KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 3/13: Fastlane fallout, Shane has a big announcement, Asuka vs. Charlotte hype, Styles vs. Nakamura hype

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor

WWE Smackdown Live logo - new July 2016 (c)


MARCH 13, 2018

Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves

NOTE: If you have questions or a reaction to tonight’s Smackdown, send it to for the Mailbag Segment of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast (#WKPWP) taped tonight and available a couple hours after Smackdown ends. Call (347) 215-8558 to converse with Wade Keller and guest cohost Jake Barnett from


-The announcers hyped key aspects of the show including Asuka’s arrival and Shane McMahon’s announcement.

-A.J. Styles came out to his music as the announcers talked up that Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura is now a reality for WrestleMania. Styles paused for the requisite “A.J. Styles” chant. He said, “Welcome to the house that A.J. Styles built!” Cheers. He said the odds at Fastlane were stacked against him, and when John Cena put him through the announce table, he began to believe the odds would cost him his title. “Unbelievable, not impossible,” he said with the swagger that draws fans to him. He said he sucked it up and found a way. “And I am still the WWE Champion!” he said. He said even better is he’s going to WrestleMania as the WWE Champion. He pointed at the WrestleMania sign. He said his road to New Orleans has been a tough one. A “You deserve it!” chant started. Styles said, “Hold on a second, I earned it.”

He said the man who will be standing across the ring from him is “probably the biggest Japanese superstars [sic] in WWE history.” He said it’s a dream match. He said he wants to give it to the fans. He said he has the utmost respect for Shinsuke because they have similar paths to WWE. He said the comparisons stop when it comes to his championship. He said he’s just like the WWE Universe. “If you want to call me the Everyman, I’m okay with that,” he said. “That is until I step into the ring and stand right here in front of you guys, I am phenomenal.” Cheers.

Shinsuke came out and said everyone likes A.J., but everyone likes him too. He said his dream is to become WWE Champion at WrestleMania, and he intends to make his dream come true. He was interrupted by Rusev and Aiden English making their ring entrance.

(Keller’s Analysis: WWE is telling fans this is a dream match, but they’re not showing them why. Shinsuke’s been more ordinary than extraordinary since his arrival, and his delivery and simplicity of his messages are so rudimentary and affected, I just don’t see people unaware of his Japan highlights buying into this as a dream match. They need to give this match more of an edge or better video packages. It’s tough with limited footage from his pre-WWE days, though. Still, there’s a real story they can tell about Shinsuke that they haven’t even tried yet. Hopefully that’s still to come. Styles was really good here, though. He’s just straight forward and believable.) [c]

(1) A.J. STYLES vs. RUSEV (w/Aiden English)

The announcers questioned Styles taking on a match against someone of Rusev’s caliber so close to WrestleMania. Rusev jabbed Styles in the throat to take control a few minutes in and then hit a spinebuster for a near fall. [c]

They aired the match on a split screen during a commercial break of Rusev methodically beating on Styles including some action at ringside. After the break ended, Rusev backdropped Styles and then set up a superplex. Styles made a comeback and lifted Rusev onto his shoulders, but Rusev escaped. Rusev ducked a Styles kick and then gave him a lift-and-drop knee to the gut and then a round kick to the side of his head for a near fall. Styles came back with a Pelé kick, but then after dropping Rusev over his knee, Styles sold a knee injury. He set up a Styles Clash, but Rusev rolled through and went for an Accolade, but Styles rolled into a Calf Crusher attempt. Rusev grabbed the top rope. Styles pulled him off and rolled him up. English charged in and attacked Styles, so the ref called for the DQ. Nakamura was shown watching at ringside, thinking long and hard about saving Styles. He slowly stood, but didn’t make the save as the double-team continued. Then he finally did, showing light badly on two kicks – one to English, the other to Rusev. Graves said Nakamura took his time making the save because he wanted to see Styles weakened.

WINNER: Styles via DQ in 14:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: Fans like Rusev enough, they didn’t pop for Nakamura making the save. It’s an inconvenient time with a relatively thin roster to have the utility heel like Rusev getting over unexpectedly as a babyface. WWE isn’t being nimble at all in adjusting to take advantage of it and instead it’s working against Styles and Nakamura.)

