SMACKDOWN results: The awesome and the oops!

Joshua Waddles
Staff Writer

Luke Harper is still missing. I enjoyed SMACKDOWN last night, but one of the best wrestlers on the SMACKDOWN roster is still missing. It’s been a month at least.

We want Harper!

Cena and Corbin

WWE SMACKDOWN began with John Cena coming out to the ring to talk about how awesome Shinsuke Nakamura was for Nakamura’s victory over him last week. A good gesture to get Nakamura over even more and really press the significance of a clean win over John Cena.

Baron Corbin, the Money in the Bank holder, came out to heckle Cena. He basically came out to tell Cena he didn’t care about him and he had no reason to fight him.

Why’d he come out then?

Anyway, SMACKDOWN General Manager Daniel Bryan came out and decided Corbin and Cena would fight at Summerslam.

Dillinger and Zayn verses The Usos

Sami Zayn is a great wrestler who runs the risk of getting buried. Even though he and his tag partner Tye Dillinger lost against The Usos, they could work out as a tag team. Right now, the tag division (when SMACKDOWN even has time for the tag team division) is dominated by The New Day and The Usos. But as much as we love The New Day, we don’t want to see the same match between New Day and The Usos over and over again.

The Usos won via submission.

Charlotte Flair vs Lana

It was a full moon last night.

Lana is a very inexperienced wrestler. Last night, she caused a little wardrobe malfunction on her opponent, Charlotte Flair. The fans started chanting “Thank you, Lana!” because of that.

I hope this doesn’t get Lana in trouble with the WWE execs, who sometimes punish wrestlers by taking them off the air for long lengths of time. Even though Lana is terrible in the ring, she’s great on the mic and I love what WWE is doing with her character. They’re acknowledging her lack of skill and making a storyline out of her frustration.

Charlotte Flair won by submission.

Styles, Owens and Shane McMahon

Kevin Owens played master manipulator during the segment between himself, AJ Styles and Shane McMahon last SMACKDOWN. McMahon will be the guest referee for their United States Title match and Owens, apparently fearing McMahon will favor Styles, brought up some old business between the two. Styles played up the tension in a huge way when he said, “I don’t trust anyone. Especially a McMahon.”

Naomi, Carmella and Ellsworth

James Ellsworth returned to help Carmella get a win over SMACKDOWN Women’s Champion, Naomi. Ellsworth, fresh off of his suspension, ran to the ring and pushed Naomi off the top rope to help Carmella get the win.

The WWE should probably be careful with that. As small as Ellsworth is, he’s still a man.

Randy Orton vs Jinder Mahal

This was the match of the night, and I loved how some of the fans chanted “Jinder! Jinder!” after his entrance. Jinder Mahal started out in a faction of jobbers and he wasn’t even the leader of that. Now he’s World Champion and looking very impressive, even with last night’s loss.

I fully expected Mahal to win last night, but I don’t think his losing will hurt him too much. Especially since Mahal was never portrayed as the sort of heel who wins clean, he’s the sort of heel who gets his buddies to help him. (Those buddies weren’t there last night.)

Randy Orton always sets a mood. His entrance, the music and the way he moves all give the aura of a very dangerous man, and last night’s match was brutal. Orton dragged Mahal around outside to see how many hard surfaces he could drop him on top of; picking him up and dropping him back first on the barrier wall looked like it should have caused an injury.

Orton took a nasty one too. While trying to set Mahal up for an RKO on the announce table, Mahal shoved him off and Orton landed stomach first on another barrier. I couldn’t tell if his feet caught the actual impact or if his stomach really took the full weight of the fall, but it looked very painful.

Mahal had almost zero offense. Although he did snap out a knee and a kick that looked like he could break through brick, these were desperation moves. Throughout the entire match, it was all Orton stalking Mahal and completely brutalizing him until the pin. Rusev came out at the end of the match, instead of during the match like I was expecting, and laid out Orton to build for their own SummerSlam match.

I didn’t expect the World Champion to lose clean, especially before a huge match with Shinsuke Nakamura at SummerSlam. Some commenters say this hurts Mahal’s credibility as World Champion. I don’t agree. Mahal just isn’t the sort of champion who wins clean, and there’s nothing wrong with that for a hell. Hollywood Hogan, the best heel of all time, was the same way. Although many fans still haven’t all the way accepted Mahal as World Champion, even a heel World Champion like Hogan was, I think it’s probably close enough. Mahal, probably, is in no danger of getting buried and I expect he’ll prove himself as a top-level heel.