WWE Smackdown LIVE!- April 10, 2018
by Scrooge McSuck
- Presented LIVE on the USA Network from the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, LA (my God, I’m tired of typing that after this weekend). Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Corey Graves are calling the action from ringside, unless otherwise noted. Last night on Monday Night Raw, we saw the debuts of Ember Moon, No Way Jose, and The Authors of Pain, the return of Bobby Lashley, and returning from injury, Samoa Joe and Jeff Hardy. What can Smackdown Live do to match that?
- Shane McMahon is out first, and they’re teasing he has a huge announcement to make tonight. Don’t you love him taking a sabbatical from his duties lasted all of two weeks? He kisses up to the audience for being part of WrestleMania Week. He puts over being able to team with Daniel Bryan, and because of his passion and determination, they won, ridding Smackdown Live of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. He mentions Bryan being a full-time WWE Superstar, which means he has resigned as Smackdown Live’s General Manager. He introduces us to the NEW Smackdown Live General Manager... Paige. Well, that was a knuckleball where we expected a slider. After announcing her retirement from in-ring competition, the first person she ran into backstage was Shane. Next week is the Superstar Shakeup, but for now, she wants to make tonight special. She wants to know if everyone wants to see Daniel Bryan in action tonight. Tonight, he’ll face... *really long pause* A.J. Styles. I sense this match being ruined by interference.
The Usos vs. The New Day (w/ Kofi Kingston)
Winners get a Smackdown Tag Team Title Match against The Bludgeon Brothers at Greatest Royal Rumble on April 27th. Woods and Jimmy start. Crisscross and Jimmy with a sling-blade. Jey with the blind tag and a kick from the apron. Whip to the ropes and Big E catches him off the ropes with a release belly-to-belly suplex. Woods hoists Big E onto his shoulders for a Big E Splash for a near fall. New Day with the Unicorn Stampede. Back inside, Woods pounds away at the ribs. Jey attempts a rally but gets backed into the New Day corner. Big E with a running shoulder tackle and Woods with the stomach buster for two. Jey fights out of an abdominal stretch but runs into an elbow. Big E comes off the ropes with another splash for two. Woods with a second-rope elbow drop for two. Big E misses a third splash, this one attempted on the edge of the ring apron. Jimmy with the hot tag, laying into Woods with uppercuts. He hits Big E with a spinning roundhouse kick and hits him with a tope suicida. Back inside, Woods greets him with an elbow, but rolls into a Samoan Drop for a near fall. Woods comes back with a Tornado DDT and Big E wipes out an Uso with a Spear through the ropes. Springboard leg drop on Jey for two. Woods goes back to working the ribs of Jey. They trade forearms until Jey hits a mid-section Super-Kick. Big E blind tags and New Day hit a combination uranage/back stabber for two. Jimmy makes the save from the Midnight Hour. Woods his Jey with a missile dropkick and Jimmy with a roll-up for two. Jimmy with a Super-Kick and Jey hits the Splash for three at 10:29. Started off slow but picked up for the second half.
- Post-match, The Bludgeon Brothers arrive to stare the Usos down from the top of the entrance set, but we’ve got a couple of more weeks until Greatest Royal Rumble (in Saudi Arabia, where the Women of WWE can’t compete, but WWE took the dirty money regardless), so this is all we’re getting this week from them.
- Earlier today, Dasha Fuentes tried to interview Naomi about winning the Women’s Battle Royal, but Natalya quickly interrupts. She tells Naomi that Neon is so-7th Grade, and that she can’t wait for her to be shipped off to Monday Night Raw.
Naomi vs. Natalya
I expect quite a few roster moves for the women, with Naomi, Becky, Natalya, and Carmella being featured since day 1 of the brand splits, and have been fighting each other endlessly since. Lockup and we get the headlock/head scissors exchange. Natalya with a snap mare, but Naomi cuts off the basement dropkick, lands a boot to the midsection, and takes Nattie over with a head scissors. She straddles Natalya across the middle rope and hits a slingshot leg drop. [Commercial] We return with Nattie in control with an abdominal stretch. She takes Naomi over with a snap suplex and goes back to the hold. Naomi flips out of a back suplex and hits a wheel barrow Stunner to create separation. Naomi with the ridiculous jumping in place kicks that have never looked good. She gets caught doing a springboard and Natalya plants her with a spinning Liger-Bomb for a near fall. Natalya goes for the Sharpshooter, but Naomi blocks. Nattie-by-Nature connects for another two-count. They do a bunch of counters until Naomi hits a step-off enzuigiri and the split-leg moonsault for three at 7:29 (including one commercial break). The same old match between these two.
- Renee Young is backstage for an interview with Shinsuke Nakamura, wanting to know why he tarnished the dream match at WrestleMania. He says maybe he got too emotional and gives a very insincere apology. Renee calls him out on his tone and presses him for a response. "Sorry, no speak Engrish.” I think I can get behind douchebag Shinsuke Nakamura, but his in-ring stuff has left a bit to be desired.
- Charlotte Flair comes out to celebrate her victory at WrestleMania, handing Asuka her first loss since coming to WWE in the Summer of 2015. She wants to know who her next challenger will be, bringing out the debuting Peyton Royce and Billie Kay. Finally, Raw only had 57 people come out as a surprise. They say her match at WrestleMania was good, but it wasn’t iconic. They mock her for thanking everyone, including the Uber driver and the air that she breaths. Charlotte throws the first blow and gets taken down quickly. She tries fighting back, but gets hit with the running boot from Billie Kay, dubbed "Shades of Kay” by Phillips. Has it really been called that the whole time? They haven’t been seen much on NXT TV lately, so I can’t remember. They toss her around on the floor, and you’d think her best friend, Becky Lynch, would’ve attempted a save. They cap off the beating with a double Powerbomb on the floor. If this debut doesn’t scream breaking up the Riott Squad, I don’t know what does.
