The April 18th edition of WWE SmackDown aired live from the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, KY. This was the first episode of SmackDown since last week’s Superstar Shake-up.
– Charlotte comes out to the ring to kick off SmackDown to comaplain about how Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan are treating her. She makes a joke about the new Fast & Furious movie, and says she’s the best star in WWE today. This brings out Naomi who says she’ll give Charlotte what she wants: A Women’s Title shot. Naomi says they’re going to do it right here and right now, then lays out Charlotte with a right hand. A referee tries to separate them and Naomi dropkicks Charlotte out to the floor at ringside. Shane McMahon comes out and makes a match between them. Shane says Charlotte has to earn her spot here on SmackDown, and if she beats Naomi tonight she’ll get a Title match next week. This will happen later tonight. We go to the announcers at ringside, but then Charlotte tackles Naomi in the ring and pummels on her. Naomi fights back and throws Charlotte out the ring again.
– Backstage we see Natalya complaining to Shane that Charlotte is getting better treatment than her. Shane tells Natalya she’ll have to make her own opportunities. Carmella and Ellsworth interrupt next, and they also complain about Charlotte. Tamina interrupts next, and the women all get into a war of words. Natalya tells them to shut up and that this is all Charlotte’s fault. Natalya tells the ladies that management already has their minds made up, and invites them to go talk in private away from Shane.
– Jinder Mahal def. Luke Harper, Dolph Ziggler, Eric Rowan, Mojo Rawley, Sami Zayn: This one is the Six-Pack Challenge to determine the #1 contender for the WWE Championship after Payback. All six men start brawling off the opening bell with several of them spilling out to ringside, leaving Harper and Rowan alone in the ring. The former & current Wyatt disciples go at it in the ring until Harper hits a senton bomb on Rowan. Sami Zayn and Jinder Mahal make their way back in the ring and Zayn hits a Blue Thunder Bomb on Mahal for a near-fall. Ziggler hits a superkick on both Zayn and Harper, but Harper comes right back with a lariat on Ziggler. Harper follows up with a powerbomb on Zayn. Mojo and Jinder start going at it until things spill outside, then Harper hits a suicide dive on Jinder on the floor. Harper then climbs back in the ring and hits another suicide dive on both Zayn and Rawley. Eric Rowan gets his second wind and starts laying out his opponents left and right. Mojo gets back in the ring and drops Rowan, then hits a splash on Ziggler in the corner. Ziggler fights back with an elbow and attempts a cross-body ff the middle rope, but Mojo reverses into a gorilla press slam. Mojo hits a running forearm on Ziggler, but Jinder throws Mojo outside and steals the pin on Ziggler. Zayn breaks up the pin and starts working on Mahal. Mahal sends Zayn rolling outside with a flying knee to the face. Rowan drops Jinder with a variation of the Rock Bottom, then turns his attention to Harper. Ziggler hits the Zig Zag on Harper from behind but only gets a two count. Harper drops Ziggler, but then Jinder pulls Harper outside and throws him into the ring steps. Zayn hits a suicide dive on Harper, then a springboard moonsault on Rowan. Sami gears up for the Heluva Kick on Jinder, but some unknown men in white shirts grab Zayn by the legs. Zayn breaks free, but Jinder capitalizes on the distraction with a half-nelson suplex for the win. This one was an all-out brawl and got “this is awesome” chants from the crowd.
– Jinder cuts a promo after the match saying the fans hate him because he doesn’t fit the image of an “all-American,” he’s better educated than them, wealthier than them, and says that Americans can’t handle diversity. Jinder says he will be the next WWE Champion. Randy Orton’s music hits and the current Champion makes his way down the ramp. Orton gets on the mic and congratulates Jinder, but says the only prize he will get is an RKO. Orton turns his attention from Jinder to address Bray Wyatt, and is quickly interrupted by a video of Wyatt on the big screen. Bray shows highlights of Orton burning down his property, and says he’s going to make Orton feels his pain in their House of Horrors match.
– We see a video promoting The New Day “coming soon” to SmackDown.
– They air a video highlighting Shinsuke Nakamura’s career in NXT, including matches against Samoa Joe and Sami Zayn.
– AJ Styles does an interview backstage about Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho, but he’s quickly interrupted by Baron Corbin. AJ brings up that he won in a match against Corbin last week. Corbin reminds him that it wasn’t him that he pinned. AJ says he’ll win again tonight, this time against Corbin. Corbin accepts, and tells AJ “just remember, you asked for this.”
