WWE SmackDown Results: Biggest Winners, Losers and Moments from July 11
The march to Battleground on July 23 continued Tuesday night as SmackDown Live was devoted to building the card and highlighting the Superstars who will compete in that night's marquee bouts.
Properly spotlighted was WWE champion Jinder Mahal, who defeated Tye Dillinger in a competitive match that continued legitimizing The Modern Day Maharaja as a main event Superstar.
Joining him were Shinsuke Nakamura and Baron Corbin, who intensified their rivalry and booked their tickets to Philadelphia for a monumental match on the upcoming pay-per-view card.
Breezango rounded out this week's winners because, well, they are awesome.
Not so lucky this week was the SmackDown women's division, which has descended into monotony thanks to repetitive multi-women matches that achieve nothing and a complete lack of character development.
Joining it was another critically acclaimed element of the blue brand, Kevin Owens, whose recent losses are not reflective of the star he is.
Winner: Jinder Mahal
Tuesday night, Jinder Mahal looked and felt like the WWE champion for the first time in his reign.
Squaring off with "The Perfect 10" Tye Dillinger, Mahal exhibited a precision and tenaciousness he has not been allowed to this point. The Modern Day Maharaja cut a hungry and determined Dillinger off at every turn, negating every comeback attempt and finishing him off with The Khallas.
The layout of Tuesday's match allowed Mahal to look like a champion rather than an unprepared midcard talent who lucked into his spot at the top of the SmackDown roster. He looked more confident, proved he could keep up with an energetic and beloved hero like Dillinger and cut a strong post-match promo in which he adequately sold the upcoming Punjabi Prison match.
For Mahal, his display on the July 11 episode of SmackDown Live represented his finest showing to date as WWE champion, and considering the high-profile gimmick match that awaits him in the bloodthirsty city of Philadelphia, it could not have come at a better time.
Loser: SmackDown Women's Division
Tuesday night, Shane McMahon announced a Fatal 5-Way match for the Battleground pay-per-view in which the winner will be the rightful No. 1 contender to Naomi's SmackDown Women's Championship.
Under most circumstances, that would be a welcome addition to any card. Unfortunately for the blue brand, individual stories and character development have been sacrificed for repetitive multi-women matches that rarely accomplish anything.
Since April and Charlotte's arrival to the brand, the writing staff has appeared content to let the women battle in the same matches, with the same stakes, with little to resolution. How many times did Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Natalya and Tamina battle for the right to challenge Naomi?
Who actually got the title shot? Lana.
With McMahon's announcement of the Battleground match, fans are once again faced with a cluster of women fighting for a title opportunity with little or no reason to care about any of them.
They just show up, wrestle the same match every week with little variation and move on to the next town.
It is detrimental to the overall success of the division and makes women's champion Naomi look bad because she ultimately lacks a true No. 1 contender to help legitimize her reign.
The division is a mess heading into Battleground. Hopefully there are plans in place to help flesh it out a bit come July 23.
Winners: Shinsuke Nakamura and Baron Corbin
From the moment Baron Corbin attacked Shinsuke Nakamura following a victory over Kevin Owens on the June 6 episode of SmackDown Live, The Lone Wolf and King of Strong Style have been embroiled in a rivalry that escalated at the June 18 Money in the Bank pay-per-view, where Corbin brutally assaulted Nakamura prior to the namesake ladder match.
Corbin would ultimately win that bout, and the guaranteed title opportunity that came with it, but he has been unable to focus on cashing in because of the lingering, unresolved issues with Nakamura.
Tuesday night, they were set to bring their rivalry to a head, but Nakamura had other plans.
The Artist attacked Corbin before the match could even begin, instigating a brawl around ringside and into the audience that needed referees and producers to break it up. Later in the night, it was announced that the pair will settle their differences at Battleground in Philadelphia.
The brawl Tuesday night was an intense one that properly sold the disdain the Superstars have for each other. It also put over the anger Corbin has unleashed in Nakamura, something he will have to confront on July 23.
Loser: Kevin Owens
The New Face of America lost the United States Championship last Saturday night in Madison Square Garden, dropping the title to AJ Styles in a non-televised match. Just days later, he entered SmackDown Live and got the jump on Styles during a show-opening promo.
His Popup Powerbomb of The Phenomenal One, if left at that, would have been a nice rebuttal. Instead, Owens advance to the tag team main event in which he partnered with Rusev to battle Styles and John Cena, and proceeded to eat a Pele Kick and the Attitude Adjustment and lose another match.
Unless the object is to have Owens regain the title from Styles at Battleground, the use of KO of late has been questionable. Over the last month, his sole victory was against Chad Gable in the US Championship Open Challenge. Otherwise, he has been on the losing end of singles and tag bouts.
Yes, the argument can be made that wins and losses do not matter in today's WWE, but if I am a casual viewer tuning into SmackDown Live and I see Owens constantly losing, I'm inclined to believe he is a loser—no matter how strong his character work may be.
Will Owens rebound from the defeats? Of course. The former universal champion is one of the best wrestlers in the world and an even better entertainer. He connects with audiences for a variety of reasons and will continue to do so.
He should not have to work quite so hard to make up for booking missteps, something he continuously finds himself the victim of.
Realistically speaking, Breezango should have their own wing of this article given how spectacular they are on a weekly basis.
Tyler Breeze and Fandango have embraced the Fashion Police gimmick and it showed with every vignette produced by the SmackDown Live brand.
Tuesday night, deep in the heart of Texas, the duo presented "Runway Walker, Texas Rangers," their latest attempt to uncover the mystery of who attacked them and trashed their office. This week's suspect? The Hype Bros.
Galloping along on a horse on a stick, Fandango approached Zack Ryder and attempted to get the truth out of him. Sadly, Breeze's lassoing skills are less than adequate, and he ended up roping himself. A no-nonsense Mojo Rawley informed the duo The Hype Bros were seeking out Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon when the devious destruction of The Fashion Police's office went down.
The segment ended with Breezango exclaiming "ghost aliens" were responsible and they would investigate next week in an X-Files parody.
There will be those fans, born in the internet era, who cry and complain about Breezango not being in the title hunt or being taken as serious competitors. They could not be any more wrong. Breeze and Fandango are more over on the main roster now than they have been and that is a direct result of their personalities being on full display every Tuesday night.
They benefit exponentially from these vignettes. The longer they continue and the more they maintain their sense of humor, the better off everyone involved will be.