John Cena makes a surprise appearance and no one cares about the WWE Championship.
Here are the major takeaways from Smackdown Live for July 11 in San Antonio, Texas:
- A.J. Styles is bringing back to United States Championship open challenge. His first challenger this week was non other than the originator of the open challenge – John Cena. But of course we didn’t get this match for free, it led to a tag team match with Styles and Cena teaming up to take on Kevin Owens and Rusev. It’s incredible that these four men are all in a story that has nothing to do with the WWE Championship. Styles made it clear in his opening promo that he wants the U.S. title to feel just as big as any other championship. Any if you’ve been watching Smackdown since the superstar shakeup, it’s clear that’s what creative is going for. It wants two top level titles. The open challenge will hopefully be fun and a nice way to get some other competitors in the ring with Styles but if we are going to continue with Kevin Owens as the “New Face of America” it seems like it will still be Styles and Owens going at it at least for the near future.
- Then it’s time to get the main event guys in the WWE Championship picture. Because it is getting extremely stale. Jinder Mahal defeated Tye Dillinger but I’m not sure what that proves. We have the WWE Champion fighting meaningless matches and cutting the same exact promo each week while all the top stars of Smackdown Live are off doing there own things. It’s time for Mahal and Orton to wrap up their feud at Battleground so everyone can move on.
- Speaking of top stars – Shinsuke Nakamura and Baron Corbin decided tonight was not going to be the night we saw the two collide for the first time in singles action. Which is good. I was curious to see how this would be booked, and I think they did a great job. Nakamura did not give Corbin a chance to even get in the ring before he attacked him on the ramp. Officials came out to break the two apart with Nakamura returning to the ring where he challenged the Lone Wolf to get in the ring. Corbin decided to back down and head backstage. It seems likely that we will get Nakamura versus Corbin at Battleground which will be a crucial match for Shinsuke who has not really had the chance to show off what he can do on the main roster.
- Tamina picked up another pinfall tonight in a tag match in which she teamed up with Natalya to take on Becky Lynch and Charlotte. Tamina has been booked strong and appears to have some sort of partnership building up with Lana. Despite the booking however, Tamina is falling flat with the live crowds. I’m not alone with saying I just do not care about her one bit and she has not given me a reason to care. She will be part of a number one contender match involving the other women on Smackdown at Battleground but I can only hope she helps Lana secure the victory.