-The announcers commented on freeze-frames of the Bludgeon Brothers attack on New Day and the Usos. They focused on the brutal powerbomb of Xavier on the steps. Graves said they are awaiting a medical update on him.

-They cut backstage where Big E was swaggered. Dasha Fuentes approached him and asked about the Bludgeon Brothers attack. He said they didn’t prove the Usos wrong and become five-time WWE Tag Team Champions. He said it’s because of the Bludgeon Brothers. He said they tried to destroy them. He said Kofi and Woods will be back, but as long as he has two working legs, he will represent the New Day. In walked an Uso. He said, “You won’t be standing alone. They got my brother, too.” He said when they’re all healthy, they’ll tear down again, but until then, let’s take care of business. Big E fist-bumped him.

(Keller’s Analysis: I don’t think Big E knew which Usos it was. Big E is so good in this type of promo, and I’m really glad to see him show a different site. It was also good brief promo from Uso.)

-Graves said Shane’s big announcement would come later. [c]

-A video aired on Kid Rock entering the celebrity wing of the WWE Hall of Fame.

-Backstage Styles crossed paths with Nakamura. He told Nakamura he didn’t need his help tonight. “It looked like you did,” said Nakamura. “Don’t worry, I will help every time until WrestleMania so then I will beat you with a knee to face.” Styles flexed his shoulder.


Big E and Uso charged at the Bludgeon Brothers at ringside. Then they grabbed chairs and called the BBs into the ring. The BBs backed off and picked up their mallets. They entered the ring and everyone swung their weapons, but nobody got hit. Big E and Uso retreated to the floor. They cut to a break. [c]

The match officially began during the break. The Bludgeon Brothers didn’t sell much of anything. Erick Rowan threw Big E into the ringside steps. Graves asked when the last time was someone manhandled Big E like that. Then they gave Jimmy their double-team finisher in mid-ring for the win. Phillips said the Bludgeon Brothers destroyed Uso and Big E. After the match the BBs attacked Big E at ringside.

WINNERS: Bludgeon Brothers in 5:00.

-The announcers commented on freeze-frames of Shane McMahon’s involvement in the Six Pack Challenge on Sunday.

-Renee Young asked Sami Zayn whom he blames for his failure to win the WWE Title at Fastlane. He said it’s a loaded question, but obviously it’s Shane because he had the pin if not for Shane pulling him off. He said it’s also Kevin Owens’ fault because, if not for Shane’s obsession with KO, Shane wouldn’t have been there. He said KO has a lot of good qualities – he’s funny and he’s extremely talented and he’s been there outside the ring for years for him – but when it comes to his career, he’s a self-absorbed egomaniac (like Undertaker!). He said he played everybody perfectly and was milliseconds away from becoming WWE Champion. He said he was guilty by association and he will never pay that price again.

(Keller’s Analysis: That was another good, straight-forward, plain-spoken promo on this show. And they didn’t ruin it by having it be done selfie-style or by putting every sixth word on the screen in a big cartoonish font.) [c]

NOTE: If you have questions or a reaction to tonight’s Smackdown, send it to for the Mailbag Segment of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Podcast (#WKPWP) taped tonight and available a couple hours after Smackdown ends. Call (347) 215-8558 to converse with Wade Keller and guest cohost Jake Barnett from


-Charlotte made her ring entrance. Saxton said she will be pushed to the limit by Asuka, and said “iron sharpens iron.” Charlotte said she is excited and honored that Asuka picked her. She said she knows she was scheduled to be on Smackdown and she wanted to be in the ring to greet her. Asuka made her ring entrance. Graves said this is the first time Asuka has appeared on Smackdown Live. Charlotte welcomed Asuka to Smackdown. “I guess they say be careful what you wish for,” Charlotte said. Asuka said, “Thank you!” Charlotte said when she travels around the world defending her title, people tell her two things – congratulations and what would happen if you faced Asuka. Charlotte said people want to see The Queen one-on-one with The Empress of Tomorrow. She said they’ll get the answer to that at WrestleMania.

