WWE SmackDown Live comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (April 3, 2018) from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee, featuring the go home show to the upcoming WrestleMania 34 pay-per-view (PPV) extravaganza scheduled for this Sunday night in New Orleans.
Advertised for tonight: Shane McMahon returns, AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura team up to take on Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin, Rusev vs. Jinder Mahal, and more!
Come right back here at 8 p.m. ET when the SmackDown live blog kicks off once the show starts on USA. It will be below this line here. (REMINDER: NO GIFS OR PICS ARE ALLOWED IN THE COMMENTS SECTION. OFFENDERS WILL BE BANNED.)
WWE SMACKDOWN RESULTS AND LIVE BLOG FOR APRIL 3
I’m always wishing, I’m always wishing too late for things to go my way, it always ends up the same. Count your blessings. I must be missing, I must be missing the point, your signal fades away and all I’m left with is noise. Count your blessings on one hand. So wait up, I’m not sleeping alone again tonight. There’s so much to dream about, there must be more to my life, but for right now, I’ve got to liveblog this here pro wrestling show, folks.
The show opens with Daniel Bryan making his entrance.
He welcomes us to the show and introduces his tag team partner at WrestleMania, Shane McMahon. He greets Nashville and puts them over before correcting Bryan on something he said the other week, he is a role model and he’s fought and clawed to return to something he believes in, and he congratulates Dan on getting cleared to do what he loves. Shane is excited to be his tag partner, and it’s nothing compared to Bryan’s last three years, but he’s been through some stuff over the past three weeks.
A bout of diverticulitis, hospitalization with an umbilical hernia at the hands of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, but he’s excited to tag up and take care of business. Bryan has something he’d like to address as a man and as general manager. Over the past six months he’s made a lot of mistakes, especially when it comes to Owens and Zayn. He’s known them for years and he let them manipulate him, but he wants to apologize to Shane because he was right all along.
McMahon says there’s no reason to apologize, because he’s done some reflection himself, and he knows he’s hot-headed and stubborn. Bryan scoffs at the idea of a stubborn McMahon before saying if they’re going to resolve their differences, he’s learned a lot about being in WWE over the last several years and when tag team partners have their differences, there’s only one way to resolve it...
The crowd chants “Hug it out!” and Dan opens his arms wide but Shane starts talking and apologizes, saying he’s been hotheaded and he offers a handshake instead. Bryan says he just shook his hand two minutes ago and McMahon offers a high five, but the American Dragon ain’t buying it, Nashville wants a hug. He polls the crowd, who are very into it, but Shane demures, saying he’s not much of a hugger.
Bryan lets the crowd make his case and Shane gives in... THEY HUG IT OUT! McMahon admits that kinda worked and they’re on the same page now. Dan says them being on the same page is bad news for Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, and they’re going to get their payback for everything that they’ve done. Shane thanks him for reinstating Owens and Zayn and he’s looking forward to take the opportunity to rid themselves of those two cancers, saying they’ll never be seen in a SmackDown arena again.
American Dragon asks the crowd if they’re ready to see the two of them beat the hell out of Sami and Kev at WrestleMania and Yes! chants go up en masse.
Charlotte Flair makes her entrance and we get a picture in picture video package for the mixed tag at WrestleMania. Natalya follows and we go to break before the match begins.
Charlotte Flair vs. Natalya
Collar and elbow, Flair with a side headlock takeover, Natalya reverses to a headscissors, kip-up escape into a strut. Circling, Charlotte goes behind, Nattie with a leg pick into a legscissors, Flair levers herself out and we stalemate. Neidhart posing, schoolboy pin comes up empty, kick to the midsection, snap suplex, bulldog takeover into a grounded side headlock and Natalya is in control.
Charlotte reverses to a pin, no good, posts to her feet, shoot off, shoulder block, waistlock, Flair reverses to a front chancery, into a pin, only two but she keeps the hold after. Takeover into a pin, still no good, back to the chancery, Nattie whips her to the corner, another schoolboy comes up empty and right back to the front chancery goes Charlotte.
Shift to a waistlock, double leg into a cover, nope, Flair puts her face-first into the turnbuckles and puts boots to her after. Double leg into kind of a spinebuster, only two and Charlotte grabs the figure four headscissors and smashes Nattie’s face into the mat a few times before rolling it through to disorient her. Neidhart bails to the floor, Flair lets referee Charles Robinson count a few before heading outside herself.
Chops on the floor, side headlock, Nattie puts her into the ringpost and lays her out to send us to break.
Back from commercial, Natalya is in control, grabbing an abdominal stretch after some struggle, but Charlotte is able to reverse into one of her own! Neidhart breaks with elbows, hip toss, to the apron, kick connects, Flair heads to the turnbuckles but Nattie counters with a press slam out of the corner... NOPE! Natalya with the Romero Special, Charlotte rolls out and fires heavy chops off.
