4/24 Barnett’s WWE Smackdown Live TV Review: Daniel Bryan on Miz TV, Carmella and Charlotte contract signing, Asuka and Becky Lynch vs. Peyton Royce and Billie Kay, Jimmy Uso vs. Erick Rowan

By Jake Barnett, Prowrestling.net Senior Staffer (@barnettjake)

WWE Smackdown Live on USA Network
Live from Louisville, Kentucky at KFC Yum! Center

The “In Memory” graphic aired for Bruno Sammartino to open the show. The Miz then made his entrance to open the show with MizTV. Miz asked the crowd if they were done. He then raised his hand and asked them if they knew what it means, and then suggested that they do it. He then berated the crowd to shut up and welcome him back to Smackdown Live. He said the A-Lister is back on Smackdown Live, and Smackdown Live is not the A Show. He said something is missing, and that’s a title. He said his guest tonight relinquished that title 3 years ago, and it’s the title he made into the most prestigious title in WWE.

Miz claimed he would become a 9 time Intercontinental Champion when he defeats Seth Rollins and Finn Balor at The Greatest Royal Rumble. He then moved onto Daniel Bryan, and said that he holds a grudge from years ago on Talking Smack, when he told him the truth to his face. He then talked about the birth of his daughter, and how it changed him. He claimed that when he looked at his daughter, and she looked back in him, her innocence cleansed him of any hatred he had for Daniel Bryan. He then said he was surprised that Bryan didn’t have the same realization when Birdie was born.

Miz said he and Bryan are both master ring technicians, but the difference between them is that when he daughter was born he realized he needed to be better man, and Bryan didn’t. He then egged on Bryan to come out and face him, but instead of Bryan, Big Cass showed up wearing a suit, and he put on a jacket and watch as he got to the top of the ramp. He then headed to the ring in his lame generic rock theme. Miz seemed confused as Cass raised him arm. Miz asked if he could help him, and Cass returned fire and said his guest didn’t show up and so he should interview him now.

Cass went on a tirade about being in the shadow of Daniel Bryan. He said he worked 24/7 for 7 months to come back from an ACL injury, and all anyone could talk about was Daniel Bryan being cleared. He and Miz got in a spat over who was more important, and Cass threatened to shut his mouth once and for all. Miz turned back to Daniel Bryan, and Cass said of course it was about Daniel Bryan. He said he’s an average schmo who should be laying tile in his kitchen, or picking up his trash on tuesdays, instead of coming out and talking trash to each and every one of the fans.

He then explained that until he was 16, he was a small guy like Bryan, and that got him bullied and beaten up. Cass then said that as he grew, and got stronger, he revisited the people that bullied him and beat the hell out of them. He said Bryan reminds him of a smaller, younger version of himself and he despises him. He went on to say that he would put an end to average schmo’s like Bryan, and leave him battered, bruised, and retired where he belongs. Cass claimed that he never had to work in Japan, the indies, the bingo halls, or anywhere else before coming to WWE because he’s tall, educated, and good looking.

He told Miz that average schmo’s like Daniel Bryan would never cast a shadow over him or anybody else ever again. He then walked away. Backstage, Asuke and Becky Lynch happened upon Daniel Bryan, who was laid out in the back holding his shoulder as he was checked on by trainers…[c]

My Take: A good opening promo by Cass, even if the reasoning stretched a little thin once Cass started talking about how he resented Bryan for reminding him of himself when he used to be small and average. That felt like it poured directly out of Vince McMahon’s psychotherapy sessions. Otherwise, his delivery was good and it came across really well.

In the ring, the IIconics were in the ring complimenting each other for being hot. They then mocked Becky Lynch’s accent and said she stuck her nose in their business. They then did a bit of twisted logic where they said they were better than Asuka because Charlotte ended her streak, and they ended Charlotte’s title reign. They then called her the Empress of Yesterday, before being interrupted by Becky Lynch. Asuka followed, and the match began picture in picture during the commercials.

1. Asuka and Becky Lynch vs. The IIconics: Asuka and Billie started the match. Asuka got a few shots early and tagged in Becky, who sent Billie out to the floor. She followed and got intercepted by Peyton Royce, but Becky sent her into the ring apron to regain control. Back in the ring after both teams tagged, Asuka and Peyton faced off before Asuka hit rapid strikes and a kick that had Peyton reeling.

Becky tagged in and got tripped. Peyton covered but Becky bridged out quickly. Becky slipped out but she ended up getting caught in the heel corner and worked on by both Billie and Peyton. The IIconics cut off the ring and worked on Becky’s left arm. Peyton managed to take some free shots at the arm while Billie distracted the referee. Billie and Becky collided mid ring and both made tags coming out of the double body block. Asuka tagged in and wrecked shop on Peyton, and tagged in Becky after a hip attack.

