The April 17th, 2018 edition of WWE SmackDown Live took place at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, RI, and featured the latest Superstar Shakeup roster trades.
– Fans have now started entering the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence.
– WWE Champion AJ Styles makes his way down to the ring to kick off this week’s SmackDown Live broadcast. Tom Philips says on commentary that the Dunkin Donuts Center in sold-out tonight. AJ steps in the ring and gets on the mic to cut a promo on Nakamura. He says Nakamura isn’t “The Artist,” he’s a con artist. The crowd duels chants for AJ and Nakamura, and AJ says instead of celebrating his win at WrestleMania he’s consumed with wanting revenge on Nakamura. AJ says last week he had a real dream match with Daniel Bryan, and Shinsuke showed his true colors again and ruined that match. AJ says he’s not letting it go, and he’s not leaving the ring until Nakamura comes down so he can confront him. AJ says Nakamura supposedly forgot how to speak english all of a sudden, but AJ isn’t here to talk, he’s here to fight. He calls Nakamura a coward and tells him to come down and fight him right now. Instead, Aiden English and Rusev come out. Aiden sings to AJ that Nakamura isn’t here tonight and he’s on vacation, but Rusev will fight him instead. Rusev hits the ring with English at ringside in his corner, and we have a match.
– AJ Styles vs. Rusev: The opening bell sounds and Rusev starts off on the offensive. AJ catches Rusev by the ropes and tackles him down, then locks Rusev in the Calf Crusher early on. Rusev looks to be in trouble, but Aiden English runs in and starts beating on AJ. The ref calls for the bell.
Winner via DQ: AJ Styles
– After the match, English and Rusev start beating on AJ until Daniel Bryan runs down for the save. AJ and Daniel fight them off, and Rusev and English retreat up the ramp.
– Shane McMahon and Paige talk backstage about what just happened in the ring. As new SmackDown GM, Paige says she’s going to channel Teddy Long, and book a “tag team match, playa” tonight between AJ & Bryan vs. Rusev & English. Paige and Shane both do the Teddy Long dance before leaving.
– Carmella is scheduled to come out later to celebrate her Women’s Title victory.
– Shelton Benjamin comes out to the ring and starts talking about his partner Chad Gable. He says Gable is an inspirational wrestler. He says his Twitter account got hacked last night, and he would never say those things about Chad. He adds that Shelton wants his own opportunities, and he has asked Paige to give him some big competition tonight. Shelton looks to the stage and wants to see what they’ve got for him. Randy Orton’s music hits, and we have a match. As Orton is walking to the ring, Jeff Hardy’s music hits, and U.S. Champion Jeff Hardy comes down the ramp and walks right past Orton. Hardy gets in the ring as Orton stands on the ramp.
– Jeff Hardy vs. Shelton Benjamin: This one appears to be a non-Title match. The opening bell sounds and Shelton goes right to work on Hardy, pummeling him down to the mat. Jeff fights back and goes up top, but Shelton cuts him off and hits a knee to the face in the corner. Shelton looks for a superplex, but Jeff fights him off and hits the Whisper In The Wind for a two count. Jeff looks for a Twist of Fate, but Shelton evades it and starts fighting back. Shelton looks for the Paydirt, but Jeff blocks it and mule kicks Shelton into the corner. Shelton blocks a kick, but Jeff successfully executes the Twist of Fate. Jeff goes up top and hits the Swanton Bomb for the three count.
Winner: Jeff Hardy
– After the match, Jeff celebrates with his U.S. Title in the ring as we go to replays.
– We see a pre-taped video of The Miz, and Miz reveals that he’s not at SmackDown tonight because he’s in Los Angeles with Maryse and their daughter. The Miz announces that he’ll be making his SmackDown premiere next week, and he will kick Daniel Bryan’s ass.
– It’s announced that Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose have been traded to SmackDown, thanks to SmackDown GM and former Absolution leader Paige.
– Jey Uso vs. Harper: Jimmy Uso and Rowan are both at ringside for this one The opening bell sounds and Harper goes right to work on Jey. Jey tries to fight back but Harper drops him again. Uso hits a boot to the face of Rowan which buys him some time to recover. Rowan and Jimmy get into it at ringside, and their involvement leads to Harper taking advantage with a discus clothesline to Jey. Harper pins to score the three count after a short match.
– After the match, Rowan and Harper beat down Jimmy and Jey, until Jimmy grabs one of their big mallets. Rowan and Harper fight him off, and they continue beating own The Usos until Naomi runs out crying. Naomi begs them to stop and the Bludgeon Brothers back off as some fans boo.
– Still to come: AJ & Daniel Bryan team up in the main event against Rusev and Aiden English.
– Sin Cara is waiting in the ring for his opponent, and Samoa Joe’s music hit. Joe makes his SmackDown debut as he is the latest star to be traded from RAW.
– Sin Cara vs. Samoa Joe: The opening bell sounds and Cara starts off strong, but Joe lays into him with a series of strikes that stuns him. Joe looks for a suplex but Cara slides away and fights back. Joe drops Cara and hits more stiff strikes, finishing with a big knee. Joe drops Cara into the Coquina Clutch for the win.
