Before new United States Champion Kevin Owens could gloat too much about defeating AJ Styles to win back the title at WWE Battleground or get too far into detailing his plan to bring back his United States Title Open Challenge, The Phenomenal One interrupted to demand his rematch against Owens tonight.
However, both KO and Styles were met with a huge shock when Chris Jericho burst onto the scene to make his electric return to SmackDown LIVE. Jericho, who was viciously taken out by Owens several months ago, was also due for a United States Title rematch and wanted it, yup, tonight. This prompted SmackDown LIVE Commissioner Shane McMahon to decree that tonight’s main event would feature all three Superstars in a Triple Threat Match for the United States Championship, much to the delight of the WWE Universe and the chagrin of The New Face of America.
Baron Corbin’s blatant low blow on Shinsuke Namakura at WWE Battleground gave WWE’s Rockstar a Disqualification win, but The Lone Wolf left his nemesis down after brutally assaulting him with the Money in the Bank briefcase, and the savage attack led to the two bitter rivals once again facing off on SmackDown LIVE.
The highly personal nature of the rivalry raised the lightning-quick physicality to an incredible degree. The Lone Wolf appeared to be closing in on victory, but The King of Strong Style refused to surrender and defeated Mr. Money in the Bank with a head-ringing Kinshasa to pick up a gritty victory.
With Natalya earning the right to challenge SmackDown Women’s Champion Naomi for the title at SummerSlam, the rest of the Team Blue ladies are looking to re-establish themselves. An opportunity to do just that presented itself on SmackDown LIVE, as Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch teamed up to take on the intriguing alliance of Lana & Tamina.
As has been the case in recent weeks, Tamina seemed intent on protecting Lana, but her efforts were not enough, as Flair defeated The Ravishing Russian with a devastating kick to the head. After the match, it appeared that Tamina’s patience with Lana may have run out, as she stared daggers through The Ravishing Russian and screamed at her before storming away from the ring.
The WWE Title picture cleared up almost immediately after WWE Champion Jinder Mahal demanded to know his SummerSlam opponent for The Biggest Event of Summer. First, John Cena eagerly made his way onto the stage to exchange heated words with The Modern-Day Maharaja. The Leader of the Cenation said he respected Mahal for getting himself into the best shape of his life and for being passionate about holding the WWE Championship before challenging him for the title at SummerSlam.
SmackDown LIVE General Manager Daniel Bryan then hit the scene and acknowledged that the 16-time World Champion was deserving of a title match. However, Bryan also reminded Cena and the WWE Universe that opportunities have to be earned on SmackDown LIVE, even if your name is John Cena. With that in mind, the “Yes!” Man declared that next week, Cena would face off with Shinsuke Nakamura in a first-time-ever dream match, and the winner would go on to face Mahal for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam!
Who will prevail in a match we never thought we’d see: Cena or Nakamura? Find out next week on SmackDown LIVE!
In a hybrid of two WWE Battleground matches, the ever-popular tandem of Sami Zayn & Tye Dillinger paired up to take on the formidable team of Mike Kanellis & Aiden English.
The Shakespeare of Song and Maria’s husband tried to keep the explosive attacks of Zayn and The Perfect 10 at bay, but Zayn clinched a spirited victory for his team when he suddenly darted across the ring to strike with a thunderous Helluva Kick, putting Mike down for the count.
Before The New Day’s celebration as the new SmackDown Tag Team Champions could begin, they were brutally attacked from behind by The Usos. The assault happened before the new champions could even finish their signature arrival announcement from backstage.
Jimmy & Jey absolutely decimated Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston in a brawl that spilled onto the stage. A staggered Big E made his way through the curtains to try to fight back against the brothers, but the wear and tear was just too much, and the former titleholders left all three New Day members in a crumbled heap.
With the WWE Universe already in a frenzy following Chris Jericho’s surprise return and the announcement of a Triple Threat Match for Kevin Owens’ United States Championship, The New Face of America, The Phenomenal One and The Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla delivered a high-octane thriller in SmackDown LIVE’s main event, keeping fans on the edge of their seats from bell to bell.
With the three Superstars competing at a break-neck pace, Owens planted Jericho with a ring-shaking Pop-up Powerbomb and a devastating Frog Splash, but before KO could capitalize, Styles tossed his nemesis out of the ring and took advantage by pinning Jericho to recapture the Star-Spangled Championship.
Following the contest, Owens seethed on the microphone, expressing his disgust, claiming that being forced to defend his title against two men was unfair and demanding his one-on-one rematch next week on SmackDown LIVE.
WWE.com can confirm that Styles will indeed defend the United States Championship against Owens next week on the blue brand!
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- AJ Styles defeated Chris Jericho & Kevin Owens (c) in a Triple Threat match to win the WWE United States Championship
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