6 Takeaways From WWE SmackDown (4/10)

The first episode of WWE SmackDown after WrestleMania 34 aired live from the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. Here are 6 takeaways from this week’s show:

6Paige Is The New SmackDown GM

Photo Credit: WWE.com

SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon kicked off this week’s show. Shane thanked the crowd for the great response. He thanked everyone in the crowd and at home for making WrestleMania a huge success. The crowd chanted back “thank you Shane!”.

Shane said that this Sunday was extra special because we all got to witness the return of Daniel Bryan and the crowd chanted “yes!”. He stated that because of Daniels toughness and resolve to never let anyone take away his dream, we not only competed, we also won. Shane added that Daniel Bryan was born to do this and that Daniel has crossed back over to become a full-time WWE Superstar.

McMahon said that he has accepted Daniel’s resignation as SmackDown GM and then introduced Paige as the new SmackDown GM. Paige came down to the ring to an awesome reaction from the crowd. The crowd chanted “yes!” as Paige stood in the middle of the ring.

Paige noted that she gave her retirement speech last night at RAW and the first person waiting for her was Shane McMahon. Paige thanked Shane as the WWE Universe chanted “this is your house!”. Paige said that the Superstar Shake-Up is next week and that as her first act as GM, she wants to make tonight truly special for everyone in the crowd.

Paige brought up Daniel Bryan and the crowd chanted “yes!”. Paige noted that Bryan hasn’t competed in a match on TV in over 3 years and asked the crowd if they wanted to see him in action tonight. The crowd chanted “yes!” once again and announced Daniel Bryan will face…

The crowd interrupted with chants of “Rusev Day!” and “AJ Styles!”. Paige then announced that Bryan will face AJ Styles in his first match back on SmackDown.

Opinion: This was a great moment for Paige. Last night’s retirement speech was brutal to watch. She is only 25-years-old and it absolutely sucks that she had to retire from in-ring competition so early. However, it is great that she will remain in WWE in the role of SmackDown GM.

5The Usos Will Face The Bludgeon Brothers At Greatest Royal Rumble

Photo Credit: WWE.com

The Usos battled New Day tonight on SmackDown. The winners of the match will get the first shot at The Bludgeon Brothers for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships. Thus, if Jimmy and Jey lost, they would forfeit their obligatory rematch for the titles after losing them Sunday at WrestleMania 34.

The Usos controlled the match early and isolated Xavier Woods in the corner. Woods battled back and tagged in Big E. Big E planted Jey Uso with a Belly to Belly Suplex and then Woods got back into the ring. Woods lifted Big E up on his shoulders and Big E connected with a Splash for a two count.

Big E and Woods took turns stomping on Jey in the corner of the ring as Kofi threw pancakes everywhere outside the ring. Xavier connected with a Dropkick that knocked Jey Uso out of the ring as SmackDown went to a commercial break.

When SmackDown returned, Jey Uso finally was able to tag in Jimmy and he leveled Woods with a Clothesline. Jimmy booted Big E in the head and then threw Woods out of the ring. Jimmy leaped over the top rope and connected with a Crossbody onto Big E. Back in the ring, Jimmy planted Woods with a Samoan Drop for a two count. Big E got back into the ring and connected with a Spear to Jimmy Uso on the apron and both Superstars crashed to the floor.

Woods connected with a couple of shots to Jey’s midsection, Jey connected with a boot to the chest. Jimmy Uso and Big E tagged in. Big E planted Jimmy with a Backbreaker onto Woods’ knees for a two count. Jimmy and Jey connected with Superkicks to Big E to knock him out of the ring. Jimmy hit Woods with a Superkick and tagged in Jey. Jey then hit a Splash off the top rope onto Woods for the pinfall victory.

The Usos will now face The Bludgeon Brothers for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships at WWE Greatest Royal Rumble later this month. After the match, Harper and Rowan came down to the entrance ramp and pointed their mallets at Jimmy and Jey in the ring.

4Naomi’s Great Week Continued

Naomi battled Naomi tonight on SmackDown. The match started out back and forth. Naomi mocked Natalya’s chant and Natalya shoved her in the face. Naomi hung Natalya up on the ropes and booted her in the back. Naomi connected with a slingshot Leg Drop and Natalya rolled out of the ring as SmackDown went to break.

When SmackDown returned, Natalya had an Abdominal Stretched lock in. Naomi broke free, but Natalya dragged her to the mat by her hair. Natalya posed in the ring and then shouted at the crowd to shut up and then once again locked in the Abdominal Stretch. Natalya then planted Naomi with a Powerbomb for a two count. Naomi battled back and hit a split-legged Moonsault for the pinfall victory. Naomi then celebrated next to her women’s Battle Royal trophy after the match and high-fived the announce team.

3Carmella Cashed In After Iconic Due Attacked Charlotte

SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte came down to the ring and thanked Asuka for making her worker than she ever has before at WrestleMania 34. Charlotte boasted about still being the champ and stated that Sunday was special and magical. Flair then asked who is she going to make magic with next?

The Iconic Duo, Peyton Royce and Billie Kay interrupted and made their way down the entrance ramp. The crowd chanted “NXT!” as Royce and Kay claimed that one of them can make Charlotte’s disappear. Billie Kay said that Charlotte’s match at WrestleMania was good, but it just wasn’t iconic.

