Date: April 24, 2018
Location: KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, KY
The Big Takeaway --
Not much happened on Smackdown. AJ Styles teamed with Gallows and Anderson but lost to Shinsuke Nakamura, Rusev and Aiden English. The show ended with Nakamura giving another low-blow to Styles as well as two Kinshasas to Anderson, who stepped in to save his buddy.
Daniel Bryan was attacked backstage by Big Cass and the two will have a singles match at Backlash. Bryan is also confirmed for the Greatest Royal Rumble. Shelton Benjamin beat Randy Orton and Asuka has suffered another loss, though it was Becky Lynch who took the fall in their tag match. If you’re a fan of distraction finishes, this was the show for you.
Show Recap --
The show started with a graphic honouring Bruno Sammartino and the crowd chanting “Bruno” in the background.
The Miz entered and received pretty good heat from the crowd. He pronounced that Smackdown was now the “A” show but it was missing something--the Intercontinental title, which he would win back at the Greatest Royal Rumble on Friday. He said tonight was the moment the world has been waiting for and the crowd chanted “Yes.”
Miz claimed Daniel Bryan was holding a grudge for telling the truth on Talking Smack years ago. Miz was surprised Bryan wanted to go after him and claimed that all the bitterness he had towards Bryan disappeared when his daughter was born.
Miz figured Bryan didn’t feel the same way because he didn’t have that special bond with his own daughter. Miz called himself a changed man and welcomed Bryan to come out and punch him in the face if he still felt that way. The crowd chanted for Bryan as Miz waited, but Big Cass came out instead.
Big Cass wore a big suit and offered to be Miz’s guest. Cass said nobody cared about Bryan. He suffered his own career-threatening injury and was cleared the same day as Bryan, but all anybody could talk about was Bryan. Miz said if Cass was there to help him with Bryan, he didn’t need it.
Miz and Cass got into an argument which led to Cass threatening him. Miz tried to deflect the attention back on Bryan, and Cass admitted this was about Bryan. He made more comments about Bryan looking like a regular guy who could be working on his house. He mocked the fans for caring about him.
Cass knew what it was like being normal, but then he grew to become a seven-footer and he now he despises Bryan. Cass didn’t need to work bingo halls to get to WWE because he was tall, educated, and good looking. Cass said he would send Bryan back into retirement. He mocked the Yes chant and left.
They cut to Asuka and Becky Lynch walking through the back (with the music playing to led to a commercial break) but they suddenly stopped upon finding Bryan laid out backstage. Officials tended to him and they cut to commercial.
The IIconics defeated Asuka & Becky Lynch
Billie Kay and Peyton Royce didn’t get an entrance but they did get promo time. They gushed over good looking they were, then Royce did an impression of Lynch, which consisted of her claiming to enjoy Lucky Charms. Using MMA math, Kay and Royce determined they were better than Asuka since Charlotte beat her and they beat up Charlotte. They had more to say but Lynch interrupted.
Royce pinned Lynch after sending her into the post (following a distraction from Kay) and using a schoolboy with her feet on the ropes. The match started during commercial but the TV portion was less than 5 minutes. Another loss for Asuka. Should’ve known better than to team with Lynch.
Renee Young waited outside Shane McMahon’s office for an interview but got a delighted AJ Styles instead. Styles was happy because he was told by Shane he gets his hands on Shinsuke Nakamura tonight in a 6-man tag match, ahead of their singles match on Friday. Nakamura would have Rusev and Aiden English as partners, but Styles had partners of his own, and it was too sweet.
They aired a video package for Andrade Almas, who is “coming soon.” Zelina Vega said this wasn’t about representing a brand or fighting for the people. Almas was the only brand they were worried about.
Naomi approached the Usos backstage. Jimmy wanted to make sure she wasn’t coming to ringside tonight. Naomi wasn’t going to make any promises or apologize for last week. She warned him about this match tonight and said she looked into the eyes of Harper and Rowan last week and saw nothing. Jimmy was amused that she was worried and told her he would take care of it. He left and she appeared very worried.
Jimmy Uso (w/Jey Uso) defeated Rowan (w/Harper) (2:50)
Harper and Rowan had their first names last week, but not tonight. Erick seemed to have things under control when Naomi’s music hit, the lights turned out, and she entered. She slid down the ramp and danced as she normally does when Jey flew in and superkicked Harper (which will make a great gif).
The outside distraction allowed Jimmy to hit a superkick on Rowan followed by a schoolboy for the pinfall win. The Usos and Naomi celebrated on the ramp together after. Naomi’s music never stopped playing.
