WWE continued through the state of Texas with Smackdown Live coming from San Antonio, to continue the build towards WWE Battleground. Smackdown saw WWE Champion Jinder Mahal in action against Tye Dillinger, Xavier Woods faced Jey Uso, Becky Lynch & Charloote Flair vs Tamina & Natalya, arguably the best Fashion Files form Breezango and a blockbuster Main Event seeing John Cena team with AJ Styles to take on Rusev & Kevin Owens.
The first Smackdown live since AJ Styles defeated Kevin Owens in MSG, the new US Champion opened the show and issued a US Open Challenge, which was answered by none other than John Cena. Just as the match was about to begin Kevin Owens cut it off, ruining what was such an incredible moment, such a great heel move. Cena completely blasted Owens on the mic which was fantastic. Rusev attacked Cena from behind while Owens laid out Styles and the heel stood tall, setting up the tag match for the main event. This whole opening segment was absolutely phenomenal, the hype around the potential Cena vs Styles match was enormous and the heels ruining that was fantastic.
The first match of the night saw Jinder Mahal defeat Tye Dillinger. It was great to see Dillinger back on TV however it’s a bit disappointing to see him just essentially squashed so easily. It was a good win for Mahal as the WWE Champion over a fan favourite like the Perfect Ten. Mahal gives his standard promo after the match and announces he is bringing the Punjabi Prison to Smackdown Live next week. A smart move to introduce it to those unfamiliar with it before the PPV.
Xavier Woods picked up a win in Singles Competition over Jey Uso. Good to see members of the New Day & Usos in singles competition. A nice simple match, but a bit disappointing coming off the rap battle last week that was so hot. Hoped to see a bit more here.
Breezango gave us ‘Runway Walker, Texas Rangers’ this week which was perhaps the best thing ever! They questioned Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley, investigating whether they were the ones who attacked them and trashed their office. This was genuinely beyond hilarious; Fandango & Tyler Breeze are just nailing this every single week. Amazing work. Worth noting was Mojo Rawley defending himself throwing Zack Ryder out of the Battle Royal last week, hopefully this is all leading to a heel turn by one of them.
Shinsuke Nakamura was scheduled to face Baron Corbin but the match never begins as Nakamura attacks Corbin and the two brawl. This feud has been good and the two showed good intensity here. Unfortunately, someone is going to have to lose this feud and neither man should really be losing at this point; Nakamura needs to be kept special and losing will not help that and Corbin is Mr Money in the Bank and hence a future world champion; not ideal for either man to lose.
Maria Kanellis goes looking for Sami Zayn backstage demanding an apology from him. Sami Zayn was his quirky self and it worked very well here, Maria slapped him before Mike Kanellis smashed a glass vase over his head. Maria has been fantastic through all of this, and her line of “Love Hurts” was perfect. The Sami Zayn vs Mike Kanellis feud is advancing well and should be a highlight of Battleground when made official, unfortunately Zayn is almost certainly going to suffer another loss though.
An Elimination 5 Way Number One Contender Match between Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Natalya, Tamina & Lana is made for WWE Battleground. The winner will take on Naomi for the title at Summerslam. Carmella also tried to get Shame McMahon to remove the suspension on James Ellsworth issued by Daniel Bryan last week, but Shane was having none of it. Carmella was fantastic here once again.
The team of Tamina & Natalya defeat Becky Lynch & Charlotte Flair after Lana got involved to help her new friend Tamina. A nice little tag team match before the previously mentioned Five Way match at Battleground, and a nice advancement of the alliance between Lana & Tamina. Cannot help but feel both Becky & Charlotte should feel a lot bigger than they do at the moment.
The main event saw a huge tag team match with the Dream Team of John Cena & AJ Styles vs Rusev & Kevin Owens. A good solid main event match, but really lacked the intensity required to make it something extra special. Cena won for his team getting the pin over Owens after what was a very nice finishing sequence involving all four men.