Asuka and Becky had a mishap where Peyton ran Becky into Asuka and knocked her to the floor. Quickly afterward, they send Becky into the post in the corner, and Peyton rolled up Becky with her feet on the ropes to get the win.

The IIconics defeated Becky and Asuka at 10:43.

After the match, AJ Styles was interviewed backstage by Renee Young, and said he was having a six man tag with Nakamura and Rusev Day. He said he knew who his partners would be, and it would be too sweet. The announce team then went over the card for the Greatest Royal Rumble show. A contract signing between Charlotte and Carmella was advertised for later…[c]

My Take: I liked the match, even if it was obvious when it was announced that Becky was taking the pin. The IIconics promo style didn’t seem to win over the crowd, and I think they’ll have to make some adjustments to get people to buy in. I don’t think they’re on the wrong track, but they were speaking pretty fast, and I don’t think the accent joke really landed.

We got another coming soon promo for Andrade Almas. Backstage, the Usos were talking amongst themselves when Naomi walked up. She said she saw nothing in Harper and Rowan’s eyes last week. She was worried for their safety, and wouldn’t apologize for what she did last week. Jimmy tried to be playful and told her not to worry about it, and reassured her that he could take care of his business. She insisted that he should take this seriously, and he told her that she was cute when she was worried about him. He then said they would get back their Tag Team Championships at the Greatest Royal Rumble, and take care of Rowan tonight. In the arena, the Bludgeon Brothers made their entrance…[c]

The Usos made their entrance, with Jimmy wrestling Rowan.

2. Erick Rowan vs. Jimmy Uso: Rowan hit an impressive dropkick early, but Jimmy fired back on the outside by shoving Rowan into the ring post. In the ring, he hit a flying crossbody, but it didn’t put him away. He tried for another splash, but Rowan shoved him out into the barricade on the floor. He then followed and hit a big crossbody out on the floor. Rowan picked up the Jimmy, and Naomi’s music hit to offer a distraction, and she danced on the stage.

That allowed Jey to shove Harper into the stairs on the floor. Jimmy the hit a big superkick and rolled up Rowan for the upset win.

Jimmy Uso defeated Erick Rowan at 4:55.

The Six Man Tag was hyped for the main event. Charlotte and Carmella’s contract signing is next…[c]

My Take: I like the surprise upset, but with the way this story is told, the outcome at the Greatest Royal Rumble doesn’t really seem in doubt. Can the Usos even threaten the Bludgeon Brothers without Naomi’s elaborate entrance?  

Renee Young was in the ring for the contract signing, and invited Carmella out first. As Renee was about to introduce Charlotte, Carmella grabbed the mic and told her she was being disrespectful. She complained about Renee Young introducing her first, and said it wasn’t acceptable. She said before she introduces her and everything becomes about her, she has something to address. She told Renee and the crowd that she was their champion, and said they were booing because they’d never know what it was like to be a champion. She said she played a highlight reel last week during her Mellabration, and no one gave her a standing ovation.

She then said she would pay the highlight reel again, and she expected everyone to stand of their feet and cheer for Mella. After the video package, there was more booing, so she started to play the video again. Charlotte then interrupted the video and walked out with a frustrated look on her face. Carmella then waved the title in front of her face and strutted around the ring to torment her. Renee asked her to be a professional, but she continued to taunt for a moment before finally sitting down. Renee then asked them to sign, and they did. After the signing, Carmella waved the title in her face again, and Charlotte slammed her into the table and tipped it over on her. The announce team went over a WWE Network promo before tossing backstage. Dasha Fuentes tried to get an interview with Nakamura, but Aiden English peaked out and said no interviews. Jeff Hardy is up next…[c]

My Take: Mella was really annoying here, which was great to see. Her character really excels at being obnoxious, and she got a good opportunity here. Charlotte not saying anything was a good idea too, because I don’t think anything needed to be said, and it likely would have lessened the impact of Carmella’s efforts had she returned her normal promo salvo.

Shelton Benjamin was in the ring, and then Jeff Hardy made his entrance. Hardy’s entrance music stopped early, and Randy Orton made his entrance and took the match instead, in a turnabout from last week.

3. Randy Orton vs. Shelton Benjamin: Hardy sat in on commentary. Benjamin hit a shoulder block early. Orton nearly hit an RKO, but Benjamin shoved him off. They battled back and forth near the ropes, and Orton attempted a draping DDT, but Benjamin escaped and pulled Orton hard into the ropes. He then followed up with a series of kicks that sent Orton out to the floor…[c]

Orton took control after the commercial break and hit a draping DDT. He fired up for an RKO, but Orton crawled out to the floor. Orton slammed him into the announce table. Jeff Hardy backed away to avoid getting involved as Orton suplexed Benjamin onto the table. Jeff Hardy got attacked on the outside by someone in a lucha mask. Security tried to stop them, but they ended up in the ring. Orton pulled the mask off to reveal Sunil Singh, and gave him an RKO. Orton then walked into Paydirt, and Benjamin got the win.

