Shinsuke Nakamura vs Dolph Ziggler
Nakamura's main roster debut, the focus of nearly all the promotion for this show...and it's the first match. I assume so the crowd wouldn't be singing his song all show. However, I would like to point out that about 2 weeks before this, Dolph Ziggler had a match that Sin Cara that Sin Cara dominated and Ziggler had to cheat to win. This was after months of feuding with Apollo Crews (African-American) and Kalisto (Mexican), while he adopted wearing American flags and having the logo of the Gadsen flag on his tights as well. And now he's being a huge disrespectful dickhead to another minority co-worker. It's a weirdly subtle racism gimmick in that they haven't actually mentioned it as such on screen. Although, when you have the racist heel who fans are completely sick of, and he gets "Thank you Ziggler" chants for beating on two minorities with a chair, maybe it's better that they don't bring attention to it. But that's where we're at, a Dolph Ziggler who has spent most of this year having trouble with and losing to lower mid carders, who is now smothering Nakamura in the ring. And it's not a particularly good match. Ziggler's whole thing seems to be do something really basic like a headlock or elbow drop, then standing around screaming that HE'S THE MAN, then just standing around trying to figure out what to do next. If you were expecting some big MOTY type stuff like the Nak/Sami match, first off why would you expect that out of Dolph Ziggler, and second this is just a SD main event on PPV. Nakamura wins with the kinshasa.
TO THE BACK. AJ Styles gets warmed up.
THE FASHION FILES. Fandango is up to his knees in Fashion Felonies, needing his partner, Tyler Breeze. A janitor walks in. It was Tyler Breeze in disguise. SWERVE!
Breezango vs Usos WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championships
Fandango seems to have brought that janitor with him. The janitor enters the ring. He's still got his mop. That's an international object, ref. MOP MOP MOP MOP MOP MOP. The mop is now the most over competitor in this match. And Breeze is allowed to use the mop for some reason. I mean, the janitor. Jey broke the mop. UCE, PLS. Lmao at Breeze slowly rolling back and forth to avoid the Superfly splash. "You about to get this work." The janitor disappears and now an old lady is up on the apron, getting tagged into the ring. "Let's go grandma." Lmao. Jimmy threw the dress and it somehow managed to hit JBL in the face. JBL then makes a joke about a hooker and the announce crew completely loses it and never regains composure. Breezango nearly scores the upset multiple times, and this is a legitimately fun and funny comedy match that everyone involved with (wrestlers, crowd, announcers) seemed to very much enjoy themselves during. Usos barely win after superkicking Fandango off the ropes. Titles retained.
Sami Zayn vs Baron Corbin
I feel like Sami wearing what appears to be anti-Trump tights when he's an immigrant of Syrian descent and there's a McMahon in Trump's cabinet is a bold move. Sami somehow hurts his lower back on a dropkick, and that becomes the focus of the match. I feel like every god damn Sami match has him injuring himself to set up the rest of the match. Kind of hard to take it seriously when he does it every match. This is pretty dull despite Corbin's aggressive cuntiness and Sami's great babyface selling. Idk, it just isn't clicking for me. Sami won withe the helluva kick OUTTA NOWHERE.
TO THE BACK. The Maharajah of Muscles, the Juicy One, the King of Lions, Jinder Mahal arrives. This dude looks BALLER as fuck. Great suit, great turban, great beard. "Chicago is full of haters. America is full of haters." You ain't wrong, Jinder. "You hate me for who you think I am. You hate me for the way that I look. You hate me for the way that I talk." You still ain't lying, my man. He's gonna turn all that negativity into goodness. Dude is just proud of his people.
Charlotte/Naomi/Becky Lynch vs Carmella/Natalya/Tamina
Lmao, James Ellsworth did introductions, calling himself the Michael Jordan of sports entertainment and the "Excelsior of elocution". Becky's hair is...interesting. Braided sides with a pompadour on top, looking like some kind of Last of the Mohicans mullet. I'm not sure why Charlotte was immediately turned face upon being drafted to Smackdown, but here we are. This is a pretty messy match, with LOTS of missed strikes from everyone. Naomi spent most of the match as FIP, which is weird since she's the champion. Nattie made Becky tap to the sharpshooter.
Kevin Owens vs AJ Styles WWE US Championship
AJ is fired the fuck up. Hopefully KO can find a balance between absurd spotfest and nothing but chinlocks. AJ tweaked his knee on SD, and Owens keeps trying to go after it. Fucking lol at KO getting stuck trying to roll off from doing a senton. On and off through a number of chinlocks, AJ hits the Urshigoroshi and re-tweaks his knee. Because KO is fat, you see. God, I have no idea why that crazy pumphandle neckbreaker isn't KO's finisher. It looks so much more brutal than the papa powerbomb. I suppose he can't do it to everyone, but if they can pretend that him doing the pop up powerbomb to Mark Henry wasn't ridiculous, anything is possible. KO finally gets his opening and blasts AJ's leg against the post, now getting to stay on destroying the leg. I've seen a lot of dudes try to do the "slipped off the ropes while jumping" spot, and no one has ever done it as convincingly and cool looking as AJ. He also hits a HORRIBLE looking apron suplex where KO straight up landed on the lip of the apron. Man, I really wish apron spots would die off. They're already reaching critical mass in WWE and they've only been being used regularly for about 2 years. They're on every show now. Anyway, AJ tried to hit a Styles Clash on the announce table, but his leg fell into one of the monitor holes. His foot got tangled up in cables underneath and he was unable to make it back to the ring before the 10 count. Title retained.
