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Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Live Report! (4/3/18)

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All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Charlotte Flair VS Natalya; Charlotte wins.
  • Rusev VS Jinder Mahal; Rusev wins.
  • 8 Man Tag: Tye Dillinger, Zack Ryder & Breezango VS Baron Corbin, Mojo Rawley, Dolph Ziggler & Primo Colon; Corbin, Rawley, Ziggler & Colon win.
  • AJ Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura VS Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable; Styles & Nakamura win.

PLAY BY PLAY

SmackDown General Manager, Daniel Bryan, heads to the ring!

And Nashville chants “YES! YES!” They chant “Daniel Bryan!” and he welcomes them to the show. Bryan welcomes his Wrestlemania tag team partner, Shane McMahon!

The SmackDown Commissioner is back even after a hernia and diverticulitis kept him hospitalized. The fans chant “Shane O’Mac!” and he asks them, “What’s up, Nashville?” They’re putting the “Live” in SmackDown Live. Shane wishes to correct Bryan, however, that Bryan is a role model for fighting back these last three years to return to the ring. Shane congratulates Bryan on being cleared to do what he loves and what we love to see him do! The fans chant “YES! YES” in agreement. Shane is excited to be his teammate at Wrestlemania, especially when it means getting back at Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn.

But Bryan must also address something as both a man and the GM. Bryan admits his mistakes over Kevin & Sami. He was their friend for 15 years, but that clouded his judgement. Shane warned Bryan but Bryan didn’t listen. Bryan admits he’s sorry and then apologizes to Shane. No reason to apologize, Bryan, because Shane admits he was hot-headed and “possibly” stubborn. Shane, stubborn? No…! A McMahon stubborn? No…! But in order to resolve these differences, Bryan knows that from being in the WWE, when a tag team has problems, there’s only one way to resolve it. Fans are expecting they “Hug It Out!”

Shane apologizes to Bryan, because after Kevin & Sami started this grudge, he’s been hot-headed. He offers a handshake. No, they just did that! Nashville doesn’t want a handshake, they want a HUG! Shane’s not really a hugger, though… Fans continue to chant “Hug It Out!” And they do!

Shane admits, he feels better. “We’re definitely on the same page now.” And that is bad news for Sami & Kevin! Bryan & Shane will get payback for what they did to Bryan, what they did to Shane, and for everything in between! Shane thanks Bryan for reinstating those two, because it’s the Land of Opportunity, as Shane takes this opportunity to rid SmackDown of Kevin & Sami forever. Are the fans ready to see Bryan & Shane beat the holy Hell out of Sami & Kevin? “YES! YES!”

 

Charlotte Flair VS Natalya!

The Queen of Flair arrives in the Music City to take on the Queen of Harts one more time, ahead of her match with the Empress of Tomorrow. But is the SmackDown Women’s Champion risking a setback this close to Wrestlemania with such a competitive match?

SmackDown returns to this match as they tie up. Charlotte gets the headlock takeover, but Natty the headscissors. Charlotte pops out and styles and profiles. They circle again, Charlotte gets the waistlock but Natty the escape and takedown. Natty wrenches the knee, but Charlotte uses the free leg to pry herself out. The two stand off, and circle again. Natty poses, Charlotte rolls her, TWO. Natty tells the fans to “Shut up!” before hitting a snap suplex. She keeps on Charlotte with a headlock takeover, but Charlotte rolls that to a cover. TWO, and Natty keeps the headlock. Fans rally and Charlotte stands up to power out. Natty ducks the boot to chop back, then pose again. Fans boo and jeer while they circle again.

Natty talks trash, Harts are better than Flairs, and gets the waistlock. Charlotte spins around and rolls to a cover, TWO. Charlotte keeps Natty in a facelock, then takedown to cover, TWO. The champion holds Natty down but Natty stomps her foot. Natty whips Charlotte but Charlotte reverses to a roll up< TWO! Another facelock and Charlotte still has control. Charlotte switches to the waistlock and takedown to facelock and cover, TWO. Charlotte bumps Natty off buckles and then stomps away on her. The referee backs Charlotte off, but she returns to yank Natty out of the corner. Cover, TWO, so she puts Natty in the headscissor hold.

