We eat your words

WWE SmackDown Live Full Results, Grades and Highlights for August 8, 2017

What the hell is Baron Corbin wearing now?

INTRO: A recap airs of John Cena and Shinsuke Nakamura wrestling in last week’s main event. Some cool backstage footage taken prior to the bout makes their match feel even more significant. We get three different looks at the reverse exploder that brought Cena’s weight crashing down on his bent neck. Then, we see post-match footage of Money in the Bank contract-holder Baron Corbin ambushing Nakamura in the ring. Cena makes the save only to get beaten up by Corbin. He brings Cena up on the stairs next to the announce table, but Cena lifts him up and throws him through the table with an Attitude Adjustment.

OPENING SEGMENT: Cena walked onto the entrance ramp, puckishly stretches out his neck, and conducts the crowd in a “John Cena Sucks” chant. JBL claimed that the “incredibly terrible” landing that Cena took off the reverse exploder cost him the match against Nakamura. Let’s see if there’s any follow-up on that statement. Tom Phillips asked what is next for the “free agent”.

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Cena took the microphone and said he’s as fired up as anyone in the building. He legitimately looks it. Any night in a WWE ring, Cena said, can provide moments that last a lifetime. An honest-to-goodness “Cena” chant starts up. Children wearing Cena gear look happy in the crowd. Good for them experiencing actual joy at a wrestling show as adults sitting near them boo a guy based on a decade-old crowd habit. Cena said he learned that Shinsuke isn’t afraid of anything. Now we get a big “Nakamura” chant. Cena said he found out that Nakamura hits hard. “Real. Hard.” He admitted to being overconfident headed into last week’s match, then, all of a sudden, the referee was raising Nakamura’s hand. And he realized he lost. Cena said he’s not used to losing, but he dusted himself and shook the hand of a man who earned the right to become champion. Well, the right to challenge the champion, anyway.

At this point, the action is interrupted by Gregorian chanting. Baron Corbin has new ring music, and it called to mind the monks who hit themselves over their heads with books in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Corbin entered the scene clutching his Money in the Bank briefcase and wearing some long, *tight* tights that don’t really work. Corbin told Cena to stop talking. He’s sick and tired of hearing about the “stupid” handshake. Also, who cares about the “dream match”? Corbin said all he knows is that Cena got involved in his business. Corbin held up the briefcase, saying it means he does what he wants, when he wants. He told Cena that he should respect the Lone Wolf, not Nakamura. “I am the future, and I have no problem making you the past,” Corbin said.

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Cena responded by telling Corbin he’s a skinny-fat, loudmouth, overrated dumpster fire. He pointed to a fan’s sign that attested to Corbin’s dumpster-fire status. The skinny-fat line reminds me of Triple H browbeating C.M. Punk with that term several years ago. It was counterproductive then, and really doesn’t serve a purpose in 2017 when Corbin is supposed to be a physical destroyer. Cena invited Corbin to “sashay” down to the ring, and maybe he’d put him through another table. Corbin walked toward the ring, then stopped and asked why he’d do that when he held the Money in the Bank contract. “Dumpster fire” chant from the Toronto crowd. Corbin smartly said that Cena has nothing he wants. He told Cena he can take his respect and shove it. The Lone Wolf said all he needs is the WWE championship, and Cena isn’t worth his time.

Cue the Wagner as Daniel Bryan halts Corbin’s exit. Hearty chant for SmackDown’s general manager, who told Corbin he doesn’t know if he’s a dumpster fire or the future. But he can promise Corbin that he’ll be facing Cena at Summerslam. This match won’t happen on SmackDown, “because, clearly, you’re not dressed to fight tonight.” Great line from Bryan; Corbin looks like he’s headed to auditions for Swan Lake in those black tights.

Phillips said the Future and the Franchise collide at SummerSlam. Then he informed us that WWE Champion Jinder Mahal would face Randy Orton in a grudge match tonight. Guess they needed to spare Bryan from bearing that bad news. The Singh Brothers are out due to injury, meaning this match would purportedly be a one-on-one fight. No, Phillips, you can’t brag that this match is a “first-time-ever” offering on SmackDown Live when we’ve seen it at three straight pay-per-views. JBL said we’d learn Shane McMahon’s “Rules of Engagement” for the AJ Styles/Kevin Owens match at SummerSlam. And Byron Saxton said the Usos, who have “established a culture of lawlessness”, would go up against Sami Zayn and Tye Dillinger next.

