KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 4/24: Post-Shakeup edition including Daniel Bryan on Miz TV

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor

WWE Smackdown Live logo - new July 2016 (c)


APRIL 24, 2018

Announcers: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton


-The Miz walked out to his music as Phillips introduced the show. Miz said he is making Smackdown “must-see” TV again and making it the A-show. He asked the fans to be quiet when his hand goes up. He said something is missing, though. He said it’s a title belt. He said he will rectify that on Friday at the Greatest Royal Rumble event. He said now it’s time to talk about the man who says he wants to punch him in the face. He said that Talking Smack was a source of some of their conflicts, and noted that the show was cancelled when he was moved to Raw. He then talked about becoming a father and how seeing her innocence made it clear to him that he had to be a better man. He said he’s surprised Bryan didn’t feel the same way when Birdie was born. He said maybe Bryan doesn’t have the same bond with his daughter that he and Monroe do. He said they’re both stars of their own reality shows. “You are all going to watch it whether you boo me or not,” he said. He said he and Bryan also share in common that they’re both masterful in-ring technicians. He said he knew he had to change when he became a father, so he invited Bryan to the ring to show whether he still wants to punch him in the face. He waited. Fans chanted “Yes! Yes!” Then a “Daniel Bryan” chant. Instead, after a pause, Big Cass came out.

The announcers talked about Cass being out injured, but working hard to rehab at the Performance Center. He wore a suit and tie. Miz asked, “Can I help you?” Cass said it looks like he doesn’t have a guest, so interview him. “Go ahead, take  seat.” Miz said he was supposed to be interviewing Bryan. Cass said nobody cares about him. He said he worked hard for seven months to return to WWE, but on the week he got cleared, so did Bryan, and now all he hears is Bryan’s name. “Nobody was talking about Big Cass,” he said. He said he is living in the shadow of that “ordinary little man.”

Miz said he understands what he’s saying, but if he’s there to help him with Bryan, he doesn’t need his help. Cass said not everything is about him. Miz asked if he has any idea who he is. He said listed all of his career highlights. He stood and yelled at Cass that this is a “what have you done for me lately” business and what has he done except hobble around on a bum knee. Cass stood and advised him to have a seat. Miz said this isn’t about them, it’s about Bryan. Cass said he’s right, but Bryan is an average Joe who looks like he should be laying tile in his kitchen or picking up garbage. He said Bryan spews trash to his fans about achieving their dreams, but those dreams are unattainable because they’re all a bunch of Joe Schmoes.

Cass said he knows what it’s like to be “a Daniel Bryan.” He said until age 16, he was “small and weak and it sucked.” He said he got bullied and beaten and pushed around until one day he had enough. And he started to grow to be seven feet tall. He said he went back to everyone who beat him up and beat the hell out of them. He said they deserved it, just as he deserved to get beat up when he was a little guy. He said Bryan reminds him of who he was when he was little, and he despises him. He said he didn’t have to work the indy scene and the bingo halls and go to Japan and Europe to get to WWE. “You wanna know why?” he said. “Because I’m tall, I’m educated, and I’m damn good looking.”

(Keller’s Analysis: Did Big Cass just steal the script from Roman Reigns’s first heel promo?)

He said he is a star and valuable and that makes him money, yet he still lives in the shadow of Daniel Bryan. He said not for long, but he’s going to be sure Bryan goes back to where he belongs – beaten, battered, bruised, and retired. Miz looked impressed with what he was hearing. He said he will never cast a shadow over him or anyone ever again. He mocked a “Yes!” chant, threw down the mic, and walked away.

(Keller’s Analysis: Cass’s deliver was solid. The fans were conflicts and confused about whether they should cheer for Miz or Cass for a while there. It appears Miz and Cass, at least at first, aren’t going to be aligned despite a common grudge with Bryan.)

-They went to the announcers. Phillips said Cass seemed extraordinarily smug. Then they shifted to plugging the contract signing for Charlotte challenging Carmella at Backlash.

-They showed Asuka and Becky Lynch backstage. Then the camera left to show Bryan was down and writhing in pain, holding his left shoulder. Refs were checking on him, calling for medical help. [c]

-Phillips said Bryan was taken to the trainer’s room to be tended to.

-The IIconics, Billie Kay and Peyton Royce, made fun of Asuka and Becky Lynch. They came to the conclusion that because Asuka couldn’t end Charlotte’s title reign, but they were instrumental in doing so, that made them better than Asuka. They said it’s all science and fact-based. They were eventually interrupted by Lynch’s music. Then Asuka made her ring entrance.

