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SmackDown Live broadcast live from Brooklyn, New York on Tuesday, August 22, at 8 p.m. on USA Network.

U.S. Champion A.J. Styles opened the show to a thunderous ovation. Styles said he has prepared an Open Challenge for his title, only for Kevin Owens to come out. Owens complained about Shane McMahon’s officiating from the his match against Styles at SummerSlam, only for McMahon to interject himself in the situation and set up another rematch, only this time with Owens getting to pick the match’s referee.

That led to…

SmackDown Live main event: AJ Styles (c) retains the U.S. Championship by pinning Kevin Owens (w/ Special Guest Referees Baron Corbin and Shane McMahon)

Owens selected Corbin to be the match’s referee after promising Corbin a title match should he win.

The entire match revolved around if Corbin would call the match fairly, and at least for the first part of the match, he did. It wasn’t until Styles had the calf crusher locked in late in the match that Corbin called a controversial rope break in favor of Owens. This caused McMahon to come back out, causing more distractions as Corbin eventually left and gave Shane his referee shirt. Styles eventually won the match with the Phenomenal Forearm, with Owens staring down Shane as the show went off the air.

Former NXT champion Bobby Roode def. (pin) Aiden English in SmackDown Live debut

GLORIOUS!

Bobby Roode interrupted Aiden English’s singing to make his SmackDown Live debut to a big pop from the crowd. Roode then took on English in a match, which actually had a little bit of back-and-forth before Roode won with the Glorious DDT.

Shelton Benjamin officially returns to WWE

It’s official! Shelton Benjamin is back! Daniel Bryan made the announcement that he had found a new tag team partner to pair with Chad Gable, and that partner appears to be the former three-time Intercontinental Champion.

The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) (c) def. (pin) The Hype Bros (Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley) in a non-tile match

Nothing match here that the Usos won. Match was made worse by the Hype Bros entrance starting before the commercial break, and then the Usos didn’t enter until afterwards… so the Hype Bros’ entrance was longer than the match.

Shinsuke Nakamura def. (sub) The Singh Brothers (Samir & Sunil) in a handicap match

After interfering in Nakamura’s title match at SummerSlam, the Singh Brothers were signed up for a handicap match against the superstar. Nakamura made quick work of both of them, and then for good measure, laid out WWE Champion Jinder Mahal after the match.

Becky Lynch and Naomi def. (pin) Natalya (c) and Carmella in a tag team match

Carmella verbally teased leaving Natalya — her partner in this match — out to dry so she could cash in her Money in the Bank contract. This continued during the match, and eventually, Nattie left Carmella out to dry to eat a Bexploder and a moonsault from Becky and Naomi.

Best of the rest of SmackDown Live

  • Dolph Ziggler reappeared off TV after being a healthy scratch for several weeks. He cut a promo about how he’s being held down because he doesn’t sing or have glowing titles… wasn’t great.
  • Sami Zayn turned down Kevin Owens’ request to be the special guest referee in the main event, which was pretty funny.
  • The Fashion Police were also involved backstage when Owens was looking for a referee. Despite Breeze and Fandango touting their “sexy” credentials, Owens harshly said no.
  • Shelton Benjamin will return to in-ring competition next week.
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