This was two straight matches with some sort of distraction leading to a schoolboy finish.
Women’s Championship Contract Signing
Renee Young introduced Carmella, who was offended to be introduced first. She said the champion should never be introduced before the challenger and announced this wasn’t Charlotte’s kingdom anymore, it was hers. Carmella called the fans disrespectful for not giving her an ovation last week after playing her highlight reel.
Carmella demanded they play the video again, so they did. She wanted a standing ovation from the crowd but they didn’t give it to her (except for Corey Graves). She wasn’t satisfied so she threatened to show it again. They aired it again, but about halfway though it was interrupted by Charlotte. Charlotte wore a black robe with black and grey gear.
Carmella enthusiastically showed off her title belt and woo’d repeatedly while prancing around the ring. Renee asked her to be a professional, which was funny. Carmella eventually sat down. Charlotte signed the contract and woo’d at Carmella who got up to shove her title in Charlotte’s face again. Charlotte bounced Carmella’s face off the table and flipped it over onto her. Charlotte left and that was it.
The announcers plugged the card for Greatest Royal Rumble.
Dasha Fuentes knocked on the locker room door of Shinsuke Nakamura, but English popped out instead and told her “no interviews.”
Shelton Benjamin defeated Randy Orton (8:16)
This was supposed to be a rematch between Benjamin and Jeff Hardy. However, as Hardy entered, his music stopped and he realized what was about to happen. Orton’s music hit and he came out for the match instead, returning the favour from last week. Hardy watched the match from ringside.
Orton set up for the RKO so Benjamin slipped to the outside. Orton feigned like he was going to toss Benjamin into Hardy, so Hardy popped out of his seat. Orton smiled, like he never actually intended on doing it, and tossed Benjamin back in the ring.
A masked man appeared and chop-blocked Hardy. Security got in his way so he went in the ring. Orton ripped off his mask, revealing it was Sunil Singh. Orton gave him an RKO, but the distraction (third in a row) allowed Benjamin to hit Pay Dirt for the pinfall win.
Aside from some battle royals, it appears this was the first match between Orton and Benjamin since Bad Blood 2004 for the Intercontinental title. Almost 14 years ago. Just so you know.
New Day celebrated the launch of the Book of Booty over some pancakes and Booty O’s. They were interrupted by Sheamus and Cesaro who said they would regain the Raw tag titles and leave Smackdown. Sheamus grabbed a stack of pancakes and said the Smackdown competition doesn’t stack up to them. Big E was especially offended by this joke. The Bar blew out the New Day’s candles, grabbed some pancakes and left.
Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows embraced with AJ Styles backstage. They did the thing and hugged.
Renee interviewed Bryan after exiting the trainer’s room with his shoulder iced and wrapped. Bryan said the trainers were just being cautious. He has come back from worse and will be in the Greatest Royal Rumble match. Renee asked what happened earlier and Bryan said he was attacked by a coward. He spoke with Paige who granted him a match with Cass at Backlash. Bryan said it didn’t matter how tall he was, everyone was the same size when they’re on the mat tapping out.
Samoa Joe cut a pre-taped promo. He said no one was safe and he would leave a trail of bodies in his wake. He would end Seth Rollins, Miz and Finn Balor. The match was only a formality, the IC title was already his. After that, he would watch Roman Reigns get massacred by Brock Lesnar, but if Reigns somehow won, Joe would take his Universal title too.
Shinsuke Nakamura, Rusev & Aiden English defeated WWE Champion AJ Styles, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson (10:05)
Nakamura has a new remixed theme with Japanese vocals, which is for the best. Graves explained the change was because Nakamura was sick of people signing his song.
After Styles and his friends came out, they went to commercial. After the break, the heels got their entrances. Shortly after the match began, they went to commercial again. After that break, English put Styles in a headlock and they did an inset commercial for Greatest Royal Rumble.
Styles made a hot tag to Gallows who hit English with clotheslines, an avalanche, kick, pump-handle slam and splash. Rusev broke up the pinfall so Gallows sent him and English to the outside. Nakamura had made a blind tag and he proceeded to nail Gallows with a Kinshasa to the back of the head for the pinfall win.
Afterwards, Styles tackled Nakamura. As Styles attacked him, Nakamura ducked a strike and gave him another low blow. He set up Styles for the Kinshasa but Anderson crawled in the ring and took the move instead. Nakamura set up Anderson for another as Styles struggled to move. He gave Anderson the Kinshasa and Styles wasn’t able to make the save. This was good.