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WWE SmackDown results, live blog (April 14, 2023): Nakamura returns

WWE Friday Night SmackDown comes waltzing back into our lives tonight (April 14, 2023) with a live show emanating from Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska, featuring all the latest build to the upcoming Backlash event scheduled for early next month in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Advertised for tonight: Shinsuke Nakamura returns to SmackDown for the first time in 2023.

Tonight’s show also features Xavier Woods vs. LA Knight, the “Original Bro” Matt Riddle is coming after The Bloodline, escalating tension between Paul Heyman and Jey Uso, what’s next for Rhea Ripley as the new SmackDown women’s champion, and more!

Come right back here at 8 pm ET when the SmackDown live blog kicks off once the show starts on FOX. It will be below this line here. (Note: Links to illegal streams are prohibited. Pics and GIFs are allowed.)


Fist tight, it stains conviction, drips down to bloodshot eyes. It crushes down what is real, but me? I’m just here to liveblog this here pro wrestling show for you, folks.

The show opens with commentary welcoming us to the show.

Kevin Owens makes his entrance, followed shortly thereafter by Sami Zayn as we get a recap of Matt Riddle’s return last week.

Sami gets on the mic and talks about closing out the show as champions and as amazing as WrestleMania was they haven’t had time to process it because everything with the Bloodline just keeps happening. It’s an exciting time but it’s also a time of uncertainty.

Kevin says the draft creates an air of uncertainty but he knows two things— regardless of where they end up, they’re the undisputed tag team champions and they’ll defend them with everything they have regardless of whether it’s on Raw or SmackDown, and sooner rather than later the Usos will want their rematch.

Enter the Usos, joined by Solo Sikoa.

Jimmy Uso says Kev and Sam sound like they’re folding under pressure, not like the Usos, who made it 626 days as champions. Zayn says they have to report back every week empty-handed to their daddy Roman Reigns, and Jimmy tells him to shut up, he’s been predicting the end of the Bloodline for months, but the Bloodline is more dangerous and stronger than ever.

The Usos leveled up, the Enforcer? You don’t want the savage to come out of him, and the Usos will be nine-time tag team champions, and Sami Zayn will backstage Owens once again. Sami says he wishes he was as good at anything as Jey Uso is at lying to himself.

You wanna act like everything’s cool, like Solo wasn’t ready to drop him last week, that’s fine. But he doesn’t think they came out here just to talk, and the Bloodline oblige him by hopping up on the apron and surrounding them. Matt Riddle shows up to even the odds and the Bloodline run away and we go to break!

Back from commercial, Adam Pearce gives referee Jason Ayers instructions for tonight’s main event that was set up by our opening segment.

We get a video package setting up a match between LA Knight and Xavier Woods.

LA Knight vs. Xavier Woods

Headlock, shot off, shoulder block, Woods up in the turnbuckles taunting, back down and Knight lays him out with a back elbow! Satellite Russian legsweep, kip-up, out and back in, Xavier up top but LA rolls to the floor to run away! Off the ropes, sidestep the baseball slide, smashing Woods into the apron and then putting him face-first into the ringpost to send us to break!

Back from commercial, Woods whip to the corner, Knight sidesteps and hits a neckbreaker for two! Off the ropes, ducking lariats, slide under, rolling elbow... LA KICKS OUT! Knight fired up, eyes wide, stalking around the ring, jockeying for position over a suplex and he gives up and clubs Xavier to the mat.

Suplexing LA iinto the top rope, missile dropkick to the back, Woods pops back up top, diving leg drop... LA KNIGHT GRABS THE ROPES! Off the ropes, Knight catches him with a powerslam, big elbow drop, laying in wait, kick to the midsection, snapmare driver denied!

Waistlock, LA with a standing switch, O’Connor roll and a handful of tights but Jessika Carr sees it and won’t allow it! Woods reverses, she doesn’t see him with the tights...