(1) THE IICONICS (Billie Kay & Peyton Royce) vs. ASUKA & BECKY LYNCH

As the match began, they cut to a commercial and showed the action on a split screen. [c]

After the break, Graves defended the Iiconics’ logic about being better than Asuka. Phillips said they were utilizing in a flimsy way the transitive property. The heels isolated Becky for several minutes. Asuka got a hot tag and got in a stretch of offense. Then after Becky tagged back in, Peyton pinned Becky with her feet on the middle rope for added leverage.

WINNERS: The Iiconics in 8:00.

-Renee Young stood outside of A.J. Styles’s locker room. He walked out with a big smile. She asked why he’s in such a good move. Styles said they’re three days away from the Greatest Royal Rumble when he gets his hands on Shinsuke Nakamura. He said Shinsuke is a con-man who brought Rusev and Aiden English with him. He said he has some back-up tonight, so it’ll be a six-man tag match. He said it will be “too sweet.” (Wait, let me guess!)

-Phillips said he can’t wait to find out later who is teaming with Styles. (Really? He doesn’t know?) Then Phillips plugged the Greatest (Men’s) Royal Rumble Event. They listed the matches. [c]

-A video package aired on Andrade Cien Almas and Zelina Vega. Vega said this isn’t about representing the fans or the brand because Almas is the only brand that counts. Vega said Almas has no peers and no one is on his level. She said he will soon show why he deserves the spotlight.

(Keller’s Analysis: This was an act that didn’t need to be altered at all from NXT and it appears it won’t be, so that’s great news. Vega is just tremendous in her managerial role, and she could revive the art form if given the time and freedom. Andrade is so good in the ring and also improved drastically throughout 2017 in getting comfortable in the WWE environment that this is one of the most promising new acts in WWE in years. If you haven’t watched NXT, get ready. They complete each other as a pro wrestling heel act.)

-Backstage the Usos were talking when in walked Naomi. Jey left so Jimmy and Naomi could chat. Jimmy didn’t want her to come out again. She said she wouldn’t apologize for what happened last week. She said she loves him with all of her heart, and she looked Erick Rowan and Luke Harper in the eyes and she saw nothing. She said she’s got a bad feeling tonight. Jimmy said she’s obviously worried and he said she looks good when she’s worked up. They did their special hand shake and hugged and kissed. He assured her she has nothing to worry about.

-The Bludgeon Brothers began their ring entrance. [c]

(2) JIMMY USO (w/Jey Uso) vs. ERICK ROWAN (w/Luke Harper)

Harper took a cheap shot at Jimmy early. Jimmy came back and dove onto Rowan off the top rope for a soft two count. A couple minutes in, Naomi made her full ring entrance. That distraction led to Jey attacking Harper and then jimmy giving Rowan a superkick for a quick three count. Graves said that’s a big upset and now the husband will pay for the deeds of his wife. Phillips wondered if this was an indication that the Usos can knock off the Bludgeon Brothers.

WINNER: Jimmy in 3:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: Imagine of your spouse showed up at your cubicle at work and began dancing like that to distract an office rival? It’s one of those “only in pro wrestling” moments. For a while I thought it was just so excessive, but then when it succeeded in distracting the seemingly unbeatable Bludgeon Brothers, it seemed genius. I’m curious if Naomi ends up being a Yoko Ohno to the Usos. I think this could be a bumpy but entertaining ride. It’s too soon to tell. I do know Jimmy just blossoms into a full-blown actual person when interacting with her even more than when he and Jey seem to be in a groove. It’s good to see after years of being a cardboard one-dimensional scripted sports entertainer.) 

-Phillips hyped the rest of the show. They showed a graphic with Styles flanked by Gallows & Anderson, making the unstated but obvious now official. [c]

-Carmella made her ring entrance for the contract signing.

Greg Parks joins me tonight LIVE right after WWE Smackdown ends. Join us HERE for the live stream and call to participate in the show: (347) 215-8558. You can also email with questions and comments about tonight’s show.


-Renee Young was hosting in the ring. Carmella yanked the mic away from her as she was about to introduce Charlotte. Carmella accused her of being disrespectful. She said this isn’t Charlotte’s kingdom anymore, so before she introduces her, which is boring, she has something to address. “I am your champion!” she said to Renee. “More importantly, I’m your champion,” she added, pointing at the crowd. She said it’s time for a Mellabration. The crowd chanted “You suck!” She said because she’s the champ, she makes the rules around here, so she’s going to play her highlight video again. She said this time, when it’s over, the fans will be on their feet giving her the ovation it deserves. Graves said, “I can’t wait to see this again.” (They actually did play it again. I would have bet money that an altered version of it would air making Carmella look bad, and then Charlotte would walk out and take credit.)

