The July 18th edition of WWE SmackDown airs live on the USA Network from the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Alabama, featuring the go home show to the upcoming Battleground pay-per-view (PPV) scheduled for this Sunday night in Philadelphia.
Advertised for tonight: the Punjabi Prison, and more!
The show opens up with a brief promo video about the Punjabi Prison as well as hyping how Jinder Mahal has brought the Prison to SmackDown TV.
We are welcomed to the show by Tom Philipps.
The Singh Brothers makes their entrances and to gives Jinder Mahal his big introduction.
The trio enter the inner cage and the outer cage is lowered upon them, and Jinder gets on the mic, bidding that we behold the Punjabi Prison, a colossal structure that will be the final resting place of Randy Orton’s legacy. He demands silence as the crowd gets a USA chant going, and the Singh Brothers explain the rules.
There are four doors on the inside cage, each attended to by a referee, and when instructed by a a wrestler, the door will open for sixty seconds, and once that sixty seconds has elapsed, the door shuts and will remain shut and never open again. The outer cage has no doors, and so the only way to win is to climb out of that one.
Jinder says to chant for Randy all you want, because he’s gonna take him to the top of the prison and then Khallas him to the mat. This Sunday, two men enter, but only one Modern Day Maharaja will leave. He cuts a promo in his native language of Punjabi.
Randy Orton’s music hits and he makes his way down the ramp. He says either Mahal is the bravest SOB he’s ever met or he’s just not all that bright. Choosing to be locked up in that prison with the viper. Making a conscious decision to be caged up like an animal with him, isolating any real advantage that he ever had, the Singh Brothers, the reason he won the title in the first place.
Orton gets casual and leans against the cage and reminds Jinder that there will be no running, no hiding, and you see, he has nothing to lose. He took his title, embarrassed his family, tried to take his dignity, and he left him for dead. Orton climbs part way up before continuing, telling Jinder that he has everything to lose, as the 50th WWE Champion ever.
Mahal has the weight of the entire country of India on his shoulders, the weight of 1.3 billion souls on his back. The Viper slithers further upward and asks what Jinder is gonna do when those 1.3 billion souls run wild on him and considers him a disgrace.
He reaches the top of the outer cage and says on Sunday that’s gonna be his view after he leaves Jinder’s jacked up ass in the ring, his view right before he takes back what’s his, and it’ll be his view when Mahal hears the words “and your new WWE Champion, Randy Orton” and realizes his fate. The two then stare each other down.
Commentary tells us that tonight John Cena will address his flag match, and our main event is Styles & Nakamura vs. Owens & Corbin, but first, the Usos are walking backstage as Jimmy Uso vs. Kofi Kingston is next after the break.
The New Day make their way to the ring as the match is up next.
Jimmy Uso def. Kofi Kingston: Kofi starts off fired up and stomps a mudhole in Uso in the corner. Kofi shakes his booty towards Uso then throws Uso outside. Kofi goes for a suicide dive on Uso but stalls on the top rope, then when Uso walks towards him he flips over onto Uso. Uso comes back with a slam onto the corner of the ring apron, then does it again.
Back in the ring, Uso stomps on Kofi and keeps him grounded with a choke. Kofi starts to come back but Uso drops him again with a spinning kick to the head. Uso charges at Kofi but Kofi stops him with flying knees. Kofi follows up with a dropkick and a flying clothesline, then the Boom Drop. Kofi goes for the Trouble In Paradise but Jimmy ducks and slams Kofi into the turnbuckle. Kofi and Jimmy trade strikes in the corner until Kofi drops Jimmy with a head-butt. Jey gets on the apron and distracts Kofi briefly. Kofi hits a flying cross-body on Jimmy off the top, but Uso rolls through and gets the pin on Kofi. The Usos retreat up the ramp as the New Day trash-talks them from the ring.
We go backstage where Shane McMahon is meeting with the women in the #1 contender’s match this Sunday. That’s five days from now, but tonight, he’s gotta figure out who’s going to give them a competitive match tonight. Charlotte Flair says it’s simple, after the inference last week, she wants to fight Lana.
Natalya calls her delusional and says she’s fighting Lana tonight. Shane says no one’s fighting Lana and Becky Lynch implies that she wants the match. Tamina calls her tea stupid and says nobody’s fighting Lana tonight. Nattie pitches a Lynch/Flair match and Charlotte says that won’t work because it wouldn’t be competitive.