– Charlotte is walking backstage when she runs into Tamina, Natalya, Carmella and Ellsworth. They sarcastically welcome her to SmackDown, and Natalya bumps into her when she walks by.
– Charlotte def. Naomi: Charlotte takes control early on. They exchange submission holds until Naomi drops Charlotte with a double leg take down and they exchange rollup pin attempts. Charlotte gets Naomi in a headscissors choke and tries to keep the Champion grounded. Naomi comes back with a headscissor take down and follows up with a leg drop. Charlotte hits some chops on Naomi and Naomi strikes back with a series of kicks for a two count. Charlotte misses a knee drop and shortly after Naomi hits a dropkick and a facebuster. The Champion hits a cross-body off the top for a near-fall on Charlotte. Naomi sets up for the Rear View, but Charlotte sees it coming and stops short, then follows up with the Natural Selection for the win after a competitive match. Charlotte will now have a shot at Naomi’s Women’s Championship next Tuesday night.
– American Alpha is shown backstage getting ready to come out to the ring.
– Charlotte is shown walking backstage and she runs into the group of Tamina, Natalya, Carmella and Ellsworth again. This time Charlotte just gives a “Woo” and walks away.
– The Shining Stars def. American Alpha: The Shining Stars use an illegal double team behind the ref’s back early on to get an advantage over Gable. The Stars take turns working on Gable and wearing him down. Epico hits a double-underhook gut buster on Gable, then goes into a chin lock. Gable fires up and gets the tag to Jordan who cleans house. Jordan hits a belly to belly overhead suplex on Epico then a big splash in the corner. Jordan follows up with a Northern Lights suplex, but Primo breaks up the pin. Gable comes in but the referee tells him to get out, and The Shining Stars use the distraction for another cheap shot for the win. The Stars quickly escape up the ramp, and Jordan and Gable look angry about the loss.
– We see a video promoting Lana coming to SmackDown soon.
– Tye Dillinger does an interview backstage where he is asked why the fans have welcomed him with such open arms. He says he has a couple ideas why, but has a video package for us that will explain it better. We go to a video showing his WWE debut and some clips from his matches in NXT. We go back to the interview where Dillinger says that’s why he’s the perfect ten, and walks off.
– Kevin Owens’ open challenge: Owens takes the microphone from the announcer during the introduction and does it himself. He reminds the fans that he’s their U.S. Champion from Quebec, Canada. Owens tells the jobber in the ring with him to introduce himself, and he says he’s Gary Candy from Louisville, which gets a hometown pop. The bell rings and Owens immediately beats down the jobber in the corner and stomps a mud hole in him. Owens whips him off the ropes and hits the pop-up powerbomb for the quick win. JBL calls Owens an American hero and “the face of America.” Owens cuts another anti-American promo at ringside, and says that neither Chris Jericho or AJ Styles will take his U.S. Title away from him.
– AJ Styles def. Baron Corbin via count out: Kevin Owens is on commentary for this one. AJ works on Corbin with leg kicks early on. Corbin comes back with an elbow to the face that sends AJ down to the mat. Corbin throws AJ outside and follows him out. Corbin picks up AJ on his shoulders and drops him face-first onto the corner of the ring apron. Corbin beats down AJ at ringside some more, briefly getting distracted by Kevin Owens. Back in the ring, Corbin stomps on Styles in the corner until the referee backs him off. AJ and Corbin trade chops and elbows until Corbin misses a spear in the corner and crashes into the ring post. AJ works on Corbin with some kicks then hits a Pele Kick that drops Corbin. Styles hits a flying forearm smash in the corner, then a flying elbow onto Corbin on the mat for a two count. AJ goes for the Styles Clash, but Corbin gets out and hits a chokeslam onto his knee for a near-fall. AJ gets Corbin in the Calf Crusher but Corbin reaches the ropes to break the hold. AJ charges at Corbin and Corbin catches him with a Deep Six for another two count. AJ hits a forearm shot on Corbin that sends him down to the floor at ringside, then he follows up with a knee to the face at ringside. AJ sets up for a Styles Clash at ringside, but Corbin reverses into a back body drop that sends AJ flying into Kevin Owens. Corbin goes for the End of Days on the floor at ringside, but AJ gets out and kicks Corbin in the face. AJ hops up on the ring apron and jumps off with a flying forearm that sends Corbin falling over the fan barricade. AJ rolls back in the ring and the referee counts out Corbin, who is still in the crowd. Owens regains consciousness at ringside and he doesn’t look happy. AJ celebrates his victory in the ring as SmackDown goes off the air.
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