She said she’s going to play it again, and this time the fans will stand up and cheer. “And we’re going to do it until you get it right,” she said. “Play it again!” she snarled. Then it played again for quite a while until Charlotte interrupted it. (They were testing the patience of viewers, there, I suspect.) Charlotte marched out. Carmella taunted Charlotte by jumping around with her title belt and mocking Charlotte with “woos” and strutting. Renee asked her to please be a professional and take her seat. Charlotte stared to the side and didn’t sell Carmella’s antics. Charlotte finally slowly turned and smiled as she signed the contract and then let out a big “wooo!” Carmella shoved the title belt toward her, so Charlotte shoved Carmella’s face into the table and knocked it and her over. She stood and turned and strutted out of the ring.

(Keller’s Analysis: I don’t think Charlotte struck the right tone there. She just seemed arrogant and distant and even disengaged until the final seconds there. I’d rather hear her explain what motivates her and why she is convinced Carmella can’t beat her one-on-one. Just basic babyface challenger stuff would have been welcome here.)

-The announcers hyped the Greatest Royal Rumble line-up again.

-Dasha Fuentes knocked on the door of Shinsuke Nakamura. Aiden English answered the door and said, “No interviews!”

-They showed Jeff Hardy walking backstage.

-A commercial aired for the Greatest Royal Rumble. [c]

-They showed a family that got a seat upgrade in a sponsored segment.

-They went to the announcers at ringside. Phillips said Carmella did sign the contract, so the match is official for Backlash in two weeks.

-As Hardy came out, Phillips noted that Hardy is defending against Raw wrestler Jinder Mahal this Friday at the Greatest Royal Rumble. Hardy stopped in the aisle and then turned to the stage. Randy Orton’s music played and he walked out, a replay of last week, but with the roles reversed.


Graves said Shelton thinks it’s time for him to try singles competition. A couple minutes in, Shelton was in control and he kicked Orton in the head and sent him tumbling to ringside. They cut to a break, but stayed on split screen. [c]

Shelton stayed on offense, bashing Orton into the announce table and then settling into a headlock in the ring. Orton fought out it once the break ended, but Shelton knocked Orton down with a spin wheel kick. Jeff Hardy was shown sitting at ringside watching. Orton made a comeback and signaled for his RKO. Shelton rolled to ringside. Graves said Orton telegraphed the move. Orton bashed Shelton into the announce table. Orton was about to throw Shelton toward Hardy, so Hardy leaped out of the chair. Instead, Orton dropped Shelton onto the announce desk. A man in a ref mask ran out from the crowd and clipped Hardy’s already injured left knee. The man in the mask entered the ring and then Orton yanked off his mask. It was Sanil Singh. Orton gave him an RKO. Shelton then caught a distracted Orton with Pay Dirt and scored the three count.

WINNER: Shelton in 8:00.

(Keller’s Analysis: I guess it’s too soon to completely write off Shelton as an enhancement wrestler. They’re teasing something between Hardy and Orton, too, it seems. I wouldn’t mind, of these quarters, just seeing a one-on-one feud for the U.S. Title, but in the era of the dual-branded PPVs, I suspect the pattern of multi-man matches will be the norm for the secondary singles titles and, perhaps also, tag titles just to get as many of the big names on each PPV as possible. Sigh.)

-Backstage, the New Day plugged their “Book of Booty” over a table of pancakes. They performed a toast with wine glasses filled with Bootie. In walked The Bar. Kofi Kingston asked why they were there. The Bar said they’ll regain their Raw Tag Team Titles on Friday, they’ll be gone from Smackdown and back on Raw. (That answers that.) They grabbed pancakes and blew out their candles and left. Big E said it’s fowl and filthy to touch their pancakes like that.

(Keller’s Analysis: I hope the merchandise checks are good, because they continue to be frivolous comedians who are hard to take seriously on any level, and those signs of Big E stepping up and showing a more serious side seems to have faded as quickly as it surfaced.)

-In the locker room, Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows walked up to Styles all smiles. They did the Too Sweet gesture. Phillips said The Club is back together. [c]

-Backstage, Renee stood outside of the trainer’s room. Out walked Bryan with an ice pack on his neck. He said he’ll be ready for the Greatest Royal Rumble. “I’ve come back from a lot worse than this,” he said. He said he was blindsided by a coward. He said at Backlash he has asked for and been given a match against Big Cass at Backlash. He said he’ll win the Greatest Royal Rumble and then show Cass that it doesn’t matter how big you are, everyone is the same size when on the mat tapping out.

