Following an out-of-control melee with Baron Corbin exclusively on WWE Network last week after SmackDown LIVE went off the air, John Cena kicked off tonight’s show by addressing his loss to Shinsuke Nakamura. Cena quickly shifted his focus, however, as The Lone Wolf made his way onto the stage, and the two Superstars immediately started trading verbal barbs.
The heated exchange between the brash Corbin and the 16-time World Champion led to The Leader of The Cenation challenging Mr. Money in a Bank to an impromptu fight, though Corbin didn’t seem too keen on the idea and started to make his exit.
However, SmackDown LIVE General Manager Daniel Bryan hit the scene to announce that the two Superstars would indeed settle the score in a one-on-one bout at SummerSlam!
In what could be an omen of what’s to come in the SmackDown LIVE Women’s division, Naomi took on Carmella in a non-title match. Carmella was in an uproar after Naomi had defeated her in tag team competition last week, and she wanted to even the score in tonight’s singles bout.
Ms. Money in the Bank was certainly feeling the glow at several points throughout the contest, but the pivotal moment came when James Ellsworth (who’s suspension ended late last week) appeared out of nowhere and threw Naomi off the top rope behind the official’s back, allowing Carmella to defeat Naomi with a vicious superkick to the jaw.
The Princess of Staten Island and Ellsworth celebrated up the ramp with glee, as Carmella only continued to make her case that she is a legitimate threat to the SmackDown Women’s Championship, especially as the cunning keeper of the Money in the Bank contract.
Randy Orton and Jinder Mahal rekindled their longstanding rivalry in a grudge match, competing against one another for the first time ever on SmackDown LIVE and for the first time since The Great Khali cost The Viper the chance to regain the WWE Championship from The Modern-Day Maharaja by interfering in their Punjabi Prison Match at WWE Battleground.
After earning the right to challenge Mahal for the WWE Title at SummerSlam by defeating John Cena last week on SmackDown LIVE, Shinsuke Nakamura observed Team Blue’s epic main event from backstage.
With great familiarity and the personal fire still burning strong from their battles over the WWE Championship, neither The Viper nor The Modern-Day Maharaja wasted any time in throwing down in the Team Blue main event. The two Superstars traded blows with great ferocity, and with The Singh Brothers recovering from recent injuries and not in the arena, Orton broke through by reversing Mahal’s Khallas into a ring-shaking RKO outta nowhere for the win.
The Apex Predator didn’t have too long to celebrate, however, as his SummerSlam opponent, Rusev, suddenly bolted onto the stage and blindsided him with a devastating kick to the head, leaving The Viper down as SmackDown LIVE concluded. Orton may have vanquished one foe, but a new challenge clearly awaits.
In other action … The Usos def. Sami Zayn & Tye Dillinger … Charlotte Flair def. Lana … and Shane McMahon’s announced his “Rules of Engagement.”