The WWE was in Louisville, Kentucky last night (Tues. April 24, 2018) for SmackDown Live, their go-home show before the Greatest Royal Rumble event in Saudi Arabia on Friday.
With fresh new Superstars just getting settled into their new homes off the Superstar Shake-Up, rivalries begin to brew as the new WWE year continues to kick off. Newly-acquired Big Cass has his eyes set on Daniel Bryan, while AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura continue to bump heads.
Keeping all of that in mind, let's review SmackDown Live's show before these men and women travel across the world to Saudi Arabia for what could potentially be a bigger show than WrestleMania 33.
Miz TV Returns To SmackDown Live
The Miz is back on SmackDown Live, and that means his famed Miz TV segment is coming with him. Miz has longtime been a rival to Daniel Bryan, and was expected to host the former Tuesday night General Manager on his show. Instead, out came Big Cass in a suit to voice his frustrations with Bryan, and get into a bit of a verbal altercation with Miz as well:
Score - 8/10
Cass has been surprisingly great on the mic, and The Miz is one of the best promos in the business. After the segment Bryan was shown hurt backstage after an apparent attack, which was likely done by Cass before the Miz TV segment.
The IIconics vs. Asuka and Becky Lynch
The IIconics have been quite a great pair of heels since making their main roster debut. Ambushing Charlotte Flair to help her lose the SmackDown Live Women's Championship is certainly a great way to build heat on a debut. This match against Lynch and Asuka was solid, and a rollup pin on Lynch while utilizing the ropes for leverage only gets them more heat with fans:
Score - 6/10
The match wasn't anything special, but it wasn't terrible either. Lynch and Asuka had a bit of miscommunication in their loss which could perhaps lead to something down the line, but in the end The IIconics got heat and that's what good heels do.
Jimmy Uso vs. Rowan
After being attacked by The Bludgeon Brothers and Naomi coming out to plead for them to stop, Jimmy and Jay Uso came to the ring in attempt to extract revenge. Jimmy would have the task of taking on Rowan in a singles match. Rowan dominated early on in the bout, but thanks to a distraction from Naomi's entrance, Jimmy got the roll-up pin for the victory:
Score - 7/10
A great story being told here between The Usos and The Bludgeon Brothers, and getting Naomi involved is a big plus for her. It should be interesting to see how this commences going further, especially in Saudi Arabia.
Backlash Contract Signing For Carmella vs. Charlotte Flair
Carmella is the SmackDown Live Women's Champion and did so by cashing in her Money In The Bank briefcase on Charlotte Flair. Now, Carmella will have to give The Queen her obligated rematch at Backlash - and tonight's SmackDown Live featured the contract signing.
The SDL Women's Champ came out to the ring and played her highlight reel for the crowd, demanding they give her a standing ovation. When she didn't like the way fans responded, she ordered it to be replayed - to which Flair interrupted. Carmella taunted Flair for quite a bit, before Charlotte signed the contract and smashed Carmella's head into the table:
Score - 9/10
Carmella did an excellent job of getting herself heat and Flair played up to the taunting perfectly. This was a great way to get hype leading up to their clash at Backlash later on next month.
Shelton Benjamin vs. Randy Orton
Shelton Benjamin is now on his own after the departure of Chad Gable, and he got a big jump up in competition as a singles competitor when he took on Randy Orton.
Originally it looked as though Benjamin would be fighting United States Champion Jeff Hardy, but he watched Orton take on Benjamin from ringside instead. Benjamin gets the roll-up win on Orton thanks to a distraction from one of the Singh Brothers:
Score - 5/10
Not the best match and it makes the United States Title picture look scattered. Obviously Hardy will be defending against Mahal in Saudi Arabia, but it seems Benjamin and Orton are pursuing the strap as well. Nobody involved in this segment had any beef with the other - as Singh distracted Orton instead of attacking Hardy, who is Mahal's opponent.
Six Man Tag Team Match: AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Rusev and Aiden English
AJ Styles and The Club reunite to take on The Phenomenal One's rival Shinsuke Nakamura, along with Rusev and Aiden English. Nakamura was eventually able to hit the Kinshasa on Gallows' head for the win, and proceeded to engage in a brawl with Styles afterwards.
Nakamura hit a low blow and was about to hit Styles with the Kinshasa, but Anderson jumped in front of him and took it for him. Styles, still hurt from the low blow, was forced to watch as Nakamura hit Anderson with another one right in front of him:
Score - 9/10
This was a great way for Nakamura to take his heel status to the next level, and generate even more interest in his feud with Styles by making it personal after attacking his close friend in Karl Anderson. The pair will battle it out for the WWE Championship in Saudi Arabia, and you can expect an excellent match from these two ring generals.
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