Winner: Samoa Joe
– After the match, Joe gets on the mic and says SmackDown seems more like the land of handouts than the land of opportunities. He cuts a promo about everyone on SmackDown having it easy, until now. Joe says now he will take all the opportunities, and he wants to take down Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, and AJ Styles. Joe says to watch him compete in Saudi Arabia and at Backlash for an example of what he’s going to do to the SmackDown roster. Joe promises to put Reigns down for good if there’s anything left of Reigns after his match with Lesnar. He says if Reigns somehow beats Lesnar for the Universal Title, Joe will rip that Title away from Reigns at Backlash. Joe’s music hits and he heads to the back.
– The broadcast team talks about pay-per-views being dual branded on the WWE Network from now on.
– We see a video package about NXT group Sanity coming to SmackDown soon.
– Daniel Bryan does an interview backstage, but gets interrupted by Big Cass. Cass gets in Bryan’s face and calls him a little man then walks off.
– Carmella is in the ring with her Women’s Championship belt to celebrate being the new Title holder. Carmella gets on the mic and talks about beating Charlotte all on her own, because Charlotte was blinded by her own ego. Carmella says this will go down as the biggest moment in the women’s revolution, then introduces a video package tribute to herself. Carmella continues talking about her victory until Charlotte comes out to interrupt. Charlotte says Carmella only had the Money In The Bank briefcase because of that freak James Ellsworth, and she only beat Charlotte because of Peyton Royce and Billie Kay. Charlotte heads to the ring, but she gets interrupted by The Iconics. Peyon and Billie come down and get on the mic, telling Charlotte to look at the future. Charlotte starts brawling with both Billie and Peyton until the numbers advantage is too much and Billie rams her into the fan barricade. Becky Lynch runs down for the save, then referees come and try to break up the brawl.
– Charlotte vs. Billie Kay: This one was made a match during the commercial break and is already underway. They brawl out to ringside early on, while Peyton and Becky cheer on from ringside, and Carmella is at the broadcast table. Flair sends Billie into the ring post, then takes her back on the mat. Billie starts mounting a comeback and is now keeping Charlotte grounded. Peyton hits a cheap shot on Charlotte behind the ref’s back, and Becky runs over to chase off Peyton. Flair drops Billie with a knee, but Billie comes back with a suplex. Charlotte fights back with chops and unloadsd with strikes. Charlotte looks to finish it but Billie escapes and drops Charlotte. They trade roll-up attempts and counters until Charlotte hits a big boot to the face. Flair locks in the Figure Eight for the win.
Winner: Charlotte Flair
– After the match, Carmella attacks Charlotte until Becky gets in the ring for the save. The Icons hit the ring now and take out Becky. Carmella recovers and joins in on the beat-down on Becky and Charlotte. The music hits and the latest member to join SmackDown comes out for the save: Asuka. Asuka hits the ring and Carmella retreats. Asuka drops Peyton and Billie, then stands tall with Charlotte and Becky.
– We see a video package announcing that Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson are coming to SmackDown.
– The New Day is shown backstage and they run in to R-Truth, who has supposedly been traded to SmackDown. Tye Dillinger walks up to Truth and they do a hand shake and smile. Truth says he’s glad to be on RAW now with these guys. They inform him that this is SmackDown, not RAW. Truth says “my bad” and walks off. Truth says he’ll see them tomorrow, and The New Day and Dillinger look concerned about Truth.
– The announcers discuss the Superstar Shakeup changes, and then announce that Andrade Almas and Zelina Vega are also headed to SmackDown soon.
– AJ Styles & Daniel Bryan vs. Rusev & Aiden English: Bryan and English start things off with a lock up, and fans are already chanting for Bryan. Bryan gets the upper hand and unloads with strikes on English. Bryan puts English in a surfboard before tagging in AJ. AJ comes off the top onto English and continues to beat on him. English starts mounting a comeback, as the fans duel chants for both teams. AJ hits a gutbuster on Aiden, which prompts Rusev to run in and Bryan to run in and stop Rusev. AJ puts English in the Calf Crusher and Bryan puts Rusev in the Yes Lock simultaneously. Rusev and English finally break free and roll out to ringside for a breather. Back in the ring, English gets the advantage over AJ until AJ stuns English with a Pele Kick, and both men are down. Bryan and Rusev get the tags and Bryan unloads on Rusev with strikes. Bryan springboards off the turnbuckle and hits a clothesline on Rusev. Bryan is fired up and shakes the ropes before hitting the running dropkick on Rusev. Bryan looks for the Yes Lock but Rusev puts up a fight until English breaks it up. Bryan throws English outside, then blocks a big boot from Rusev. Bryan takes Rusev down with a dragon screw, then unloads on him with Yes Kicks. Bryan follows up with the running knee to the face on Rusev, and Rusev is hurt. Nakamura comes out of nowhere and low-blows AJ from behind while AJ is on the apron, and the ref doesn’t see it. Bryan sees what happened and Nakamura laughs. Bryan turns around into a big boot from Big Cass out of nowhere. Cass stands over Bryan on the mat and raises his hand in the air as Nakamura backs up the ramp.
Winners via DQ: AJ Styles & Daniel Bryan
– We go to replays as the announcers talk about Big Cass making his return from a knee injury. Renee Young tries to interview Nakamura on the stage about why he attacked AJ again, but Nakamura doesn’t answer. Nakamura heads to the back as Cass is still standing over Bryan in the ring, and SmackDown goes off the air.