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KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT
APRIL 10, 2018
NEW ORLEANS, LA.
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves
-As Shane McMahon came out to his entrance music, the announcers talked about Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn being unemployed. They also talked up Shane’s “intestinal fortitude” (Bryon’s choice of words) at WrestleMania. Shane welcomed everyone to Smackdown Live. He didn’t say “New Orleans” and he got less of a pop than usual. Go figure. He thanked the fans for the support they showed all weekend making it such a success. Fans chanted “Thank you, Shane!” He said he’s had a lot of amazing WrestleMania Moments, and this was one of them as they all witnessed the return of Daniel Bryan. He said Bryan’s toughness and resolve not to let anyone take away his dream led to them winning. He said seeing Bryan in action was magical and he was born to do this. He said he has now crossed back over into being a full time WWE Superstar. He said he has graciously accepted Bryan’s resignation as Smackdown G.M. He said since this is the Land of Opportunity, one door closed, but another has opened. He introduced Paige as the new Smackdown G.M.
(Keller’s Analysis: This is great. She’s going to be tremendous in this role. She has a real bond with fans, and I suspect she’ll be the type of G.M. who eventually makes Shane regret this hire – and it could make for great TV. Although I’m very much fine with her being a babyface G.M. who just earnestly tries to create a level playing field and combats heels effectively.)
Out walked Paige. She said the first person to greet her last night after her retirement was Shane. She thanked him. Fans chanted “This is your house!” (Paige is 20,000 more times liked than Roman Reigns, by the way.) She said she wants her first night to be special, she wants Daniel Bryan in a match. She milked the moment before announcing his opponent. Fans chanted “Rusev Day!” Then “A.J. Styles.” She then announced it would be Styles. Phillips said, “Talk about a fantasy match just made by Paige.” Graves said he heard rumblings of the new G.M. making a big splash, and she did.
-They went to the announcers on commentary, who went into the same disclaimer about the fans they did last night. Almost word for word. Then they plugged that Shinsuke Nakamura’s turn on Styles (Spoiler: He is involved in the Bryan-Styles finish), Charlotte’s win over Asuka, and The Usos vs. New Day in a no. 1 contendership match.
(Keller’s Analysis: I wonder if they’re slipping in Bryan vs. Styles now because one of them is going to Raw next week. It would make sense since they are duplicates in certain ways on a WWE roster.)
-A commercial aired for the Superstar Shake-up. [c]
(1) THE USOS vs. THE NEW DAY – No. 1 contendership match
They cut to an early break, but stayed with it on split screen. [c]
They really picked up the pace a few minutes after the break with a series of rapid-fire near falls with Jimmy and Xavier, and then Jey tagged in and hit the frog splash for the win.
WINNERS: The Usos in 11:00.
-The Bludgeon Brothers walked onto the stage and stared down their new top contenders.
-The announcers talked about Make-a-Wish World Day. A video aired with John Cena talking about the charity.
-A commercial aired for HBO’s “Andre the Giant” documentary.
-WrestleMania Highlights aired.
-Charlie Caruso interviewed Naomi backstage about her battle royal win. Yes, the trophy is shaped like a cervix. In walked Natalya. She said she was the least favored pick to win that match and everyone in the locker room feels the same way. She said her Twitter blew up saying her victory was the disappointment of the night. “We’re sick of your sophomoric glow.” She said she can’t wait to see her get shipped off to Raw. Naomi said that means this is her last chance to get hands on her. She said, “I accept.” Natalya said that’s not what she meant. Naomi told her to stop whining.
(2) NAOMI vs. NATALYA
The announcers talked about the Superstar Shake-up. They cut to an early break. [c]
After the break, Natalya locked on an abdominal stretch. Then she landed a spinning sitout powerbomb for a near fall. When she went for the Sharpshooter, Naomi blocked it, but Natalya then clotheslined her and scored a near fall. Naomi came back with a kick and a split-legged moonsault for the pin.
WINNER: Naomi in 8:00.
-The announcers talked about Nakamura’s low blow on Styles.
-Renee Young knocked on Nakamura’s locker room door. He answered and seemed a little annoyed. Fans booed. She said people are calling his attack on Styles “reprehensible” and “a heinous act” and “at the very least, poor sportsmanship.” She asked why he’d tarnish his dream match like that. Shinsuke said, “Renee, I don’t know what came over me. Maybe I got too emotional. I’m very, very sorry for what I did to A.J. Styles.” He then winked. She accused him of being disingenuous. She asked again. He milked the moment, then said, “Sorry, no speak English.” The crowd laughed and applauded.
(Keller’s Analysis: Nakamura showed more personality here than any other time in WWE. He was tremendous, but almost too good as the crowd ate it up.)
-Graves hyped a Randy Orton vs. Bobby Roode vs. Rusev match, with the winner facing Jinder Mahal at Backlash. [c]
-The announcers talked about WrestleMania as mainstream media headlines flashed across the screen. They talked up on Ronda Rousey’s in-ring debut.
-Charlotte walked to the ring to her full entrance. She credited Asuka for the toughest challenge in her career. She said Asuka made her work harder and dig deeper than she thought was possible, “and for that, I say thank you.” She said she left WrestleMania still “your Smackdown Women’s Champion. Wooo!” She said it was special and magical and they left it all in the ring. She said now the question is, “Who am I going to make magic with next.” She was interrupted by Peyton Royce and Billie Kaye from NXT. “This is huge, guys,” said Graves. He said these women can provide competition. An “NXT” chant broke out.
