The July 9th episode of WWE SmackDown aired live from the SNHU Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire. It was the final episode of SmackDown before WWE Extreme Rules this Sunday night. In addition to the takeaways below, it was revealed that Cesaro will be Aleister Black’s opponent at Extreme Rules.
Here are 5 takeaways from this week’s SmackDown:
4Shinsuke Nakamura Dominated The Intercontinental Champion
Shinsuke Nakamura and Intercontinental Champion Finn Balor actually appeared on this week’s episode of SmackDown for a match against each other. Nakamura controlled the action early and trapped Balor in a Headlock in the middle of the ring as SmackDown went to a commercial break.
When SmackDown returned, Balor escaped the hold but Shinsuke dropped him with an Enziguri for a two count. Nakamura once again applied a Headlock but Balor broke free with a couple of jabs to the midsection. Finn knocked Shinsuke to the canvas and hit a Double Stomp.
Nakamura retreated to the corner and Finn greeted him with a chop. Balor dropped an elbow across Nakamura’s throat for a near fall. Shinsuke hung up Balor in the ropes and connected with a Sliding German Suplex. Nakamura geared up in the corner and went for the Kinshasa but Balor countered with a Slingblade. Balor climbed to the top rope but Nakamura tripped him up and delivered a knee to the ribs.
Shinsuke climbed up to the second rope and hit a knee strike that knocked Finn to the outside of the ring. Nakamura launched Balor into the ring post and rolled him back into the ring. Shinsuke brought Balor back to the outside and leveled him with the Kinshasa. Shinsuke got back into the ring as the referee started counting.
Finn got back into the ring at the last second and once again Nakamura brought him back outside the ring. Nakamura slammed Balor into the barricade and then into the steel steps. Nakamura booted Finn in the head and made his way back into the ring. Balor once again got back into the ring at the last moment and Nakamura hit him with another Kinshasa for the pinfall victory.
I’m not a fan of champions losing on television, but at the very least this match felt like it meant something for Nakamura’s future. The commentary made sure to point out that this match will give Nakamura confidence going forward. Owens has deserved more than hosting useless episodes of the Kevin Owens Show and Nakamura should have always been featured in a prominent role on WWE television.