SHANE’S ANNOUNCEMENTS

Smackdown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon walks out to begin the final show of WrestleMania week.  He thanks everyone for making WrestleMania such a huge success and goes on to address the Daniel Bryan situation: now that Bryan is returning to the ring, he won’t be able to continue as Smackdown GM.  Then, he announces Bryan’s replacement: Paige!  She just retired last night on RAW but says the first person she ran into after leaving the ring was Shane McMahon, who offered her a job.  Her first act as General Manager is to announce the show’s main event, which is Daniel Bryan vs AJ Styles.

This segment is awesome.  Paige is great, and I was really bummed when she was forced to retire, so this is obviously great news for her future.  Hopefully, she takes the Daniel Bryan route and ends up back in the ring one day.  On top of that, we get an absolute dream match as the main event? Sign me up.

THE USOS VS THE NEW DAY

The first match of the night is a number one contender’s match for the Smackdown Tag Titles which, like every other men’s title, will be contested at The Greatest Royal Rumble.  Xavier Woods and Big E are the men in the ring for The New Day tonight and they take it to The Usos early with a number of good tag team moves, including the Unicorn Stampede.  A big tag-team backbreaker to Jimmy Uso almost ends the match but he kicks out.  The Usos hit Big E with tandem superkicks but he rolls out of the ring as Xavier Woods comes to the rescue.  Unfortunately for The New Day, Woods receives a superkick and then a big splash from the brothers and he is pinned by Jey Uso.

At one point, Corey Graves speculates that this might be the last time we see The Usos together as the Superstar Shake-Up is coming next week, which is just an absurd bit of commentary.  Either way, it looks like The Usos will get a match against the undefeated Bludgeon Brothers in Saudi Arabia.  It should be a good match, albeit not one that I’m expecting the Usos to win.

The Usos def The New Day via pinfall

CHARLOTTE’S ROUGH NIGHT

Smackdown Women’s Champ Charlotte comes out to thank Asuka for the great match on Sunday and look forward to her next opponent.  However, she is interrupted by the debut of Billie Kay and Peyton Royce who declare themselves to be the future, make fun of Charlotte and then attack her.  They mercilessly beat the champ all over the ring until, just when it looks like they’re done, Carmella’s music hits!  Ms. Money in the Bank sprints down the ramp and FINALLY cashes in her contract, easily pins the weakened Charlotte and becomes the new Smackdown Women’s Champion.

It’s about time!  Carmella had already held the briefcase longer than anyone else in history and she teased the cash-in so many times, I was beginning to think that this might not be successful, but she did it.  Her shrill shrieks of “cash it in!” directed at the ref were hilarious and this whole segment was pretty funny to watch.  However, circumstances notwithstanding, having Charlotte drop the title two nights after ending Asuka’s legendary streak is a bit of a head-scratcher of a booking decision.  Sure, she got absolutely laid out in what was essentially a 3-on-1 encounter, but it still feels a little weird.

Charlotte cashes in Money in the Bank, def Charlotte via pinfall

US CHAMPIONSHIP NUMBER ONE CONTENDER TRIPLE THREAT MATCH

Bobby Roode, Randy Orton, and Rusev duke it out to see who will face Jinder Mahal at the Greatest Royal Rumble for his new title.  This match was probably the weak point of an otherwise excellent episode of Smackdown.  The crowd was, unsurprisingly, heavily behind Rusev in this one but, also unsurprisingly, Randy Orton came out on top.  Jinder’s cancellation of Rusev Day seemed like a great way to set up a feud between the two of them, but WWE booking loves The Viper, so it looks like we’re getting yet another Randy Orton-Jinder Mahal title match (because we haven’t already seen this match enough times yet).  Hopefully, Orton at least ends up murdering another Singh brother in this one.

Randy Orton def Bobby Roode via pinfall

AJ STYLES VS DANIEL BRYAN

Daniel Bryan’s first match back on Smackdown is an absolute dream match against the WWE Champ, AJ Styles.  There’s not much I can say about this one: two of the greatest in-ring performers of all time put on a very good match that you should probably just watch if you haven’t already.  It was one of the best Smackdown main events in a while, to cap off what was probably the best episode of Smackdown in at least a year.

This match featured some of the best, most technical wrestling that the company has to offer and I can’t wait to see these two in a showcase match at a future PPV.  Unfortunately, we didn’t get a real winner as Shinsuke Nakamura showed up, hit a Kinshasa on Daniel Bryan and then a low blow on AJ Styles, followed by another Kinshasa to the champ.  Nakamura’s heel turn should be a great boon for him as he already looks much more comfortable in his new role and he is more interesting as a character now than he has been in months.  A triple threat between these three for the title would absolutely be must-see wrestling.

AJ Styles def Daniel Bryan via disqualification on Shinsuke Nakamura interference

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Austin Pagel

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