The May 1, 2018 Edition of Smackdown Live is a Professional wrestling television show of the WWE's Smackdown brand, which took place on May 1, 2018 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It was the final Smackdown Live before Backlash.
With his sights set on his Intercontinental Championship Rematch against Raw's Seth Rollins this Sunday night at WWE Backlash, The Miz first had to put on his interviewer hat and chat with United States Champion Jeff Hardy on SmackDown LIVE.
A frosty conversation ensued between The A-Lister and The Charismatic Enigma, and they were quickly joined by a surprise guest in Randy Orton. Miz implied that Hardy had disrespected The Viper by taking his place in a match against Shelton Benjamin during the Superstar Shake-up. Orton refuted Miz's claim, saying that Jeff simply took hold of an opportunity and that he wasn't upset.
Ever the antagonist though, The A-Lister seemed determined to cause a rift between Hardy and Orton. And, although it didn't appear to be working, Randy did make it clear to Jeff that he intended to win back the U.S. Title at WWE Backlash after losing it at WrestleMania to Jinder Mahal, who was unseated as champion by Jeff.
Shelton Benjamin then hit the scene, with his ears red hot at the notion that The Viper would be in line for a title opportunity before him, considering he had defeated Orton in one-on-one competition last week. Not thrilled with what he was hearing, Randy then knocked Benjamin down as he attempted to enter the ring, and after The A-Lister tried to blindside Orton, The Charismatic Enigma jumped in and dropped The Miz with Whisper in the Wind in a raucous scene to kick things off on the blue brand.
After the flurry of activity that occurred on “Miz TV,” SmackDown LIVE General Manager Paige declared that Randy Orton would team up with Jeff Hardy to square off against The Miz & Shelton Benjamin right then and there.
Despite the slight bit of uneasiness between the two earlier in the night, Orton & Hardy gelled well, working in unison to overcome the offensive onslaught that Miz and Benjamin brought their way. In the match's pivotal moment, Randy Orton went on an absolute tear, hitting both Shelton and Miz with everything in his arsenal (including a ring-rattling RKO to Shelton), leading to Jeff Hardy defeating Shelton with the Swanton Bomb.
However, the good vibes did not last long, as The Apex Predator dropped The Charismatic Enigma with an RKO after the contest, sending a message that he still had Jeff's championship in his crosshairs.
With his impending match against Daniel Bryan at WWE Backlash only five days away, Big Cass hit the scene on SmackDown LIVE to talk some smack on The “Yes!” Man and call him out... well, sort of.
With Bryan not cleared for competition and not in attendance due to the possibility of a chest infection, “Dan Lil’ Bryan,” a little person dressed up like Bryan, complete with beard and all, hit the scene. Cass then continued to rail on the actual Bryan while mocking the facsimile in front of him. When done with his pot shots, Cass thanked the little person, real name Pierre Lafleur, and then had him take several bows for the WWE Universe… before darn near big booting his head off his body.
Cass laid some punches on Pierre before referees rushed down to save Lafleur from any further damage at the hands of the seven-footer.
After receiving another low blow from Shinsuke Nakamura during their WWE Title Match at the Greatest Royal Rumble event, WWE Champion AJ Styles finally snapped, unleashing an assault on WWE’s Rockstar that continued long after the match ended in a double count-out. Back stateside for Team Blue, Styles was now being asked to “publicly apologize” by The King of Strong Style.
Speaking to Renee Young in the ring, Styles verbally railed against Nakamura, calling him the “Con-Artist” and referencing the barrage of blindside low blows he has suffered at the hands of WWE's Rockstar since WrestleMania 34. Styles refused to apologize and promised to hurt Nakamura come their rematch this Sunday at WWE Backlash, which Paige announced would now be a No Disqualification Match with the title on the line.
