This week’s SmackDown Live witnessed a monumental main event. If we put things in perspective, the bout between Cena and Nakamura was years in the making. When Cena was carrying WWE on his shoulders, Nakamura was headlining Wrestle Kingdom, earning a reputation as the greatest professional wrestler on the planet.
Thus, when WWE signed Nakamura, it was only a matter of time before both men crossed paths. The culmination of their body of work over the past decade presented both men with the opportunity to face the WWE Champion at SummerSlam.
On the other hand, the rivalry between AJ Styles and Kevin Owens reached new heights last week, when “The Phenomenal One” won back the gold. Kevin Owens has been in a foul mood the entire week, but exercised his rematch clause to face Styles for the US title.
Let us take a look at what transpired on this week’s show.
AJ Styles defends the WWE United States Championship
Last week, Styles, Owens and Jericho were involved in a triple threat match for the United States title. Towards the end, it was AJ Styles that found himself at the right place and at the right time, as he won the US title.
This week, Owens exercised his rematch clause, and challenged Styles for the gold to kick things off. Both men traded control of the bout, and towards the end, referee Mike Chioda was knocked down with a thumb to the eye.
Styles took advantage of the confusion and rolled Owens up, and the former champion managed to get his shoulder up during the count. However, the referee was dazed as he made the count, resulting in Chioda making the three count!
Owens looked in disbelief, as AJ celebrated the victory.
Backstage, Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan explained to Mike Chioda that he made a mistake. However, an irate Kevin Owens stormed in, and pushed Mike. Owens lashed out at Shane and Bryan, as Shane gave him a rematch at SummerSlam. Owens wanted a referee that could handle the pressure, and Bryan named Shane as the special guest referee for the bout.
Aiden English made his way out, and serenaded the crowd with his vocals. Sami Zayn then made his way out for their bout. Zayn had the upper hand for most of the bout, but towards the end, Aden rolled Sami up to pick up the upset victory!
Post match, Maria and Mike Kanellis came out, and laughed at Sami’s misfortune.
Naomi gets the upper hand heading into SummerSlam
At SummerSlam, Naomi will defend her SmackDown Women’s Championship against Natalya. However, on this week’s show, Natalya and Carmella teamed up to take on Naomi and Becky Lynch. It was an opportunity for Natalya to deliver the first blow, while Naomi had the opportunity to get the upper hand heading into SummerSlam.
Natalya looked impressive, and had the control over the bout over Lynch and the champion. However, Carmella tried to take advantage of Natalya’s work and tagged herself in. This did not bode well for Natalya and Carmella, as Naomi forced Carmella to tap out.
Post match, Natalya was ticked off, and hurried to the back fuming.
Rusev demands, and gets a big challenge
The Bulgarian Brute was scheduled to face Chad Gable in a singles match on this week’s episode. Gable has looked phenomenal in recent weeks, coming close to picking up victories against current and former United States Champions, Kevin Owens and AJ Styles.
Gable once again looked impressive in the bout, as he outwrestled Rusev. A good back and forth encounter led to Chad dropping Rusev with multiple suplexes. However, Gable was too caught up in his attempt to overpower Rusev, as the Bulgarian finally stopped Gable with a big side – kick and the Accolade, to pick up the victory.
Post match, Rusev demanded a serious challenge, and it was graciously accepted by Randy Orton. Orton made his way down to the ring, and dropped Rusev with an RKO. Both men will now face each other at SummerSlam.
Backstage, Lana met Tamina, and tried to suck up to her, calling her an inspiration. Lana then said she would challenge Charlotte next week.
Shinsuke Nakamura earns the right to face Jinder Mahal at SummerSlam
In the main event, it was a dream match between two of the greatest performers of this generation. For over a decade, Nakamura and Cena established themselves as the franchise players of their respective organisations, and the inevitable happened this week.
Cena and Nakamura traded control of the match, with John showing his superhuman strength. A couple of AA’s weren’t enough to put ‘The King of Strong Style’ away, and a third AA attempt was thwarted by Shinsuke.
Nakamura then dropped Cena on his neck with a backdrop, and finished the 16 time world champion with the Kinshasa knee strike to pick up the victory. There was a moment of worry when Cena landed awkwardly on his neck, but managed to get up after the match. Cena raised Nakamura’s arm, as the show faded.
Nakamura will now face Jinder Mahal at SummerSlam for the WWE Championship!