Shelton Benjamin defeated Randy Orton at 7:33.

Backstage, the New Day were celebrating the release of the Book of Booty with some pancakes and cereal when the Bar walked up. They told New Day that after they win back their Raw Tag Team Championships they were going back to Raw. They then grabbed some pancakes and said that the competition on Smackdown doesn’t add up. New Day then celebrated when they left. Elsewhere, AJ welcomed Gallows and Anderson to Smackdown. They did the too sweet gesture…[c]

My Take: It’ll be interesting to see what the do with the US Championship at The Greatest Royal Rumble. They could end up switching shows again, but I’m not sure what Orton, Hardy and Benjamin are going to be doing afterwards if that were to happen.

Backstage, the New Day were celebrating the release of the Book of Booty with some pancakes and cereal when the Bar walked up. They told New Day that after they win back their Raw Tag Team Championships they were going back to Raw. They then grabbed some pancakes and said that the competition on Smackdown doesn’t add up. New Day then celebrated when they left. Elsewhere, AJ welcomed Gallows and Anderson to Smackdown. They did the too sweet gesture…[c]

My Take: It’ll be interesting to see what the do with the US Championship at The Greatest Royal Rumble. They could end up switching shows again, but I’m not sure what Orton, Hardy and Benjamin are going to be doing afterwards if that were to happen.

A sanity promo aired. Backstage, Daniel Bryan was interviewed by Renee Young. He said he was blindsided by a coward. He said he had no idea why a 7 foot man would attack someone from behind, but he intends to prove to Big Cass that size won’t be an advantage when he takes down to the mat. Bryan then said he would see him on Friday when he wins the Greatest Royal Rumble. A Samoa Joe pre-tape then aired, where he said the match on Friday was just a formality, the Intercontinental Championship was already his. He said after he won his match, he would watch Brock Lesnar destroy Roman Reigns, and if Roman happened to win, he would take that title too.

In the arena, Gallows and Anderson made their entrance, followed by AJ Styles….[c]

My Take: Good promos by Bryan and Joe. Short and to the point, and it got their characters across.

Aiden English came out and did a bit of a rap about Rusev Day. Rusev then made his entrance, followed by Shinsuke Nakamura. Nakamura had a new entrance video and music remix that included some lyrics.

4. Rusev Day and Shinsuke Nakamura vs. AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, and Karl Anderson: The Club cleaned house early on, clearing the heels from the ring and having a brief celebration…[c]

English cut off the ring and isolated Styles with some holds and strikes. He tossed Styles down by his hair when he tried to escape, and then tagged in Nakamura. Nakamura kneed Styles in the gut and then hit him with Good vibrations in the corner. He teased stomping on Styles groin, but instead hit a kick to the chest. Rusev tagged in and hit a bodyslam and an elbow drop for a two count. English then made a tag and went back to a chin lock center ring.

He started singing obnoxiously while Gallows and Anderson stretched for tags. Styles hit English with a dropkick, but he scrambled quickly to tag Rusev. Styles then hit Rusev with a pele kick, and made a tag to Gallows. He hit a standing sidekick and a running splash, but Rusev broke up the tag. Anderson came in to clear Rusev, but he got shoved into the post. Gallows clotheslined Rusev and English to the floor, but he didn’t see Nakamura tag in. Nak hit a knee to the back of Gallow’s head and got the pin.

Rusev Day and Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Styles, Gallows and Anderson at 10:22.

After the match, Styles ran after Nakamura and took him down briefly, but Nak regrouped with a low blow. He setup for Kinshasa on Styles, but Anderson jumped in front of him and took the knee. Nakamura then got Anderson back up and hit another one while Styles was forced to look on. Nakamura smiled at Styles and left him to tend to his fallen brother to close the show.

My Take: A nice setup for the rematch, as this feud finally feels like it has some bad blood. The low blows are so frequent from Nakamura that the eventual payoff feels like it has to be Styles investing in an athletic cup. Not sure how comfortable that would be to Wrestle in, but it would make for a satisfying TV segment. Nakamura has been much better since turning heel, and will hopefully have a sharper match with Styles on Friday as a make good for a effort widely recognized as beneath expectations at WrestleMania.


Readers Comments (1)

  1. “The IIconics promo style didn’t seem to win over the crowd, and I think they’ll have to make some adjustments to get people to buy in. I don’t think they’re on the wrong track, but they were speaking pretty fast, and I don’t think the accent joke really landed.”

    There is a very thin line between being a really good, grating heel, and just being flat out annoying and making you want to change the channel. Carmella is on the right side of this line; the IIconics are the wrong side of it, and in my opinion were the wrong side of it in NXT as well. Peyton Royce especially is a very good performer, so hopefully they can work on their characters a bit.

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