WWE hyped a John Cena vs. Jinder Mahal match as one of its biggest main event matches in the history of SmackDown on this week's show, a somewhat strange thing to do considering Cena had just lost a match to Shinsuke Nakamura for the right to wrestle Mahal for the WWE championship at a much bigger show. It was also a non-title match. I'm not really sure how it qualified, in any way, as the biggest match ever in the show's history.
By the end of the night, it was clear the match was secondary to the angle they were planning to run at the tail end of it.
That angle being that Baron Corbin is a big ol' dummy.
It's clear WWE wanted to ensure neither Cena or Mahal lost this match. There were a million ways they could have accomplished this. They chose the one that makes Corbin, the Money in the Bank contract holder, look the worst.
Corbin, because he's a real big dummy, watched Cena hit Mahal with not one but two Attitude Adjustment's, the second of which came from the second rope. Instead of allowing Cena to pin the champ and take advantage right after, he actually broke it up and took his sweet time disposing of Cena before literally walking to the back. It took a minute for him to realize -- remember, he's dumber than a brick -- that he could, you know, take advantage of Cena, who beats everyone with his finisher, having used said finisher twice on the champion who was still down in the ring, just waiting to be pinned.
Then, when they finally rang the bell to start the match, Corbin, just the dumbest dumb person who ever dumbed, turned to attack Cena again and Mahal, who is not a big ol' dumbass, rolled him up for the pin to retain his title.
Cena's plan at SummerSlam should just be to stand across from Corbin, point behind him, and say "what's that over there?" Corbin, who couldn't be any dumber if he tried, would definitely look behind him, at which point Cena would hit the AA and get the pinfall right after.
There is no such thing as "good timing" with something like this but WWE couldn't have picked a worse time to lean in here.
Jinder Mahal opened the show to celebrate the fact that it was India's Independence Day. As WWE champion, he did so in a WWE ring, bringing out dancers and an older lady to sing the national anthem of India.
The fans booed this as loudly as they possibly could.
The problem, of course, is why they booed it. The only reason to boo Mahal here, and make no mistake it is the only reason, is xenophobia, just like he said. It's because he is different, and he celebrates in a different way, and the response to that, sad as it is, is hatred.
The timing is horrific because of very recent real world events illustrating exactly that but to much harsher consequences.
The only redeeming quality of the segment was how Shinsuke Nakamura's character was written. He interrupted to say that, yes, India is celebrating a day today, but Japan is using the day to commemorate those who died at war and to pray for peace. That's that. But this is here and now and for them they'll be in America come Sunday in a match for the WWE title and Mahal will lose that.
This was the most babyface reaction he could possibly have, essentially endorsing every culture and putting the focus on the wrestling match they're about to have and the spirit of the competition within that.
There's still no excuse for WWE doing this.
Natalya def. Becky Lynch: Nattie picked up a clean win while SmackDown Live Champion Naomi looked on. Carmella entered with James Ellsworth after and said that whoever wins the title actually loses because she has the briefcase. Assuming she's not a big ol' dumbo like Baron Corbin, perhaps she's right. This felt like WWE's way of telling the audience "hey, tune in, cause she's definitely cashing in Sunday night."
Tamina ... crush: Lana is going back to being a manager, this time for Tamina. The story is that Tamina can be great but she doesn't stand out in any way -- what they're saying without saying is that she's ugly, let's just be honest about that -- but Lana is the opposite of that, so she's going to use that to help advance both of their careers. Take that for what you will.
RKO OUTTA NOWHERE: You know, it's kind of amazing that it does, but Randy Orton hitting that RKO OUTTA NOWHERE still works. Rusev sold for it well and we got to see a little bit of Chad Gable pro wrestling the shit out of a match before it, so let's call this a win all around.
Incompetence: Because it wasn't clear enough last week, WWE booked another segment where they could illustrate as clearly as possible that Shane McMahon is not fit to referee the US title match he will be officiating at SummerSlam. This time he even threatened to assault one of the participants if they put their hands on him! He outright admitted he's going to handle things poorly and no one seems to care about this. In fact, it's being encouraged! It's fitting, in a way, considering this entire AJ Styles-Kevin Owens feud has been characterized by good wrestling followed by a complete breakdown of enforcing even the most basic rules.
Sweet Beets: Here's a weird thing -- General Manager Daniel Bryan willingly assisting The Usos by telling them what New Day pairing they will face at SummerSlam before then giving them the match they wanted against a different pairing on this show. All seemingly because he wants to be in a rap group with them. That's hilarious and good, because Daniel Bryan is the biggest dork and knowing he's a dad now makes it even better, but also strange.
Fashion Peaks: Again, I don't get it because I don't watch Twin Peaks, but anything for Breezango to get more time on television is good with me.
The Corbin cash-in fail will act as an endless source of entertainment. But that opening was a disaster.