The April 17, 2018 Edition of Smackdown Live is a Professional wrestling television show of the WWE's Smackdown brand, which took place on April 17, 2018 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. This was the second day of the 2018 WWE Superstar Shake-up.
Following Shinsuke Nakamura's blindside attack on WWE Champion AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan at the conclusion of last week's SmackDown LIVE, Styles kicked tonight off looking to get his hands on WWE's Rockstar. However, AJ's call-out did not summon The King of Strong Style, but instead Rusev & Aiden English. English sang his typical song, but Styles made it very clear that he was not in the mood for any song or dance. If Rusev wanted a fight, he could come get one.
And so he did, as the two Superstars went at it to kick off the second night of the 2018 Superstar Shake-up. Right off the bat, The Phenomenal One locked The Bulgarian Brute in the Calf Crusher. When it appeared Rusev was going to tap out due to the excruciating pain, English attacked AJ, and Styles won by disqualification. A limping Rusev soon joined in on the beatdown of the WWE Champion until Styles got a helping hand from Daniel Bryan. The “Yes!” Man rushed to Styles’ aid, causing the Rusev Day celebrators to flee.
The two would not be able to escape, however, because new SmackDown LIVE General Manager Paige decreed that she had found her main event for tonight — AJ Styles & Daniel Bryan vs. Rusev & Aiden English!
With his now former tag team partner, Chad Gable, having been moved to Raw via the Superstar Shake-up, Shelton Benjamin threw some shade his old partner's way and then looked to make a major solo impression on the blue brand by calling out anyone on the roster to face him tonight.
First out was Randy Orton, clearly looking to silence Benjamin. However, before The Apex Predator could make it to the ring, he was interrupted by the new United States Champion and the newest SmackDown LIVE acquisition via the Superstar Shake-up, Jeff Hardy!
Benjamin and Hardy tore the house down with a thrilling contest that had the WWE Universe on its feet. After several back-and-forth exchanges, The Charismatic Enigma topped Benjamin with a Twist of Fate and the Swanton Bomb to claim the win in his first night back on the blue brand.
With The Usos getting their first crack at SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Bludgeon Brothers since losing the titles to them at WrestleMania 34, Jey Uso squared off against Harper on SmackDown LIVE.
Jey brought the fight to Harper, refusing to back down to the behemoth. However, both Rowan and Jimmy Uso made early attempts to interject themselves into the contest. Through the commotion, the towering Harper put Jey down with a Discus Clothesline on the apron for the win.
After the match, The Bludgeon Brothers circled back to Jey for, seemingly, another attack. However, when the fight spilled outside, Jimmy Uso grabbed one of their mallets and attempted a swing on both Harper & Rowan outside of the ring. The effort would not last long though, as The Bludgeon Brothers neutralized both Jimmy and Jey, regained their mallets and then stood over Jimmy, appearing as though they were about to decimate him.
However, before the destruction could occur, Jimmy's wife Naomi rushed to the ring and pleaded for The Bludgeon Brothers to show mercy. After a moment of contemplation, Harper & Rowan opted to hold back on the attack... for now, at least.
Samoa Joe has arrived.
Yes, The Samoan Submission Machine became the newest member of SmackDown LIVE and wasted no time making a statement out of Sin Cara, forcing him to tap out with the Coquina Clutch.
After the match, Joe grabbed the microphone, declaring SmackDown LIVE the “Land of Handouts” — a land where he was ready to take matters into his own hands and put down the top Superstars, just like he would Roman Reigns at WWE Backlash.
Before making his exit, Joe promised to win the Intercontinental Championship at the Greatest Royal Rumble event and take the Universal Title from Roman Reigns at WWE Backlash if The Big Dog somehow defeats Brock Lesnar.
After her shocking cash-in a week ago, SmackDown Women's Champion Carmella moonwalked her way onto SmackDown LIVE ready for a celebration, or, as she was calling it, a ‘Mellabration.
The Crowned Princess of SmackDown LIVE held back no pomp or circumstance, decking the ring out in leopard print, harping on her victory over Charlotte Flair for the title last week (calling it the biggest moment in women's history) and playing a highlight package of her own accomplishments, including her triumph in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match and her monumental title victory last Tuesday.
