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WWE Smackdown LIVE!- April 24, 2018

by Scrooge McSuck

Shinsuke Nakamura

- The NEW Era of Smackdown Live begins, with the Superstar Shake-Up taking place last week and adjusting the rosters to make Smackdown Great Again. Among the names coming to Smackdown include The Miz, Samoa Joe, Jeff Hardy, Andrade "Cien" Almas, Sanity, Cesaro, Sheamus, The Club and Asuka, among others.

- Presented LIVE on the USA Network from Louisville, KY. Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Corey Graves are calling the action, unless otherwise noted.

- Miz TV opens this week's episode of Smackdown Live. Who'd think we'd ever see the day where Miz is getting babyface reactions from the crowd? Miz hypes up The Greatest Royal Rumble where he competes in a Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Title (a title his guest relinquished three years ago, by the way). "My guest tonight is someone who last week threatened to punch me in the face. A man who holds a grudge from years ago on Talking Smack. A man who is angry because I told him the truth to his face. A man at the Superstar Shake-Up who demanded I come to Smackdown Live so he can confront me." He says he wants to be a better man for his daughter, but Daniel Bryan won't let things go. He calls out Daniel Bryan but gets Big Cass instead. Cass says nobody cares about Daniel Bryan, so the Miz should interview him instead. Cass has an inflated ego and gets chewed out by Miz of all people. Miz backs down immediately and throws Bryan back under the bus. Cass cuts a confusing promo about being a little guy before growing to be 7'0" tall, and then says anyone that size deserves to get beat up. He says he didn't have to travel the Indy scene because he's tall, educated, and good looking. He's not going to live in the shadow of a Daniel Bryan and promises to put him back on the shelf.

- Backstage, we see Daniel Bryan has been attacked. It was probably Red Herring.

Becky Lynch & Asuka vs. The IIconics:

Yes, double I's, even though double D's seems more appropriate (get it, because they had breast augmentation done over the Winter. I'm so funny!). Billie Kay and Peyton Royce cut a pre-match promo making fun of their opponents. They use Scott Steiner math to determine they're better than Asuka. We join the match already in progress (I'm not recapping the itty-bitty screen in the corner), with Royce getting worked over in the corner. Becky with a rolling cradle for two. Whip to the ropes and Becky with a poor "diving" forearm. Royce avoids a charge, then misses her own. Becky with a springboard boot and exploder suplex. Kay tags in and snaps Becky down to the canvas. They take turns working Becky's arm. Becky fights her way out of the corner and hot tags Asuka. She knocks Kay off the apron and hits Royce with a dropkick. She blocks a kick and applies an Ankle-Lock. Asuka snaps off a German Suplex and comes off the ropes with a running hip attack. Royce knocks Becky into Asuka, only to get lit up by a series of forearms. Kay with a distraction from apron, allowing Peyton to throw Becky's shoulder into the post and rolls her up (with feet on the ropes) for three at 4:15 (shown). Does this count as a loss for Asuka?

- Renee Young is outside of Shane McMahon's office for an update on Daniel Bryan. A.J. Styles comes out, with a smile on his face, knowing he gets Shinsuke Nakamura in the ring at The Greatest Royal Rumble, and an opportunity to soften him up tonight. He'll be competing in a 6-Man against Shinsuke and "Rusev Day" with partners that are "too sweet." That's The Club, but we'll play along and act like we don't know.

- Hype video for the Smackdown Live debut of Andrade "Cien" Almas and his business partner, Zelina Vega. "Coming Soon."

- Jimmy Uso makes Naomi promise that she won't come to ringside tonight. "No." Well, that settles things.

Jimmy Uso (w/ Jey Uso) vs. Rowan (w/ Harper):

Last week, Harper and Rowan destroyed the Usos, only to show mercy for Naomi's bad acting. Yes, the first names are gone again for the Bludgeon Brothers. Probably for one week. Rowan drops Uso at the bell with a dropkick and chokes him across the middle rope. Jey tries to get a shot in at Harper and pays for it. Rowan blocks a suicide dive, but Jimmy slips out of his arms and sends him into the post. Jimmy with a jumping roundhouse from the apron and a flying body press for two. Jimmy to the top again but Rowan shoves him into the barricade. Rowan follows him out with a diving forearm. Back inside, suddenly Naomi's music plays for the lamest distraction possible, allowing Jimmy to hit a Super-Kick and roll Rowan up for three at 2:51 (the first job for either Rowan or Harper since returning to TV as the Bludgeon Brothers). I guess I can see how the dancing was a distraction, and they needed to show some ass for the Champions at some point.