 

Sami Zayn and Tye Dillinger vs. The Usos

The Usos got some energetic rapping over their entrance music, replete with lyrics claiming that they’ve been down since day one-ish. Better than Gregorian chanting. We watch a brief replay of the twins attacking New Day backstage two weeks ago. JBL said the Usos are running roughshod over the tag team division. He then referred to the “lovable, neurotic” Sami Zayn. An accurate but not constructive description of a main event-level wrestler. Dillinger started off with a back elbow and some “Ten” punches in the corner. He immediately tagged Zayn for a Helluva Kick attempt, which the Usos avoided by bailing to ringside as we go to commercial.

Back inside, Zayn bounded backwards over his opponent, then scored with a flying headscissors. Dillinger jumped around on the apron, clearly amped to perform in front of an adoring Canadian crowd. The Usos took another powder, then managed to nail Sami with a spinning enziguri. They double-teamed Zayn in their own corner, while the Puppy-Monkey-Baby commercial appears on split-screen. Jimmy Uso combatted its exuberance with a rear-chinlock on Zayn. Sami broke it briefly by slamming Jimmy into the turnbuckles. Undeterred, Jimmy prevented the tag … then reapplied the chinlock. After whipping Zayn in the turnbuckle, Uso got his just rewards by missing a Stinger Splash. Jey cut off Zayn’s tag attempt, but Sami backflipped away from him, then somersaulted past him for the tag.

Big ovation for Dillinger as he floored Jey Uso with a flying forearm. He pressed the advantage on Jey with a short-arm clothesline and a well-placed stomp to the face. Some corner stomps earn repeated “Tens” from his native fans. Dillinger lowered his right kneepad and Jey rolled to ringside, smacking Tye with a punch when he attempted to dive through the ropes. Sami followed up more successfully with a somersault over the ropes onto both Usos. Dillinger yelled for Sami to get Jey in the ring, and, when he did, hit his opponent with a sit-down spinebuster for a near fall.

Outside the ring, Jimmy Uso cracked Zayn with a superkick. Dillinger reacted by climbing the top rope, only to get stopped by Jey. Perched on the top rope, Dillinger fought off Jey and Jimmy, who tagged into the match. He knocked Jey off the top rope, jumped over him, and tried to execute a Tyebreaker. Jimmy caught Dillinger with a reverse crescent-kick to the gut at the last second, however, and the brothers hit Dillinger with their double-team kick to the back of his left knee. With Dillinger hurt, Jimmy Uso locked in the Tequila Sunrise for the tap-out submission.

Result:
The Usos beat Sami Zayn and Tye Dillinger when Jimmy Uso forced Dillinger to submit to the Tequila Sunrise.

Grade: B-

Zayn helped a hobbled Dillinger to the locker room. Uce grabbed the mic and asked where New Day were this evening. They mocked their opponent’s hip-swiveling, “WWE world tag team champions” catchphrase, causing the real New Day to announce their presence. Big E made his way on the ramp alone. A few seconds later, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods crashed the ring and beat down the Usos from behind. They launched a vicious assault, throwing Jey into the ring post and beating down Jimmy in the corner. Woods grabbed two steel chairs and brought them into the ring. One chair was tossed all the way through and out of the ring, then helpfully retrieved by Kofi. He brandished the weapon, smashing it into the mat several times, as Big E picked up Jimmy for the Midnight Hour. Phillips said New Day was going to a different level tonight. Jey grabbed his brother’s leg and pulled him to safety. They begged off as New Day held the ring.

JBL promoted an exclusive interview with Nakamura later tonight. And Phillips said that Tyler Breeze would enter the town of Fashion Peaks as he attempted to find Fandango.

Renee Young, dressed to serve as special guest referee for something, stood backstage with Orton. She asked if he had any comments for Rusev as they prepared to square off at SummerSlam. Orton said Rusev was in the wrong place at the wrong time last week. Since Rusev claimed he wasn’t scared of anyone in the back, Orton gave him something to fear. As for Mahal, Orton said he’d done everything in his power to escape Orton for the last several months. Tonight, without the Singh Brothers by his side, Jinder wouldn’t get away.