However, before The Phenomenal One could call Nakamura to the ring, he was interrupted by Samoa Joe, who made it clear that everyone was focusing on the wrong match at WWE Backlash. The Samoan Submission Machine took the opportunity to once again run Roman Reigns’ name through the mud, letting the WWE Universe know that he still believed The Big Dog to be a complete failure ahead of their match on Sunday. Joe brought everything full circle though, letting Styles know that after he took care of Reigns on Sunday, he would be coming for the WWE Championship.
Styles, none too thrilled with Joe's claims, got done dirty yet again when Nakamura came out of nowhere and struck AJ with yet another low blow. Nakamura then taunted the downed Styles, seemingly enjoying every moment of the champion's pain, swatting him in the back of the head several times before nailing him with a jaw-jacking Kinshasa, putting Styles down and making a vivid statement heading into WWE Backlash.
With The Bar now residing on SmackDown LIVE, it seems only fitting that they and The New Day rekindle their classic rivalry, this time in one-on-one action, as Xavier Woods squared off against Sheamus after the two units exchanged words—and The Bar tossed pancakes—backstage earlier in the night.
With Cesaro and The New Day keeping a watchful eye at ringside, Sheamus attempted to use his size and strength advantages to ground-and-pound Woods. Relentless as ever, Woods was fearless in his attack, taking multiple high-risk chances, including an awe-inspiring dive over the top rope onto Sheamus. However, when Cesaro and The New Day started to throw down on the outside, Sheamus took advantage by hurling Woods into the barricade. Even that would not be enough to keep Xavier down, though, as he caught Sheamus in a small package when they re-entered the ring to pick up what could be considered an upset win.
Last week, Asuka & Becky Lynch teamed up to take on The IIconics in Asuka's SmackDown LIVE debut. However, the mood was quickly soured when Lynch lost for the unit, making Asuka's first match on SmackDown LIVE an inauspicious one. However, this week, Asuka & Lynch would have reinforcements, as they joined up with Charlotte Flair to face The IIconics and Charlotte's opponent at WWE Backlash, SmackDown Women's Champion Carmella.
The Princess of Staten Island seemed content to keep her distance from The Queen just five days before their title rematch, but Flair finally got her hands on Princess Mella and certainly gave her a taste of what she can expect this Sunday at WWE Backlash. However, thanks to The IIconics being by her side, Carmella got the upper-hand on Charlotte, allowing the space for her, Billie Kay and Peyton Royce to corner Flair.
It seemed Carmella and The IIconics were going to be able to successfully isolate The Queen, but things certainly went awry when The Empress of Tomorrow found her way into the contest, absolutely running rampant on her opposition. Becky and Charlotte took out Carmella and Billie Kay, with The Queen absolutely dazzling the WWE Universe with an incredible moonsault onto Princess Mella and Billie onto the floor. From there, Asuka had a reeling Royce alone to herself in the ring, and she applied the ever-painful Asuka Lock to get the submission victory for her and her squad.
Asuka was back on track and Charlotte had seemingly caused Carmella to doubt her chances of retaining at WWE Backlash.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dark Match: The Usos (Jey Uso & Jimmy Uso) defeated Aiden English & Rusev via pinfall.
- Jeff Hardy & Randy Orton defeated The Miz & Shelton Benjamin via pinfall (14:39)
- Xavier Woods (w/ Big E & Kofi Kingston) defeated Sheamus (w/ Cesaro) (7:36)
- Charlotte Flair, Asuka & Becky Lynch defeated Carmella & The IIconics (Billie Kay & Peyton Royce) by submission (13:33)
Other on-screen talent
Jeff Hardy was the guest during contentious “Miz TV”
Jeff Hardy & Randy Orton v The Miz & Shelton Benjamin
Big Cass went to new lows to make a mockery of Daniel Bryan
Nakamura demanded a public apology from AJ Styles
Xavier Woods v Sheamus
Charlotte, Asuka & Lynch vs. Carmella & The IIconics
- WWE Smackdown Live #976 at CAGEMATCH.net
- WWE Smackdown Live #976 at WWE.com
- Smackdown #976 on WWE Network