Xavier Woods wins by pinfall with an O’Connor roll and a handful of tights.

And so we go to break.

Back from commercial, we get a hype reel for the WWE Draft in two weeks.

GUNTHER gives Imperium a pep talk auf Deutsch until he’s interrupted by Xavier Woods playing trombone.

Ludwig Kaiser yells at him and Xavier apologizes but of course immediately starts playing as soon as they begin speaking again. GUNTHER says if Xavier wants attention he should approach in a respectful manner, but he’s a goof and he doesn’t know what respect is.

So step on the mat and he’ll beat the respect into Woods. Xavier says he’s never even had a shot at the Intercontinental Championship but he feels beyond ready to step in the ring with him ahead of the draft.

We get a recap of Solo Sikoa injuring Matt Riddle last December.

Sami Zayn is backstage with Riddle.

He thanks him for his help and warns him to be careful because Solo took him out last time. Sami admits his culpability in that and apologizes and says he’d feel awful if something bad happens tonight. Kevin Owens takes issue with the idea of being careful and tells Matt he has to charge in and give it his all.

Riddle says he can only control his side of the street, and how prepared he is tonight, and how much pain he inflicts on Solo for the 118 days he was out.

Damian Priest, Rhea Ripley, and Dominik Mysterio are interviewed in Gorilla.

Rhea takes issue with what Kayla Braxton has to say and Damian takes over. He says Santos Escobar can go, but he’s terrible at picking friends, and he’s gonna go to the ring to talk about Bad Bunny.

Judgment Day make their entrance and Damian Priest gets on the mic.

He talks about Bad Bunny and says if he wants to be in the front row at Backlash fine, have a great time, but if he puts hands on his family again we all know what will happen, and he replays the clip of him putting Bunny through the announce table with South of Heaven a few times.

Zelina Vega makes her entrance and the rest of the LWO blindside Judgment Day to send us to break!

Damian Priest vs. Santos Escobar

Escobar with a boot up, sidestep the charge, diving crossbody connects! Duck a lariat, clothesline sends Priest to the floor! Santos off the ropes, but Damian takes a walk! Escobar off the apron, Priest cracks into him with an elbow, back inside and a cover for two!

Test of strength, Santos with repeated overhand chops and a big knife-edge to finish the exchange! Whip across, drop down, dropkick, cover for two! Double knees in the corner, another set, action to the floor and Priest takes him out with a double axhandle that sends us to break!

Back from commercial, Priest gets the reverse STO for two! Kneeling surfboard, Escobar gets away but Damian stomps him into the mat! Jockeying for position, avalanche Frankensteiner... NOPE! Trading punches, Priest with a strike rush, Santos gets a moonsault in there somehow but can’t keep him down!

Fireman’s carry, the match breaks down, faction brawling on the floor, returning to the ring but Rhea tries to trip Santos up! Vega Frankensteiners her into the barricade but when Escobar turns around...

Damian Priest wins by pinfall with South of Heaven.

Post-match, Priest clears the announce desk but Rey Mysterio makes the save! Rey gets into a brawl with Dom, sets him up for the 619 but Judgment Day save him!

Backstage, Paul Heyman gives Solo Sikoa a pep talk about his whole family and his lineage and the legacy of all the great members of the Anoa’i family. Eventually Solo puts a hand on his shoulder and reminds him he’s not the Tribal Chief and says he has this.

Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez make their entrance to send us to break.

Back from commercial, we get a recap of Liv Morgan and Raquel Rodriguez winning the tag titles.

They’re in the ring and they get on the mic to celebrate winning the tag titles and bringing the belts back to SmackDown.

Raquel thanks Liv for letting her use her as her own personal weapon, the perfect combination of chaos and power. Morgan says she’ll always let her throw her into people and incredible things happen when you least expect it. They’re still feeling out their vibe, but if they’re this good, this quick—

Enter Sonya Deville and Chelsea Green.