Peyton and Kay got into the ring and did an impression of Charlotte thanking Asuka and everybody she has every met in her life. The crowd chanted “Iconic!” as Royce told Charlotte to stop living in the past, when right now she is looking at the future.

Billie Kay and Peyton Royce attacked Charlotte in the ring. Charlotte battled back and threw Royce to the outside, but turned around into a boot to the face from Billie Kay. They then launched Charlotte over the announce table. Billie Kay and Peyton Royce slammed Charlotte into the ring post and laughed at her as Flair slowly tried to get up.

They then launched her shoulder-first into the steel steps and the SmackDown Women’s Champion screamed in pain. Royce and Billie Kay followed that up with a Powerbomb to the floor and then picked her up once again and dragged her into the ring. Billie Kay and Peyton Royce stood over Charlotte in the ring as WWE referees came down to the ring to attend to Flair.

Carmella then ran down to the ring with the MITB briefcase and started shouting at the referee to ring the bell. Carmella then connected with a boot to the face to win the SmackDown Women’s Championship.

Opinion: Well, this makes me hate the decision to have Charlotte end Asuka’s streak even more. I would have preferred to see Carmella cash in at WrestleMania and have Asuka’s streak remain intact. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to understand that decision at WrestleMania and tonight just made it even worse. I have no problem with Carmella cashing in, I still just cannot get over that Asuka lost and now Charlotte dropped the title two days later. It makes no sense to me at all.

On a positive note, Billie Kay and Peyton Royce are very entertaining and will make SmackDown more fun to watch on Tuesday nights.

2Randy Orton Will Battle Jinder Mahal Again In A Fresh & Exciting Feud

Photo Credit: WWE.com

Randy Orton, Bobby Roode and Rusev battled tonight on SmackDown to determine who will face Jinder Mahal at WWE Backlash for the United States Championship.

SmackDown went to a commercial break right when the match started. Orton took control during the break and dropped Rusev on the announce table when SmackDown returned from the break.

Roode brought Orton back in the ring and connected with a Clothesline off the top rope. Orton battled back and connected with a Powerslam. Rusev brought Orton out of the ring and slammed him on the announce table.

Rusev connected with a kick to Roode’s face and then got pumped up as the crowd chanted “Rusev Day!”. Rusev hit Roode with a Machka Kick and locked in the Accolade in the middle of the ring. Orton broke it up and threw Rusev into the ring post. Orton then planted Roode with an RKO for the pinfall victory.

Orton will now battle Jinder Mahal once again at WWE Backlash for the U.S. Title.

Opinion: I don’t know what to say. This is like a nightmare that I cannot wake up from. It is surreal that they are putting on this feud again after WrestleMania 34. WWE wants to maintain some of the viewers that are checking in after WrestleMania right?

1Shinsuke Nakamura Ruined AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan

Renee Young interviewed Shinsuke Nakamura backstage. Shinsuke said that he didn’t know what came over him at WrestleMania, maybe he got too emotional. Nakamura jokingly said “I’m very sorry for what I did to AJ Styles”. Renee noted that he was being sarcastic and asked if he had any explanation for attacking AJ after their WrestleMania match. Nakamura paused for a moment and responded “sorry, no speak English” and walked away.

Daniel Bryan faced AJ Styles in the main event of WWE SmackDown. The match started off slow. Bryan took Styles down to the mat and focused his attack on AJ’s arm. Dueling “Daniel Bryan!” and “AJ Styles!” chants broke out in the crowd as Bryan was still in control.AJ Styles connected with a Dropkick that knocked Bryan out of the ring. AJ followed it up with a forearm to the face as SmackDown went to break.

When SmackDown returned, the action had returned to the ring. Bryan sent AJ to the corner and hit him with a running kick to the face. Daniel followed it up with the Yes Kicks, but Styles caught him and dragged him to the canvas.

AJ planted Bryan with a Neckbreaker for a two count. Daniel battled back and tried to apply an Arm Bar, but Styles was able to escape. AJ quickly locked in the Calf Crusher in the middle of the ring. Bryan countered and went for the Yes Lock but AJ countered into a roll-up for a two count. AJ connected with a Pele Kick and followed it up with a Clothesline for a two count.

Styles went for the Phenomenal Forearm but Bryan dodged it and connected with a kick to the ribs. Bryan geared up in the corner and went for the knee, but Styles caught him and went for the Styles Clash. Daniel countered into the Yes Lock but AJ quickly got his foot on the bottom rope to break the hold.

Daniel hung up AJ in the Tree of Woe and booted him in the midsection a few times. Bryan went for a Suplex off the top, but AJ countered and both Superstars fell to the canvas. Nakamura ran into the ring and hit Bryan with a Kinshasa and the referee called for the bell. Shinsuke then hit a low-blow on AJ and followed it up with another Kinshasa.

Opinion: AJ Styles versus Daniel Bryan is a PPV worthy match, so it was a little surprising to see WWE give it away for free tonight. The match was pretty entertaining, but I was glad Nakamura interfered. I want to see Bryan and Styles have a meaningful match with something on the line in the future, tonight was just a teaser.

Nakamura got himself booed out of the building tonight after he ruined this match and that is a good thing. I’m hoping that WWE does this right and it turns Nakamura into a bigger star in WWE. I don’t have much faith in that though, given some of the decisions they have made this week. WWE’s Superstar Shake-Up is next week and tonight could be the last time Daniel Bryan is on SmackDown for a while. Time will tell if Bryan stays on SmackDown or joins the RAW roster next week.