AJ Styles vs. Tye Dillinger
Dillinger and Styles did battle on Smackdown Live to kick off the first of three championship matches. Tye Dillinger took advantage early and often on Styles, working him over with a combination of left hands and kicks into the corner. He would continue the beating until Baron Corbin came out and tried to interfere. AJ Styles hit a Phenomenal Elbow on Corbin, which allowed Dillinger to roll him up for a near fall of two. He would hit Tye Breaker and get another close call, almost winning the United States Championship. Styles was able to roll through a pinfall attempt and lock in the Calf Crusher, getting Dillinger to tap out. After the match, Corbin attacked and said that he is getting his championship match next week.
This match did plenty right. It made Dillinger look like a worthy opponent to the best performer in the world. It also showed us that AJ Styles can beat guys in a multitude of ways, keeping him fresh and always unpredictable on how his matches end, as well as making sure we knew Baron Corbin was next in line. I really enjoyed this match from top to bottom and was Dillinger’s best outing since being called up to Smackdown. I would love to see him get a push from this, but there is so much depth for a two hour show that makes me think otherwise. Great match tonight to kick off the action inside of the ring on Smackdown Live.
Jinder Mahal Mocks Shinsuke Nakamura
The champion comes out with The Singh Brothers and shows pictures of Nakamura’s face in bad moments, which leads to Mahal making fun of Nakamura. He then warns Nakamura about trying to become champion because the fans will turn on him because of the language barrier and how he is not American. The champion leaves with a grin on his face and the championship in the air.
Although I was expecting Nakamura to come out, I thought this was very interesting. Mahal and Nakamura are very different and the only similarity is the fact that they are both from another country. This is a smart, yet challenging, decision for WWE to try and persuade fans that they should always be cheering Shinsuke. The fans laughed in the crowd about his face, which is not what they want. They did, however, finally boo the champion when he began to speak in Punjab.
Shinsuke does not need to talk as much as everyone else because of everything he has going for him. Fans love him because what he does in the ring and the mic work can come in time. Putting on great matches, especially in 70 percent of cities WWE hosts Smackdown Live in is what the fans really care about these days. They have so many other stories that are told through mic work where tonight was good, but not extremely important in the grand scheme of things.