Becky sputters and Charlotte says she’s beat her every time. McMahon says Nattie’s right and makes the match. So Becky and Charlotte will fight later on tonight.
Commentary informs us that we’ll be taking a look at Jason Jordan’s recent announcement and we will get a reaction from Chad Gable after the break.
Back from commercial, we get a video package that reveals the story behind the secret of Kurt Angle and his big reveal that Jason Jordan is actually his son.
And then we go backstage where Chad Gable is being interviewed. He says he didn’t expect his life was gonna get turned upside down like that and a little warning would have been nice, but Jason called him after and they talked it over. They do everything together on the road and he knew something was wrong, and Chad understood what he was going through.
As to what that means for Chad Gable, first he talks about all they’ve achieved together and puts Jordan over as a great guy and says he’ll still support him same as ever. As far as what’s next he has some ideas but he doesn’t want to ruin the surprise. This is a new beginning for Jason but also a chance for everyone to see Chad Gable on his own.
Mike and Maria Kanellis make their way to the ring as Mike has a match after the break.
Mike Kanellis def. Sami Zayn: Maria is at ringside in Mike’s corner for his SmackDown in-ring debut tonight. We see a recap of last week’s segment with Maria slapping Zayn then Mike smashing a vase over his head. Zayn starts off in control and beats on Kanellis until he rolls outside for a breather. Zayn drops Mike at ringside with a clothesline then takes him back in the ring, where Zayn clotheslines Mike right back to the outside.
Zayn throws Mike into the fan barricade, then takes Mike back into the ring for a T-bone suplex into the turnbuckle. Zayn gears up for the Heluva Kick, but Maria runs in the ring and stands in front of Mike. The ref orders Maria to leave, but she stalls. Mike takes advantage of the distraction with a sucker punch then hits the Divine Intervention for the win.
We are informed that John Cena will be out here after the break to address the WWE Universe.
Back from commercial, John Cena makes his entrance.
He heads to the ring, where the Bulgarian and US flags are hung on poles as they will be on Sunday. He says that the WWE Universe is excited because they know that Sunday they’ll see amazing things, titles on the line, the Women’s Revolution rolls on, the artist known as Shinsuke Nakamura and something you haven’t seen in ten years in the Punjabi Prison match.
But of all the things you will see, what will you remember? Cena says that you’ll remember the flag match. He talks about the outline of the match and the freedoms America stands for, including raising hell on SmackDown, and the reason you’ll remember the flag match is because you’ll remember either the victory of the United States or of Bulgaria.
He says that he knows he hasn’t always been our favorite son, there are people who don’t like him and that’s fair. But he thinks that tonight we can all agree that we all love the flag, and the question will be whether the flag flies or falls. He can already hear how we feel about that, and that rests squarely on his shoulders, and he wanted to come out here tonight to tell us that he’s ready.
He also says that he knows it’s not a typical match, that he has his work cut out for him, but he’s ready. He knows how everyone will feel if he can’t get it done, and look him dead in the eyes, he’ll promise that he’s ready. And if any of us were in his spot, we’d do the same thing, because the United States is a nation of fighters who stand for what they believe in and never give up.
The crowd chants USA and John says that’s because they believe in what he believes, that America fought for independence and fought to keep it, fought brother against brother, fought against the Axis Powers in World War II, in recession, depression, sit-ins, marches, the Cold War, all of it, every time the flag flew high. When the towers fell, in the end, the flag flew high.
And on Sunday, you’ll remember the same thing he does, and these colors don’t run, they kick ass. He retrieves the flag and pledges that on Sunday, the flag will fly high, giving it a few waves to make sure we know what that looks like. Rusev then blindsides Cena.
Rusev boots Cena in the face then locks Cena in the Accolade. Cena tries to fight his way up, but ultimately isn’t able to. Rusev drops Cena, then grabs the Bulgarian flag off the ring post and takes it up to the stage with him.
We are informed that Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair will face each other after the break.
Back from commercial, we head backstage where AJ Styles is getting ready for the main event when Shinsuke Nakamura enters. Shinsuke doesn’t want to talk strategy, which is fine, because they won the last time without any problems. Nor does he want to reminisce about Japan, he points to the United States Championship and says that one day he would like to take that from AJ Styles.
Becky and Charlotte make their way to the ring as their match is up next.
