The April 3, 2018 Edition of Smackdown Live is a Professional wrestling television show of the WWE's Smackdown brand, which took place on April 3, 2018 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. This was the final SmackDown Live on the Road to WrestleMania.
After a rough several weeks following the savage attack he suffered at the hands of Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn, SmackDown LIVE Commissioner Shane McMahon returned to the blue brand focused on his and Daniel Bryan's tag team match against The “Yep!” Movement this Sunday at WrestleMania. Shane, of course, suffered multiple injuries during the attack and was diagnosed with an acute case of diverticulitis and an umbilical hernia.
Shane-O-Mac and Bryan buried the hatchet over their misunderstandings during these tumultuous months, as Owens & Zayn had tried to divide them. Shane and Bryan even opted to hug it out! The two view Sunday as a chance to get much-deserved retribution on Kevin & Sami after all they have put them through and finally rid SmackDown LIVE of The “Yep!” Movement once and for all.
After scoring a somewhat controversial win over Charlotte Flair two weeks ago, Natalya looked to continue depriving the SmackDown Women's Champion of her momentum as she heads toward her title defense against Asuka at WrestleMania 34.
With each competitor being so familiar with the other due to their classic encounters in the past, The Queen and The Queen of Harts duked it out in a back-and-forth contest that saw plenty of hard hits and high impact. However, the landscape changed when both Superstars were down on the canvas and Carmella interrupted, clearly looking to cash in her Money in the Bank contract.
Before a referee could take the Money in the Bank contract from The Princess of Staten Island and make the title match official, Charlotte kicked it out of Carmella's hands, which led to an enraged Princess Mella attempting to charge her. The Queen evaded and tossed Carmella from the ring, and the commotion nearly allowed Natalya to defeat Charlotte with another rollup, but Flair persevered, locking Natalya in the Figure-Eight for the tapout win.
Charlotte would not have too long to celebrate, though, as Asuka arrived after the match to remind The Queen that no one, not even her, was ready for The Empress of Tomorrow. However, Charlotte cut her off, boldly telling Asuka that The Empress of Tomorrow wasn't ready for her. The tension was palpable as the two stared each other down ... and they would still have to face off later tonight in the final round of the WWE Mixed Match Challenge!
Following the bombshell decision that Rusev would be added to the United States Title Match at WrestleMania—making it a Fatal 4-Way—two former allies met in the ring this week, as The Bulgarian Brute faced off against The Modern Day Maharaja on SmackDown LIVE.
Sunil Singh backed up Jinder Mahal, while Aiden English patrolled Rusev's corner, and Bobby Roode added guest commentary. Both laid it all on the line while seeking a monumental victory heading into The Show of Shows this Sunday. In the pivotal moments, The Super Athlete bested The Modern Day Maharaja with a pinpoint Machka Kick for the win.
Rusev's celebration would be short-lived, as United States Champion Randy Orton slid into the ring and struck The Bulgarian Brute with a thunderous RKO. In turn, Aiden English attempted to come to Rusev's aid, first putting the boots to Orton and then by going up to the second rope, clearly ready to pounce on The Viper. However, The Glorious One hopped onto the apron and pushed The Mozart of Mayhem right into The Apex Predator, who was waiting with yet another RKO outta nowhere.
Roode and Orton then faced off, both clearly fired up for the United States Title Match this Sunday, and The Glorious One showed his respect for The Viper by handing him the star-spangled championship.
With the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal approaching, eight of the Superstars from Team Blue looking to ascend to immortality by winning the over-the-top-rope melee this Sunday squared off in an Eight-Man Tag Team bout.
Action was at a premium as both sides showed out (and showed off) in hopes of putting wind at their backs heading into the career-altering battle royal this Sunday. After getting a firm preview of what to expect on Sunday with many of the Superstars throwing one another over the top rope, Baron Corbin prevailed for his team tonight, defeating Fandango with the vicious End of Days.
Will The Lone Wolf be the first Superstar to win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal twice?
In an unsettling scene, Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn crashed SmackDown LIVE, much in the same way they invaded a WWE Live Event this past weekend. The “Yep!” Movement hopped the guardrails and stood on the commentator's desk, apologizing to Daniel Bryan's family for what they were going to do to him and Shane McMahon, who they promised to send crying to his daddy.
However, Owens and Zayn's microphones soon cut out, and security made their way to ringside, prompting KO and Sami to exit back through the crowd. Shane and Bryan, both now on the rampway, addressed Owens and Zayn, who were now scurrying through the crowd. SmackDown LIVE management asked for the WWE Universe to take a long look at The “Yep!” Movement because, after Sunday, they would never be seen on the blue brand again.
Following their attempted blindside of AJ Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura last week, Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable took on the two Superstars who will compete for the WWE Championship this Sunday.
Styles & Nakamura seemed to be on the same page for most of the contest as they engaged with the always game Benjamin & Gable. Even with their dream match title bout just five days away, the two remained composed, though Styles wore down Gable and opted not to tag in Nakamura. Instead, the WWE Champion positioned himself on the apron right next to WWE's Rockstar, then soared through the sky and clocked Gable with a Phenomenal Forearm for the 1-2-3.
After Styles made his exit, Benjamin attempted to jump Nakamura from behind, but The King of Strong Style soon fought back and cleared him from the ring. After doing so, Shinsuke turned around to see Styles leaping in the air toward him, ready to connect with a Phenomenal Forearm. Much like Nakamura last week, though, Styles stopped short, landing right in front of his soon-to-be challenger before patting Shinsuke on the head. His message? I'll see you at WrestleMania.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dark Match: Naomi defeated Ruby Riott (w/ Liv Morgan & Sarah Logan)
- Charlotte Flair defeated Natalya by submission (16:56)
- Rusev (w/ Aiden English) defeated Jinder Mahal (w/ Sunil Singh) (9:54)
- Baron Corbin, Dolph Ziggler, Mojo Rawley & Primo Colón defeated Tye Dillinger, Zack Ryder & Breezango (Tyler Breeze & Fandango) via pinfall (5:36)
- AJ Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin via pinfall (12:11)
Other on-screen talent
Shane McMahon Returns
Charlotte Flair vs. Natalya
Rusev vs. Jinder Mahal
Baron Corbin, Dolph Ziggler, Mojo Rawley, & Primo vs. Tye Dillinger, Zack Ryder, & Breezango
Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn crashes SD Live
AJ Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable
- WWE Smackdown Live #972 at CAGEMATCH.net
- WWE Smackdown Live #972 at WWE.com
- Smackdown #972 on WWE Network