Charlotte rams Natty’s face into the mat over and over, but Natty won’t give up.

Natty endures the squeeze, but Charlotte rolls her and throws her once, twice, and three times! Charlotte kip-up while Natty scrambles out of the ring, the fans “WOO~!”, which annoys Natty. Charlotte slides out but misses. Natty swings but Charlotte evades to kick and chop! Charlotte grabs Natty in a headlock but Natty shoves her into a post! Natty embraces the heat while we go picture in picture. She shouts at the fans as she takes her time to stomp and stalk Charlotte. She puts Charlotte in the ring, then covers, TWO. Natty keeps on Charlotte with a chinlock, grinning as she keeps the champion grounded. Natty tells fans to “Shut up!” again, but Charlotte reaches for ropes. Charlotte works her way up but Natty throws her back down, to again pose.

Natty trash talks Charlotte and kicks her in the ribs, then chokes her at the ropes. The referee backs Natty off, and Charlotte boots her way out of a corner. Charlotte chops, Natty swings back. Natty clotheslines Charlotte down, then walks over her to pose again. Natty brings Charlotte up but Charlotte reverses the whip, so Natty kicks her low. Charlotte end sup in a corner and Natty throws hands, but then Charlotte comes back with the backbreaker and buckle shot. Natty gets out of the ring, Charlotte pursues, but Natty trips her up on the apron! Charlotte hits the floor, Natty picks her up and puts her into barriers! Natty poses once again before putting Charlotte back in the ring. She kicks Charlotte again as we go single picture.

Natty clubs Charlotte’s back as she puts her in an abdominal stretch. The fans rally and Charlotte turns the stretch around! Charlotte stretches and thrashes, but Natty fights out and throws Charlotte. Natty whips Charlotte but Charlotte slips to the apron and boots Natty away. Charlotte goes to another corner and climbs up, but Natty throws her off! Cover, TWO, but Natty keeps going, with the surfboard. She gets each arm in turn and then brings Charlotte up!

Charlotte endures, gets an arm free, and then floats on Natty’s legs to get away. Running chop! And another, and another! Charlotte keeps giving out those Flair chops, then turns Natty into the neckbreaker, and boots her down! Fans fire up for the Queen of Flair as she covers, TWO!

Natty gets to a corner, Charlotte runs into her elbow, and Natty hops on for a sleeper hold! Charlotte carries Natty, for the backpack drop! Charlotte drags herself up to the top rope, fans fire up as she takes aim, MOONSAULT into knees! The Queen of Hart catches her breath, but she and Charlotte double clothesline each other! F A B U L O U A S! It’s Ms. Money int he Bank, Carmella! She tried this before, is she going to get it this time!? Charlotte kicks the briefcase away!

The Princess of Staten Island goes after her but gets a boot! Natty rolls Charlotte, TWO! Takedown, to Figure Four! Figure Eight, Natty taps! Charlotte wins!

Winner: Charlotte, by submission

The SmackDown Women’s Champion is still champion here tonight. But now, The Empress returns to SmackDown!

Asuka goes to the ring and grabs a mic. She smiles at Charlotte as she says, “At Wrestlemania, the Queen will bow down to the Empress! Because no one is ready–” Charlotte snatches the mic! Charlotte says she’s ready, but is Asuka ready for her?! The two stare down, grinning with excitement. Empress, Queen, or Princess in the Bank, who will sit on the throne of the SmackDown Women’s Division?

 

Exclusive interview with AJ Styles.

