The April 24, 2018 Edition of Smackdown Live is a Professional wrestling television show of the WWE's Smackdown brand, which took place on April 24, 2018 at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. This was the final Smackdown Live before the Greatest Royal Rumble.
The Miz was at the epicenter of the seismic shift created by the Superstar Shake-up last week, and it seemed The A-Lister would now stand face-to-face with his longtime rival Daniel Bryan in the ring for the first time in nearly three years on “Miz TV.” However, confusion grew when Miz called Bryan out to the ring for their interview and The “Yes!” Man was nowhere to be found.
Arriving instead was Big Cass, who brutally attacked Bryan last week in his WWE return. When The Miz questioned Cass as to why he was there, the seven-footer cited that he too had worked diligently to return from injury, yet all of the attention went to Daniel and none to him. Cass, who stated that he too used to be small and picked on when he was younger, promised to break the “little man” Bryan once and for all so that he would never again be overshadowed by him (or anyone of Bryan's stature).
Asuka arrived on SmackDown LIVE with a bang last week when she helped Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch fend off the dastardly trio of SmackDown Women's Champion Carmella and The IIconics. This week, Billie Kay and Peyton Royce didn't seem overly concerned with their impending matchup against Lynch and The Empress of Tomorrow, as the two boldly claimed they are the future of WWE and are better than Lynch, Asuka and Charlotte Flair.
Having not taken kindly to The IIconic's words, Becky & Asuka came out strong, but The IIconics fired back by isolating Lynch and using tandem offense to wear her down. It appeared that Asuka & Lynch were inching toward victory when The Empress of Tomorrow tagged into the contest and started pulverizing the competition. However, after Becky got back involved and accidentally knocked Asuka out of the ring, The IIconics ganged up on the Irish Lass Kicker. Positioned on the apron, Becky dispatched of Kay with a kick, but Peyton smashed the first-ever SmackDown Women's Champion head-first into the ring post and rolled her up, slyly putting her feet on the ropes for leverage to get the win.
In a chilling scene last week, Naomi had to rush to the aid of her husband Jimmy Uso when it appeared that The Bludgeon Brothers were about to do devastating damage to him with their mallets, and she pleaded with Jimmy to be careful tonight as he took on Rowan in one-on-one competition.
With Jey and Harper patrolling ringside, Jimmy and Rowan brawled in and around the squared circle on the blue brand, with Jimmy refusing to back down in the slightest. At the height of the action, Harper took out Jey with a devastating blow on the outside. Jimmy refused to be deterred, giving his all in the face of great danger. However, it appeared Jimmy was in great danger when Rowan threw Jimmy off the top rope into the barricade on the floor.
In a bizarre turn of events, Naomi came out again this week, only this time it was her full-on, GLOW-induced entrance. As the lights rose and her music continued to blast, Harper & Rowan looked puzzled by Naomi's actions. This distraction allowed Jey to blindside Harper with a superkick and send him reeling into the steel steps. With Rowan now off kilter because of the attack on Harper, Jimmy superkicked Rowan in the back of the head and rolled him up for the improbable victory.
Following Carmella's shocking cash-in on the SmackDown LIVE after WrestleMania, Princess Mella and Charlotte Flair hit the ring intending to sign a contract for a rematch at WWE Backlash.
With Renee Young presiding over the proceedings, The Princess of Staten Island spoke boldly about how she deserved the SmackDown Women's Championship and the respect of the WWE Universe. Demanding their cheers, Carmella played the same highlight reel of her accomplishments as last week in hopes of inspiring a standing ovation. However, when she demanded that the highlight reel be played a second time, all Princess Mella got was the arrival of a focused Charlotte, who was greeted by incredibly antagonistic antics on Carmella's part.
Un-phased by the spectacle, Charlotte simply signed the contract and then smirked before smashing Carmella's head onto the table and then flipping it onto the champion. The Queen then exited the ring as Carmella was left down in the squared circle.
Last week on SmackDown LIVE, Shelton Benjamin was set to begin a new chapter in his WWE career by asking for a big challenge. Shelton was surprised to see Randy Orton answer the call to be his opponent, but The Viper got a surprise of his own when the newest member of SmackDown LIVE, United States Champion Jeff Hardy, interrupted to answer Benjamin's challenge first.
Tonight, it appeared Hardy and Benjamin would run it back in a rematch, but The Charismatic Enigma got a dose of his own medicine when The Apex Predator interrupted Hardy's entrance, almost as a signal to suggest that he was getting him back for last week, taking Hardy's place in this match.
The United States Champion remained at ringside as Randy and Shelton battled it out on the blue brand. During the match, the two Superstars took the fight to the outside when a masked man suddenly clipped Jeff Hardy's knee. To avoid security, the culprit darted into the ring, and Orton caught him and removed the mask to reveal Sunil Singh, who tried to plead with The Viper, only for Randy to connect with an RKO, taking out Jinder Mahal's faithful follower.
This interference would prove costly though, Benjamin took advantage by dropping The Apex Predator with Paydirt for the win.
With his longtime friends Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows by his side, WWE Champion AJ Styles reunited with The Club to take on Shinsuke Nakamura, Rusev & Aiden English in SmackDown LIVE's main event. With both preparing to square off in a rematch of their dream battle from WrestleMania at the Greatest Royal Rumble event this Friday, Styles and Nakamura never actually wound up in the ring together during the contest, as The King of Strong Style immediately tagged out at the start of the bout.
The action was still at a premium though, as all six Superstars laid it on the line. As the intensity escalated, WWE's Artist tagged in unbeknownst to most, and he defeated Gallows by landing a stiff Kinshasa to the back of his head, obtaining the victory for he and the Rusev Day celebrators.
After the contest's conclusion, a fed-up Styles launched himself at Nakamura and landed several strikes, but The King of Strong Style hit The Phenomenal One with yet another gruesome low blow. WWE's Rockstar then appeared to be tuning up for a Kinshasa when Anderson stepped in front of it, causing him to take the dreaded move. Nakamura then taunted The Phenomenal One, putting Anderson down with another Kinshasa as he forced the battered WWE Champion to watch.
Does The Artist now have the mental edge over Styles as their WWE Championship Match at The Greatest Royal Rumble event approaches?
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dark Match: The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) (w/ Big E) defeated The Bar (Cesaro & Sheamus)
- Shinsuke Nakamura, Rusev & Aiden English defeated The Club (AJ Styles, Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows) (10:07)
Other on-screen talent
Big Cass interrupted “Miz TV” with a message for Daniel Bryan
The IIconics v Asuka & Becky Lynch
Jimmy Uso v Rowan
Carmella & Charlotte met for a contract signing for their match at Backlash
Shelton Benjamin v Randy Orton
Nakamura, Rusev & English v Styles, Anderson & Gallows
- WWE Smackdown Live #975 at CAGEMATCH.net
- WWE Smackdown Live #975 at WWE.com
- Smackdown #975 on WWE Network