Entering the realm of fantasy, we get a glimpse of the idyllic-yet-bizarre Fashion Peaks. This week’s bulletin board featured references to Sheriff Harry S. Truman, the Wild Samoans, and that incredible Naomi Watts vehicle, “BobHolly Drive”. Breeze recounted last week’s dream to the Ascension, who stole his pie and left. Flustered, Breeze tried to make sense of whatever was coded in his dream. He looked in a mirror and repeatedly asked himself, “Where’s Dango?” Prince Pretty then saw his tag partner in the mirror, turning around to find a sullen, silent Fandango wearing a tie around his forehead. Breeze told him he hoped it didn’t take 18 episodes to return him to normal. He gave a cup of coffee to Fandango, who spit it out before complimenting its flavor. Breeze asked who kidnapped him and where he’d been. Fandango blamed aliens, and said he could leave anytime he wanted to do so.

Breeze: “Why didn’t you?”

Fandango: “Anal probes.” Pause. “I mean, no, no. War, war, wardrobes.”

Fandango said the aliens gifted him with the ability of “clair, clair, clair … I can see into the future, man.” He pointed to the door, with an ominous red light reflecting from behind it, and said the next person who walked through it was the one who destroyed Tully the hobbyhorse. Arn Anderson subsequently entered and asked where he could find catering. Breeze asked if he destroyed Tully. Anderson got intimidating, then admitted, “You’re damn right I did. You shoulda named him Arn. Any moron knows I was the hoss of that group.” The Enforcer then took two of Breezango’s donuts upon leaving. Fandango said their work is just beginning; Breeze agreed, stating that they’d need more pies.

Charlotte Flair vs. Lana

We see a WWE.com clip from last week of Lana telling Tamina that she’s her inspiration, and she wanted to be like her one day. But she wanted to be more charismatic, beautiful, and ravishing. Tamina looked offended. Then Lana voiced her intention to take on Charlotte next week. Back to the present, Charlotte tried to curb her smirking. Lana executed a go-behind as Charlotte stifled laughter. She threw her opponent off, then trash-talked Lana. Charlotte caught the Ravishing Russian’s boot before bringing her down with a drop-toehold. She threw several chops, prompting Lana to charge her. Charlotte picked up Lana and just held her with a smile. Lana went over her head with a failed sunset flip attempt. As she pulled Charlotte’s trunks, some fans behind her cheered and started a “Thank you Lana” chant in response to what appeared to be a brief wardrobe malfunction.

Lana gave the impression of being a scared, cornered neophyte lashing out due to her fight-or-flight instinct. Thrown off the ropes, she blocked a hip toss attempt and went for a backslide. Charlotte fought out of it and hooked her own backslide for a two count. She strutted toward Lana, and got in her face to tell her how close she came to losing. Lana slapped Charlotte. Newly serious, the Queen hit Lana with a big boot, and quickly applied the figure eight for the win.

Result: Charlotte Flair beat Lana via submission with the figure eight.

Grade: C-

Phillips said that Charlotte scratched and clawed for title shots, while Lana just demanded opportunities. JBL complimented the audacity of Lana in requesting a fight with Charlotte. In more women’s action, Phillips said that Naomi would face Carmella in a more-competitive match tonight. Shane McMahon was shown pacing backstage; Saxton said he’d be out next to lay down the law regarding his role in the Styles-Owens match at SummerSlam.

Standing mid-ring, Shane-O-Mac said that Bryan used his authority to designate him as the special guest referee for the U.S. title match at SummerSlam. He introduced Styles and Owens. Competing chants for Styles and the Canadian Owens. Shane got short with Owens. He said KO screamed in his face last week that he doesn’t believe Shane can be an impartial referee. Owens said he acted in the heat of the moment, and apologized for his deeds. He said he’s not worried about McMahon screwing him over because we’ve already had a McMahon screw over a legendary Canadian for a title before in WWE. That zinger elicited a loud pop and a “You screwed Bret” chant. Then Owens threw shade at the Hitman:

Owens: “Of course, he deserved it.”