Becky Lynch def. Charlotte: Natalya is at ringside for this one. Becky goes for the Did-arm-her early on but Charlotte evades it. Charlotte takes control with a big boot and knee drops. Women’s Champ Naomi is backstage watching on a monitor. Charlotte goes for a Figure Four but Becky escapes, then comes off the middle rope with a flying forearm. Becky hits more strikes then a T-bone suplex.
Becky Lynch tries to lock in again another Dis-Arm-Her, but Flair counters with a chop block. Flair goes for a Natural Selection, but Becky gets the armbar for a second time, Charlotte then reverses it into a schoolboy pin only for a two count.
Charlotte hits a big boot for another near fall. Charlotte goes for moonsault, but Lynch reverses it and locks in the Dis-Arm-Her for the win.
After the match, Charlotte and Becky shake hands. Tamina and Lana come down to the ring as they together with Natalya attacks the baby-faces from behind. They clear out the baby-faces out and then fight amongst themselves, Lana saves Tamina from a Sharpshooter and Snuka runs Natalya over with a kick.
Commentary hypes up the WWE Network and this Sunday’s Battleground and then hypes our tag team main event, but up next, the Fashion X-Files, after the break.
Back from commercial, Naomi is being interviewed backstage.
She says although she won’t be defending the title on Sunday, she’ll be the first in the ring to congratulate her SummerSlam opponent, and she wants every match to be her biggest challenge, because she didn’t come here to play. No matter who it is, they better be ready to go, because when it’s glow time. Before she can finish what she was supposed to say Carmella enters and interrupts her.
Carmella holds her Money in the Bank briefcase in hand and she says that she just wanted to remind Naomi that everywhere she goes, she’ll be following, so see you at Battleground.
We then go the the Fashion X-Files. Breeze asks Fandango if he’s still up to this and says the Hype Bros are right, they have to get real and serious up. There are no such things as ghosts or aliens and they have to believe in sky-ence. Fandango hears an eerie wail that comes in the room as Tyler is telling him none of that exists but it’s just Aiden English warming up.
A delivery guy shows up and admits to turning the light on while they sputter over him being an alien. They take the package and Tyler opens it but won’t tell Fandango what’s in the box, telling him not to look, reach for it, or pull it out.
It is their toys from last week and it has a severed head. There’s a note inside that reads “Battleground!” Fandango says this ends Sunday and we get a graphic to send us off to the break.
The Tag-Team main event is coming up next after the break.
Back from commercial, Drew Gulak cuts a promo hyping up his 2/3 falls against Mustafa Ali tonight on 205 Live, pledging to ground Ali for good.
Kevin Owens & Baron Corbin def. AJ Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura: While Nakamura is making his entrance, Corbin runs down the ramp and hits Nakamura from behind. They brawl on the ramp, then Owens runs out and AJ runs in to meet him. They brawl all over the stage, then eventually AJ and Nakamura head to the ring and call Owens and Corbin down to start the match. All four men get in the ring and the ref calls for the bell. Styles and Corbin start off and Corbin goes for some high-flying offense early on but Corbin punches AJ out of the sky. Owens and Nakamura tag in and Nakamura stuns Owens with a kick to the head.
Nakamura follows up with a snapmare and a knee drop. Corbin gets a cheap shot on Nakamura, then Owens follows up with a senton bomb. Corbin tags in and works over Nakamura then knocks AJ off the apron. Nakamura starts firing up, but he gets distracted by Owens on the apron and boots Owens in the face. Nakamura turns around into a slam from Corbin, then Corbin pummels on him. Nakamura fires back with knees and a spinning heel kick. Owens and Styles get the tags and Styles tackles Owens then pummels on him. AJ hits a series of strikes and a clothesline, then a running forearm shot. Styles hits a big sit-out facebuster and Owens kicks out at two.
Owens tags in Corbin, and Styles quickly goes for the Calf Crusher on Corbin. Corbin gets out, then AJ elbows him in the face. Owens trips Styles from the outside, then Nakamura runs around and beats down Owens. Corbin rolls out and throws Nakamura into the timekeepers arena, then rolls back in the ring an attempts an End of Days on Styles. Styles escapes the move and hits some kicks on Corbin. Styles goes for the Styles Clash, but does not realize that Corbin is not the legal man. So, Owens breaks it up with a superkick. Owens follows up with the pop-up powerbomb for the win.
After the match, Owens and Corbin head back up the ramp as Nakamura stares them down from the ring and AJ recovers as Smackdown goes off the air.
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