Michael Cole and JBL kept hyping Tuesday night that a non-title match between Jinder Mahal and Baron Corbin was one of the biggest main events in Smackdown history. While it was seemingly hyperbole at the time, by the end of the night, their boasts proved to be prescient, as Corbin failed in his attempt to win the WWE title.
John Cena seemed to have the match won after a Super AA to Mahal at the end of the night. However, Cena's opponent for Summerslam, Corbin, ran out and attacked Cena, causing the disqualification.
After nailing Cena with the briefcase to send him outside the ring, Corbin taunted, and then walked up the ramp. However, as he made his way up to the stage, he looked back, and saw Mahal still lying in the ring. He quickly went back to the ring, and gave the ref his briefcase, indicating a cash-in.
The ref waited for Mahal to stand, and then called for the bell, signifying the match. Cena made his way back up on the apron, and Corbin turned to knock him off. As he did this, Mahal rolled Corbin up for the pin.
Corbin becomes just the third man to unsuccessfully cash in his briefcase, and just the second to fail in a sudden cash-in (Cena cashed in for a regular match in 2012; Big Show ended up getting Cena DQ'd; while Damien Sandow failed in his bid to surprise Cena in 2013).
The timing is sudden, and fairly shocking, as many expected Corbin to successfully cash in at Summerslam and walk out with the title. This is very different from Sandow's failed cash-in. They were combining the titles at the time, and didn't want the question of Sandow's briefcase lingering as they transitioned to a single belt.
Corbin would have had the briefcase for another 10 months, and unless something was going to happen where he was going to be moved to Raw, there is seemingly no reason for him to lose his briefcase at this point.
As with anything, this could be resolved in the upcoming weeks. Perhaps Corbin is indeed moving over to Raw. Or maybe he'll point out that Mahal had his feet under the ropes, and he'll be given his briefcase back.
Perhaps this is going to give Corbin a new mean streak that will lead him to getting the belt without the briefcase (which I think is a mistake, as he could have gone on a streak even with the briefcase). Or maybe this is simply so people can celebrate if Shinsuke Nakamura wins on Sunday without staring at the ramp concerned about a cash-in.
It was a baffling scene on Tuesday night, but if the go-home show to Summerslam is supposed to leave us with a compelling image, it sure did that.
The rest of Smackdown Live:
>>The night started with a Mahal in-ring segment, as he celebrated India's Independence Day. This included the crowd booing through the Indian National Anthem, a decision on WWE's part that I find exceptionally questionable.
This brought out Nakamura, who quite simply said that today may be India's Independence Day, but it's also Japan's Memorial Day. And Sunday is the day that Nakamura wins the WWE title. A fairly simple segment, even if WWE is toeing the line on how much xenophobia is acceptable for a storyline.
>>Natalya beat Becky Lynch with Naomi on commentary. After Natalya locked on the Sharpshooter after the match, Naomi confronted Nataly, and they had a stare down. In the middle of the staredown, Carmella's music hit, and she came out with the briefcase, reminding both Naomi and Natalya that she can cash in at any time.
>>A.J. Styles came out to apologize for kicking Shane McMahon last week. He apologized, and McMahon accepted it, saying he realizes it was an accident. However, if it happens again, even in the match, McMahon would attack back.
Kevin Owens came out to try to further the divide between McMahon and Styles, and the in the process, the two started going at it. The segment ended with Owens accidentally super kicking McMahon, so both men have attacked the ref in the past two weeks going into Summerslam.
>>Rusev and Chad Gable brawled to a double-countout. After the bell rang, Rusev continued the assault, eventually locking in the Accolade on the table. He went back in the ring to taunt Randy Orton, but Orton came out and hit an RKO to a pop from the crowd.
>>The Usos beat The New Day in a non-title match to set up a title match at Summerslam between the two (likely including Big E this time to change things up, as once again it was Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston representing New Day).
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