The One With the Phenomenal United States Champion – Smackdown Live Recap – July 11, 2017

Smackdown Live comes to us from the San Antonio, Texas.  But that doesn’t matter.  This does:

That’s right.  AJ Styles is the United States Champion.

The show kicked off with a brief recap of both the events of Smackdown that made him the Number One Contender and the match at Madison Square Garden.  Rumor has it that AJ is getting his own DVD, recounting the amazing two years he’s put in with the company, and this is just another milestone for him to pick up a title belt at MSG.

They Don’t Want None….ok, maybe John Cena does.

Why would the show not kick off with AJ?  And welcome back to the US Open Challenge.  So who from the locker room would accept the call?  Why not let the man that started the challenge answer the first call.

But AJ isn’t scared.  The whole point of the open challenge is to prove who is the best, and if their last match is any indication, this would be a phenomenal match to kick of Smackdown.  Would be, but here comes Kevin Owens.

So while Cena spits fire back at Kevin Owens, he is attacked from behind by the Bulgarian Brute.  Once Rusev takes out Cena, Owens hits a popup powerbomb on Styles.  As you can imagine, this will lead to a tag team match later in the evening.

There’s also new John Cena Merch, available here.

The Stuff Before More AJ Styles:

  • Jinder Mahal vs Tye Dillinger:  I won’t lie to you, when I saw that this match was going to take place, all I could think was why would they serve up someone with like Dillinger to be slaughtered here?  He has some momentum after that battle royal match last week, and the fire back and forth between he and Miz on Twitter of late.  This match got the split screen treatment, so I was obviously distracted by PuppyMonkeyBaby again, but it didn’t matter, it was just Jinder beating the hell out of The Perfect 10.  The audience loves Dillinger, I love Dillinger.  I get that you have to build Mahal, but please don’t let this be detrimental to Dillinger’s push (if that’s what you can call it).  Jinder Mahal beat the hell out of Dillinger, wins via Pinfall.
  • In a post match promo, Jinder talks about how he’ll bring Hell right to Orton, and he will have the Punjabi Prison next week…..AS DARK MATCH MATT GOES LIVE TO SMACKDOWN IN BIRMINGHAM!!!!!!!!!!
  • 2K18 looks pretty sweet, and it’s now be revealed that pre-order bonus will be Kurt Angle as a playable.  If trends are any indication, that means that we will see Kurt back in the ring sooner rather than later.
  • Xavier Woods vs Jey Uso:  After a completely unnecessary recap of the Rap Battle, the match barely gets going before referee concerns about interference led to the ejection of Kofi, Big E and Jimmy Uso from ringside.  So this was actually to be a singles match.  Xavier picks up the victory with a big flying elbow drop, in another chapter in my confusion as to why Xavier hardly ever gets in ring action beyond interference as a third party.
  • Shane backstage on the phone gets a visit from Naomi, expressing concern about both the Money in the Bank attack from Carmella and who she will defend against at Battleground.  They’re joined by the remainder of the women’s division (save for Carmella), who are informed that at Battleground the five of them will have to square off in an elimination match to determine the number one contender for a title opportunity at Summerslam.  We’ll get a tag match tonight though, because booking.  Charlotte and Becky will take on Tamina and Natalya.  Naomi apparently gets another bye at Battleground.
  • Baron Corbin vs Shinsuke Nakamura:  There wasn’t a match here.  Shinsuke attacked Corbin on his way to the ring.  They were separated by officials.  Corbin walked away with his MitB briefcase, Nakamura stood tall in the ring.
  • Women’s Tag Match – Charlotte and Becky Lynch vs Tamina and Natalya:  Tamina is still crap.  How is Charlotte not already champion?  Everyone is involved in a big match at Battleground, so all four ladies get their moment in the sun here.  At some point, Lana walks to ringside (this will come into play).  Becky takes a lengthy bout of tandem offense from the bad guys, but the hot tag to the most dominant person in this match obliterating both opponents, but when she attempts to take out Lana who is now standing on the apron, a blind tag makes Tamina the active competitor and Charlotte eats a superkick (if you can call it that).  Tamina picks up the win via pinfall.
  • Another Sami Zayn vs The Kinellis duo promo in the back.  I don’t care.  Sami is entertaining but he can’t save this pile of dogs***.  Mike smashes a vase on Sami’s head, so you can expect this match to happen in the preshow for Battleground.  I won’t care then either.  Can we please send these two back to wherever the hell they came from?
  • Shane announces Shinsuke vs Corbin will go down at Battleground, as if you didn’t know that was coming.
  • Runaway Walker: Texas Rangers – Our newest installment from The Fashion Police.  As is customary, watch this, I refuse to recap it and let anything ruin it for you.  This one features Zack Ryder though, so you know it’s awesome.

Phenomenal Bookends

Open with AJ, close with AJ.  Can’t be unhappy with a Smackdown that goes that way.  The match starts off with our Flag Match competitors, John Cena and Rusev.  Rusev and Owens worked great together, and I would almost be ok if they come back to this down the line and have them go after the Tag Team Titles.  The majority of the momentum that the Face team had offensively in the match was coming in on hot tags.  It was a well worked match with a good closing sequence, as John Cena picks up the pinfall over Kevin Owens following the Attitude Adjustment.  In a show of sportsmanship, Cena hands the US Championship to his partner and holds his hand high in victory.

Overall Grade:  This was a solid B+ show.  Not great, mostly because of the limited length of the main event and having to watch Dillinger get slaughtered with limited understanding of why it had to be him and not just send Aiden English out for another trouncing.  Really excited to see the Punjabi Prison next week as I travel to Birmingham for some live action.

See you tomorrow for 205 Live and NXT.  Now go watch 205 Live so we can discuss it tomorrow.