Email questions and comments about Smackdown for the taping of the Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Post-show immediately after the show tonight to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Royce and Kaye said her match at WrestleMania was “good, but it just wasn’t iconic.” They entered the ring. Kaye said nobody wants to see Charlotte yack. Royce imitated Charlotte’s mannerisms and mocked her for thanking everyone like her second grade teacher and Uber driver and “air for allowing me to breathe, and blah blah blah.” Fans cheered. (That’s about as bizarro as the crowd either of these nights got.) They chanted “I-con-ic.” They told Charlotte to stop talking about a match that happened in the past since she is now looking at the future. “It’s out with the old and in with the Iconics.” Charlotte took the first shot at them when they approached her, but they overwhelmed her. Saxton said it’s becoming a mauling. Kaye landed a “Shades of Kaye” kick. Then they threw Charlotte over the announce table. The crowd should have been chanting “Asuka!” here, but didn’t. Saxton decried the ambush. They threw Charlotte into the ringpost, then shoulder-first into the ringside steps. Charlotte cried out in pain. Then they double-powerbombed her. They dragged her lifeless body back into the ring and stood over her. They stood over her for a while and finally four referees ran out and ordered them to the back as their music played. Graves told viewers not to be fooled by their beauty because they are a force to be reckoned with.
As they reached the stage, Carmella ran out to cash in her Money in the Bank. The ref took his time as Carmella screamed at him over and over. He was hilarious in pretending he didn’t understand her. He explained it slowly to the time keeper. Charlotte struggled to stand and finally did just as the bell rang.
(3) CHARLOTTE vs. CARMELLA – Smackdown Women’s Championship Match – MITB Cash-in
Carmella kicked Charlotte and scored the pin. Carmella obnoxiously celebrated, screeching and kicking imaginary dirt all over Charlotte.
WINNER: Carmella in 0:05 to become Smackdown Women’s Champion.
(Keller’s Analysis: This does free up Charlotte to possibly move to Raw in the Superstar Shake-up and end up a potential rival for Ronda Rousey, while also putting heat on the Iconics and Carmella for whichever babyface additions are made to make up for Charlotte’s departure.) [c]
-The ring entrances took place for the next match and Jinder Mahal joined the announcers on commentary. [c]
(4) RANDY ORTON vs. BOBBY ROODE vs. RUSEV (w/Aiden English) – Winner Gets U.S. Title match at Backlash
They showed the beginning of the match on split screen during the commercial. Orton and Roode battled first. Orton battled Rusev at ringside and dropped him over the announce desk. Roode threw Orton back into the ring. He leaped off the top rope and hit a clothesline for a two count. Orton came right back with clotheslines and a snap powerslam. “RKO!” chants began. He set up his second rope DDT, but Roode escaped. Rusev then backdropped Orton on the announce table. Rusev re-entered the ring and fans chanted “Rusev Day!” He kicked Roode in the chest twice and then charged him into the corner and hit his leaping spin wheel kick. Then the Machka Kick. He stomped Roode and applied the Accolade, but Orton broke it up. Boos from the crowd. He threw Rusev into the ringpost, then gave Roode an RKO for the win. Orton celebrated and stared down at Jinder at ringside, who held up his U.S. Title belt and put on a brave face.
WINNER: Orton in 8:00 to earn a U.S. Title match.
(Keller’s Analysis: Mixed reaction as many fans wanted Rusev to win, but they couldn’t get themselves to outright boo Orton.) [c]
-The announcers recapped Carmella’s win.
-Dasha Fuentes asked the dumbest question ever. She asked Carmella backstage why, after waiting so long, tonight was the right night to cash in. Umm, because Charlotte was knocked out. Carmella said she waited for the absolute perfect time to cash in. She teared up as she talked. Fans applauded. (What?! They’re buying this?) She said she really wanted to thank someone. “I want to say thank you to ME!” she cackled. Dasha asked what about Peyton and Kaye. She asked, “Who?” She added, “‘Mella’s got money, ‘Mella’s got the gold.”
(Keller’s Analysis: Now I’m expecting Asuka to beat her at Backlash.)
-They went to the announcers on camera to hype the main event.
-Renee approached Styles backstage and explained that Nakamura apologized earlier. Styles said he doesn’t need an apology, and maybe he’ll put his fist down his throat. Styles said he never thought he’d stand opposite of Daniel Bryan in a WWE ring. He said he’s “probably one of the greatest, but he’s not Phenomenal.”
-Bryan’s ring entrance took place. He led the crowd in a loud “Yes!” chant. He slapped hands on his way to the ring. Then, with 20 minutes left in the show, Styles made his ring entrance. (No mentioned at all of this being non-title or for the title, but the assumption obviously would be that it’s non-title.) They cut to a break. [c]
(5) A.J. STYLES vs. DANIEL BRYAN
Just under 15 minutes left in the show after a long break. Bryan took over with some kicks after a minute of feeling each other out. Then he leveraged him down with a hammer lock. Fans started dueling chants of “Daniel Bryan / A.J. Styles.” Styles came back after running the ropes with a high dropkick. Bryan rolled to the floor. [c]
Back live, Bryan threw some Yes Kicks at Styles’s chest as the crowd yelled “Yes!” after each one. Styles turned one into a dragon screw whip. Styles reversed Bryan’s Calf Crusher attempt into a Calf Crusher mid-ring. Bryan countered into a Yes Lock attempt. Styles springboarded into the ring a minute later, but Bryan caught him with a kick. Then, after a struggle, he applied Yes Lock, but Styles forced a break in the ropes. Both tumbled off the top rope and were down. Nakamura attacked both guys.
WINNER: No contest in 13:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: What better way to turn Nakamura heel than having him interrupt Styles vs. Bryan and beat them both up?)