One week removed from the Superstar Shakeup, the blue brand regroups in Louisville, Kentucky at the appropriately-named KFC Yum! Centre.

(Man, what a great name).

Last Week’s Smackdown:

Last week, Smackdown Live hosted the second night of the Superstar Shakeup. The previous night, RAW had brought in such talents as Drew McIntyre, Bobby Roode, Kevin Owen and Sami Zayn; how would the blue brand respond to the gutting of their roster?

If you’re Smackdown GM Paige, rob the flagship show blind, apparently.

In just her second week as an authority figure after having to retire, the Anti-Diva bamboozled her RAW counterpart Kurt Angle and emerged from the Superstar Shakeup with an embarrassment of riches. Samoa Joe, Jeff Hardy, and Andrade “Cien” Almas are all headed to Tuesday nights, and that’s just for starters. There’s no sense in recapping the Shakeup for you here – seeing as we already did that on Win Column Sports – but needless to say, the blue brand is stacked.

How will the new additions begin to impact the roster? We’ve already seen the returning Big Cass set his sights on Daniel Bryan, and with the Miz returning tonight things can’t be getting easier for the YES! Man. Will Shane McMahon bring some order to his roster?

As always, I’m Spencer Love laying the textual Smackdown on Win Column’s official preview for the blue brand!

A Quick Recap:

  • AJ Styles calls out Shinsuke Nakamura, gets Rusev Day instead.
  • AJ Styles def. Rusev by DQ after Aiden English interferes. Daniel Bryan runs out to make the save, and Smackdown’s main event is announced – Bryan and Styles will take on Rusev Day!
  • Shelton Benjamin cuts a pretty mean promo on Chad Gable. He then states that he asked Paige for some real competition, and Randy Orton makes his entrance.
  • Randy Orton’s entrance is interrupted by UNITED STATES CHAMPION JEFF HARDY!!!
  • Jeff Hardy def. Shelton Benjamin via pinfall
  • The Miz appears via taped promo to announce that he’ll return to Smackdown next week.
  • Absolution is announced as having moved to Smackdown.
  • Luke Harper def. Jey Uso in short order. Post-match, both Harper and Rowan beat down the Usos until Naomi runs down the ramp and begs them to stop. For some reason, the Bludgeon Brothers oblige.
  • We return from commercial to Sin Cara waiting in the ring for his opponent. SAMOA FREAKIN’ JOE enters!!
  • Samoa Joe def. Sin Cara via Coquina Clutch, and proceeds to cut a badass promo on the rest of the Smackdown roster.
  • SAniTy is hyped with a vignette, and will be heading to the blue brand.
  • Big Cass returns during a backstage segment with Daniel Bryan, calling Bryan “little man”. Apparently, Cass is still a heel.
  • Carmella celebrates her championship victory in the ring. Charlotte Flair interrupts, and is subsequently interrupted/beaten down by the IconicsBecky Lynch makes the save.
  • Charlotte Flair def. Billie Kay via Figure Eight. Post-match, Carmella and the Iconics attack Flair and Lynch, only for Asuka (!!!!) to make the save.
  • Both the Bar and the Good Brothers are announced as coming to Smackdown as well.
  • Andrade “Cien” Almas announces over a recorded video that he’ll be heading to the blue brand.
  • AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan def. Rusev Day via DQ after both Shinsuke Nakamura and Big Cass interfere.

One Big Thought:

It’s no secret that Daniel Bryan and the Miz don’t get along. Ever since the former Bryan Danielson debuted as Miz’s rookie on the inaugural edition of NXT, there’s been a clear dislike between the duo. There’s always been subtle jabs between the two; whether it be Bryan’s critique of the Miz wrestling “like a coward”, or the A-Lister stealing Bryan’s signature moves for years, it’s been a consistent game of one-upsmanship between the pair. The tension reached an all-time high nearly two years ago when the Miz absolutely cut loose on the then-retired Bryan on Talking Smack in a now legendary promo. Ever since, fans have been begging for a match between the two, but unfortunately had resigned themselves to the fact it would never happen.

That is, until now.

It may come as a surprise since the news was announced so quietly, but Daniel Bryan is cleared to wrestle once more. In fact, he already has – and more importantly, has proven that his prior health questions are no longer an issue. Since the announcement, fans have clamoured for Miz and Bryan to square off in a WWE ring, and tonight we potentially get the start of a feud between the two. The Miz makes his long-awaited return to Smackdown tonight, and WWE.com is advertising that none other than Daniel Bryan will be his first guest on Miz TV. There’s certain to be fireworks – so tune in, wrestling fans. It’s going to be a hell of a ride.

State of the Belts:

Shinsuke Nakamura and Big Cass are real dicks, you guys. I mean, how can you justify interrupting a match between three of the most popular wrestlers in WWE? Alas, that’s exactly what happened during Smackdown’s main event last week, as AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan and Rusev Day were rudely interrupted by the King of Strong Style and…ummm…Colin Cassady.

Carmella won’t have to wait long to defend her newly-won Smackdown Women’s Championship; tonight, she’ll be in the ring with Charlotte Flair to sign the contract for their match at Backlash as part of Flair’s automatic rematch clause. As with most contract signings, I’m sure that this will be a quiet, uneventful affair – especially with the Iconics lurking in the shadows.

Jeff Hardy is now a member of the Smackdown roster, and he brought his newly-won United States Championship with him. He’s already dispatched of Shelton Benjamin since moving to Tuesday nights, but a teased matchup with the Viper Randy Orton has me excited. As Orton began to make his entrance last week, the Charismatic Enigma made his long-awaited return to Smackdown Live – a move which the Viper looked none too pleased with. While I’ve never been the biggest Orton fan, a program with Hardy could be exactly what the doctor ordered en route to a much-needed heel turn.

The Bludgeon Brothers continued their bludgeoning last week, as Harper made mincemeat of Jey Uso during their match. After a quick victory, the brothers-by-name attacked the brothers-by-blood, beating them ruthlessly after the final bell had rang. However, Naomi made a surprising entrance to stop the beatdown, begging the behemoths to leave her husband and brother-in-law alone. Surprisingly, the Bludgeon Brothers obliged, but I can’t see this being the end of their feud with the Usos.

Three Things to Watch For:

  • After being traded to Smackdown last week, Asuka will team with Becky Lynch in her Smackdown Live in-ring debut. They’ll be taking on the previously-mentioned Iconics; will Asuka get back to winning after her shocking defeat at WrestleMania? Or, will Peyton Royce and Billie Kay steal a victory here? The duo is clearly being positioned for big things, interrupting Charlotte Flair in their first appearance on the main roster, and a big win would really solidify them. Are they ready for Asuka?
  • R-Truth is back!!! What, you’re not excited?
  • With Friday marking the inaugural Greatest Royal Rumble event, many Smackdown talents are (likely) already on their way to Saudi Arabia. For that reason, don’t be surprised if the blue brand has a bit of a light roster tonight. Neither Hardy nor Samoa Joe are advertised as “Featured Superstars” for tonight; however, that could just be a missing on WWE’s end.

That’s it, that’s all; you watching tonight, WWE fans? As always, let us know your thoughts on tonight’s episode in the comments section below, or tweet us @WCSportsCA!

WWE Last 5:
Smackdown Live Preview: April 24
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Spencer Love

Once stood in front of Cedric Alexander in line at a hotel. Slightly big deal.

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