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By Mike Johnson on 2018-06-17 19:00:00

I was told that someone was just placed under the ring.  If you have been reading our spoiler reports, you should know who!

WWE Smackdown Women's Champion Carmella vs. Asuka.

Carmella was all confident early on and was great at playing her role. She went for a kick but Asuka caught it.  Asuka spun her around but was slapped by the Champion, who said she wasn’t scared of her.  Asuka didn’t like that and caught her with a series of kicks in the ropes, then knocked her off the apron to the floor with a running hip attack.

Carmella demanded her title belt and said she was the Champion and would do what she wanted.  She acted as if he was going to walk out but was caught with a knee strike off the apron by Asuka.  They battled outside on the apron near the ring post.  Carmella pulled Asuka into it, stunning her, then tossed her into the ring.  That was enough to score a two count.

Carmella locked in a cool submission hold, trapping Asuka’s arm.  Carmella was really vocal mocking Asuka and was great at it.  Asuka fought her way to her feet, reversed and went for the Asuka Lock.  Carmella ducked a spinning backfist and kicked Asuka in the gut, then locked in a front facelock.

Asuka went to the ropes but Carmella kicked the ropes to stun her, then avoided a missile dropkick.  Carmella’s leg was still snatched into a leg submission and the Smackdown Women’s Champion grabbed the ropes to break it.  Asuka continued to build momentum and got angrier with every strike she was hit with.  She finally exploded with a dropkick and a German suplex.  Asuka nailed a hip attack for a two count.

Asuka charged the Champion, who dropped down and pulled the ropes open, causing Asuka to crash down to the floor.  Asuka returned to the apron but was attacked and kicked back down to the floor off the apron.  Carmella hit a dive to the floor and covered Asuka a two count.  Asuka made a comeback when someone dressed like her came from under the ring.

Everything stopped as Asuka stared at this person.  Carmella rolled her up for a two count.  Asuka kicked up and nailed her with a kick.  She turned her attention to the masked person, who revealed himself to be…JAMES ELLSWORTH.

Carmella kicked Asuka in the back of the head and scored the pin.

Your winner and still WWE Smackdown Women’s Champion Carmella!

The match itself was good from a storyline perspective but couldn’t hold a candle to the ladder match, not that it was trying to do so.  I thought Carmella, as a character, was great here.  She is beyond underrated as someone getting a legitimate heel reaction and plays her persona perfectly.  

They pushed the 10/6 Australian PPV.  No Outback Jack references?

WWE Champion AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura – Last Man Standing Match.

Dueling chants at the bell, which in some ways is amazing given how this feud has been booked.

They locked up and Nakamura drilled a knee to the mid-section.   Nakamura was knocked to the floor.  Styles nailed the Phenomenal forearm to the floor.  The referee began counting but Nakamura returned to his feet by five.  Styles sent him into the barricade several times.    Styles went for a suplex, but Nakamura blocked and drilled him backwards into the barricade.  Nakamura slammed him down onto the end of the ring entrance ramp with a Northern Lights suplex.

Nakamua set up Styles with a knee to the head on the apron, then ran up the stairs and came down with a stomp to the back of the head.  Styles recovered by the count of five but Nakamura was certainly still in control.   Nakamura kept working over Styles.  Nakamura assaulted the Champion and set him up on the top rope.  He drilled him off the ropes and Styles crashed down to the floor.  Styles recovered at the five count, but Nakamura followed him to the floor.  He placed Styles against the ring steps and Nakamura stomped him.

Styles was dumped over the ringside barricade into the crowd.  Nakamura followed and they battled among the fine citizens of Chicago.  Nakamura backed Styles against a wall and drilled him with a right knee.  Styles came back to life and they went back and forth with strikes.  Styles nailed several kicks to the chest, sending Nakamura back into the ringside area.   Styles went for a move off the barricade, but Nakamura kicked his legs out from under him and Styles crashed down face-first.