Neckbreaker follows, a kick to the back of the neck, cover made but it’s not enough. Fighting in the corner, Neidhart grabs a sleeper hold but Flair counters it into a backpack Stunner! Headed up top again, moonsault... THE KNEES WERE UP! Discus lariat follows but Charlotte is able to counter and both women are down and out. Carmella’s out with reversee Jason Ayers and her Money in the Bank briefcase!
Ayers talks it over with Robinson, but before he can grab the briefcase and make it legal Charlotte kicks it out of her hands! Duck a lariat, big boot, Nattie from behind with a schoolboy... CHARLOTTE KICKS OUT! Figure four applied, bridging back...
Charlotte Flair wins by submission with the Figure Eight.
Asuka makes her entrance and squares up against Charlotte in the ring.
She tells Flair that at WrestleMania, the Queen will bow down to the Empress. Charlotte yanks the mic away and says she’s ready but asks Asuka if she’s ready.
AJ Styles is backstage talking about last week when Shinsuke Nakamura pulled away from Kinshasa at the last second and patted his head like he’s a dog, but this dog bites. Nakamura thinks he’s real emotional... and he’s right, he wears his emotions on his sleeve, and this is just like when he was a kid scrapping it up with the big boys.
You see, his emotions aren’t his weakness, they’re his strength. If you want to talk about weaknesses, Shinsuke has one, and that’s that he takes Styles too lightly. He’s WWE Champion, and this isn’t the Tokyo Dome, it’s WrestleMania, and this is a dream match, but it’s not a dream, it’s reality, and that reality is that he’s beating Shinsuke Nakamura.
Commentary hypes up our main event tag and a closer look at the Bryan/Shane vs. Sami/Kevin feud and we go to break.
Back from commercial we get our obligatory “Hey we’re in Nashville, a place where people play music in bars, check it out” moment.
The promised video package for Daniel Bryan & Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn follows.
Bobby Roode makes his entrance to join the commentary desk for Jinder Mahal vs. Rusev, which will be after the break.
Back from commercial in time for entrances, including the usual big intro from Sunil Singh for his guy, this time mocking Aiden English’s singing.
Aiden English then sings his man in as per usual.
Jinder Mahal vs. Rusev
Circling, whip across, drop toehold into an attempt at the Accolade but Mahal scrambles to the floor and we go to break.
Back from commercial, Jinder in charge, off the ropes with a huge knee, only good for two! Boot to the back of the head, repeated knee drops in the ropes, following it up with a neckbreaker, off the ropes, big knee drop, another cover... not enough! Wrenching Rusev’s arm over the ropes, body blows in the corner, snapmare into knees to the back and a top wristlock follows.
We get a picture in picture with a video package for Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns as Mahal reapplies the top wristlock and wrenches it in. Rusev breaks loose, turns the tide, stomp to the back, Accolade applied but Jinder makes the ropes for the break! Mahal passes him to the floor, he comes back in and runs right into a superkick for a nearfall.
Rusev reverses a front chancery, follows up with a roundhouse kick to the neck, he tunes up the band but Sunil distracts him. Roundhouse kick takes Singh out, schoolboy from Jinder for a nearfall, Rusev throwing punches to set it up...
Rusev wins by pinfall with the Machka Kick.
Rusev celebrates... RKO OUTTA NOWHERE! English puts boots to Randy Orton, pops up to the second and waits for the Viper to rise, but Roode gets up from commentary and shoves him off and into the RKO himself! Randy and Bobby are alone in the ring and Roode picks the title up and presents it to the champion, only to keep hold of his end at first when Orton goes to grab it.
Shinsuke Nakamura is interviewed and admits that he’s playing games, but he takes this game very seriously. He’s come to America for one reason, WrestleMania. He doesn’t take AJ lightly, and he knows him very well. He knows Styles is very emotional, so emotional that he’ll make a mistake. When he does, Shinsuke will become WWE Champion with a knee to the face.
Commentary hypes up our main event tag and we go to break.
Back from commercial, we get a hype reel for tonight’s Mixed Match Challenge finals.
New Day are backstage making noises. Turns out they’re hyping up how WrestleMania is free for new subscribers to the WWE Network. Xavier Woods asks Big E for his phone but he pulls out a pancake and a bag of Booty-Os first. Woods walks us through signing up on any device and Big pulls a tablet out of his pants and a tablet out of Kofi Kingston’s pants.
Kofi wants E to pull an XBox out of Xavier’s pants but the Usos roll up before he can do it. They say it’ll cost nothing to see them defend their tag titles, but New Day and Bludgeon Brothers are gonna have a price to pay and it’s gonna be lockdown at the Uso Penitentiary. New Day have a laugh about this when the Bludgeons roll up, hammers in hand.
They smash the floor to close the segment.
Baron Corbin, Dolph Ziggler, Mojo Rawley, & Primo Colon vs. Breezango (Fandango & Tyler Breeze), Tye Dillinger, & Zack Ryder
Rawley and Ryder to start, to the corner, missile dropkick from Zack gets one. Mojo rams him into his corner and tags Corbin in to send us to break.
