Date: April 17, 2018
Location: Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, RI
The Big Takeaway --
Aside from the Miz, the following have been added to Smackdown: Samoa Joe, US Champion Jeff Hardy, Asuka, Big Cass, Andrade “Cien” Almas, Zelina Vega, R-Truth, Cesaro & Sheamus, Sanity (apparently without Nikki Cross), Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows, and Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose.
This means that AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Samoa Joe are all on the same brand, while Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose remain together on Raw. Finn Balor remains on Raw as well.
While a program with the Miz seems imminent for Bryan, he also appears to be in line for a feud with Big Cass, who attacked him at the end of the show. (It's also possible Cass ends up with Miz.)
Show Recap --
The show started with a recap of what happened last week with Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles (and Daniel Bryan). Tom Phillips announced a sell-out crowd.
AJ Styles came out to kick things off. Louds chants for Styles. He said we can find out a lot about a man through his failures and now we know a lot about Nakamura. Styles said he was successful at WrestleMania, while Nakamura failed. He said Nakamura wasn’t just an artist, he was a con artist. The crowd loudly chanted for Styles, but a few others chanted for Nakamura.
Styles said he wanted to celebrate with the fans but all he could think about was getting retribution. He also got the chance at a real dream match with Bryan but Nakamura ruined that, too. Styles wasn’t leaving the ring until Nakamura came out. He said Nakamura may have forgotten how to speak English, but he was here for a fight and called him a two-faced coward.
Aiden English and Rusev came out instead and the crowd chanted for Rusev Day. English sang a song to let Styles know that Nakamura wasn’t here and took a shot at Rhode Island. Despite the cheap heat, he asked the crowd what day it was and the crowd loudly yelled “Rusev Day.” Styles challenged Rusev to a fight and he accepted.
Non-title match: WWE Champion AJ Styles defeated Rusev (w/Aiden English) via DQ (0:27)
Styles immediately got Rusev in the Calf Crusher so English interfered for the quick disqualification. They put the boots to Styles until Bryan ran out to make the save. They sent the heels packing and the crowd chanted “Yes.”
Paige approached Shane McMahon backstage and wished him a “happy shakeup.” Paige quoted Teddy Long and announced a tag match, playa, for the main event tonight. Shane also confirmed Miz would be returning to Smackdown thanks to a request from Bryan. Paige and Shane each did the Teddy Long dance.
Shelton Benjamin came out and the announcers explained that Chad Gable was sent to Raw. Benjamin acknowledged his tweet about Gable being an inspiration partner, but claimed his Twitter account was hacked. He said he didn’t need Gable, Gable needed him.
Benjamin said he was owed championship matches and called himself one of the biggest threats on Smackdown. He spoke with Paige earlier and asked her for competition.
Randy Orton’s music hit and he made his way down the ramp. As Orton entered, his music stopped and he stopped walking. Jeff Hardy’s music hit and he entered for the match instead. Orton appeared surprised by this.
Non-title match: U.S. Champion Jeff Hardy defeated Shelton Benjamin (8:20)
Hardy won with the Swanton Bomb. The crowd loved Hardy. The last time these to wrestled was just over nine damn years ago, also on Smackdown.
The Miz cut a selfie promo and asked if the crowd if they would like to see Daniel Bryan punch him in the face. The crowd cheered, but Miz revealed he wasn’t in Providence, he was in Los Angeles with Maryse and his daughter. Miz said he would debut next week and he would kick Bryan’s ass. Before he could quite finish the sentence, Maryse cut him off and asked he watch his language (around their daughter).
Carmella will have a 'Mellabration tonight.
They announced via a graphic that Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose have been added to Smackdown.
Luke Harper (w/Erick Rowan) defeated Jey Uso (w/Jimmy Uso) (0:51)
Jimmy and Rowan got involved on the outside and the match ended quickly after Harper hit Jey with a discus clothesline for the win. Rowan blatantly put his hands on Jey during the match (after Jey attempted a suicide dive), but it was somehow not a DQ. This was lame.
The Usos tried to fight back afterwards but Harper and Rowan laid them out. They were about to do worse, but Naomi ran out and pleaded with them to stop. They left. (Harper and Rowan appear to have their first names back.)
Samoa Joe is on Smackdown.
