SmackDown LIVE kicks off with one of the new acquisitions from RAW in the Superstar Shake-Up as former four-time RAW Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair makes her way to the ring. Charlotte says that she’s been a part of SmackDown LIVE for seven days and she’s already tired of waiting, asking if Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan went on Summer vacation early. Charlotte then says that she is the “greatest Superstar” to step foot in the ring, asking how she hasn’t been given a shot at the SmackDown Women’s Title yet, asking what is taking so long. This brings out SmackDown Women’s Champion Naomi, who tells Charlotte that she’s been watching her for a very long time and she hates to see Charlotte out here “begging” like this.
Naomi then says that she’s going to give Charlotte what she wants because she’s never “scared” so they’re going to do this right here, right now. With this, Naomi attacks Charlotte Flair, getting the better of the former champion, sending Charlotte out of the ring. SmackDown LIVE Commissioner Shane McMahon then comes out, saying that Superstars have to “earn” their opportunities on SmackDown LIVE before announcing that, tonight, Charlotte Flair will go one-on-one with SmackDown Women’s Champion Naomi in a non-title match and, if Charlotte wins, then she will get a shot at the SmackDown Women’s Title next week. Following this announcement, Charlotte would get back into the ring, attacking Naomi and taking the champion down. Charlotte then holds up the SmackDown Women’s Title before Naomi retaliates, again getting the better of Charlotte, sending Charlotte out of the ring before holding up her SmackDown Women’s Title.
The opening match of the night would decide a new #1 Contender for the WWE Championship as Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan, Jinder Mahal, Mojo Rawley, Luke Harper, and Sami Zayn would compete in a Six Pack Challenge where the first Superstar to score a pinfall or submission will earn a shot at the WWE Championship at next month’s Backlash pay-per-view. During the match, Dolph Ziggler would catch Sami Zayn with a super kick as well as Luke Harper, but Harper would respond with a discus clothesline to Dolph. Erick Rowan then takes out Luke Harper before Rowan and Jinder Mahal take each other out. Mojo Rawley then gets back into the ring, taking Jinder out with a shoulder tackle before Sami Zayn sends Mojo out of the ring. Harper then tosses Sami out before taking out Sami, Jinder, and Mojo with back-to-back dives before Dolph tries to a dive of his own, but Ziggler is intercepted by Erick Rowan, who levels Dolph with a big boot, nearly putting Ziggler away. Rowan then uses Dolph to take out the opposition, powerbombing Ziggler to the outside on top of the other four Superstars.
Later on in the match, former tag team partners Luke Harper and Erick Rowan would face-off with Rowan getting the better of Harper before Dolph re-enters the fray with the Zig Zag to Erick Rowan, but Rowan is able to kick out. Harper then plants Dolph with a sit-out powerbomb, but Ziggler is able to kick out. Jinder Mahal then pulls Harper out of the ring, sending Harper into the steel steps before Sami Zayn takes Jinder Mahal out and dives to the outside to take out Harper. Mojo Rawley then takes Erick Rowan out on the outside before Sami is able to take Mojo out. Back in the ring, Sami hits his signature suplex in the corner before sizing Jinder Mahal up for the Helluva Kick. However, this is when two mysterious men show up at ringside, holding onto the legs of Sami Zayn! The actions of these apparent associates of Jinder Mahal would give Jinder the opening he needed as Jinder hits Sami with a Cobra Clutch slam, pinning Sami to pick up the upset victory to earn himself a match against Randy Orton for the WWE Championship at Backlash!
After the match, Jinder Mahal is interviewed about the biggest win of his career, saying that the fans boo him because he’s not the “typical All-American” before saying that Americans do not accept “diversity” but they will have no choice but to accept him as the next WWE Champion. However, this brings out WWE Champion Randy Orton as the champion tells Jinder Mahal that he’s won the lottery but his “prize” won’t be the WWE Title. The champion then says that the only prize that Jinder Mahal has earned is an RKO. Orton then says that, before he puts his hands on Jinder Mahal, he has another “thorn” in his side in the form of Bray Wyatt. Orton then addresses his Payback opponent, saying that he doesn’t know what a House of Horrors Match is, but he will burn it down just like he burnt down the Wyatt compound. Bray Wyatt then appears on the Tron, telling Randy Orton that all of the pain he’s endured has been at Randy’s hands. Bray then says that Orton may walk into the House of Horrors as “The Viper”, but he will “never walk out” before telling the WWE Champion to “run”.
Following a confrontation earlier in the night, the SmackDown Women’s Champion was in action on SmackDown LIVE as Naomi would go one-on-one with Charlotte Flair in a non-title match and, if Charlotte wins, she will earn a shot at the SmackDown Women’s Title next week. In the end, it was Charlotte Flair avoiding the Rear View before hitting Naomi with Natural Selection, pinning the SmackDown Women’s Champion to earn a shot at the SmackDown Women’s Title on next week’s SmackDown LIVE.
After they were ambushed by Primo & Epico on last week’s SmackDown LIVE, American Alpha would be out for revenge as American Alpha would face Primo & Epico in tag team action. In the end, it was Primo catching Jason Jordan with a kick to the head before Epico rolls Jordan up to pick up the win for The Colons.
Before he defends the United States Championship against RAW’s Chris Jericho a week from this Sunday at Payback, United States Champion Kevin Owens would make an appearance on SmackDown LIVE for the first ever Face of America Open Challenge. After introducing himself, Kevin Owens would go one-on-one with local competitor Gary Gandy. The United States Champion would make quick work of the competitor, hitting the Pop-Up Powerbomb and pinning Gary Gandy for the win. After the match, Kevin Owens says that, as long as he’s the United States Champion, he will remain the “Face of America” before saying that Chris Jericho is not going to take that away from him and AJ Styles is not going to take that away from him.
With United States Champion Kevin Owens a guest on commentary, the main event of the evening would see the #1 Contender for the United States Title, AJ Styles, go one-on-one with “The Lone Wolf” Baron Corbin. During the match, AJ Styles would lock in the Calf Crusher on Baron Corbin, but Corbin is able to get to the bottom rope to break the hold before “The Lone Wolf” hits AJ with the Deep Six, but Styles kicks out. The fight then spills to the outside as AJ Styles looks to hit Baron Corbin with the Styles Clash on the floor, but Corbin counters, backdropping “The Phenomenal One” on top of Kevin Owens! Styles then tosses Corbin over the barricade before getting back into the ring just in time to win the match by count-out. After the match, AJ Styles would celebrate his victory as Kevin Owens is left seething at ringside.
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