The SmackDown Live after SummerSlam was absolutely jam packed. Bobby Roode debuted, Shelton Benjamin returned, and a tumultuous United States Championship match closed proceedings. We know it can't be that good every week, but seven days later WWE's Tuesday night show offered up the polar opposite of what it did last week. It would seem that much of WWE's focus is on building towards No Mercy in a little under four weeks, and with that being a Raw only show, SmackDown Live may have been a little overlooked. Picking out some big moments from Tuesday night's show was a tall order. We managed it though, and here they are.
Last week Bobby Roode made his long awaited glorious debut on the main roster by defeating Aiden English on SmackDown Live. This week, the former NXT Champion upped his game slightly by squaring off against Mike Kanellis. It may have been a tougher challenge for The Glorious One, but it was one he dealt with all the same. Roode made it two wins in as many weeks following his patented DDT on a fellow former TNA employee.
Kevin Owens has made no attempt to hide the fact that he is not a fan of WWE's referees. KO places the blame of him no longer being United States Champion firmly at the feet of the company's officials, and Shane McMahon, of course. Well, this week Owens held up SmackDown Live while he addressed Shane O Mac 'costing' him the US Championship last week. Shane quickly interjected and asked Owens to get out of the ring so that the next match could take place, Aiden English versus Sami Zayn. KO sat at the announce table instead, but a little while into the bout decided he couldn't sit back and watch what was terrible refereeing in his eyes. Owens took the ref's place, and also his shirt. Not known for being Zayn's biggest fan, The Prizefighter delivered a Pop Up Powerbomb to The Underdog and followed up with the fastest three count you've ever seen. Thankfully, McMahon struck the match from the record shortly afterward.
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Last week's SmackDown Live was a huge show when it came to returns, and debuts and one of the biggest was the WWE return of the extremely athletic Shelton Benjamin after it had been rumored for a while. This week marked the in-ring return of Benjamin, his first match on SmackDown Live in seven years. It was alongside Chad Gable, of course, as the former American Alpha member seems to have finally found a way to put the whole Jason Jordan situation behind him. The new pairing took on The Ascension in their first ever match together, and they worked like a well-oiled machine. Benjamin and Gable were never going to lose their first outing together, and some slick looking team work put an end to the match.
With Kevin Owens now unable to compete for the United States Championship again while AJ Styles is the champion, that freed The Phenomenal one up to finally stage his own open challenge for the title. This past Tuesday it was Tye Dillinger who answered the call, beating Baron Corbin to the punch after he had promised to take the opportunity earlier in the night. An irate Lone Wolf interrupted The Perfect 10's entrance in an attempt to fulfill his promise and answer the challenge, only for Dillinger to fight back and make it to the ring first. An adrenaline filled Dillinger went in a little too hard and fast on the champ and after almost hitting a Tye Breaker, but wound up in a calf crusher and was forced to tap out. A now even angrier Corbin dragged him from the ring and after throwing Dillinger into the barricade, tried to take his frustrations out on Styles but was sent careening from the ring by Styles for his troubles.
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A lot has changed since the short period that Rusev and Jinder Mahal teamed together. The Modern Day Maharajah used to be the lesser of the two but now is WWE Champion. What hasn't changed is the two foreign Superstars still don't make that great a team. In Tuesday night's main event, Rusev and Mahal were defeated by their respective enemies, Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura. Getting one up on The Viper and The Artist at the beginning of the night could not be replicated by The Bulgarian and The Champ. While Nakamura and Orton remained on the same page in their match, next week they will face each other with the winner earning a shot at Jinder's WWE Championship. Orton made sure to remind The King of Strong Style of that fact when he nailed Nakamura with an RKO as the curtain came down on SmackDown Live.
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