Date: April 24, 2018
Location: KFC Yum Center, Louisville, Kentucky
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
It’s the other go home show for the Greatest Royal Rumble and that could mean a lot of tag matches tonight. The big story is Daniel Bryan showing up on MizTV for his first real showdown with Miz since he’s been cleared to wrestle again. That likely means Big Cass interfering to set up a Backlash match, but it could be fun either way. Let’s get to it.
In Memory of Bruno Sammartino.
We open with MizTV and Miz silencing us all. Miz knows this is the A show but something is missing. That something is a title, which his guest vacated a few years back and that Miz will win again in Saudi Arabia. His guest is a man who just two weeks ago said that he wanted to punch Miz in the face. A few weeks ago, Miz’s life changed when his daughter was born and Miz thought Bryan’s daughter would have changed that. Maybe Birdie and Daniel don’t have the same bond that he and Monroe Sky do.
Miz knows Louisville wants to see Bryan come out here and punch him in the face so bring it on. Instead it’s Big Cass in a suit to say that he’ll be the guest since Bryan is nowhere to be seen. He was cleared on the same day as Bryan and no one was talking about him (So he’s the Groucho Marx to Bryan’s Elvis? Well, give or take a few days.). Miz gets annoyed at Cass for talking down to him and Cass goes on a rant about how Bryan should be picking up his trash but instead is getting the spotlight.
Bryan spews garbage to these people and they’re all nothing. Cass was like Bryan until he was about fifteen and that sucked. Then he grew up and beat up everyone who treated him badly. Now Cass is big, right and handsome but he lives in Bryan’s shadow. I like Cass, but this long form promo is NOT his strong suit and this was rocky to put it nicely.
Becky Lynch and Asuka are coming to the ring for a match when they find Bryan being tended to and clutching his shoulder.
Here are the Iconics for a tag match but, after saying how hot they are, Peyton does a Becky Lynch impression, talking about four leaf clovers and other things I couldn’t understand. The Iconics’ thinking: Charlotte broke Asuka’s undefeated streak and they beat Charlotte, so they’re better than Asuka!
Becky Lynch/Asuka vs. Iconics
Joined in progress with Lynch rolling Royce up for two but a cheap shot in the corner puts Becky in trouble. It’s off to Billie for some choking on the ropes and the arm work begins. Billie taunts Asuka a bit too much though and Becky gets a boot up in the corner. The hot tag brings in Asuka to clean house, including some strikes and a standing ankle lock to Royce. There’s a German suplex before it’s off to Becky again, only to have her run into Asuka by mistake. That leaves Becky two on one and Peyton sends her into the post, setting up a rollup with feet on the ropes for the pin at 4:12.
Rating: D+. I approve of the winners and it’s not like Becky and Asuka are really hurt here. The important thing is to make the Iconics people to be feared as they’re not the most physically threatening combination but they’re more than capable of being an issue all over the place. Their personalities alone will carry them for miles.
A smiling AJ Styles leaves Shane McMahon’s office as a happy man. Tonight it’s a six man tag with Shinsuke Nakamura/Rusev Day vs. AJ/some people who are Too Sweet.
Greatest Royal Rumble rundown.
Andrade Cien Almas and Zelina Vega are coming.
Naomi comes in to see the Usos but won’t promise not to come out and help Jimmy this week. Jimmy says it’s ok but he knows Naomi loves him. They’ll get the titles back on Friday and tonight he’s taking care of Rowan. He’s got this, but Naomi still looks worried.
Rowan vs. Jimmy Uso
Jimmy gets dropkicked at the bell and the beatdown is on in a hurry. Harper kicks Jey in the shoulder as Jimmy low bridges Rowan to the floor. The suicide dive doesn’t work so Jimmy posts him, setting up a high crossbody back inside. Jimmy gets shoved off the top and into the barricade though and pain seems imminent. Rowan loads him up for something but cue Naomi with the full Glow entrance for a distraction, allowing Jey to superkick Harper. Jimmy rolls Rowan up for the pin at 2:52.
It’s time for the contract signing between Carmella and Charlotte. Carmella comes out first and takes over from Renee Young, saying she’s here first because she’s the champ and makes the rules. She shows us the same highlight package from last week but isn’t happy with the reception. Therefore she shows it again, but this time Charlotte interrupts. Carmella won’t stop holding up the title until Renee tells her to sit down and sign. They sign and the table is flipped onto Carmella, allowing Charlotte to walk away in short order.
