WWE SmackDown Live returned to us last night (Apr. 24) from KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. You can find all the results in the live blog so good it’s next to nirvana right here.
So You Can Teach That
SmackDown opened with the MizTV segment we were promised. But we didn’t get the highly anticipated guest Daniel Bryan. (We learned soon after the segment that he was attacked backstage prior.)
Miz opened with a great heel promo, claiming he’s a changed man since he had his daughter Monroe Sky. That put his life into perspective. When he saw his daughter, all his issues with Daniel Bryan were gone. The A Lister was surprised that didn’t happen to Daniel Bryan when he had his daughter, pretty much saying that Bryan doesn’t love his daughter as much as he loves his.
I’ve seen talk that Miz mentioning his daughter all the time is a face move. It’s totally not. He’s incessantly bringing up his daughter. The person who won’t stop talking about their children is a heel for those who have to listen. And the fact he says her full name each time is even more pretentious. Then he twists it to imply Daniel Bryan isn’t as caring of a father. Miz easily took being a new dad, something that inherently is a good thing, and made it a heel move. Bravo.
Miz didn’t get Daniel Bryan for his show like he requested. Instead he got Big Cass.
Cass walked to the ring dressed to the nines and insisted Miz interview him since Bryan didn’t show up. Miz was not having that and there was tension. (I always appreciate when heels don’t get along because heels should almost never get along given their massive egos.)
The big man cut a promo that was a bit scattered at times, but hit some good beats and he delivered it very well. Cass was upset that the day he got cleared was the same day Daniel Bryan did and everyone talked about Bryan. It’s the type of gripe that you can kind of understand but at the same time, shows an inherent selfishness.
There was more. Cass hates Bryan because DB reminds him of himself when he was little and bullied. Cass hated himself back then. But then something happened: Cass forced himself to grow to seven feet tall. (Cass claiming that he decided to grow was probably the best part of the promo.)
While I felt the script was a bit scattered, Cass cut a smooth promo. The man used to be way too stilted in his delivery. That wasn’t an issue here. He had a good slow delivery and got angry when he needed to.
We’ll get Miz and Bryan together eventually. But right now, it’s best they tease it. Delay it so the fans eat it up when it finally happens. No need to rush this.
Shinsuke Nakamura has been a fantastic heel. Let’s break it down.
First, his music has been altered. While it still has the same overall tune, they’ve added vocals. And most importantly, it’s not as easy for fans to sing along. Fans liked to sing along so it’s just another reason to hate Nakamura.
Then he won the three on three main event (Nak and Rusev Day vs. AJ Styles, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson) by tagging himself in and kicking Gallows in the back of the head.
Next he delivered yet ANOTHER low blow to AJ Styles, continuing his targeted assault to Styles’ junk. Nakamura lined up for a Kinshasa but Karl Anderson jumped in front of it! He took a proverbial bullet for Styles!
So Nakamura decided to make him pay for that. Instead of attacking Styles, he set up Anderson for a second knee to face and made Styles watch. Nakamura knows how close these men are. They were all in Japan at the same time. It’d be more painful for AJ to watch his good friend take punishment in his name instead of take it himself.
The King of Strong Style has been rejuvenated as a bad guy.
Mella is Money
Carmella has become a great heel herself. And this week, she took a heel move out of the WWE playbook:
She played the same video package multiple times.
Unhappy with how the fans reacted to her self serving video package from last week (which she made herself), she played it again this week to give the audience a chance to respond in a more favorable way. And when they didn’t, she immediately played it again.
Finally, Charlotte spared the crowd from having to sit through the entire thing. She interrupted it to get their scheduled contract signing underway.
The Queen didn’t say anything. She just sat down, signed the contract, and after Carmella was finished running her mouth, she smashed the champ’s head on the table. And then dumped the table on her.
Carmella did such a great job annoying the hell out of the crowd that these actions from Charlotte were quite welcome.
The IIconics defeated the team of Asuka and Becky Lynch. Since it has been established that tag matches counted towards Asuka’s streak, that leaves the Empress at 0-2.
This was really the perfect way to do this. IIconics got a win as a unit, which they needed. (Especially if there are tag titles on the horizon.) Established teams should beat thrown together teams 9 out of 10 times.
They cheated to do so, double teaming Becky and then Peyton Royce using the ropes to get the leverage pin. Asuka didn’t get pinned and really, tag matches never should have counted as part of her undefeated streak. But it was established they do, so there’s a program between Asuka and Becky since Lynch cost the Empress a second consecutive loss if they want it.
A bunch of roads converged during a Randy Orton/Shelton Benjamin match.
First, it was supposed to be Jeff Hardy vs. Benjamin, but then Randy came out and took the match instead, This was a bit of oneupmanship from last week when Jeff Hardy did the same. To his credit, Jeff understand what was happening before Orton’s music even played and nodded in reluctant approval. Instead, he watched at ringside.
While he was at commentary, a masked man attacked the knee of Hardy. It was Sunil Singh.
Because Singhs are magnets to RKOs, Sunil found himself at the receiving end of one when he slid into the ring (presumably because he had trouble seeing in the mask.) Shelton Benjamin picked up the win over Orton off the distraction with Pay Dirt.
Basically, they’re setting up Jeff vs. Randy but have to get through Jeff vs. Jinder first. And now that Shelton picked up a win against the #1 contender to the US title, he’s in the mix too.
Take the win when you can get it
Jimmy Uso defeated Erick Rowan this week, but he needed a little help from his wife to do so.
Prior to the match, Naomi told Jimmy she’s worried about him. She looked into the eyes of Harper and Rowan last week and they were empty. He asked her to not get involved, but she wasn’t having any of that.
When Jimmy looked to be in trouble, Naomi’s music played and she did her full entrance. The colors captivated the Bludgeon Brothers and Jimmy was able to sneak a win.
Since no women are allowed at the Jeddah show, she’s not going to be able to help ‘em on Friday.
In a sense, both Raw and SmackDown had a weird vibe this week because they’re building to a show that’s a bit of an unknown in Saudi Arabia this Friday. But every segment SD ran this week had a purpose. There were no throw away segments. In some parts, they were building to both Greatest Royal Rumble and Backlash. And overall, it was an entertaining show.
Sound off below.