Shinsuke Nakamura thinks he is in Styles’ head. Nakamura faked him out with the Kinshasa, and patted him like a dog, but Styles is a dog that bites. Maybe he wears his emotions on his sleeve. It’s why Styles is in the WWE. His emotions aren’t his weakness, but his strength. But in terms of weakness, Nakamura’s is that he’s underestimating Styles. Styles is champion, and this isn’t the Tokyo Dome. The Dream (Re)Match is a reality, and the reality is, the Phenomenal One will win. With these feelings on his sleeve, can Styles work with Nakamura tonight in their tag team match?

 

SmackDown looks back at the story of Bryan, Shane, Kevin & Sami.

Bryan retired roughly three years ago because of medical concerns, but after fighting for his dream, he can finally come back! However, things with Shane were tense because of his grudge with Kevin Owens over beating down Vince McMahon, and Sami Zayn interfering in the Hell in a Cell match. The #YEPMovement continued to wreak havoc on SmackDown, and Shane did lash out against them. Shane admitted his mistakes and was going to take an indefinite leave, but Sami & Kevin tried to make it a permanent leave. Their attack was brutal, and it hospitalized the SmackDown Commissioner, but they tried to act like it didn’t matter when Bryan was cleared for competition.

Bryan pointed it all out to them, and had no choice but to fire Kevin & Sami. He hoped their 15 year long friendship would be enough, but no, not even he was spared their wrath. Bryan fought back, as if he’d never missed a day, but it was still 2v1. Kevin & Sami would brutalize Bryan almost as badly as they did Shane, but that wouldn’t stop Bryan. Bryan proposed one final opportunity: the Wrestlemania tag team match! If Kevin & Sami win, they return to SmackDown. But Bryan is back, he returns at Wrestlemania, and vows that he and Shane will kick their asses! Will the #YESMovement shut down the #YEPMovement on the Grandest Stage of Them All?

 

Bobby Roode comes out and joins commentary!

The GLORIOUS One will be part of a WWE United States Championship Fatal 4 Way along with The Viper, Randy Orton, and these two men!

Rusev w/ Aiden English VS Jinder Mahal w/ Sunil Singh!

Sunil tries to sing better than the Drama King, but clearly fails. Sunil’s horrible voice aside, the Modern Day Maharaja and The Bulgarian Lion are the other two men in the WWE USC Fatal 4 Way, so this match is all about one last bit of momentum. English raps better than Sunil Singh sings, too.

The bell rings, “Rusev Day!” echoes out as they circle. Rusev powers Mahal back, but Mahal turns that around to put Rusev in a corner. They both turn around while Orton watches them backstage. Mahal fights his way out of the corner, then whips, but Rusev reverses into a drop toehold. Rusev wants the Accolade but Mahal scrambles away, we go to break.

SmackDown returns, Mahal has control of Rusev. Rusev fights back but Mahal elbows him down then puts him back in the hold. Rusev fights out again, whips Mahal but Mahal kicks back and knees him down! Cover, TWO, but Mahal keeps on Rusev with a stomp. Mahal springboard knee drops on Rusev before grinding a knee into his jaw. He drags Rusev up and drops him with a neckbreaker, then runs for a big jumping knee drop. Cover, TWO, and English coaches Rusev on. Mahal clobbers Rusev in a corner, then stalks him to another corner to wrench the arm on the ropes. The referee counts, Mahal stops at 4.

Fans rally for Rusev, Mahla snapmares Rusev and drives a knee into the back. He puts Rusev in a seated keylock, but Rusev feeds off the energy to fight back. Mahal still keeps him down while we go picture in picture. Rusev staggers with Mahal’s hits, Mahal puts Rusev back in the keylock. Rusev endures, then stands up again to fight out once more. He finally gets Mahal with haymakers, then ducks to hit a roundhouse! Ruesv rallies now, running for a big body check in a corner and a windmill kick on the run! Cover, TWO, but Rusev keeps his cool. Rusev waits for Mahal as we return to single picture, stomps, but Mahal scrambles to ropes! Rusev backs away, Mahal throws him out, but he comes right back, only to take a boot from Mahal! Cover, TWO, and Mahal grows frustrated.

