Attempting to gain a measure of redemption against Rusev after falling to The Bulgarian Brute several weeks ago, Chad Gable bounded to the ring ready to go toe-to-toe with his much larger adversary. However, Rusev, who seemed intent on making a lasting impression on Randy Orton heading into their match at SummerSlam this Sunday, brutalized Gable in and out of the ring, hurling him over the announce table before the bout could get rolling. Rusev then viciously applied The Accolade on Gable on top of the commentary desk.
Following the beating, Rusev brazenly addressed The Apex Predator, but he immediately felt the devastating effects of an RKO out of nowhere when Orton suddenly appeared to take down the brute.
The message heading into their match this Sunday from The Viper to Rusev was crystal clear: It only takes one.
After dropping SmackDown LIVE Commissioner Shane McMahon with a Pele Kick in what appeared to be an accident last week, United States Champion AJ Styles attempted to apologize to Shane-O-Mac. Although Shane accepted, the matter quickly escalated when the Commissioner let The Phenomenal One know that although he believed last week to be an accident, there would be issues if Styles put his hands on him Sunday.
This didn’t sit well with Styles, and Kevin Owens arrived on the scene to try and prod the two further. After a cavalcade of chaos, the roles were reversed this week, as KO accidentally hit Shane with a head-ringing kick that sent the Commissioner to the canvas.
Owens was irate, Styles seemed to take some small satisfaction in the mistake and Shane began to realize that he would have his hands full on Sunday.
In a first-time-ever encounter, John Cena clashed with WWE Champion Jinder Mahal in one of the biggest main events in SmackDown history.
With the animosity off the charts and both Superstars looking to make quite the statement heading into SummerSlam, Cena and Mahal took it to one another, with The Cenation Leader also having to fend off The Singh Brothers, who were lurking at ringside. However, the odds were evened when the official ejected Sunil & Samir after they tried to get involved.
The Modern-Day Maharaja and the 16-time World Champion continued to scrap it out, with Mahal gritting through and even managing to kick out of an Attitude Adjustment. However, following Cena connecting on Mahal with a Super AA from the turnbuckles, Baron Corbin rushed out and attacked The Cenation Leader before he could capitalize and pin Mahal. The Lone Wolf then proceeded to assault Cena, knocking him down with the Money in the Bank briefcase.
After exiting the ring, Corbin realized the amount of damage Mahal had absorbed and bolted back to the squared circle to cash in his Money in the Bank contract. The Lone Wolf handed the contract to the official, and the bell rang as soon as a staggered Mahal used the ropes to struggle back to his feet. However, Cena began to stir on the ring apron, so Corbin knocked him down with a firm punch to the face. The distraction allowed Mahal to sneak up behind The Lone Wolf and roll him up for the shocking pinfall.
In one of the most jaw-dropping moments in SmackDown LIVE history, Corbin’s Money in the Bank contract opportunity evaporated in mere seconds. Mahal heads to The Biggest Event of the Summer with his WWE Title in tow, while Corbin’s match with Cena this Sunday just got far more personal.
In other action … WWE Champion Jinder Mahal and Shinsuke Nakamura exchanged heated words to kick off SmackDown LIVE … Natalya def. Becky Lynch … and The Usos def. The New Day.