- Carmella comes out, and they MILK this to the point you’d expect someone to stop, but nope, the cash-in happens...
WWE Women’s Championship Match: Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Carmella
Bell rings and Carmella hits a Super-Kick for three at 7-seconds to become the NEW Smackdown Women’s Champion. I honestly expected her to botch it. I don’t expect this to be a long reign, but at least they got that stupid briefcase out of the way. Carmella’s celebration lasts long enough to loop her theme song at least three times.
- Next week... SUPERSTAR SHAKEUP! (Some predictions: Baron Corbin, Randy Orton, Gable & Benjamin, Becky Lynch and Natalya to Raw. Smackdown will get less valued pieces, like Goldust. Maybe The Revival.)
Randy Orton vs. Bobby Roode vs. Rusev (w/ Aiden English)
Winner faces Jinder Mahal for the US Title at Backlash. I didn’t care at WrestleMania, and I care even less for all involved. English has a new look (shaved head) because Vince McMahon hates people with receding hairlines. The match starts as part of a split-screen with the commercial break. Orton and Roode work over Rusev in the corner. The alliance lasts all of 15-seconds until Roode takes a shot at Orton. Roode with a side headlock and shoulder tackle. Orton drops him with an elbow and rolls to the floor to further incapacitate Rusev. Roode escapes a chin-lock and dishes out some chops. Rusev returns, wiping out Orton with a clothesline and stomping Roode down in the corner. Roode meets Rusev in the corner with double knees and hits a Block Buster for two. Rusev with a roundhouse kick on Orton for two. To the floor, Orton drops Rusev back-first across the announcer’s table. Roode tosses Orton back inside and hits a swinging neck breaker. Roode with a flying clothesline. Orton counters the Glorious DDT with a roll-up for two. Orton with clotheslines and a snap Power-Slam. Rusev returns the favor to Orton, dropping him on the table. Back inside, Rusev with kicks and a spinning heel kick. He lays out Roode with a Machka Kick and applies the Accolade, but Orton saves, posts Rusev, and finishes Roode with the RKO at 7:06. At least they didn’t have Rusev eat the fall, again. Good match, better than the match Mania in my opinion.
- Dasha Fuentes is backstage with the NEW Smackdown Women’s Champion, Carmella. It only took her 287 days to cash-in the Money in the Bank Briefcase. She says there’s always a Princess waiting to knock the Queen off her throne.
- Renee Young catches A.J. Styles on the way to the ring. He said he doesn’t want an apology from Nakamura, he wants to put his fist down Nakamura’s throat. For now, he’s concerned with his match with Daniel Bryan. He might be one of the greatest, but he’s not Phenomenal.
A.J. Styles vs. Daniel Bryan
Non-Title Match, but who cares, it’s AJ vs. Daniel Bryan! If Daniel Bryan drops 5 kayfabe pounds, he can compete on 205 Live! Lockup and Styles with a waist-lock takedown. He struggles to keep Bryan grounded and they return to a neutral position. Styles with a standing side headlock, followed by a shoulder tackle. Crisscross, Styles rolls off the back, sweeps the leg, and tries to pin the shoulders down with a knuckle lock. Bryan nips up, twirls out of a wrist-lock, and kicks off the wrist. Bryan unloads with his signature kicks to the chest and back, then goes to work on the arm. He ties Styles up, mixing in some joint manipulation. Styles escapes with an elbow across the face. Bryan with a pair of uppercuts. Crisscross and Styles with a dropkick, sending Bryan to the floor. Styles follows with a slingshot forearm as we take the world’s least anticipated commercial break! They split-screen garbage matches, but not this?!
We return with Bryan fighting out of a suplex and bouncing off the ropes with an elbow, knocking Styles into the corner. Bryan with the running corner dropkick, followed by his signature Yes-Kicks. Styles counters the roundhouse with a Dragon screw leg whip. Styles dives into the corner with a clothesline. Bryan flips over a charging Styles, but the knee buckles and Styles moonsaults into a reverse DDT for a near fall. Styles with a series of leg strikes mixed in with the Phenomenal Blitz. Bryan quickly retaliates with a hip throw into a cross arm-breaker, but Styles escapes and locks on the Calf-Crusher. Bryan rolls through to counter the hold, this time looking for the Yes-Lock, but Styles stacks him up for a near fall. Styles with the Pele Kick and a clothesline, turning Bryan inside out, for two. Styles to the apron for the Phenomenal Forearm, but Bryan meets him with a kick to the chest, followed by a roundhouse kick to the back of the head. Bryan sets up in the corner for the big knee, but Styles counters. Bryan fights out of the Styles Clash and hooks the Yes-Lock on the second attempt. Styles with a foot on the ropes, forcing a break. Bryan traps Styles in the Tree of Woe and unloads with more kicks. Styles shifts his weight to land on top of Bryan during a back suplex attempt. Suddenly, Shinsuke Nakamura shows up and hits Bryan with the Kinshasa, drawing the Disqualification at 12:41. He lays into Styles with another low blow and hits him with a Kinshasa as well. 4-Star TV match with potential to be a 5-star match on PPV and with 20+ minutes and a real finish.
Final Thoughts: The first hour felt like a forgettable episode of Smackdown Live, then we got the debuts of Billie Kay and Peyton Royce, inadvertently helping Carmella cash-in the Money in the Bank Briefcase on Charlotte, and then an outstanding (but criminally short) Main Event with A.J. Styles and Daniel Bryan in a "Fantasy Match”, only to be predictably ruined by Nakamura’s interference. Not as good as last night’s episode of Raw, but a couple of decent segments saved this from the trash pile.
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