Mahal hears the fans chant “Rusev Day!” and says it’s Maharaja Day. He goes to suplex but Rusev shoves him for the pop-up knee and then another roundhouse! Mahal goes down and fans fire up for Rusev as he stomps the mat. Rusev waits for Mahal to get up, but Sunil gets ont he apron. Sunil gets the roundhouse! Mahal rolls Rusev, TWO! Rusev throws  more hands, then backs up, MACHKA KICK! Cover, Rusev wins!

Winner: Rusev, by pinfall

The Bulgarian Brute wins again, but Bobby Roode isn’t worried. It’s still any man’s match in the Fatal 4 Way, who will be the United States Champion after Wrestlemania? Or rather, RUSEVMania– RKO OUTTA NOWHERE!!

English pounces on the champion in return for that sneak attack, then hops up to the second rope. Roode shoves English off, into a GLORIOUS RKO! Then Roode steps into the ring with Orton, and holds up the US title belt. He hands it to Orton, but grins and looks at the Wrestlemania sign. Orton’s name is on the belt for now, but will it stay there?

 

Exclusive interview with Shinsuke Nakamura.

The King of Strong Style knows “A, J, Styles” thinks they’re playing games. He’s right. But Nakamura still takes his game very seriously. He’s come to America to go to Wrestlemania. Nakamura doesn’t take Styles lightly, and knows him very well, so he knows Styles is “very emotional.” So emotional, that he will make a mistake, and when that happens, Nakamura becomes WWE Champion with a #Knee2Face. Like Styles before him, Nakamura is very confident in himself. Can these two come out of tonight with a win as a team before going head-to-head?

 

The New Day chants “Free!”

But what is free? Wrestlemania, if you’re a new subscriber to the WWE Network. Woods wants to see Big E’s phone, he has to get through a pancake and some Booty O’s first. Just sign up on any device and you can stream the Network! From phone to tablet to laptop! What’s the laptop doing in Kofi’s pants, though? However, The Usos come over to remind the New Day that they’ll be defending those SmackDown Tag Team Championships against them and the Bludgeon Brothers. Wrestlemania will be the Uso Penitentiary. The New Day laugh, until Harper & Rowan appear…

The Bludgeon Brothers simply SMASH! Free or not, will the Bludgeon Brothers cash-in on obtaining those SmackDown tag titles this Sunday?

 

8 Man Tag: Tye Dillinger, Zack Ryder & Breezango VS Baron Corbin, Mojo Rawley, Dolph Ziggler & Primo Colon!

All these men and many more from both Raw and SmackDown will be in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. Which four will gain themselves some momentum before going into the esteemed multi-man match?

The bell rings and Mojo starts against his nemesis in Zack Ryder. The Hype Bros tie up and Mojo throws Ryder down. Ryder hits back with forearms, but Mojo throws him into a corner. Ryder hits back, hops up and missile dropkicks Mojo down. Cover, ONE, but Ryder keeps on Mojo. Mojo powers Ryder back but Ryder fights out of the corner. Everyone spills out and the referee keeps the peace while we go to picture in picture. Corbin is the only man brave enough on his team to stay in, but he’s not legal so he exits. Ryder tags Tyler Breeze in, and Mojo returns to tag in the Show-Off. Ziggler steps to Prince Pretty with a test of strength that leads to a kick. Ziggler keeps on Breeze while taunting Fandango and The Perfect Ten, but that leads to Breeze using an enziguri to knock him down!