Sonya gets on the mic and says she’s getting dumber by the minute and they should sit down and shut up and show some respect. How are they the tag champions when they didn’t beat the actual champs, or are they gonna ignore that Trish Stratus was a fill-in that shouldn’t count?

Maybe it was someone from upper management who overlooked it? Chelsea is still mad at Adam Pearce and complains about being overlooked for this mediocre tag team, and the only difference between these two and everyone else in the building is the tag titles.

Where are their opportunities? Liv says she’s gonna talk to Adam and get them to be their next challengers.

A brawl breaks out, the babyfaces stand tall, and we go to break.

Back from commercial, Shinsuke Nakamura makes his entrance.

Madcap Moss is chatting with Emma backstage and she gives him a pep talk about his match and how Shinsuke has nothing on him.

Madcap Moss vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

Moss rushing Nakamura into the corner, clubbing him with forearms, shoulder block, scoop into an awkward fallaway slam, float over a suplex, axe kick, off the ropes, sliding German suplex connects! Diving Kinshasa connects, Shinsuke fired up...

Shinsuke Nakamura wins by pinfall with Kinshasa.

Post-match, Moss runs in and tries for a lariat but Nakamura counters with a flying armbar!

We see Scarlett laying out tarot cards, one of which has Shinsuke on it. Karrion Kross slams his fist into the table and says “tick tock” like a real goof.

We see Matt Riddle shadowboxing backstage to send us to break.

Back from commercial, we get a recap of Trish Stratus turning on Becky Lynch and are told she’ll explain her actions and we go to break.

Braun Strowman and Ricochet are walking and talking backstage when Viking Raiders blindside them and smash them up! Valhalla calling the shots... RAGNAROK PUTS RICOCHET THROUGH A TABLE!

Paul Heyman gets on the mic after entrances and says he has an historic announcement to make.

He just got off the phone with Roman Reigns who authorized him to let everyone know that they muscled it through management, and two weeks from tonight the Usos will get their rematch live on SmackDown.

Before the match can begin, we go to break.

Back from commercial, commentary hypes up next week’s show.

Matt Riddle vs. Solo Sikoa

Riddle forces him into the corner with elbows and kicks, Sikoa shoves him back, catches a kick but Matt pops up and grabs a double wristlock, reversed with a scoop and a slam! Riddle with a sleeper hold, Solo backs him into the corner to break but Matt holds on!

Backed into the corner again, no deal, so Sikoa hits a senton to break it! Riddle reapplies, Solo struggles away and cracks a huge right hand! Grounded headbutts, choking Matt in the ropes, chops in the corner, whip reversed, Jey Uso trips Riddle up and the Usos get into it with Owens and Zayn and referee Jason Ayers ejects the tag champions!

After a moment’s deliberation, Ayers ejects the Usos too! Riddle with a schoolboy, only two! Samoan drop damn near dumps Matt on his head and we go to break!

Back from commercial, trading forearms, Sikoa cuts him off with a back elbow! Trapezius claw applied, trading forearms, Riddle to the corner, Solo lines him up but Matt sidesteps the corner body avalanche! Bati-Bati palm strikes, front kick, duck a lariat, Pele kick connects!

Riddle kips up, charging forearms, off the ropes, Solo ducks a Penalty Kick, rolls away from the standing moonsault, knees up on the senton! Matt off the top, corkscrew somersault leg drop... NOPE! The Usos return to ringside, so do Kev and Sami and another brawl breaks out!

Jason Ayers trying to regain control, Riddle plants Sikoa with a kick and takes the Usos out with a dive to the floor! Back inside, off the top, Solo cuts him out of mid-air with a superkick...

Solo Sikoa wins by pinfall with the Samoan Spike.


Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn come back to ringside to right the table and free Riddle from under it.

Referees check on Riddle while the Usos hug their brother.

That’s the show, folks.

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