Charlotte said iron sharpens iron, and while she didn’t have a say-so over whom she’d defend against at WrestleMania, she wanted to face Asuka. She said when her music hit, she got goosebumps because she knew it’d be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. She said while she has never faced anyone like Asuka, Asuka has never faced anyone like her. She told Asuka that she better be careful what she wished for “because I’m going to end your streak and cement my legacy.” She let out a “wooo!” to punctuate the end of her promo. Asuka nodded and said she chose Charlotte because she likes a challenge. Asuka said Asuka (referring to herself in the third person) bows to no one because no one is ready for Asuka.

(Keller’s Analysis: Asuka’s cadence and inflections are so cornball, I want to say they enter the endearing territory, but I’m not sure.)

Then as Charlotte and Asuka faced off, Randy Orton came out to his music. Phillips said he’d address the WWE Universe for the first time as U.S. Champion next.

-The announcers hyped upcoming segments. Also, highlights aired of the Ronda Rousey angles. [c]

Orton stood center-ring with the U.S. Title belt over his shoulder. He said he has been called many different things over the course of his career – some good, some not-so-good. He said the one thing he has never been called ever until now is United States Champion. He held up the belt. He got some polite scattered cheers. He said that puts him on the short list of elite WWE Superstars who are Grand Slam Champions. “That is a list I actually care about,” he said. He complimented Bobby Roode and said he earned his respect. He said the title is his now, though. He said nobody is going to stop him from taking that title to WrestleMania. Roode’s music interrupted. “Well, maybe somebody,” said Graves.

Roode congratulated Orton. He said he gets a rematch and it will take place on the Grandest Stage of them All and it will be “absolutely glorious.”

(Keller’s Analysis: Even people who like the Glorious song and like Roode seem to be thinking these days, “You’re leaning on that too hard. Isn’t there something else you can do or say?”)

Jinder Mahal walked out and and on the stage it seems Orton has been around for an eternity and he has finally done it, yet Roode who has only been around for a cup of coffee already held that championship. He said Orton can never change it. He told Orton to take a seat as he inflicts carnage on Roode. He dropped the mic. Roode smiled and began removing his robe.

(3) BOBBY ROODE vs. JINDER MAHAL (w/Samil Singh)

Orton watched from ringside. They cut to a break a few seconds in after Jinder avoided an early attempt by Roode at a Glorious DDT. Jinder rolled to ringside. [c]

They aired the action on split screen during the break. Jinder took over control. More “grandest stage of them all” references by the announcers. Eventually Singh distracted Roode, who shoved him into the ringpost. Jinder then recovered and knocked Roode off balance. Phillips said the ref was paying attention to Singh, as if it would have been illegal to knock Roode off balance if the ref had been watching. Jinder then won with the Khallas.

WINNER: Mahal.

-As Mahal began to celebrate, Orton slid into the ring and gave him an RKO Out of Nowhere. [c]

-Renee caught up with Owens backstage. She asked him for a reaction to Sami blaming him for what happened on Sunday. Owens said he should see it’s all Shane’s fault. He said he’s not the only one who got screwed over. KO said he got screwed over first because if Shane hadn’t stuck his nose in his business, he’d be WWE Champion now. KO said Sami pretending to lie down and then trying to pull out a cheap victory was because he knew he couldn’t win on his own. He said Sami is a liar and a manipulator. He said if he weren’t so delusional, he’d see that he should be the rightful champion. He said Shane, like all the other McMahons, can’t stand not having the spotlight on him. He said Shane wasn’t needed at ringside at Fastlane. KO said if Sami can’t see Shane for who he is, he’ll teach him the lesson and open his eyes to the truth.

(Keller’s Analysis: It’s taken for granted, but KO is still among the best at a straight forward backstage promo like that, hitting his points without seeming overly scripted.)

-The announcers reacted. Graves said Shane overstepped his bounds. Saxton said Shane is the boss and didn’t overstep any bounds. Graves said Saxton is an idiot.

-The long (and controversial) Fabulous Moolah video aired announcing the Fabulous Moolah Memorial Battle Royal starting at this year’s WrestleMania.

-Naomi began her ring entrance. [c]

-Carmella said she is excited to win the inaugural Fabulous Moolah Battle Royal because “I am the modern day Moolah and a trailblazer.”


