Punjabi Prison Jungle Gym – A SmackDown Live Recap for 7/18/17

Tonight’s SmackDown Live comes to us from the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama.  Our very own Matt Dowd is in attendance!

Pujabi Prison Jungle Gym

There’s something so innocent about Orton in this picture.

Jinder Mahal, the Singh Brothers, and the Punjabi Prison are here to start off SmackDown.  A clearly hoarse Mahal calls Randy Orton ugly and easily draws USA chants from a raucous crowd.  The Singh Brothers are also there to explain the rules of the Punjabi Prison Match.  For good measure, Jinder call Randy Orton ugly in Punjabi as well.  I’m assuming he’s not explaining the rules for the match since I’m sure every Punjabi knows the rules of the Prison Match.

Randy calls Jinder dumb for wanting to be locked in a cage with The Viper.  How are the Singh Brothers going to interfere if they can’t get in to help?  Orton actually displays some fire in this promo.  Randy is going to leave Jinder’s “Jacked Up Ass for Dead” on Sunday.  I’m setting the bar low for this match but I’d love to be surprised.

America Vs. Foreign Guy

Battleground could basically be subtitled: America Vs. The World.

“You know who we’re not at war with?  Bulgaria.”  – Michele Fitzgerald

John Cena is here to talk about the flag match.  It’s your typical Patriotic Cena promo buoyed by the pro USA sentiment in the arena.  Birmingham is a mark town for this shit.  John Cena basically gives us  a history lesson of all the times that the American flag has endured.  I hope Matt was entertained but I thought this went on entirely too long.

Rusev shows up, kicks Cena, and puts him in the Accolade.  I almost think that Cena was talking so long because Rusev missed his cue.  I expect Cena could go on like that for 1.5 hours if you really needed him to.  Anyway, He retrieves the Bulgarian flag and holds it high, like a boss.

Sorry you’re going to lose this weekend Rusev.  Hopefully you can go back to Handsome Rusev next Tuesday.

I can’t imagine non-American fans being really excited for Battleground.

All the Women Please

Shane assembled all the women that don’t possess either a briefcase or title to discuss who’s going to have a match to gain “momentum” going into Battleground.  Gaining this momentum doesn’t really seem like a real thing.  It doesn’t give you any kind of advantage in the match.  They could have done something weird like allow the winner of tonight’s match to only join the match after the first elimination.  That seems like a weird rule that the WWE would come up with.  But alas, that’s not the case.  Both Charlotte and Becky want a match with Lana but Natalya stirs the pot and Shane sees fit to pit…

Becky Lynch Vs. Charlotte

What a great week to be alive.  In the course of one week, we get two singles matches with the Four Horsewoman, one tonight and Bayley Vs. Banks this coming Monday.  Neither matches should be given away on free TV…but here we are.  Enjoy it.  Too bad with have to listen to commentary from Natalya during this match though.

Becky has something to prove.  Apparently she’s never won a singles match against Charlotte.  She continuously tries to lock in her submission finisher only to have Charlotte sneak out of it in every attempt.  A particularly good spot had Becky reverse the Natural Selection into the Dis-Arm-Her.

It was only a matter of time before Becks  finally locks in the Dis-Arm-Her for her first single’s victory over Charlotte.  A Babyface Charlotte shakes the hand of her former rival.  Tea Time continues.

Tamina, Lana, and Natalya flood the ring afterwards to all beat each other down in case you forgot there’s a Fatal Five Way Elimination Match this Sunday.

Naomi and Carmella

Naomi is planning on congratulating the future #1 contender.  Carmella shows up to remind her that she’ll be close behind no matter where you go.

AJ Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura Vs. Kevin Owens & Baron Corbin

Before the match, AJ waxes nostalgic about his time in Japan with Nak, but Nak is transfixed by the US Championship.  He lets AJ know that one day he will answer his challenge.

Again, Baron Corbin attempts to attack Nak on the entrance, but he sensed it coming.  Owens and AJ quickly join both of them on the ramp and beat each other down before going to the commercial break.

After the Charlotte Vs. Becky match, this felt kind of anti-climatic.  This felt like a really satisfying live event match but just uninspired booking for a go home show.  Owens pins AJ after a Pop-up Powerbomb for the win.  I’m sure that means AJ is retaining on Sunday.

Everything Else

Kofi Kingston Vs. Jimmy Uso

I’m excited that Ryan gets to see the New Day, even if it’s just a singles match.  It was entertaining.  I’m not sure I bought the logic of it.

Kofi pulled off a one-man Unicorn Stampede.  He dominated Jimmy for most of this match until he attempted the Trouble in Paradise.  Jimmy catches him and slams him into the turnbuckle.  Meanwhile, Jey jumps on the apron to distract the Ref but that ultimately leads to nowhere.  Maybe it just drew attention from Big E and Woods so they don’t pay attention to the match?  Jimmy attempts a superplex but is pushed off.  Kofi, off the top rope, hits a cross-body but Jimmy rolls it through to get the pin on Kofi.

“Umm…What?!” – Chad Gable

After Anglegate last night, Renee is here to interview Chad Gable and get his whole take on the situation.  Despite being really close and sharing everything with each other, Jordan kept this secret close to the chest.  Gable found out when we did last night.  Chad and Jason are supportive of each other and both hope to have good singles run.

To be honest, it’s a weird way to do it but I’m glad they’re breaking up American Alpha.  Of all the things SmackDown Live has done right, screwing up the push of American Alpha is one of the things they got terribly wrong.

Mike Kannelis w/ Maria Vs. Sami Zayn

Be jealous of Matt for being able to witness the Power of Love’s in-ring debut.  Mike is outfitted in some heart and lip covered tights.  It kind of looks like an alternate outfit from Mr. Ass.  Like if he wanted to wear pants.

Zayn is pretty much destroying the guy.   So…what’s the point of signing this couple to job him out.  Can Mike turn it around?

Zayn hits an Exploder Suplex on Mike setting him up perfectly for the Helluva Kick.  Maria jumps in the ring to run stop the kick from happening.  In the resulting confusion from the Ref, Sami finds himself on the receiving end of a Samoan Driver for the pinfall.

Their theme is great.  I’m not quite sold on them though.  Supposedly Mike Bennett is pretty great.  I didn’t see that in his first match though.