WWE SmackDown Results: Winners, Grades, Highlights and Analysis from April 10
On the heels of a most unique WrestleMania 36, WWE SmackDown hit the Fox airwaves with new universal champion Braun Strowman ready to usher in a new era for the blue brand.
Which Superstar would step up and issue the first challenge to The Monster Among Men, and would we see a championship defense the same way we saw new WWE champion Drew McIntyre defend his title Monday on Raw?
We knew we would see one championship up for grabs as new women's tag team champions Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross defended against former titleholders The Kabuki Warriors.
Find out if Bliss and Cross successfully retained or if their reign was a short-lived one with this recap of the April 10 broadcast.
The New Universal Champion Kicks Off SmackDown
Braun Strowman kicked off the broadcast, reliving his WrestleMania encounter with Goldberg that netted him the universal title while claiming to have answered when opportunity knocked.
Shinsuke Nakamura interrupted, issued a challenge for a match and reminded the new champion that the last time he saw him, The Artist Collective beat him at Elimination Chamber.
Strowman seemingly accepted the challenge, then fended off a sneak attack from Cesaro. Distracted, he walked right into a big kick from Nakamura, who hightailed it out of the ring and stood triumphantly with The Swiss Cyborg to close out the opening segment of the night.
What an underwhelming intro to the Strowman Era in WWE.
This was a lackluster promo, made awkward by Nakamura's language barrier. Still, the former intercontinental champion is charismatic as the day is long and managed to hold up his end of an otherwise one-dimensional, largely "meh" promo that did nothing to make the viewer want to see the match any more.
Given the wealth of recent history between them, that is a massive indictment on the producers.
Women's Tag Team Title Match: Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross vs. Kabuki Warriors
The WrestleMania rematch pitting women's tag team champions Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross against The Kabuki Warriors kicked off the evening's in-ring festivities.
Former champions Asuka and Kairi Sane appeared to have the upper hand momentarily when the former climbed atop the announce table and joined in on commentary, much to the delight of Corey Graves. Cross joined her up there, knocked The Empress of Tomorrow off and delivered a cross-body block off the table heading into the break.
The challengers isolated Bliss, cutting her off from her partner. Sane delivered a big spear for a near-fall before Cross entered the match, enduring a big backfist from Asuka and a modified Doomsday Device.
The action spilled to the floor, and Bliss delivered her finisher, Twisted Bliss, wiping both opponents out at once. Back inside, Sane avoided another Twisted Bliss but walked into a hard right hand that stunned her, and a twisting neckbreaker from Cross earned the champions the victory.
Bliss and Cross defeated Sane and Asuka to retain
While the match was not as good, due almost exclusively to the commercial timeout that hurt the flow, the timing was spot-on. Had the WrestleMania opener been this long, without the commercial and wall-to-wall action, it would have been an even better match than it was.
As for this one, it was the typical post-WrestleMania rematch that we usually get out of these shows.
It put Bliss and Cross over as resilient champions and announced to the viewing audience there was a new team atop the women's tag mountain, and really, that is all it needed to do.
Update on Otis and Mandy; Tucker vs. Dolph Ziggler
A video package recapped the happy union between Otis and Mandy Rose at the conclusion of the big man's match with Dolph Ziggler at WrestleMania 36. Immediately thereafter, the aforementioned Showoff hit the ring alongside Sonya Deville, both showing concern over the fact that they had not heard from, nor seen, Rose in a week.
Heavy Machinery's Tucker showed up, showed off some pictures of Otis and Rose training together, and issued a challenge for a match with the former world champion.
The heavyweight punished Ziggler for his brutal assault a week ago while Deville attempted to root Ziggler on from the floor. Tucker slammed his opponent on the commentary table and delivered a big powerslam back inside the squared circle for a two-count.
Ziggler showed resilience, fighting through the onslaught of his opponent before dodging a corner charge and dropping Tucker with a superkick for the win.
Ziggler defeated Tucker
The dismayed heel who protests about being wronged when, in fact, he had been doing the wrong is a classic trope. That same heel, so closely removed from his comeuppance, shaking it off and leaving with his arm raised in victory is, too, but The Showoff pulled off both excellently here.
Was the match anything to write home about? Absolutely not. It was a one-sided ass-whupping until Ziggler luckily dodged and dropped his opponent just long enough to pick up the win.
What it did, though, was provide him some heat so he can resume his rivalry with Otis over Rose, which appears poised to culminate in a huge mixed tag team match also involving Mandy and Sonya.
The Usos and New Day Cut Off The Dirt Sheet
The Miz and John Morrison joined us for the latest edition of The Dirt Sheet, running down the results from WrestleMania 36 and adding "that's good news" after every one of them.
The SmackDown tag team champions performed "Hey Hey" in the center of the ring, claiming their newest record reached gold status just this afternoon. The Usos cut off the performance, though, clearly unimpressed with the musical talents of the duo.
Jimmy and Jey not so subtly attempted to drive a wedge between Miz and Morrison, repeatedly putting over the latter for carrying the team.