- Contract signing for Backlash's Smackdown Women's Championship Match. Carmella cuts Renee Young off from introducing Charlotte, feeling disrespected by being introduced first. She's unhappy with the response she got last week, so she demands the highlight reel from last week be played again for the "desired reaction". That feels like booking something as an inside nod to the fact that they will do stuff like this just to get the reaction they really want. She still doesn't get the reaction she wants and threatens to play it again, but this time Charlotte interrupts (thank God). This segment has been hot death. Charlotte signs the contract and flips the table on Carmella. 10 minute segment with 30-seconds of goodness to it.

- Dasha Fuentes is backstage for an interview with Shinsuke Nakamura, but Aiden English denies access.

Jeff Hardy vs. Shelton Benjamin:

Rematch from last week's episode of Smackdown. Hardy's music cuts out and out comes Randy Orton, so maybe he's getting the match this week, much like how Hardy stole his spotlight last week.

Randy Orton vs. Shelton Benjamin:

I don't like Shelton Benjamin's odds now. I feel like I took a time-warp back to 2004. Lockup into the corner and Benjamin gives a clean break. He goes for the leg, but Orton forces another break in the corner. Whip to the ropes and Shelton with a shoulder tackle. Crisscross, Orton ducks the spinning leg whip, and Benjamin blocks the RKO. Tom Phillips references both coming up in OVW back in 2002. Benjamin fights off the DDT attempt, jerking Orton into the ropes and putting the boots to him. [Commercial] We come back with Benjamin in control with a chin-lock. Orton fights free but gets nailed with the spinning leg whip on the second attempt. Orton escapes another chin-lock with a back suplex. Orton with clotheslines and the snap Power-Slam. He connects with the draping DDT. Benjamin bails out, and even Jeff Hardy is smart enough to avoid getting wiped out, so Orton drops Benjamin across the announcer's table instead. Sunil Singh (in a mask) shows up to clip Hardy, then ends up eating an RKO. Benjamin uses the distraction to hit ORton with Pay-Dirt for three at 8:19 (including one break).

- The New Day feast over a platter of Pancakes and their book "The Book of Booty." Yes, I have it on my shelf, along with way too many other New Day items. The celebration is interrupted by Sheamus and Cesaro. They promise to win the Raw Tag Titles and go back to Monday Night's.

- A.J. Styles and The Club are in the dressing room having a good time reuniting.

- Sanity is coming to Smackdown Live. Only Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe, and Killian Dain, though. WHAT ABOUT NIKKI CROSS!?!

- Renee Young meets up with Daniel Bryan backstage. He'll be good to go for Greatest Royal Rumble. He was "blind-sided by a coward." At Backlash, he gets a one-on-one match with Big Cass.

- Samoa Joe cuts a promo about the Greatest Royal Rumble. I can't wait until that show is behind us.

A.J. Styles, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Rusev, and Aiden English:

TV Main Event. Yes, Rusev and English are collectively known as "Rusev Day." Rusev gets to face The Undertaker at Greatest Royal Rumble, so it only makes sense to put him in this role. Nakamura has a new remix of his song, with lyrics (they're in Japanese, if you're wondering). Styles and Nakamura tease starting, but Shinsuke casually tags in English before they can lock-up. Styles cheap shots Shinsuke exiting the ring and throws English into the corner where Gallows and Anderson work him over. Rusev tries to help his buddy but gets thrown into a boot from Gallows.

We return from commercial with Styles running wild on Rusev with the Phenomenal Blitz. Nakamura is smart enough to avoid the shot on the apron, luring Styles into trying again and allowing Rusev to come from behind with the Machka Kick. English with a chin-lock. Nakamura tags in with Styles weakened and gives him Good Vibrations in the corner. Nakamura with a snap mare and jumping knee drop for two. He teases a low blow but settles for a kick to the chest. Rusev with a slam and elbow drop for two. English with an assisted avalanche and Rusev with a roundhouse kick to the midsection for two. Styles with elbows to escape a chin-lock, followed by a dropkick. Pele Kick to Rusev, and Styles hot tags Gallows. He lays out English with clotheslines and hits him with an avalanche. Gallows with a pump-handle slam and big splash for two. Anderson gets posted by Rusev. Nakamura with the blind tag, hitting Gallows' knee from behind and finishing with Kinshasa at 10:06. Post-match, Styles attacks Nakamura but gets ANOTHER LOW BLOW. Nakamura sets up for Kinshasa, but Anderson takes the bullet… for the club (Wink wink). Nakamura sets up again and hits Anderson with it again to show Styles what being a good guy gets you.

Final Thoughts: Seems like a filler episode with Greatest Royal Rumble wasting our time. Smackdown Live has plenty of talent to utilize, but it felt like not many people were used in front of the live crowd. The Main Event was a good match and a great finale, but the rest of the show was rather forgettable. I don't know what the deal is putting Asuka on the losing side of a match against Kay and Royce, but at the same time, they needed a win in the worst way, too. Hopefully things get back on track with Oil Rumble in the rear-view mirror next Tuesday night.

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