SMACKDOWN delivers on its promises

By: 
Joshua Waddles
Staff Writer

I spent the past week rolling my eyes every time someone called the match between John Cena and Shinsuke Nakamura a “dream match.” But it was actually a good match. Have I been zapped into a parallel universe where John Cena isn’t terrible?

AJ Styles vs Kevin Owens

Kevin Owens came to reclaim his United States Title against AJ Styles, who won it in a triple-threat match last SMACKDOWN against Owens and Chris Jericho. Styles pinned Jericho to win the title.

Owens and Styles always give a solid performance that keeps the fans thrilled. And I like the way the WWE is building interest for this feud. The belt has been passed back and forth between Owens and Styles like a hot potato, and often there are circumstances that contribute to the title-holder losing. In hindsight, I think they probably didn’t mean for AJ Styles to lose clean at Battleground. The referee was injured, but I think Styles and Owens probably botched what should have been a pin attempt.

Last night’s match had a similar ending. Owens accidentally punched the ref in the eye, aiming for Styles. So when Styles rolled Owens up, the referee couldn’t see that Owens had his shoulder up, so Owens lost the belt.

Owens’ rage afterwards made me think of a wrecking ball and made him look very dangerous.

These matches have got fans itching for the definitive match to finally answer the question: “Who’s our champion?”

Sami Zayn and Aiden English

Aiden English came out doing his funny song again. After a solid match, he took the victory over Sami Zayn.

This was great for English, but not so good for Zayn. Zayn’s booking has just been terrible.

Naomi and Becky Lynch vs Natalya and Carmella

A tag team match put the SMACKDOWN Women’s Champion, Naomi, against number-one contender Natalya and the Money in the Bank holder, Carmella. Natalya had Naomi in the sharp shooter and looked like she was about to make the Champion tap out, but Natalya’s partner, Carmella, reached out and tagged herself in, attempting to steal the victory. Instead, she lost it for herself and Natalya.

Chad Gable vs Rusev

What’s next for Chad Gable after his tag team partner, Jason Jordan, jumped ship for RAW under a new storyline? He tapped to Rusev, but he still looked good in the match. The grappling style they both use had me think of Olympic wrestling and Gable got Rusev in the ankle lock before Rusev turned it all around.

I think Gable could be good on his own, but he’s going to struggle to keep his head above water on SMACKDOWN. Just ask Luke Harper.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs John Cena

Fighting to be the number-one contender, John Cena and Shinsuke Nakamura got in the ring to decide who would wrestler Jinder Mahal for the World Title. The WWE may have over-hyped this match just a little by repeatedly calling it a dream match, but they did get the crowd chanting “This is awesome!”, which is not easy to do. Both put on the match of their lives and Cena looked like he almost broke his neck with that botched suplex.

Something happened in this match that I’ve very rarely seen: John Cena lost clean.

This rare phenomena happens at a rate of once or twice a year. Three times in 2016, which was uncanny, but most of these clean losses are in tag matches or triple-threat matches. It’s been almost a year since Cena lost clean in a one-on-one match.

This is huge for Shinsuke Nakamura, who’s certain to be at the very top of the food chain on SMACKDOWN for a long time. And mad props to John Cena for getting this guy over.

Luke Harper

Luke Harper wasn’t on SMACKDOWN and I’m very mad about that. It’s been several weeks. Harper is an amazing talent and someone in the WWE, for what ever reason, does not want him on the air.

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