Smackdown – April 17, 2018

Date: April 17, 2018
Location: Dunkin Donuts Center, Providence, Rhode Island
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton

It’s the second half of the Superstar Shakeup and that means we’re likely to see some of the same people that we saw last night. The only confirmed move to Smackdown is the Miz, meaning we’re counting down the days until Miz vs. Daniel Bryan, which should be a major match on a big stage. Let’s get to it.

We open with a recap of Shinsuke Nakamura’s fake apology and attack of both Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles last week.

Here’s Styles to get things going. AJ says it’s true that Nakamura is an artist, but he’s a con artist. Last week Nakamura showed his true colors and AJ isn’t letting that go. He’s not leaving the ring until he gets to face Nakamura so get the two faced coward out here right now. Instead it’s Aiden English and Rusev, with the former singing about how AJ can’t make Rusev pay because it’s Rusev Day. If that’s as good as AJ can get, let’s go.

AJ Styles vs. Rusev

Calf Crusher goes on and English comes in for the DQ at 28 seconds.

Post match Daniel Bryan comes in for the save.

Paige comes in to see Shane McMahon and makes the tag match main event (with a Teddy Long impression for a bonus). Paige leaves and Shane does a Teddy dance, which she sees.

Here’s Shelton Benjamin, now without a partner thanks to Chad Gable going to Raw, to talk about how he no longer needs Gable. Actually he never needed him because Shelton is a great athlete. Tonight he’s talked to Paige about getting some competition, so let’s do it right now.

Shelton Benjamin vs. Randy Orton

Actually hang on a second as someone else comes out during Orton’s entrance and takes his place.

Shelton Benjamin vs. Jeff Hardy

Non-title. Shelton wastes no time in throwing Jeff to the floor and we take an early break. Back with Jeff hammering away but favoring his leg. The basement dropkick gets two but Shelton breaks up the Whisper in the Wind. Jeff sends him face first into the buckle though and a reverse Whisper in the Wind gets two. Benjamin’s Dragon Whip is good for the same but Pay Dirt is countered with a kick to the chest. The Twist of Fate into the Swanton is enough to finish Benjamin at 8:19.

Rating: C+. They were starting to cook near the end here but the important thing is how this felt like a match from ten years ago. Both guys looked good and got to show off. Hardy could very easily become a top player on Smackdown in a very short time. He has the charisma and can still go in the ring. What more could you ask for from him? Well staying sober and out of jail would be a good start but other than that, there’s a lot of potential there.

Miz didn’t like Daniel Bryan tweeting about wanting to punch him in the face. That’s not happening tonight because Miz is in Los Angeles with Maryse and his newborn daughter. He’ll be here next week and he’ll kick Bryan’s a….Maryse: “Mike! Language!” Miz: “You catch my drift.” That match is going to be awesome when it takes place.

Jey Uso vs. Harper

Harper throws him around to start and Jey dives onto Rowan. That earns Rowan a superkick from Jimmy but the discus lariat pins Jey at 52 seconds.

Post match the Brothers beat down the brothers. Jey is sat up against the steps as they grab the hammers but Naomi runs in to beg for him. They actually listen and the Usos are spared.

Sin Cara vs. Samoa Joe

Cara hammers away but gets popped with the snap jabs to the jaw. Joe clotheslines him out of the air and pounds at the back of the mask, setting up the Koquina Clutch for the tap at 1:28. Total squash.

Post match, Joe says this is the land of opportunity but all he sees is a land of handouts. Everyone has been treated softly and been told they’re better than they really are. Now Joe is going to get all the opportunities. He’s going to put Daniel Bryan to sleep, defang the Viper Randy Orton and decimate AJ Styles. I’m perfectly happy to watch any of these things happen. As for Backlash, Joe will still be waiting there to put whatever is left of Roman Reigns out to pasture for good. Believe that.

Raw and Smackdown cobranded pay per view singing video. I still don’t know what the point of this is.

Sanity is coming.