Styles was counted out but recovered at the seven count.  A nice story they have been quietly telling here is that it's taking Styles longer and longer to recover from the attacks.  Nakamura brought him back into the ring.  Styles escaped a reverse exploder attempt and nailed a kick.  Nakamura was stunned but didn't go down.  Styles nailed a dropkick and both men were down as the referee counted them out.

They returned to their feet at eight.  Styles hit an explosive blitz of offense, including a leaping clothesline in the corner.   Styles nailed a faceplant into the mat but was exhausted and both men again were again being counted down.  Styles recovered first, but Nakamura went for the low blow. Styles avoided it and Nakamura knew he was in trouble.  Styles hit a glancing Pele Kick.

Styles missed a forearm and nailed the reverse exploder.  He set up for a Kinshasa but Styles met him with a leaping forearm.  Both men were counted down.  Styles made it up first and drilled Nakamura.  Nakamura was counted down but pulled himself up at eight.  Styles went for the Phenomenal Forearm but again, Styles had his wings clipped and crashed down to the mat, where he rolled to the outside.

Nakamura followed and tossed Styles into the ringside area, being left in the timekeeper's area.  Nakamura set up the announcers' table for destruction.    He slammed Styles onto the table.  Nakamura then set up the other two tables for something.  He climbed up and sprinted across the tables for a Kinshasa on Styles, who was sitting up on the table.

The referee counted them out.  Nakamura was up at three.  Styles rolled off the table to hit feet at the count of nine.  Nakamura attacked him immediately, sending him into the ring post.  

Nakamura pulled a table out from under the ring.  He set the table up and placed Styles on the top rope.  It appeared he was prepping for a superplex through the table. Styles slid out under him and attempted a powerbomb out of the corner but Nakamura drilled him with punches, saving himself.  Styles knocked the table over as he fell but then had the table drilled into his mid-section.

The referee counted Styles down but he was able to get to his feet by the count of seven.  Nakamura had set up the table in the corner and sent Styles crashing through it.  Styles made it to his feet before the ten count.  Nakamura tried to send Styles into an exposed turnbuckle.  Styles battled back but was kicked in the back of the neck.  Styles was placed across the buckles.  Nakamura went for a running knee but AJ moved and Nakamura's knee hit the exposed steel of the buckle.

Styles attacked the now-injured knee with kicks and stomps.  Nakamura used the ropes to pull himself up at the six count.  Styles snatched him into the calf crusher, trying to injure the leg even more.

Nakamura rolled to the outside but Styles grabbed a chair and smashed it against his legs.  Nakamura pulled himself to his feet and begged off but Styles drilled him with a chair over the shoulder and the across the back. Nakamura kept begging Styles to stop the onslaught but when Styles went to nail him again, Shinsuke nailed a low blow on the outside.

The referee began counting Styles down but he used the table to pull himself up at the nine count.  Nakamura launched himself and drilled Styles with the Kinshasa on the floor.  Nakamura's knee was hurt and he went down as well.  The referee began counting each of them down.  Nakamura got up and Styles pulled himself up at nine.

Nakamura attacked Styles from behind and pulled him up onto one of the announcing tables.  Nakamura pulled him up on his shoulders but his knee buckled.  Styles was able to escape and shove him off into the ring steps.  Styles finally nailed a forearm off the table, then hit a Styles Clash off the ring steps to the floor.   The crowd chanted, "Holy sh**!" at that one.

Nakamura pulled himself up at the nine count.  Nakamura dared Styles for more and Styles drilled him again.     Styles returned to the ring and set up for a Phenomenal Forearm on Nakamura, drilling him through an announcing table, which collapsed.  Styles recovered.  Nakamura did not and was counted out.

Your winner and still WWE Champion, AJ Styles!

That was easily the best match the two have had, but it was also the match that gave them the most ring time.  It was excellent.    This was an absolutely well put together war of a match with elements that played over the course of the match, including building to the Phenomenal Forearm and using callbacks to the low blows but in a way that they meant something and weren't comedy.   Imagine what could have been if they were allowed to go all out starting at Wrestlemania?  I loved this.

For the most part, this has been a very entertaining show thus far.

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Coverage concludes on Page 4!

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