The New Day then arrived, and Big E pitched the idea of the three competitors who did not compete in the Triple Threat Match for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships at WrestleMania battling for the titles in another three-way match.
Kofi Kingston, channeling his inner Teddy Long, revealed that the match will in fact happen next week.
At least this addressed the elephant in the room, that not every one of the members from the three teams got to fight for the tag team gold. The outcome, a proposed three-way match, would seemingly set the stage for Miz to sneakily retain the gold. However, the fact that The Usos planted the seeds for a breakup of the tag team suggests that may not be the outcome.
Could Miz drop the titles and create a schism between him and Morrison?
While it would seem too early for that, Morrison probably deserves something more substantial to do given his grand return has been mired in mediocrity thanks to the tag team retread.
Lucha House Party vs. The Forgotten Sons
Steve Cutler, Jaxson Ryker and Wesley Blake finally made their main roster debuts Friday as The Forgotten Sons (Cutler and Blake) battled Lucha House Party's Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado in tag team action.
The aggressive newcomers isolated Dorado, working him over with some intense and aggressive offense.
A hot tag to Metalik sparked a brief comeback for Lucha House Party, but the newcomers downed Metalik and scored the win in the extended squash.
The Forgotten Sons defeated Lucha House Party
Ryker is a former Marine. Cutler is a current Marine. Yet, here they were introduced to the main roster audience as heels.
Why? Theirs is as easy a story to tell as there is for a babyface team, putting over their commitment to their country and their desire to achieve greatness on the blue brand.
Instead, they are another undefined heel tag team that looks destined to go on a run early, but it will be interesting to see if they can maintain both their momentum and the attention of the creative team as the weeks go by.
Hopefully, they do.
Bayley and Sasha Banks Celebrate, Tamina Interrupts
A braggadocios Bayley, still SmackDown women's champion after WrestleMania's 5-Way Elimination Match, claimed to have beaten everyone, only occasionally giving Sasha Banks any credit for her win. "Screw you," Banks said before claiming that none of the "ignorant sheep" will understand their friendship.
Tamina interrupted the proceedings while the commentary team put over the second-generation star's performance at WrestleMania. She issued a challenge for a title match, and—despite Banks taking exception—the "role model" Bayley said she would give Tamina the match if she could beat...Banks.
"Your friend...she just screwed you," Tamina said before exiting while The Boss looked visibly unhappy with her bestie.
Not only did this introduce Tamina as the next challenger, thus freshening up the title scene for the immediate future, but it also continued the slow burn to the eventual breakup of Bayley and Banks and the ensuing rivalry over the women's title.
Bayley was superb here, acting as if her WrestleMania victory was her own triumph before suddenly remembering the real reason she has the title was standing by her side. That overconfidence and self-centeredness will ultimately cost her a friendship and lead to a grudge match on a major stage.
And this writer, for one, cannot wait.
Sheamus in Action
Sheamus returned to action this week, furious over his lack of inclusion on the WrestleMania card. His opponent, the relatively unknown Cal Bloom, felt his wrath.
The Celtic Warrior punished the newcomer and finished him off in short order with the Brogue Kick.
Sheamus defeated Bloom
It was nice to see Sheamus fired up over missing WrestleMania, but we have seen this out of The Celtic Warrior since he returned from his injury.
It would mean so much more if we had an idea of where WWE Creative is going with him, but as of right now, it does not look like it knows where that is, let alone those watching at home.
Give us Sheamus vs. Strowman, Hardy or Roman Reigns, and give it to us soon.
Otherwise, he continues to be lost in the shuffle, doing the same thing over and over with no change in the ultimate result.
Braun Strowman vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
A vengeful Braun Strowman, not only looking to repay Shinsuke Nakamura for the sneak attack from earlier in the show but for losing the Intercontinental Championship back at Elimination Chamber, wasted little time bumping The Artist around the squared circle in the main event of his first broadcast as universal champion.
The Monster Among Men sent Nakamura into the guardrail heading into the final commercial break of the evening.
Back from the TV timeout, Cesaro delivered a big European uppercut from behind that allowed Nakamura to hit a knee to the face for a near-fall.
Strowman fired up, bowled over Nakamura and planted him with the powerslam for the win.
After the match, Bray Wyatt's Firefly Funhouse interrupted Strowman's celebration. Much like he rewrote history with John Cena, he told the story of Strowman's introduction to WWE through The Wyatt Family and said he is coming back for the WWE Universal Championship.
Strowman told him any time, any place, to which Wyatt stared menacingly into the camera as the show faded to black.
Strowman defeated Nakamura
What an appropriate main event for this show: uninspired, uninteresting and predictable.
Nakamura never once stood a chance of winning the match, nor did the layout do much to suggest he did. This was, essentially, a glorified squash that put Strowman over while caring little for The Artist Collective's credibility beyond the noticeably absent Sami Zayn.
The real meat of this was the post-match interaction between Strowman and Wyatt that introduced the audience to the next rivalry over the Universal Championship. Hopefully, this rights the wrong of Wyatt losing the title in the first place and the most engrossing character can take his place back atop SmackDown.