Owens doesn’t deserve it, however, and it would “be really terrible PR” if it happened to him. But Owens said he is worried about AJ, as Shane couldn’t possibly be unbiased toward someone who nearly mangled him earlier this year. A clip was shown of Styles throwing McMahon through a car window in March. Back in the ring, Styles acknowledged that he wasn’t happy with Shane being guest referee for his SummerSlam match. He accused Owens of stirring the pot, and told him he wasn’t going to manipulate this situation. Then he warned that, if Shane screwed him, he would have to face repercussions. “Just like he did at WrestleMania.”

Shane turned his full attention to Styles. AJ told him not to take offense, as he didn’t trust anyone – “Let alone a McMahon.” Shane told AJ he was confusing him with other family members, and he doesn’t operate like that. Owens interjected that this wouldn’t be the first time McMahon served as a guest referee. He introduced a clip of Shane officiating a Steve Austin vs. Mankind match at Survivor Series 1998. After Stone Cold stuns Mankind, McMahon slides into the ring, starts counting the fall, then stops to stare down Austin and shoot him dual birds. Nineteen years later, Owens tells AJ you could practically make a WWE Network collection out of Shane screwing wrestlers over as a special guest referee.

Shane complimented Owens’ cleverness, then got serious. He said that he and Owens don’t like each other, and that he’s gone to war with AJ. But Shane said he would be an impartial referee and call the match down the middle. Furthermore, he would not get involved unless he has to, so neither of them should give him a reason to do so. AJ suggested they get rid of Shane and just fight right now for the title. Owens said he’d rather win the U.S. championship in American – and in a city that actually matters. Styles held the belt up to Owens’ face and told him this was as close as he was going to get to the title. A brawl threatened to break out as McMahon attempted to hold both men back. As Shane put his hands on Styles, Owens punched AJ in the face. Styles responded with a Pele kick that aimed for KO, but instead clocked McMahon. Owens left the ring laughing, gracefully bowing on his way to the back.

In the women’s locker room, Tamina taunted Lana over her loss. Lana admitted she failed. Tamina asked if Lana was at least more ravishing than she was. Lana stood up and told her she made her point. Tamina said the point was that Lana would never wrestle like she did; Lana told her she’d never be as ravishing. Tamina told Lana that it wasn’t her talent that got her three title shots; it was her ambition. And now, she said, Lana would help her get her own (championship match?). Not sure that tracks.

WWE Women’s Champion Naomi vs. Carmella (Non-Title)

Carmella entered the ring sans Ellsworth, who was still tributed on her cut-off shirt. Saxton said that Naomi had spoke to Cena about holding a title while being pursued by a Money in the Bank contract-holder. He said that Cena advised her to wake up every morning expecting the contract to be cashed in that day. Kudos to Saxton for taking the initiative to further a championship storyline. Carmella hit Naomi with repeated, disrespectful open-hand strikes to open the match. The champion got to her feet and hit an enziguri to drop her foe. Naomi let Carmella sit up before taking a running slide into her own slap. We go to split-screen as Carmella recovered outside the ring.

Naomi followed Carmella and threw her into the ring. She shoulder-blocked her opponent on the apron, then reentered the ring to throw some painful-looking leg kicks. Carmella countered by catching Naomi’s leg and shoving her down to the mat. The Princess of Staten Island pulled the champion’s arms backwards, then kicked her twice between the shoulder blades, each time sending her headfirst into the middle turnbuckle. She put the boots to Naomi in the corner, then celebrated with a moonwalk before connecting with a Bronco Buster for a two count. Carmella lounged on Naomi’s neck while choking her on the middle rope. She delivered elbows to the neck and shoulders before applying a rear chinlock. Solid offense from Carmella, who brought Naomi down hard as the champion attempted to counter the hold.

