I Will Bear True Faith and Allegiance – Smackdown Live Recap – August 1, 2017

Happy August, and welcome to another edition of Smackdown Live here on The Dark Match.  Let’s get this damn good card underway.

AJ Styles v Kevin Owens for the United States Championship

In case you missed it, AJ Styles, the pride of Gainesville, Georgia, recaptured the United States Championship last week on Smackdown by pinning Chris Jericho.  This is an important fact because if the commentary team said it one time they said it a thousand times that Kevin Owens didn’t lose the title, he wasn’t even involved in the finish.  Thanks JBL, but as you well know, you don’t have to be involved to lose the match, that’s why it’s Triple Threat.

Anyway, running with a quick rematch clause cash in here as they’ll open with this rematch.  Kevin Owens puts on a good display, but ultimately AJ Styles would get the win when Kevin Owens “accidentally” punched the referee in the face and then a dazed official counted the three when AJ Styles moved into the roll up to retain the title.  AJ Styles gets a ridiculous win here.

That’s not what’s really important, as Kevin Owens fumes his way into the backstage area to confront management and finds a pissed off Shane McMahon.  While the rumors were that Shane would have a match against Owens at Summerslam (and that’s still possible), Owens will get a rematch for the United States Championship against AJ Styles with special guest referee Shane McMahon.  Kevin Owens promo work backstage here was pretty incredible.  He’s always on point, but this was special.

John Cena vs Shinsuke Nakamura for the Number One Contendership

Jinder and the Singh Brothers were on hand in a luxury box to watch the action, so they’re unlikely to play any part in the match.  And I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect this match to actually happen until it was “Up Next” with a half hour left in the broadcast.  Of course they ate up 10 of those minutes with a recap of the United States Championship match that opened the show and both lengthy entrances.

The match opened with a few minutes of teasing between the two combatants in this “Dream Matchup”.  This crowd was definitely on fire here.  I didn’t realize people in Cleveland still got excited about things.

The match wasn’t quite as back and forth as I expected, and it was mostly Nakamura in the early 2/3 of this match.  Every time Cena would seem to be headed for a Super Cena comeback, Nakamura would turn it right back around quickly (see: Nakamura kicking out at 2 on a Kinshasa reversed into an AA).

Cena did some great things here too though (see: Kinshasa reversed into an STF).

Shinsuke reversed an AA attempt into an Exploder Suplex and it was not pretty.  He slammed Cena right down on the back of his head and it was not good at all.  Cena was twitching his fingers to make sure he could still feel them.  That was scary.

Coming off the poorly executed exploder suplex, Shinsuke Nakamura via pinfall following the Kinshasa.

He did apologize to Cena after the match, and it was visible on camera.  Cena told him not to apologize and raised his hand.  Class act, that John Cena.

Because These Guys Deserve Their Own Heading

The Fashion Files are easily the best thing that have happened on WWE programming in a decent while.  You can’t tell me anything that has been more consistently enjoyable.

In line with my commitment to forcing you to at least watch this segment each week, I won’t recap it, but know that it was pretty great, yet again.  Go find it.

Stuff in the Middle

  • The Usos spoke, so I wasn’t listening.  Go ahead and check Twitter, WWE is pretty good about overloading you with Uso stuff.
  • Sami Zayn vs Aiden English – I am glad they are toughing it out with this Aiden English gimmick.  It’s pretty great and they don’t often let things that aren’t getting over real well with audiences go this long.  They shouldn’t have him sing for quite so long though.  This went on for damned ever.  In some really weird sh**, English gets the win here, but that’s not what the point was, as a shocked Zayn sat in the ring, English exits around the side of the ramp because the Kanellis Family came out to gloat about their love and Sami’s failure.  This is beyond stupid.  Please make this stop.
  • Women’s Tag Team Action:  Natalya and Carmella vs Becky Lynch and Naomi – Am I the only one confused by the incredibly lackluster women’s division in WWE right now?  Not by the talent, but by the booking.  That’s a longer conversation, perhaps for the next Podcast.  I wasn’t into this match at all, as the only thing it managed to accomplish was making the Sharpshooter seem like a crap submission hold.  Becky Lynch and Naomi win via submission, not the sharpshooter, over Carmella.
  • Jinder Mahal promos backstage with Renee Young.  Same schtick.  But his tie was sick.  Where can I get this thing?

  • Rusev vs Chad Gable – Nice to see they didn’t suddenly abandon the Gable push when they found out he wasn’t related to a Hall of Famer.  In case you were curious, Chad Gable still uses the American Alpha theme song, probably because the CFOs offering for Jordan was lukewarm garbage.  Holy crap, Chad Gable took Rusev to Suplex City.  What a show from Gable here.  In the end, Rusev Crush, Accolade for the Submission victory.  Rusev follows the match with an early Braun Strowman promo demanding an opponent worthy of him at Summerslam.  If he wants it, he’ll get it, because Randy Orton answers the call.  Orton has been at the top of his game this year.  I won’t lie, there is a potential for this to be the match of the evening if they don’t give it some stupid gimmick.  (On a side note, is Summerslam going to be like 9 hours long?  Where are they putting all these matches?)