Samoa Joe defeated Sin Cara (1:36)
Joe won quickly with the Coquina Clutch. After the match, Joe said his mere absence on this show means everyone has had it easy and everyone on the roster is convinced that they are better than they are. He said now he has the opportunity to put Bryan to sleep, to de-fang Orton, and decimate AJ Styles.
Joe said Brock Lesnar would beat Roman Reigns again, and Joe would put the big dog out to pasture for good. Joe then said something about winning the Intercontinental title and Universal title (if Reigns somehow beats Lesnar). Joe was great here, although the bit about the IC title was confusing.
They aired a quick video package for SAnitY, who will be debuting on Smackdown.
Renee Young asked Bryan why he helped AJ Styles. Bryan said he respects AJ Styles and Styles was on the list of guys who motivated him to come back because he was the best. Bryan wanted to prove that he hadn’t lost a step in their match last week, but Nakamura ruined that. Bryan knew he would get a chance at Styles one day. Big Cass interrupted, mocked Bryan’s height and wondered what all the fuss was about. The crowd popped pretty big for Cass.
The crowd chanted “you deserve it” but Carmella shut them up for jumping on the bandwagon. She bragged about beating Charlotte Flair, who she called one the greatest women wrestlers in WWE history. Some fans cheered and she told them to shut up. She said last week wasn’t just one of the biggest moments in the history of the women’s evolution, but in women’s history in general. She cut to a video package for her title win.
Carmella said she would miss Frankie (the briefcase) but was happy to have Cleopatra (the belt). She continued yelling until Charlotte interrupted. Charlotte said Carmella only has the briefcase because of “that chinless freak” and she only has the title because of Billie Kay and Peyton Royce.
Charlotte wasn’t mad because she knew the dirtiest player in the game and congratulated Carmella for capitalizing on the opportunity, but warned her that staying at the top is harder than getting there. The IIconics (that’s how they spell it) interrupted.
Royce did her impressive Charlotte impression and they laughed. They said last week’s moment would last forever, and it was all because of them. They called the future iconic. Charlotte went after them but they beat her up. This was a mess. Becky Lynch ran out to make the save and they quickly went to commercial.
Charlotte Flair (w/Becky Lynch) defeated Billie Kay (w/Peyton Royce)
Charlotte won with the Figure Eight. It started during commercial (and went through another commercial) but the match was probably about 9 minutes.
Kay, Royce and Carmella attacked Charlotte and Lynch afterwards until Asuka made the save. Asuka gave Royce a German suplex, then Kay received a kick from Lynch, a chop from Charlotte, and a high kick from Asuka.
Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows have been added to Smackdown.
The Bar have been added to Smackdown, announced via a selfie promo.
Backstage, the New Day were walking backstage (Big E was being carried around by a white guy). Big E commented, “Sheamus sucks.” They ran into R-Truth, who is now on Smackdown. Truth was confronted by Tye Dillinger. They teased dissension, but then did a wacky handshake. They were all excited and Truth announced they were all together on Monday Night Raw. Woods let him know it was Tuesday and they were on Smackdown. Truth said, “my bad” and said he would see them tomorrow.
Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega are coming to Smackdown. They did a recap of the roster moves and Nikki Cross was not included when they showed Sanity.
They plugged the Greatest Royal Rumble throughout the show, focusing heavily on the Undertaker vs. Rusev casket match.
WWE Champion AJ Styles & Daniel Bryan defeated Rusev & Aiden English via DQ (12:33)
Early on, Styles tried a Calf Crusher on English and Bryan tried a Yes Lock on Rusev, but both heels escaped the ring, leading to commercial just over two minutes into this match.
The heels worked over Styles after a break until he hit a Pele kick on English and made the hot tag. Bryan ran wild on Rusev with fists, a running clothesline and corner dropkick. He went for the Yes Lock but English broke it up. Bryan sent him out of the ring and gave Yes kicks to Rusev.
Bryan nailed Rusev with the running knee, seemingly to set up the win. However, Nakamura suddenly appeared and gave Styles a low blow. Bryan realized what happened, but when he turned around, Big Cass appeared and gave him a big boot and the referee called for the bell. Nakamura smugly backed up the ramp and Cass posed over Bryan.
Before the show ended, Young tried to interview Nakamura on the ramp but he told her, “No speak English.”