Back from break, Naomi fought out of the chinlock. Carmella countered a body slam attempt, then whipped Naomi to the mat by her hair. She settled back into a rear chinlock with Naomi on her stomach. The champion finally broke free with a side backbreaker. Carmella followed her into a corner, then ate a kick as Naomi used the top rope for leverage. The champion took down her opponent with a spinning elbow and an X-Pac-style flip clothesline. She lit up Carmella with rapid-fire kicks and a sit-down jawbreaker. Naomi kipped up and brushed it off. She charged Carmella in the corner, then caught herself on the apron after Carmella threw her over the top rope. Naomi hit the Money in the Bank holder with a roundhouse kick. She climbed the top rope, but Carmella regained her feet and crotched Naomi on the turnbuckle. The champion pushed her away to counter attempts at a superplex and flying headscissors. Carmella fought on tenaciously, trying to pull Naomi off the turnbuckle by her hair.

As the official moved Carmella away from the corner, Naomi ascended to the top rope. As she stood, ready to fly, Ellsworth surfaced from the under the ring. In concept, he took out Naomi’s leg, sending her crashing down onto the top rope. In execution, she lost her balance before he reached her, and she fell in the vicinity of the top rope. Regardless, Carmella kicked a dazed Naomi in the face for the victory.

Result: Carmella pinned Naomi after a sidekick to the face.

Grade: B-

Phillips said that Ellsworth’s 30-day suspension ended last week. JBL wondered how he got through customs. He tried to cover by saying Ellsworth’s surprise appearance stunned Naomi into slipping off the top rope. Phillips said that Carmella would be watching for Naomi at SummerSlam.

Carmellsworth strode victoriously backstage, with Carmella bragging that she held it down while he was gone. They ventured upon Natalya, who said it was so good to see her. However, her “chinless, turtle-faced freak of a friend” is already sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong. Natalya warned them that they’d better keep their noses out of her business at SummerSlam, as she planned to become champion. She threatened to give Carmella a chin like Ellsworth’s if she saw either of them hanging around. Ellsworth said he’d been back for just five minutes, and the whole women’s division is already shaking in their heels. Glancing at her own briefcase, Carmella said facetiously she doesn’t know why Nattie is so nervous. Ellsworth sarcastically said they’re counting on Natalya to triumph at SummerSlam. They left the #1 contender looking concerned about potentially winning and losing the title on the same night.

Phillips introduced a pre-taped interview that Renee Young conducted with Nakamura. She said that Shinsuke debuted on the Tuesday after WrestleMania 33. He said he had wanted to be in WWE his whole career, and compete against the best in the world in NXT and SmackDown. Young recounted his victories against Corbin and Dolph Ziggler, then brought up his match with Ziggler. Nakamura paid tribute to Cena as the measuring stick for WWE. He knew he was competing against the guy in WWE, but “I beat him.” He said that standing in the ring with Cena was indescribable. Shinsuke vowed that he would reach his destiny and become WWE Champion. At SummerSlam, he said with a wide grin, the Nakamura Dynasty begins.

WWE Champion Jinder Mahal vs. Randy Orton (Non-Title)

Cheers for the Calgarian Maharaja as he walks to the ring. Phillips said this match is about family and redemption for Orton. The two simultaneously threw right hands to open the match. Orton got the better of a back-and-forth exchange, then brought Mahal down with a Thesz Press. Jinder freed himself, then rolled to ringside. Orton kept up the pressure, chasing Mahal down and repeatedly throwing him into the barricade. Orton slammed Mahal into the barricade with a back suplex-type maneuver, then tossed him into the ring.

Mahal again sought safety outside the ring. Orton pounced on him with a clothesline, then brought him crashing down on the announce table with the same back suplex move. Orton cleared the table with bad intentions as Mahal slid back into the ring. When Randy went after him, Mahal took over with stomps. But Jinder missed with a clothesline, and Orton struck with one of his own, sending the champion tumbling over the top rope. Orton maintained control outside the ring, flinging Mahal over the table. He slammed his opponent’s face into that table, then pulled him on top of it. Orton attempted an RKO as the crowd sensed a quick victory. Jinder drove him off the table, however, and Orton got hung up on the barricade separating the timekeeper’s area from the rest of ringside. Phillips said that Mahal just averted disaster. Orton clutched his stomach in pain as we go to break.

