Manchester England witnessed history as AJ Styles became a two-time WWE Champion defeating Jinder Mahal. The Usos defended the Smackdown Tag Team Championship against Gable & Benjamin, and Becky Lynch finally got her hands on James Ellsworth in the first WWE intergender match in years.
Shane McMahon Opens Smackdown. Grade: B- The Commission of the Blue Brand opened the show promising repercussions for Kane’s attack on Daniel Bryan on Raw, before congratulating the New Day on their impact on Raw the night before. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn came out and the seeds were further planted for Owens & Zayn getting involved at Survivor Series. While a fun segment there was no real advancement here.
Kofi Kingston defeated Sami Zayn. Grade: B- A nice little match filled with solid in-ring mat wrestling; Owens & The New Day all did their bit from the outside; a good win to give to Kofi particularly if the New Day are heading for a collision with The Shield. Zayn can still afford to take losses as a heel.
Randy Orton defeated Rusev. Grade: D+ Why would WWE have Rusev lose here? He was perfect for the Survivor Series team and instead he’s left in nothingness. Rusev beat Orton down but got caught with just one RKO. Absolutely puzzling booking and where Rusev goes from here is anyone’s guess; he’s right on the brink of breaking out as a huge babyface with his Rusev Day thing.
Becky Lynch defeated James Ellsworth. Grade: B+ Backstage Ellsworth gave it to Lynch verbally really pushing hard that men are superior to women in what was brilliant heel work. In a smart move Ellsworth got some offence in on Lynch but ultimately Lynch threw him around the ring and got the win with the Dis-Arm-Her. After the match Carmella kicked Ellsworth creating and teasing more tension between the two. A really fun and well put together intergender match. the Smackdown Women’s Team on the outside looked unified in their quest to see Ellsworth get his handed to him and a unified look is needed heading into Survivor Series.
Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin defeated The Usos by Count-Out in a Smackdown Tag Team Title Match. Grade: D- Unfortunately this ended rather abruptly as Jey Uso appeared to suffer a lower leg injury. I understand the need to end the match quickly given Jey’s injury, and I speak for everyone when I say we hope it isn’t too series and that he is okay; but Shelton Benjamin standing in the ring watching as he gets counted out in a championship match is ridiculous and makes him look incredibly silly.
Throughout the show we had another new Bludgeon Brother vignette as well as Shane McMahon announce that next week Natalya will defend the Smackdown Women’s Championship against Charlotte Flair.
AJ Styles defeated Jinder Mahal to win the WWE Championship. Grade: A- Finally, the Jinder experiment is over and we can all rejoice. This was arguably Mahal’s best match and of course that is mostly due to the brilliance of AJ Styles. The WWE Champion feels important again, the Manchester crowd were all over it, the best wrestler in the company now holds the company’s most prestigious championship, and at Survivor Series we are going to get what is truly a dream match, AJ Styles vs Brock Lesnar.