(Keller’s Analysis: At first, I wasn’t in favor of Bryan’s first feud back being against Big Cass, but Cass’s promo earlier elevated it, and I think having Bryan come back and battle a big bully rather than being positioned as having a “classic” four-star-plus series with another “indy darling” is a better move for him. He’ll eventually have matches with Shinsuke and Andrade, and they’ll be great, and I’m sure his Miz matches will be a lot of fun, but Cass is a good starter feud for him, and it can serve to utilize Bryan to help elevate a younger rising star to test how fast he can improve and become a top tier player.)

-The announcers at ringside reacted and then plugged the Greatest Royal Rumble again.

-A promo aired with Samoa Joe who said he’ll leave a trail of broken bodies in his wake on Friday. He said it’ll be the end of Finn Balor and he said the IC Title is already his. He said then he’ll sit back and watch Roman Reigns get massacred by Lesnar. He said if Reigns somehow wins the WWE Title, at Backlash he’ll take that, too. He then ominously and deliberately said, “Believe that.”

(Keller’s Analysis: Joe is so sure of who he is and how to portray himself right now. I mean, if he turns babyface and keeps this serious no-nonsense intimidating badass persona, he’ll be a top top babyface for as long as he can physically keep delivering.)

-Ring entrances took place for Anderson & Gallows and then Styles. A remixed version of Shinsuke’s entrance music played. Graves said Shinsuke had it remixed because he was tired of fans singing along to it. (This version, with a Japanese band singing lyrics in Japanese, might keep fans from singing along but it’s no less cool. Nakamura, though, seemed to really dig it.)


Nakamura teased locking up with Styles, but tagged out. The Club got the early advantage and then they cut to an early break. [c]

They came back live with Nakamura in control. Saxton said he’ll be joined by Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, and Booker T on the pre-show in Saudi Arabia. Eventually Styles hot-tagged in Gallows, who clotheslined English and then charged him in the corner. Rusev broke up his pin attempt. Rusev then threw Anderson into the ringpost. Gallows fended off Rusev and English, but then Nakamura gave him a Kinshasa from behind for the win.

WINNERS: Nakamura & Rusev & English in 10:00.

-Styles charged back into the ring and attacked Nakamura. The crowd cheered. Nakamura again stopped Styles with a low-blow. Nakamura then set up a kick, but Anderson intervened and took the kick to the head instead to protect Styles. Then he lifted Anderson and gave him a Kinshasa knee strike. Nakamura’s music played to end the show.

(Keller’s Analysis: Shinsuke is more dynamic as a character as a heel. He seems to be having more fun and has more dimensions. I’m curious to watch this develop over time. The repeated low-blows is almost comical in its simplicity and repetition, yet effective so far.)

FINAL THOUGHTS:The post-Shake-up landscape developed nicely with an especially strong promo from Big Cass. ###

Greg Parks joins me tonight LIVE right after WWE Smackdown ends. Join us HERE for the live stream and call to participate in the show: (347) 215-8558. You can also email with questions and comments about tonight’s show.

3 Comments on KELLER’S WWE SMACKDOWN REPORT 4/24: Post-Shakeup edition including Daniel Bryan on Miz TV

  1. You know it never dawned on me until tonight…. no women at Most Ho’d Royal Rumble Ever. Which makes sense being in Saudi Arabia. I hope that check was really, really big Vince cause you sold out one of the favorite PPVs and your whole women’s division. There seemed to be less Keller’s comments tonight…. perhaps we need to get Wade an assistant to help around teh office.

    • I agree with you. There are many outlets refusing to cover the event because the women are not participating. So much for the women’s revolution. I always thought it to be nonsense anyway due to WWF/WWE’s past issues, but this pretty cements that it is a total joke. HOw were women empowered when Trish was barking like a dog for Vince? I won’t even mention the behind the scenes stuff that most of us know about.

  2. I thought this was the worst Smackdown I have seen in a long time. Most of the recent shows have been pitiful. IN fact, as a long time wrestling fan, this garbage is insulting.

    I have no idea what the Usos and Naomi are talking about. I think their act is geared towards kids? The whole come out and dance during the middle of a match was slightly dumber than the Orton match which had random distractions. All of this is boring. The Big Cass storyline is a joke because honestly, he can’t hang with Daniel Bryan. Anyone expecting that to be a good match is probably overreaching.

    Overall this show was a 1 on a scale of 1 to 10. There is no way I could sit through this stuff “live” for two hours. It is just a bunch of lowest common denominator garbage. The stuff with new day is worse than insulting. I understand they are getting paid, but wow, they look like fools.

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