Back from break, Mahal leapt off the bottom rope to drop knees onto a prone Orton. Jinder grinded some knees into Orton’s back and applied a chinlock. Orton broke the hold and attempted an Irish whip into the turnbuckle. Mahal countered it, but missed a running charge and slammed his left shoulder into the post. Nakamura was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor as both men struggled to stand. Mahal grabbed Orton from the ring apron and brought his throat down over the top rope. Orton caught him with a kick as he attempted to enter the ring, however, and snapped Jinder’s head down over the top rope to give him the same treatment. Orton pulled Mahal up to the top rope, delivering a superplex for a two count.

Both men sold the effects of their big moves. Orton fired right hands at Mahal, then hit him with multiple clotheslines. He executed a fall-away slam before climbing the middle rope to throw more punches at his rival. Mahal dumped Orton face-first into the top turnbuckle, but was caught with a powerslam for another two count. Back on his feet, Jinder countered an Orton inverted headlock backbreaker, responding with a high knee for a near fall. Mahal called for the Khallas. He stood poised directly behind Orton, who elbowed his way out of the move, then sidestepped Mahal’s follow-up move as the champion stumbled his way onto the ring apron. Orton hooked Mahal through the ropes and brought him down with a DDT.

Orton pounded his fists on the mat. But Mahal slipped out of an RKO attempt and schoolboy’ed Orton for a two count. Orton stood up only to absorb a good-looking thrust kick. Mahal again yelled out for the Khallas. He brought Orton to his feet in a loose cobra clutch. But, as he lifted Mahal for the Khallas, Orton turned it into an RKO in mid-air. JBL yelled, “He got him!” as Orton covered Mahal for the win.

Result: Randy Orton pinned Jinder Mahal with an RKO. In a non-title match, of course.

Grade: B

Phillips said that Orton overcame a summer filled with “frustration, doubts, and humiliation” tonight in Toronto. JBL called it a “feel-good moment” for one of the all-time greats. Orton backed his way up the ramp as we get the SmackDown ending credits and 205 Live graphic. Just after Phillips thanked viewers for watching the show, Rusev attacked Orton with a thrust kick. SmackDown went off the air seconds later.

 

HIGH SPOTS

New Day Strikes Back
The unicorns were not playing tonight. New Day looked angry as they commenced an all-business beatdown of the type you’d typically see engineered by heels. Their actions were surprising yet justifiable after getting pummeled by the Usos, and it was good to see the trio ratchet up the intensity in preparation for a potential show-stealer at SummerSlam.

Nakamura Takes a Seat
The sitdown Q&A format was perfectly suited for Nakamura given his limited English. It enhanced his ability to clearly enunciate his lines as well as communicate his drive to beat the best in WWE. Moreover, this feature felt like a real interview. Young asked the right questions and Nakamura responded directly to them instead of just reciting a tangentially related monologue, as occurs with so many backstage segments.

 

LOW BLOWS

Corbin gets ridiculed
The Lone Wolf appeared earmarked for main events from the time he debuted in NXT. On SmackDown this week, the company’s top star insulted Corbin’s physique, while the program’s nominal authority figure snarked on his Ballet for Beginners wardrobe. These verbal putdowns don’t help Corbin’s progression; neither does getting new entrance music that sounds like a rejected theme for Aleister Black.

A Pointless Partnership
Why would Tamina need Lana’s help to get a title shot? Why does Lana still owe anything to Tamina? What was the purpose of Tamina initially taking Lana under her wing? And when have they ever had a civil conversation? These questions, and more, will not be meaningfully answered.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Both major champions lost non-title matches that served mostly to advance SummerSlam storylines. The U.S. title segment injected unpredictability into its narrative. WWE smartly used its historical footage to show that Shane can be as conniving and devious as anyone. Just maybe, McMahon handing Styles an easy win at SummerSlam isn’t a done deal; at the least, fans know that AJ’s attempted manslaughter of Shane earlier this year hasn’t been forgotten. The New Day/Usos brawl got serious, and, given their frequent goofball antics, it meant something for New Day to try to really hurt their opponents. The Orton/Mahal main event benefitted from its straightforward, hard-hitting action and an absence of outside interference. Rusev’s trickery couldn’t have caught many fans by surprise, though; we’ve seen enough NXT Takeovers (e.g., Owens turning on Zayn, Team DIY’s dissolution) to know by now that the show ain’t over ‘til it’s over and off the air.

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