Smackdown Live Review – April 23

Shane McMahon opened this week’s episode of Smackdown Live in a pretty foul mood, calling out the ‘Big Dog’ Roman Reigns for what he did to his father last week.

It was pretty ironic that Shane seemed to be upset for a superstar hitting his father when he is fresh off the heels of putting his hands on The Miz’s father on several occasions.

Roman would answer the demands of Shane & made his way to the ring. After staring down McMahon, Roman would be attacked from behind by Elias, the man who Roman interrupted last week when debuting on Smackdown.

The former universal champion would get beat down by McMahon and Elias before Elias hit ‘Drift Away’ to put the Big Dog flat on his back. After this opening segment, it is unsure who Roman is feuding with, as both Shane & Elias have a beef with him.

It would make sense for it to be Elias, or even Elias & Shane taking on Roman in a 2-on-1 handicap match with the odds stacked against Reigns.

But knowing how WWE (and Vince) views Roman, this feud will be of the top storylines moving forward on the blue brand.

Later on in the night, Elias would lay the challenge out to Roman for a match at MITB, and Shane endorsed that challenged, meaning we will likely see that take place next month.

Below I list Smackdown’s moments from best to worst & my final ranking for the show comes at the bottom of the page.

‘Big O’ is no more

Well, those days of Kevin Owens being a babyface are no more. After Kofi’s match with Nakamura ended in a DQ (thanks to Rusev interference) things broke down and the new-look New Day came in for the save.

Things all looked well and good until Kofi pushed Owens out of the way of an incoming Nakamura, but then would deliver a vicious superkick to the WWE Champion, and the crowd reacted in a stunned gasp.

Truth be told it only seemed like a matter of time before K.O. would go back to his old ways and manipulate people to further his own gain. After a lengthy beatdown of Kofi, Owens set his eyes on one goal, the WWE championship.

Money in the Bank is quickly becoming a stacked card, and we can likely add Owns vs. Kingston into the mix, which should be a soundly built feud & will result in a high-quality match.

Becky & Charlotte face-to-face…..again?

Charlotte demanded an explanation from Becky Lynch on why she thought she deserved the Smackdown Women’s championship when it was Ronda Rousey she pinned & not herself.

Becky then made the astute point of reminding Charlotte the Wrestlemania 35 match was a winner-take-all triple-threat match.

These two bitter rivals would trade verbal jabs back and forth with Charlotte demanding (yet another) championship opportunity when Becky suggested new challengers step up.

This would bring out Bayley, who I think did some of her best work in quite some time. She wasn’t that loveable hugger we often see, but instead, we saw a Bayley who was tired of being in the back of the line & went face-to-face with the queen & got a No.1 contender’s match for the Smackdown Women’s title.

Charlotte and Bayley do battle 

I will give Charlotte & WWE credit, they have made this heel persona of ‘The Queen’ one of the most disliked characters in all of the company. Charlotte even has people like me shaking my head when she goes on her “holier than thou” rants.

Though it was nice to see Bayley step up to the plate, it only seemed fitting that Charlotte picked up the one-on-one win to face Lynch for the tenth time since these two began feuding last August.

Lars Sullivan wreaks havoc on the blue brand

Before Chad Gable and Jinder Mahal could get their match underway, Lars Sullivan would run down & layout Gable before dismantling the Singh brothers.

In a nice bit of consistency, R-Truth would run down to the ring and try to get back at Sullivan for beating him down last week & intimidating Carmella. However, Truth could not get much offense in before ‘The Freak’ put him down on the canvas.

Sullivan continues to look like a monster & it is tough to try and figure out who can try to slow him down on the main roster.

Andrade is back on the blue brand.

After Andrade and his manager appeared to be drafted to Raw last week, they are back on Smackdown Live just a week later. According to Mike Johnson of PWInsider, FOX made the request to bring Andrade and Vega back to the blue brand. This is because there are plans to highlight WWE’s Latin talents on Fox Deportes when SmackDown moves to the Fox in the fall.

Andrade’s first opponent back on the blue brand was the Intercontinental Champion Finn Balor. These two superstars faced each other just eight days ago on Raw and are back at it again.

Plans were in place back when Andrade was headed to Raw for “El Idolo” to get a big push & I am sure that is still the direction WWE would like to go even though Andrade is back on the blue brand.

Although that push may have taken a step back for the moment as Balor evened the score between himself & Andrade. It looks like a match for the Intercontinental Title is being set up to take place at Money in the Bank, and I would not be shocked if they take the strap off of Balor & crown “El Idolo” the new IC champion.

Kairi Sane debuts against Peyton Royce

After making the jump from NXT to the blue brand, Sane took part in her first singles match on the main roster against one-half of the Women’s Tag Team champions.

Just like Becky Lynch, the IIconics look like they will be pulling double duty by appearing on Raw and Smackdown. But unlike Lynch, WWE has not done an excellent job of making their new Women’s tag champions look “iconic” as each half of the tag team has a pinfall loss in the past two days.

I am not sure what the plans are for the IIconics, but if making them lose week in and week out is the plan, they should have just kept the belts on Sasha Banks & Bayley.

This episode of Smackdown did an excellent job in my eyes of building to the new pay-per-view. Bayley’s new side to her character is a great development & K.O. turning on the New Day will set up what ought to be quite the feud between Owens & Kingston.

Although I was not too thrilled to see Charlotte get ANOTHER title shot against Becky Lynch when there are many other new & worthy opponents in the women’s division. All in all not a perfect episode of Smackdown, but a very good one nonetheless.

My rating: 3.75 out of 5

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