Both men are down, hot tag to Tye Dillinger! He rallies on Ziggler then blasts the other corner before chopping Ziggler. He whips but Ziggler reverses, yet Tye still comes out to lariat Ziggler down. Tye sees Corbin coming and knocks him down, then fireman carries Ziggler. Ziggler slips out but the superkick is blocked to a flapjack and short knee! Corbin distracts again, SUPERKICK hits! Both men are down again, and we go single picture again. Ziggler crawls, tag to Corbin. Corbin drags Tye up and puts him in another corner. He fires off on Tye, then tags Mojo in. Mojo jabs Tye then stalks him to a corner. Mojo rams Tye into buckles again and again, then backs off to run, but Tye dodges! Mojo goes into corners, and Tye crawls to his corner. Hot tags to Fandango and Primo!

Fandango rallies with fast jabs, then lariats. he whips but Primo kicks him away. Fandango kicks back and falcon arrow! Cover, Ziggler breaks it. Ryder clotheslines Ziggler out with him, but Primo gets to Corbin. Corbin tags in but he gets dumped out! Ryder returns to Rough Ryder Mojo and throw him out! Primo clotheslines Ryder, Tye throws Primo, Ziggler returns but Tye gets up under the Famouser! Ziggler turns that into headscissors to throw Tye out! SUPERKICK from Breeze! But then Corbin grabs Breeze for a choke hold TOSS! Breeze wipes out the group but Fandango rolls up, TWO. END OF DAYS! Cover, Corbin’s team wins!

Winners: Corbin, Rawley, Ziggler & Colon, Corbin pinning

The Lone Wolf won the Andre the Giant Battle Royal once before, can he do it again and make major history?

 

Benjamin & Gable speak.

The Gold Standard and his Olympic medalist friend don’t care what fans want to see. And after what they do to Nakamura & Styles, that Dream (Re)Match will just be a watered down version as they send them limping into Wrestlemania.

 

Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn suddenly appear from the crowd!

The #YEPMovement still believe this is their show! Wrestlemania will still be their show, and no one will stop them from speaking their mind! After watching Shane & Bryan apologize, these two need to apologize to someone. Not Bryan, but Brie Bella & little Birdie. Sorry, Birdie, but you won’t get to see your daddy have his big heroic comeback. Sorry, Brie, but your love and support won’t put Bryan back together after what Kevin & Sami do to him! Fight for your dreams? The problem is, their dream is to fight Bryan and obliterate him! They vow to do that at WRestlemania, as their #WrestlemaniaMoment! “We Deserve It! We Deserve It!”

Shane and Bryan see this from backstage, and decide those two deserve something else. They head out while Sami & Kevin continue to rant and rave about what they’ll do to Shane and Bryan. Kevin calls Shane a failure, and that’s when the mics cut off. Sami & Kevin head back out through the crowd, but Shane & Bryan come out! Get cameras on those two. Bryan wants everyone to use their camera phones and watch them, “because this is history in the making: the very last time we will see Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens on SmackDown.” And since they want the fans to sing and chant, let’s try “Nana na na, Hey Hey Hey, Good-Bye~!” The fans follow along, and Sami & Kevin leave. Will this really be the last time Kevin & Sami make SmackDown their show?

 

AJ Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura VS Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable!

While the Phenomenal One and the King of Strong Style aren’t traditionally tag team wrestlers, they’re both incredible singles competitors. Can they put their WWE Championship feud on hold long enough to overcome wrestlers who have each proven themselves as WWE tag team champions in the past?

The bell rings and Nakamura starts against Gable. The fans chant for both Styles and Nakamura while Nakamura and Gable go move for move and hold for hold back and forth. Gable gets the waistlock but Nakamura shoves him way, only for Gable to go for the leg. Nakamura stands up and Gable narrowly avoids the kick. Nakamura grins as they circle again. Gable gets the arm but Nakamura reverses. Gable tries to arm-drag but Nakamura blocks so Gable gets the takedown and armlock. Nakamura gets up again, and rolls and cartwheels to reverse back on Gable. Styles wants a tag, so Nakamura pats his head.

Gable gets away but that’s a tag, so Styles comes in. Styles and Nakamura argue, Benjamin & Gable pounce! Benjamin throws Nakamura out while Gable stomps away on Styles. The champion and challenger are in trouble while we go to break.