Daniel Bryan is ready for the tag match when Big Cass shows up and says Bryan is what all the fuss is about.

Here’s Carmella for her championship celebration, meaning a lot of leopard print. She doesn’t want to hear everyone cheering for her because they were nowhere to be seen until she won the title so shut up. Carmella is now known as champion, because she beat CHARLOTTE FLAIR! The woman who beat ASUKA! Now she’s the woman around here and that means a video tribute with a song saying it’s all about her.

Back in the arena, Carmella says she’s going to miss Frankie (the briefcase) because they got close over the last 297 days. She names the belt Cleopatra but here’s Charlotte to interrupt. The highlight reel is missing some highlights, such as that chinless troll helping Carmella and the Iconics beating her down last week. Cue the Iconics to mock Charlotte again, this time calling her a crying baby who needs a bottle. Peyton says they’re the future and that future is Iconic. Charlotte drops off the apron and gets after the two of them, earning herself another beatdown. Becky Lynch comes in for the save.

Charlotte vs. Billie Kay

Joined in progress with Charlotte getting in some forearms but Billie takes her down by the hair. We hit the armbar for a bit until Charlotte fights up, only to get tripped by Peyton. Back from a break with Charlotte not being able to get the Figure Eight. Billie’s rollup gets two but a hard kick to the face sets up the Figure Eight to make Billie tap at 7:59.

Rating: D+. Too chopped up to mean much but at some point the Iconics need to win a match. Now obviously that’s not the case when Charlotte is coming off a big loss, but maybe they shouldn’t be having this match. There are some interesting pieces to this division though and it could get interesting if they’re pushed in the right directions.

Post match the beatdown is on but Asuka comes in for the save with the Iconics getting beaten down and Carmella bailing.

Anderson and Gallows are coming.

The Bar is coming to Smackdown. So we can ink in Hardy and Wyatt winning the titles.

New Day runs into R-Truth. Tye Dillinger comes in and they’re good friends, though Truth thinks he’s still on Raw. Truth: “My bad. I’ll see y’all tomorrow.” Tye: “Is he going to be ok?” Big E.: “No.”

We recap the recent arrivals (including last week). Of note: Sanity doesn’t include Nikki Cross and it’s still Big Cass, not Colin Cassady.

Andrade Cien Almas and Zelina Vega are coming. Works for me, as long as those two are together.

AJ Styles/Daniel Bryan vs. Aiden English/Rusev

Bryan wastes no time in taking English down into a surfboard so AJ can come in off the top with a shot to the chest. Rusev tries to come in and the threat of a double submission sends the villains bailing to the floor. Back with AJ fighting out of English’s chinlock but getting backdropped for two. Rusev comes in and stomps away as the fans aren’t as in to the RUSEV DAY chants as before. It’s almost like you can kill a crowd if you try.

It’s back to English who dives to keep Styles from the tag. That earns him a Pele and the double tag brings in Bryan and Rusev. Everything breaks down and Bryan scores with the YES Kicks on Rusev. Graves: “You can’t call them that because the Miz is coming to Smackdown Live!” Phillips: “Oh shut up.” There’s the running knee to Rusev but here’s Nakamura with a low blow to Styles. Cue Big Cass to kick Bryan in the head for the DQ at 12:38.

Rating: C. I heartily approve of this Cass push. I was a fan of the guy before he got hurt and now without the little fungus around him, there’s potential there. They must think something of him if they’re putting him with Bryan right off the bat, as Bryan can definitely get a good match out of him.

Cass stares down at Bryan and Nakamura still can’t speak English to end the show.

Overall Rating: B. I really dug this one and for once, Smackdown looks like it came out of one of these things with a very strong roster. Some nice NXT callups and some returns to go with the fresh talent from Raw make this a very pleasing night. It’ll be nice to get done with the Greatest Royal Rumble so we can get back to normal, but there are some VERY interesting situations on Smackdown, far more than Raw at least. Good show here.

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