Naomi nailed Carmella with a knee after Carmella ducked two spin wheel kicks, but she showboated afterward, which gave Carmella a chance to recover enough to counter her next move. Then she yanked Naomi hard to the mat and put her feet on the middle rope for leverage to score the three count.

WINNER: Carmella.

-They showed Shane McMahon backstage. Phillips said his WrestleMania announcement is next. [c]

-Shane came out to his music. He asked Indianapolis what was up and got the usual cheap pop. He said he is not out there to apologize. He talked about KO putting his hands on his father, Vince. He admitted Vince isn’t the most sympathetic of people. He asked fans what they would do if they watched their father being attacked. He talked about having his chance to extract his revenge at Hell in a Cell, it was taken away from him by Sami Zayn. He said he has been accused of conduct unbecoming of Smackdown commissioner. He said he has talked with Daniel Bryan as recently as today, and he’d be returning to Smackdown next week. Boos (because he wasn’t there tonight). Shane said he’ll be “going it alone” because he is taking an indefinite leave of absence as Smackdown’s commissioner. He said before he does, he is going to make one specific and special match-up. He said based on what he saw at Fastlane and what KO and Sami said tonight, it will be KO vs. Sami at WrestleMania. Super mild reaction. His music played. Graves wondered how long Shane is leaving.

Owens walked out and said finally a decision by Shane he agrees with. He said he can beat Sami anytime easily and doesn’t need to wait until WrestleMania. Sami then came out and said to Shane, “Thank god you are leaving.” Shane said they still baffle him because he just gave them the opportunity to face each other, which many people don’t get, “on the grandest stage of them all, WrestleMania.” KO said he appreciates it, and they think he’ll appreciate this, too. They attacked him. Graves said, “Zayn and Owens knew what they were doing all along.” Graves said Shane’s not the commissioner anymore. Shane’s face got so red at few points, it looked scary. Sami then gave Shane a Helluva kick. Then KO gave him a pop-up powerbomb. KO and Sami attacked two referees who ran in. Two other referees stopped short of entering the ring. They put Shane’s head into a chair and threw him and the chair into the ringpost. Then they literally dragged Shane to the back by his arms. Graves said this was too far and way, way out of line.

Backstage Sami and KO yelled that they’re the good guys. Sami picked up Shane, who could barely stand. They gave him a Pop-Up Powerbomb on a stack of ladders backstage. Shane made strange noises. A ref ran up and called for EMTs.

(Keller’s Analysis: So we’re to believe Sami and KO were together all along, and could have won the WWE Title but chose not to in order to forward this ruse? Or did they unite after Fastlane, and if so why? Given the animosity between Sami and KO, and how they cost each other the WWE Title two days earlier, the attack of Shane felt too pre-medicated in that when KO said, “We appreciate that Shane, and we think you’ll appreciate this, too” and then Sami attacked Shane from behind, it felt planned.  How did KO know Sami was thinking what he was thinking? I’d rather have had more of a sense that they decided to do it on the spot, perhaps with a knowing nod that they could work together because they shared in common a hated for Shane. When Graves said if it weren’t for Shane, Sami or Kevin would be WWE Champion right now, viewers had to be thinking if it weren’t for KO then Sami would be champ or if it weren’t for Sami then KO would be champ, since more than Shane, they cost each other the title on Sunday. Yet, Phillips and Saxton didn’t say anything.) ###

14 Comments on KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 3/13: Fastlane fallout, Shane has a big announcement, Asuka vs. Charlotte hype, Styles vs. Nakamura hype

  1. Here’s what happened Keller. They turned on each other, and in the midst of that Shane got super kicked, which led to Shane screwing Owens and then screwing Sami out of the title. So yes, they reunited after fast lane because even though they turned on each other, which they both knew they would, Shane then screwed them both. Therefore they beat his ass down tonight for revenge.

  2. You may want to double check the headline, because i’m pretty sure Asuka is challenging Charlotte at Wrestlemania, not Rousey.