More Greatest Royal Rumble rundown. My goodness I know they’re heading to Saudi Arabia soon but could you be a little less obvious about filling in so much time?
Aiden English says Shinsuke Nakamura isn’t giving interviews.
Jeff Hardy vs. Shelton Benjamin
Hang on a second as Jeff is passed over for someone else.
Randy Orton vs. Shelton Benjamin
Jeff is at ringside. The announcers talk about the famed OVW Class of 2002 as Orton punches away to start. Shelton pulls him arm first into the top rope and kicks Orton to the floor to take over. Back with Orton fighting out of a chinlock but getting caught with the dragon whip for two.
The powerslam takes Shelton down and there’s the hanging DDT. Shelton is smart enough to roll away when Orton is crouched down and slapping the mat for the RKO. Hardy watches on as a masked man takes out his knee. Orton grabs said masked man and unmasks him as Sunil Singh. That earns him an RKO but Shelton grabs Paydirt for the pin at 8:18.
Rating: D. I’m not feeling this story but unfortunately it looks like Mahal is getting the US Title back on Friday, meaning the Intercontinental Title is likely taking its place. That’s all well and good, but my goodness they’re not exactly doing their best to make the story interesting. Or maybe that’s just Mahal being shoved down our throats no matter how uninteresting he is.
New Day is celebrating (with champagne glasses full of BootyO’s and pancakes) to the success of their new book. Cue the Bar to say they’re bringing the titles to Smackdown because unlike the pancakes, the competition around here doesn’t stack up. They take the pancakes and hit the catchphrase because they can.
Anderson and Gallows are fired up to be Styles’ partners tonight.
Sanity is coming.
Daniel Bryan has a very taped up shoulder and says he was attacked by a coward, who he says was 7ft tall. At Backlash, he faces Big Cass and he’ll be fine for the Greatest Royal Rumble. Makes sense, and I could see them holding off on Miz vs. Bryan for a few months.
Samoa Joe is ready to take the Intercontinental Title. He’s fine with becoming a double champion at Backlash if Roman Reigns wins the Universal Title. Believe that.
AJ Styles/Anderson and Gallows vs. Rusev Day/Shinsuke Nakamura
Shinsuke now has a Japanese rock song set to the tune of his old music. I could go for never hearing that again. Graves says it’s because Nakamura is sick of the fans singing along. How does he know this? Graves: “Because I habla espanol.” Styles and Nakamura start but English gets tagged in before anything happens. That earns Nakamura a forearm off the apron and AJ pulls English into the corner for the tag to Gallows. So why isn’t AJ considered a coward too?
The villains are knocked outside in short order and we take a break. Back with Rusev kicking AJ in the head so Aiden can grab a chinlock. Therefore, let’s hit that inset promo for Friday! Back again with Rusev slamming AJ but getting kicked in the head, allowing the hot tag to Anderson. Everything breaks down but Nakamura kicks Gallows in the knee, setting up Kinshasa to the back of Gallows’ head for the pin at 10:08.
Rating: C-. Pretty standard main event six man here and there’s nothing wrong with giving Nakamura a pin before the title match, even if there’s not much benefit to pinning Gallows. I could very easily see a title change on Friday, but Nakamura is almost certainly getting the title at some point. If not, I’m not sure where he goes from here as it would make him look like a huge choker.
Post match AJ goes after Nakamura but takes ANOTHER low blow but Anderson shoves AJ out of the way to take Kinshasa. AJ is still down and can’t help Anderson from taking a second Kinshasa (sounds like a setup for an Anderson and Gallows turn to Nakamura) to end the show.
Overall Rating: D. I’m suddenly relieved I didn’t go to this show. This really missed for me with barely any wrestling that mattered (fair enough as you don’t want to put too much on the wrestlers before they head halfway around the world) but egads this wasn’t a strong show. It felt like they were filling in as much time as they could (Cass’ promo going WAY longer than it needed to and the Carmella video playing twice) and that’s rather annoying with something like this. Not the worst show ever, but a major letdown off the potential the Superstar Shakeup shows us.
Iconics b. Becky Lynch/Asuka – Rollup with feet on the ropes
Jimmy Uso b. Rowan – Rollup
Shelton Benjamin b. Randy Orton – Paydirt
Shinsuke Nakamura/Rusev Day b. AJ Styles/Anderson and Gallows
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