AJ Styles vs Kevin Owens (US Title) - Starting off the show with a match. Novel idea. This was a really good match with an expectedly dubious finish. There is a horrendously executed ref bump where Owens is meant to hit the ref but the ref takes a few steps back and Owens misses. Following this Styles gets a roll up and the ref counts three even though Owens' shoulders are up for the entire count. They play off the fact that the referee can't see because he was punched in the eye. It's a shame the finish was so poorly executed.
The referee meets with Shane O'Mac and Daniel Bryan. Shane tells him to learn how to do his job better. Owens turns up and is understandably livid. She throws the ref into some plunder that is lying around and demands a rematch. Shane agrees to let him have the match at Summerslam but that isn't enough for Owens as he also wants a competent referee. Bryan says that Shane should be the ref and Shane agrees. Owens says Shane is the worst possible person. Shane has plenty of refereeing experience. That was his first job in the company. Here he is at the 1991 Royal Rumble.
There was a recap of the Usos beating down the New Day. The Usos then enter with a New Day style entrance. They run down the New Day and make some gay jokes. It was a thing.
Next up we get Fashion Peaks. I love Twin Peaks and this nails how fucking mental it is. Some really good David Lynch references on the bulletin board. We get backwards talking Fandango and a damn fine cup of coffee. The Ascension pour some maple syrup on a log and Breeze says 'No wonder this got canceled the first time around'. Good stuff.
Sami Zayn vs Aiden English - English's singing gimmick lasts longer than the match. English beats Sami in under 2 minutes. I'm not sure why. Maybe they are giving him a push. The crowd do fucking hate his gimmick. Following the match Mike & Maria Kanellis come out to make fun of Sami.
Naomi & Becky Lynch vs Natalya & Carmella - Here comes Naomi and her Poundland belt (for any non British people reading this, Poundland is a shop where everything costs £1). This match was the very definition of OK. Naomi picked up the submission victory over Carmella (or as Byron Saxton said, Kamala).
Renee Young interviews Jinder Mahal. He gives zero fucks about who wins tonight's main event. He says that all he experiences is xenophobia and he will defeat all the heroes.
Rusev vs Chad Gable - This was really good. I actually think that Gable has a better upside than Jason Jordan. Jordan has the look though. Gable has looked good in all of his singles outings so far and I would like to see them give him the slow build. Rusev picked up the win after hitting a superkick and applying the Accolade.
After the match Rusev demands an opponent for Summerslam. Randy Orton comes out to accept the challenge. He gets a good pop. Rusev spits some hot fire in Bulgarian but Orton doesn't appreciate it and hits an RKO.
Jinder is in his personal skybox to watch the main event.
John Cena vs Shinsuke Nakamura (Number 1 Contenders Match) - This is a match that I was genuinely excited for and thankfully it didn't disappoint. This was a great main event (around the **** level). The crowd is fully invested, as they were for most of the night, and that helped make this feel special. Nakamura kicks out of an AA, Cena hits a second AA but doesn't go for the pin and tries to hit a third but Nakamura counters. Nakamura hits an Xploder which causes Cena to land directly on his head, which looks nasty as fuck. Cena is fine though and Nakamura hits the Kinshasa for the win. I think if they were given a bit more time they could put on something very special. Following the match Cena congratulates Nakamura.
This was a really good episode of Smackdown. Enjoyable and easy to watch throughout, with three really good matches to boot. Hopefully they can keep it up through Summerslam.