we go to break.
We return and Styles hits a Pele Kick to Owens. Owens rolls out of the ring – again. Off the apron, Styles goes for a kick, but Owens yanks the legs and hits a fallaway slam into the barricade. In the ring, two-count. Owens keeps the pressure. Styles elbows out of a headlock. Styles starts to recover and slaps Owens in the face with a flurry of offense. He hits a low forearm. Clothesline in the corner into an ushigaroushi for two. Styles nails Owens with a forearm off the corner and goes for the Phenomenal Forearm, but Owens ducks. Styles rolls it into a Calf Crusher instead. Owens reaches for the ropes. Styles rolls it back. Corbin breaks the hold and insists that Owens touched the rope. The two argue – Styles says he’s gotta hold the rope.
Owens pushes Styles into Corbin. Corbin gets in Styles’ face and pushes him into a roll-up from Owens. Two count. Another rollup, two count. They hit each other with clotheslines and both are out.
Shane McMahon runs down to the ring and wants to know what Corbin is doing. The two exchange words. Corbin insists he’s watching everything they do – meanwhile Owens nails Styles with a low blow. He makes the cover and Corbin counts, but Shane yanks him out of the ring. Shane tells Corbin he’s done – and Corbin takes the shirt off and throws it at him.
Owens is pissed. He wants to know what happened. Meanwhile, Shane puts the shirt on. He’s the referee now. Owens loses it. He goes after Styles and Styles counters. He nails the Phenomenal Forearm for the win.
Winner: AJ Styles to retain the United States Championship
You knew there would have to be some shenanigans going down here – Owens and McMahon have been headed in this direction for some time now. It worked well in the context of everything, and it kept Corbin in the mix as well, so thumbs up there.
Ultimately, this was an average show, but the debut of Bobby Roode and the sort-of debut of Shelton Benjamin takes it to the next level for me. A strong follow-up coming out of SummerSlam and heading into the next few weeks of TV for Smackdown, which feels like a stronger brand after just two additions to the roster.
Thank you to everyone who followed along with me tonight, and followed our coverage throughout the weekend. Don’t forget to send in your Favorite Thing in Wrestling for tomorrow night’s Ring Rap Audio! See you then!