This week's episode of SmackDown on the USA Network aired on April 28, 2016 and comes from Manchester, New Hampshire. This is the go home show for the WWE Payback pay-per-view this Sunday. For full results and the live blog, click here.
One versus All
The WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Roman Reigns, started the show. He proclaimed that he Superman Punched his opponent this Sunday, AJ Styles, on RAW because he does not believe Styles when he says that he is not working with Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows. The WWE Intercontinental Champion, the Miz, and his wife, Maryse, interrupted Reigns, coming down to the ring. Miz basically demanded credit for outing Styles, Anderson, and Gallows.
For no reason at all, Reigns attacked Miz and sent him out of the ring. Because of this, the main event of the evening was announced as Champion versus Champion, Reigns versus Miz. The number one contender to the WWE WHC, Styles, was ringside for the match.
Reigns took charge of the match, bringing the fight straight to the Miz, who tried to evade offense early on but was unsuccessful. When the action spilled outside the ring, Reigns allowed himself to be distracted by Styles, which Miz took full advantage of by drilling Reigns' face into the announce table. The Miz took control of the offense, grinding him down in a headlock. Reigns was able to power out but Miz kept control with a corner clothesline and a flying axe handle.
Reigns fought back and made his comeback. When he signaled for the Superman Punch, Maryse pulled Miz out of the ring. Reigns gave chase and Miz dropkicked the stairs into Reign's knee. The action got back into the ring and Miz was able to get a near fall with a nice DDT. Miz went for the Skull Crushing Finale but Reigns fought out of it and hit a Spear out of nowhere for the win.
Styles got in the ring after the match to confront Reigns then Anderson and Gallows come down to beat up the champion. Styles stayed in the ring as his buddies beat him Reigns on the outside. The Usos ran out to make the save and, in the melee, the Usos attacked Styles, so Styles fought back. Gallows ate a Spear to "save" Styles then the ring was cleared of all except Roman, who argued back and forth with Styles to end the show.
Step into the Asylum
Dean Ambrose took time before the very first SmackDown edition of the Ambrose Asylum to address his opponent at Payback, Chris Jericho. Ambrose showed a lot of passion and stated that he would turn "Bon Jovi into Meatloaf". After addressing Y2J, he introduced his first guest, Natalya. Ambrose brought up the fact that Nattie would have won the WWE Women's title if not for Ric Flair's involvement in that title match. Natalya stated that it will be different this time because she will have her uncle, Bret "The Hitman" Hart on her side this Sunday.
This brought out the Women's Champion, Charlotte, with her Hall of Fame father, Ric Flair. Charlotte said that after all Bret Hart has been through, Natalya wants to parade him around. The difference with Flair being involved with her is that her father is her coach. Nattie responded by calling Ric a "creepy old man" who knows his daughter isn't good enough to win on her own. She also said that if Ric gets involved Sunday, Bret will be there to stop him. Flair talked about how he beat Bret all over the place and he will this Sunday. Natalya said that it is time for a new era with a Women's Champion the fans deserve.
Look here, people. I love women's wrestling. I am not interested in Natalya facing Charlotte and all the two can seem to mention are the men they are related to. It's . . . not enough for me to care. I love Bret Hart. Glad to hear he's doing well. But it's no secret that he does not even want to be involved in this angle and I really cannot say I blame him.
The New Day Division
The World Famous Two Time WWE Tag Team Champions, New Day, were the special (and only) commentators for Enzo and Cass versus Jamoke 1 and Jamoke 2, also known in this episode as Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel of the Social Outcasts. Before the match, Enzo declared himself "Muscles Marinara" and that he and his partner would become the new number one contenders to the New Day's titles. New Day seemed solidly on Enzo and Cass's side as the match got underway. Enzo and Cass controlled the action early and pretty much dominated the entire affair.
The Vaudevillians came out and stood on the ramp halfway through what turned out to be a showcase match for their opponents. After the match, Cass addressed Aiden English and Simon Gotch, saying there was only ONE WORD to describe them. S-A-W-F-T-SAAAAAAAAAAAAAWFT!
- League of Nations versus Kalisto, Sami Zayn, and Cesaro: Before the match officially got underway, there was an issue between Rusev, Sheamus, and Del Rio on who would start. Once that was settled, LON dominated the match early. A pushing match happened between the three in the middle of the match and ADR walked out on his team, giving them the ol' Stone Cold middle finger salute. Sheamus and Rusev then got into it and Rusev left Sheamus all alone to face all his competitors. Sheamus eventually walked out as well and Zayn, Cesaro, and Kalisto won by count out. After the match, the three got into a scuffle backstage and all three declared that the group is no more.
- Baron Corbin versus Damien Sandow: A rematch of sorts as this was scheduled for Monday but Corbin was jumped by Ziggler. As a result, Corbin looked over his shoulder on his way to the ring. He also killed Sandow and picked up another win.
- AJ Styles backstage interview: The number one contender does not have to prove anything to Roman Reigns, except perhaps that he will defeat him this Sunday.
- Goldust/R-Truth/Tyler Breeze segment: I am not going to lie. I actually dig GolDango and the Gorgeous Truth better than I do Golden Truth. Hey, at least these guys are getting something to do on TV and I have been generally entertained by the lot of it.
- Apollo Crews versus Stardust: I will admit that it is hard for me to get into Crews. He seems too perfectly built. Too perfect. Too goddamn happy ALL THE TIME! It was as if he were made in a mad smark's secret laboratory. The WWE dropped the ball on what Stardust could have been ages ago and it is hard for me to care anymore. So I don't see how Crews winning pointless matches against Stardust is helping the former build any following on the main roster. I would like to see Crews in a real story soon so I can figure out if I like that guy or not, okay, WWE? Thanks!
The show was another solid affair. I hope the animosity between the League of Nations does not branch off into feuds between any of the guys and they just go their separate ways. I love to hate two of these guys and I really don't want to see Rusev go against either ADR or Sheamus. I didn't really think the New Day were that great on commentary but that could just be my cranky Bret Hart side coming out.
The main event angle is interesting and has potential. It is pretty much a sure thing Anderson and Gallows will get involved in the WHC match this Sunday but how will AJ respond? What does that mean for the champion? What does the WWE have in store for us at Payback?
Rating: 7.75 out of 10
That's all for this week, Cagesiders! What did you think of the show? Be sure to leave your comment in the best comment section at what it does.