Back from commercial, Dolph is in control and tags Corbin back in on Dillinger. He draws Tye up, puts him in the corner, right hands, Rawley tags back in, three-point stance, rolling around, Dillinger sidesteps the attack! Tags made, Fandango ducks a lariat, clears the apron, runs Primo over, front kick into a Falcon Arrow... ZIGGLER BREAKS IT UP! Zack takes Dolph out, Baron tags back in but Dango low-bridges him to the floor!
Rough Ryder on Mojo, Primo with a lariat to the floor, Tye dumps him in turn, counters a Fameasser and has it countered right back into a headscissors to the floor! Tyler with a superkick... CORBIN BIELS HIM OVER THE ROPES TO THE FLOOR! Schoolboy from Fandango but the Lone Wolf is ready...
Baron Corbin, Dolph Ziggler, Mojo Rawley, & Primo Colon win by pinfall with End of Days from Corbin on Fandango.
Baron poses with the Andre the Giant trophy.
Commentary runs down the card for WrestleMania before informing us that the main event is up next and sending us to break.
Back from commercial, Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin get a handcam promo talking about how not only are they gonna beat AJ Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura tonight, they’re gonna send them limping to WrestleMania.
In the arena, Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn jump the rail and climb on the announce table! KO begins, saying this is still the Sami & Kevin Show and nothing’s gonna stop them from speaking their minds tonight. Sami says he saw their apology session earlier but they have some people to apologize to. Bryan’s wife and daughter, for example. He’s sorry Birdie’s not gonna grow up with fond memories of her dad’s big WrestleMania comeback.
He’s sorry to Brie because the man they send back isn’t going to be put back together by her love and support. Owens says she gave him great advice about fighting for his dreams, but Zayn adds their dream is now obliterating Bryan and that will be their WrestleMania moment. Boo all you want, it doesn’t matter, they deserve it, Sami says as we cut to Shane watching backstage and Bryan rolls up.
They decide to head out to join them as KO starts running Shane McMahon down and says he’s gonna send him back to Titan Tower where he can cry on his daddy’s lap and look at the scar on his forehead and the disappointment in his eyes because once again he’ll have failed-- the mic cuts out and and they decide to take their leave, shrugging security off and booking it up the steps as McMahon makes his entrance, with Bryan right behind him.
Dan stops them in their tracks and asks cameras to get on them, askins everybody to start filming them on their cell phones because this is history in the making, the very last time either man will be on SmackDown. Shane offers up a song, and of course it’s Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye, the traditional wrestling sendoff.
And so we go to break.
Back from commercial we get some hype for WrestleMania week.
AJ Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin
Nakamura and Gable to start, Chad with a waistlock takedown, switches, Shinsuke tries to pick a leg but the Olympian goes back to the waistlock. Nakamura kicks him away, Gable backs away from the headkick and we stalemate. Armbar from the King of Strong Style into an armwringer, Chad rolls through, bridges and kips up to get out, pick the leg, transition to a kneeling armbar of his own.
Nakmaura escapes with a sequence of his own, back to an armbar, headed to the corner, tag to Styles... by patting him on the head. AJ gets in his face about it while Gable and Benjamin attack together! Shelton dumps Shinsuke and Gable puts boots to Styles in the corner and we go to break.
Back from commercial, AJ is isolated and trying to fight his way back over for a tag. Tags made, Nakamura in hot, jump kick, right hand and an axe kick for Gable, back to Benjamin with a kick combination, knee in the corner sets up the corner knee but Chad tags in blind and Shelton cracks Shinsuke with a knee. Moonsault... NOPE! Top wristlock follows, and we get a picture in picture video package for Charlotte vs. Asuka.
Nakamura posts to his feet, body blows, Gable ducks a lariat and hits a German suplex for a nearfall before making the tag. Benjamin with an shoulder armbar, a series of elbows and forearms, snapmare into a side headlock cover and then he goes for the sleeper hold, trying to grind the King of Strong Style down. Shinsuke breaks out, they trade forearms, whip reversed, big knee, Shelton ducks a kick and hits a spinning wheel kick of his own!
Charging in, leg lariat from Nakamura and both men are down and out. Tags made, AJ in with lariats, Styles Rush, Pele kick runs Benjamin off but Gable catches him in an inside cradle! No good, Ushigoroshi connects, to the apron, he eyes Nakamura...
AJ Styles & Shinsuke Nakamura win by pinfall with a Phenomenal Forearm from Styles on Chad Gable.
AJ goes and gets his title and holds it up at Shinsuke as they jaw at each other... BENJAMIN ATTACKS FROM BEHIND! Styles hesitates but Shinsuke is able to start fighting him off and runs him off himself. Nakamura turns around, AJ springboards in... AND STOPS HIMSELF SHORT JUST LIKE SHINSUKE DID TO HIM LAST WEEK! Styles pats his challenger on the head and walks off leaving Nakamura to fume about it.
That’s the show, folks.