WWE SmackDown Live on April 18, 2017
Watch: USA Network, Hulu, WWE Network on a one-month delay
KFC Yum! Center – Louisville, KY
Before the opening credits of the show there is a screen in memory of the recently deceased Matthew ‘Rosey’ Anoa’i.
A quick video recaps the Superstar Shake-Up from last week before Charlotte, now being referred to as the biggest acquisition for SmackDown Live, grabs a mic and talks about her dissatisfaction at not being granted a women’s title match. Naomi’s enters and tells Charlotte that this is SmackDown Live where there are no kings and queens, only champions. She hates seeing Charlotte stand in the ring and beg for a title opportunity and tells her that they’ll have a match right now and attacks Charlotte, Charlotte falls outside and tries to get back in the ring but a referee gets in her way. Shane McMahon comes out and says that no matter anyone’s pedigree they have to earn title matches — if Charlotte is able to beat Naomi tonight then next week’s rematch will be for the title. When Shane leaves Charlotte hops into the ring and attacks Naomi and lifts the title, but Naomi gets back up and kicks Charlotte out of the ring and raises her SmackDown Live women’s championship.
Natalya is waiting for Shane backstage and airs her grievance at Charlotte only being here for two weeks and getting a title opportunity. Shane reminds her that the title match atWrestleMania was her title opportunity and she should ask for matches like Charlotte did tonight. Carmella walks in and agrees with Natalya that it’s unfair that Charlotte got a title match so easily and Tamina soon joins in and everyone starts yelling, Natalya quiets the room and tells the other women that she has an idea since management doesn’t want to hear their issues and everyone leaves Shane’s office.
#1 Contendership Six-Pack Challenge: Luke Harper vs. Eric Rowan vs. Jinder Mahal vs. Mojo Rawley vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Sami Zayn
Everyone breaks off into pairs to start the action and eventually fall out of the ring to leave just Eric Rowan and Luke Harper inside. A faint, “Let’s go Sami.” chant is heard from the crowd as well. Returning from the commercial break we see three duos on the top rope and we get three superplexes and everyone except Sami laying on the ground. Luke Harper clotheslines Ziggler and pins him but Rowan picks him up off of Ziggler and after more attacks, Harper is left in the ring and dives to the outside twice onto Sami and Mojo. He tries to get back into the ring but is superkicked by Ziggler who gets a taste of Rowan’s spinning heel kick before getting powerbombed to the outside. Mojo is roughing up Ziggler after the commercial break with a punch to Ziggler’s chin, Mahal throws out Mojo to try to steal the pin but Sami breaks it up and we again get some Harper vs. Rowan moments before Ziggler interrupts them. The closing segment of the match Sami is in the corner getting ready for the Helluva Kick but the Bollywood Boyz appear from under the ring to hold his feet down and let Jinder get the win.
Renee Young walks into the ring for a post-match interview and he is met with loud boos from the crowd and he gives a standard WWE, “you Americans are scared of me, the foreigner, for xyz reasons.” Orton walks out to tell Jinder that he needs to get ready for an RKO but before that, he needs to take care of the thorn in his side, Bray Wyatt. Bray Wyatt appears on screen on says a cryptic message while video of Sister Abigail’s grave burns and talks about how Orton isn’t going to walk out of their House of Horrors match.
Renee Young interviews AJ Styles backstage and asks him who he prefers to come to SmackDown Live with the US Championship but he is interrupted by Baron Corbin and they eventually settle on having a match.
Charlotte is walking happily backstage but is stopped by Natalya, Carmella, and Tamina. Charlotte smirks and continues walking by and bumps shoulders with Natalya.
Naomi vs. Charlotte
Charlotte starts the match on offense kicking Naomi in the corner and tossing her across the ring before putting on a headlock, Natalya and her little gang are backstage watching the match. The first half is Naomi stuck in a headlock and head scissors and the crowd is appropriately dead for this section, they start to come alive when Naomi picks up the pace of the match with her kicks. Charlotte’s constant headlocks slowed down the pace of this match and killed the crowd, not every match needs to be a car crash but this has too many holds being held and any interest built in the first segment of the show has been killed and I’m no longer excited for next week’s match for the title. After her match Charlotte, “WOOOs” at Natalya, Carmella, and Tamina backstage.
American Alpha vs. Primo & Epico Colon
Primo & Epico cheated in a match against American Alpha in a match with little crowd heat, who would’ve thought that a match summary sentence from a wrestling booking simulator would perfectly describe an American Alpha match but their lackluster main roster run has brought them to this level.
Dasha Fuentes interviewed Tye Dillinger backstage and asked what about him makes the crowd react so much — so Tye has a highlight video play to answer her question.
Kevin Owens Face of America Open Challenge
Kevin Owens’ first open challenge match is him beating Louisville native, Gary Gandy, in a short match. Post-match Owens insults the fat Americans in the audience and tells us that he’ll remain as the face of America and he’ll give much needed Canadian insight to the commentary table and gives a message to the crowd in French.
AJ Styles vs. Baron Corbin
To the surprise of no one Styles starts off the match with taking a crazy-looking bump off of the apron and a slide into the ring post hitting his ribs. Corbin tries to ram down Styles but his dodge causes Corbin to hit the ring post shoulder first. After the collision Styles is able to finally get some momentum and offense in the match. This was a good main event TV match from these two wrestlers and the second week that SmackDown Live has had a strong ending, this match specifically ending with AJ being dropped onto Owens and Corbin being dropped onto the barricade and getting counted out. Ultimately this match isn’t as must watch as last’s week’s four-way but is still a strong effort.
WWE SMACKDOWN LIVE ON APRIL 18, 2017
Decent - 6/10
The bookends of this week's episode were great, Naomi and Charlotte had an exciting brawl and AJ Styles and Baron Corbin had a good match in the main event. Everything else in between wasn't anything worth writing home about. A slight downgrade from last week but still a watchable episode.