But before the ‘Mellabration could kick into high gear, Princess Mella found herself interrupted by former champion Charlotte Flair. The Queen pointed out how pivotal the debuting IIconics were in Carmella's victory last week and added that she didn't intend on waiting very long to get the title back.
Charlotte would not have the chance to get in Carmella's face, though, as she, much like last week, was interrupted by The IIconics, Billie Kay & Peyton Royce. Billie & Peyton lambasted Charlotte, which prompted Flair to charge The IIconics in the entranceway. Carmella opted to just watch on as Flair attempted to battle Kay & Royce on her own. She would not have to go it alone for long, though, as Becky Lynch soon came to her aid to even the odds in a fight that was only quelled by the start of Charlotte's singles match against Billie Kay.
As a result of the wild brawl that had just ensued, SmackDown LIVE Commissioner Shane McMahon announced that Charlotte Flair would take on Billie Kay, with Becky Lynch and Peyton Royce in their respective corners. Already in a white-hot rivalry just a week after The IIconics debuted on the blue brand, The Queen nor Billie Kay held nothing back in a hard-hitting bout. However, Carmella, who had been providing guest commentary, watched on as Flair edged out a victory after locking Kay in the dreaded Figure-Eight.
This led to Carmella blindsiding Charlotte Flair with the title and Peyton and Billie joining in to beat down both her and Becky until Asuka arrived, most definitely shaking things up on SmackDown LIVE! With Asuka making a B-line for the ring, Carmella high-tailed it out of there as The Empress of Tomorrow, Charlotte and Becky silenced The IIconics, at least for one night.
Now a safe distance away, Carmella clutched her SmackDown Women's Championship, knowing that maintaining it just got a whole lot tougher.
Following up from their chaotic battle with Rusev Day earlier in the night, AJ Styles & Daniel Bryan teamed up for the first time ever to take on Rusev & Aiden English in an epic main event. Right when it looked like Bryan and Styles were closing in on victory, Shinsuke Nakamura blindsided Styles, who was on the ring apron, with yet another low blow. Big Cass, with whom Bryan had a tense exchange earlier in the evening, entered the ring immediately after Nakamura's strike and dropped The “Yes!” Man with a big boot.
Renee Young tried to get a comment from Nakamura after the match, but The Artist again claimed that he spoke no English, while Cass opted to celebrate over Bryan's limp body.
The blue brand has been shaken up indeed... and it may never be the same again.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dark Match: Tye Dillinger defeated Primo Colon
- AJ Styles defeated Rusev (w/ Aiden English) by disqualification (0:30)
- Jeff Hardy defeated Shelton Benjamin (8:20)
- Luke Harper (w/ Erick Rowan) defeated Jey Uso (w/ Jimmy Uso) (0:53)
- Samoa Joe defeated Sin Cara by submission (1:24)
- Charlotte Flair (w/ Becky Lynch) defeated Billie Kay (w/ Peyton Royce) by submission at 11:16
- AJ Styles & Daniel Bryan defeated Rusev & Aiden English by disqualification (12:35)
|Pick #||Brand (to)|| Employee|
|1||SmackDown||The Miz||Male Superstar||Raw|
|2||SmackDown||Jeff Hardy||Male Superstar||Raw||Drafted with the WWE United States Championship.|
(Sonya Deville & Mandy Rose)
|Female Tag Team||Raw|
|4||SmackDown||Samoa Joe||Male Superstar||Raw|
(Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe, Killian Dain & Nikki Cross)
|6||SmackDown||Big Cass||Male Superstar||Raw|
|8||SmackDown||Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson||Tag Team||Raw|
|9||SmackDown||Sheamus & Cesaro||Tag Team||Raw||Challengers for the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship at Greatest Royal Rumble|
|11||SmackDown||Andrade "Cien" Almas with Zelina Vega||Male Superstar and manager||NXT|
Other on-screen talent
AJ Styles vs. Rusev
Jeff Hardy vs. Shelton Benjamin
Harper vs. Jey Uso
Samoa Joe vs. Sin Cara
Charlotte Flair vs. Billie Kay
AJ Styles & Daniel Bryan vs. Rusev & Aiden English
- WWE Smackdown Live #974 at CAGEMATCH.net
- WWE Smackdown Live #974 at WWE.com
- Smackdown #974 on WWE Network