  3. So a couple of years ago WWE entered into negotiations with a lady from Japan. I call her the kickboxer because she doesn’t wrestle much but everyone else seems to love her. Ok, WWE had to know she spoke no English, I’m guessing they expected her to go to advanced English classes or something because Asuka needs a mouthpiece. She grinned like an idiot while Charlotte rambled on, someday a wrestler will throw a line in on her ‘Grin if you’re a moron’ or something like that. My point is, Monday WWE went all mean girls on her insulting her English, tonight they booked her to stand there and grin… my opinion is Vince is done with Asuka, she loses to Charlotte clean at WM and then become another Mickie James… enhancement talent. Women’s battle royal gets everyone a WM paycheck and I’m down with that, bet it goes on the free4all pre-show. Hey, here’s a thought… that white case Carmella carries around, does anyone at WWE know WHAT it is because they sure don’t use it much, not even as a tease run-in on the other show. Times running out, perhaps Carmella will become the first person to have their MITB get time expired. I like Shane’s reactions tonight. If Kevin Owens pummeled me around the arena and then power bombed me onto a scissor jack, I’d be all wonky and making gawd awful sounds.

    • 1) How many Asuka matches have you watched?

      2) Here’s an alternate view on why Asuka might smile and nod.. She’s never lost a match in the WWE, including NXT, of course she’s going smile and nod, because she’s heard it all before. That’s why she went to Smackdown, “to be the woman, you got to beat the woman” <– From Keller's own recap

      3) Alexa Bliss was playing a chicken s*** heel, relieved that her seemingly biggest threat was now changing brands, and also took the piss out of Charlotte, calling her a "B-Show Champion"

      4) Tell me, oh wise one, why didn't you say anything about Shinsuke Nakamura and his English? He never went to "Advanced English Classes", why should Asuka? That just makes you sound sexist.

      5) I guess Mickie is an enhancement talent, she's a 6-time WWE Women's Champion (yup, I include the Divas title, they booked it not me), and now she's trying to put the Womens division over, for asshats like you.

      6) I might have an idea as to what's going to happen, regarding the Carmella and the Womens MitB.

      • Ahh another expert. Shinske loses, a little too much for his character, he’s also the invisible man lately especially for being in one of the main events at WM. Asuka is brought in as this unbeatable monster. So we get , kick-kick-bumb bump – kick – submission. She went to Smackdown because Vince wrote her to go to Smackdown. She also went to Smackdown to lose her undefeated streak, if you think WWE is going to have Charlotte lay down for Asuka at WM… well we’ll see. She’s had her language insulted and basically written to look like an idiot lately. If you don’t recognize Vince preparing to bury a talent perhaps you haven’t seen enough WWE matches. Vince always degrades a wrestler then drops them into lower mid card, right Rusev. Mickie WAS a 6 time talent now she’s baggage, and lastly if you feel the need to call me insulting names when I have never met you or spoken to you we can bring this up with Wade on the site code of conduct. Grow up and learn there are other opinions.

        • Dbob,

          Your grasp is the business is what I’d call almost non-existent. 🙂 I do enjoy your comment though. Asuka is going to win the belt. She is not getting buried by anyone.

        • Oops. That should say on the business. This does give me an opportunity to agree with you on Rusev though. This seems to be based on Vince not liking that Lana and Rusev were married. Maybe Vince thought he had a chance? Rusev could be an amazing face, but Vince seems to not like to give us what we want, and only what he wants. Which is why the ratings suck.

  4. Shane should probably work on his cardio because he was out of breath while delivering his promo after doing his shuffle around the ring.

  5. Second week in a row for the US Title holder to suddenly appear and end a Charlotte segment. If I wrote this show, I’d have Charlotte beat up the next guy and take his belt just to stop the interruptions.

    • yeah, but last week, it was her own “Robe Warrior” Bobby Roode making his entrance, and Charlotte looked happy about it..

    • I broke out laughing… I could just picture Vince at gorilla or in the room screaming THIS IS GOING TOO LONG… CUT THEM OFF. lol

      • Amongst the men…. not many. I’m not an ‘Indy’ guy, I like Ziggler when he’s not too whiny, Ambrose when he IS too nuts, I used to like Bray and Roman but Bray has been written too weirdly and Roman, well if Vince would let me eat my dinner without him shoving Roman down my throat I might like him again. lol

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