SmackDown returns once more, and Styles hits Gable with a Pele! Both men are down and headed for their corners, hot tags to Benjamin and Nakamura! Nakamura rallies with the Dynamic Dropkick, then a strike fest for Gable. He also lights up Benjamin, then hits a knee in the corner. Nakamura puts Benjamin on the top rope but Gable bails him out with a tag. Benjamin dodges, then hits a step-up knee! Gable climbs up, MOONSAULT!

Cover, TWO! Gable can’t believe how close he was, but he keeps on Nakamura with a keylock. Fans rally, and Nakamura endures while we go picture in picture. Gable keeps wrenching Nakamura’s shoulder, but Nakamura stands up and fights out. Nakamura swings but Gable German Suplexes and bridge! TWO, tag to Benjamin. Benjamin stomps Nakamura, then brings him up for a standing armlock.

Nakamura endures again while fans rally. He fights out and brawls with Benjamin. Benjamin backs Nakamura down with haymakers, then snapmares Nakamura into another chinlock. Cover, ONE, so Benjamin puts on bodyscissors to add to the chinlock. Gable says, “Don’t let him breathe”, but fans chant for Nakamura again. Nakamura stands up, fights back and brawls with Benjamin again. Benjamin whips but Nakamura reverses into a knee. He swings a kick but Bnejamin hits him with the dragon whip kick! Benjamin runs at Nakamura in a corner, but gets Nakamura’s windmill kick! Both men are down, fans rally, hot tags to Styles and Gable! Styles rallies and unleashes the Phenomenal Blitz! Benjamin returns, he gets a PELE! Styles goes for Gable, small package, TWO! Fireman’s carry, USHIGOROSHI!

Styles sees Nakamura returning, and sees Gable is vulnerable. Styles goes to the apron on Nakamura’s side, and hits Phenomenal Forearm!

Cover, Styles & Nakamura win!

Winners: Styles & Nakamura, Styles pinning

The champion shows his challenger exactly what he talked about in his interview earlier. The emotions on his sleeve will empower him, but will it be enough for Styles to outdo Nakamura? But then, Benjamin pounces on Nakamura! Nakamura fights him off while Styles slowly returns tot he ring, but Nakmaura has fought Benjamin off easily. Styles springboards, and fakes his forearm like Nakamura did the knee. They both grin as the game is on. Styles even pats Nakamura’s head, which riles Nakamura up a bit. Who will the Dream (Re)Match between two world-tier talents?

 


 

My Thoughts:

SmackDown did much better than Raw at putting together a go-home. This had much more action, and any talking segments really helped propel story. Except for the 8 Man Tag, but that still worked to make it clear SmackDown’s front-runner for the Andre the Giant Battle Royal is Baron Corbin. I still think it’ll be WOKEN Hardy there, though. Bryan and Shane open the show to #HugItOut, that seems like foreshadowing of someone’s Heel Turn. Charlotte VS Natty is a great match, which is normal for those two, and Carmella again tries but fails a cash-in. It’s becoming less and less clear if she’ll actual succeed. She’s under a lot of pressure as the inaugural Ms. MITB to make something of her opportunity, but copying Seth Rollins for a ‘Mania cash-in might be too obvious. Asuka appearing was also great, it really drives home how great their match will be.

Rusev VS Mahal was good, and combined with Roode and Orton getting involved afterwards, the WWE US Championship segment was really fun. The title match really could go any way, but Orton and Roode standing tall make them the favorites. The segment with the SmackDown Tag Team Champions and their contenders, the Shane-Bryan VS Kevin-Sami recap package, and the surprise appearance by Kevin & Sami were all great, much better than some of the filler slog Raw gave us. Then, Nakamura & Styles VS Benjamin & Gable was a really good match, and of course the WWE Champion and contender stand tall. It was rather brilliant for Styles to turn the mind game around on Nakamura, too, given how Nakamura reacted.

My Score: 8/10


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