Luke Harper vs Erick Rowan
Wyatt Family EXPLODES....again. In theory, this could be a solid HOSS match. In practice, Rowan sucks and this is a blatant cool down match. I'm not sure what the hell is going on with Harper. He's gotten into the best shape of his career, and he ended the go home show to WM in a match against the champion. Now he's back to floundering and getting stuck with Rowan again. Harper won with a spinning elbow.
Randy Orton vs Jinder Mahal WWE Championship
I love that Jinder's whole thing is that Americans are hypocrites who claim they accept diversity, until they get it, then they hate on dudes for not being stereotypes they're comfortable with...and the crowds boo him for that instead of being a cheating heel. But holy shit, his theme is fucking amazing. These veins. Dude LOOKS like a fucking star. He carries himself like a fucking star. Most importantly, he looks and sounds like he believes everything he says, which is just as important as twerkrate. I buy that this dude legitimately thinks he should be champion. Randy attacks during introductions. He's lost his temper. That temper that hasn't been brought up in years. Randy just beats that ass around ringside, and then the match officially begins. Jinder ain't fidna to be hindered tonight and goes after Randy's chronically injured shoulders. Weathered the storm and is now in control. Holy shit, dueling chants for Jinder. I don't know what the fuck Orton's deal is, but he's being reckless as fuck throwing Jinder around the tables. This is certainly Jinder's career performance. It's not like he's known for being particularly good, but he's brought his A game. Orton, weirdly enough, is also putting in more effort than he has in probably 3 years. He's having a better match with Jinder than he did with AJ Styles, if you can believe it. RKO OUTTA NOWHERE!!! BANG! The Bollywood Boyz pull Jinder out of the ring, and Randy absolutely fucking murders them. Particularly one, who he throws so fucking recklessly on the tables that the dude flips in the air, lands right on his fucking head, and Orton actually walks away wincing because he knew he fucked that up. Jesus Christ. That was disgusting. The fuck, man? He goes on to also drop them straight on their heads on the hanging DDT. The fuck is wrong with you, Randy? Instead of just falling back like he normally does, he starts to fall back then jerked down, so instead of being able to land flat, they both had no time to adjust and hit the mat at bad angles. Jinder hit the Khallas. HOLY SHIT JINDER MAHAL IS THE WWE CHAMPION! Lmao, it's like the streak just ended again. These crowd reactions. Also lmao at Jinder walking around the whole fucking arnea celebrating while the Bollywood Boyz are dead on the floor. LOLOLOLOL a THANK YOU JINDER chant breaks out.
Look, I'm not going to pretend that Jinder Mahal is a great wrestler. He's not. He's pretty average. But this dude went from being a comedy character having to get drunk nightly to deal with being so miserable, to getting cut, to getting hired back just to be filler, to completely recreating himself and talking/looking/carrying himself like a star to being the champion less than a year later. If you can't respect that, you ain't shit. All these people talking about how unfair it is because he's juicing (because obviously he's the only person on the WWE roster on gear) or because the expansion into India and how he doesn't "deserve" his push like guys like Cesaro and Sami Zayn do are shitbirds.
People act like Jinder came out of nowhere and was some WWE product. He wasn't. He spent 10 years on the indies, but his time and toiling doesn't count because it wasn't for "real" indies that people have heard of. Even though he has a very strong connection to Stampede Wrestling, having been trained by Bad News Allen and his uncle, The Great Gama, as well as working in the 2000s revival alongside Tyson Kidd, Natalya, and Harry Smith, even working with Samoa Joe in Canada. For some reason, THEIR journies count, but his doesn't. But this isn't uncommon. There is a whole host of talent on the roster right now that didn't come up through the indies and therefore don't "deserve" their spots. It just happens that almost all of them tend to be black, brown, or non-American.
Examples: The Usos, Roman Reigns, Naomi Nia Jax, Tamina, Arya Daivari, Mustafa Ali, Sheamus for most of his WWE career until he started teaming with Cesaro (despite him being a big star on the UK indie scene before coming to WWE), the Colons despite their pedigree and not even getting screen time for months at a time, the Authors of Pain until about a month before this show.
Fascinatingly, WWE has managed to recontextualize the foreign heel into being foreign not only due to his color or background, but foreign to the rigors and credibility of the independent scene. Not that it was intentional by any means, but it happened organically on the basis of who has been hired and pushed over the past few years. It just happens that wrestling fans also still have a lot of racism in their hearts, so Jinder is getting heat from both levels, and he's a fresh and completely unexpected face in the main event scene. He's got the look, he's got the swag, he's got the body, he's decent enough in the ring that good layouts can lead to good matches. I fully support this decision. #MaharajahOfMuscles #JuicyJinder #KingOfLions #PunjabPrince #SikhSet