Featuring a match for the Intercontinental Title, this April 30th episode has a Universal Title match, the outcome of which could have potentially devastating ramifications for the career of one Daniel Bryan.
SmackDown Women’s Champion Bianca Belair starts off the show tonight. She welcomes us to SmackDown, but before she can say anything else, Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler make their entrances. They say they can take it from here, but they’re cut off by the Street Profits, who get on their case for interrupting the EST of WWE. Keeping with the theme of interruption, Bayley comes out, and she grabs the mic away from Belair. Bayley simply laughs hysterically into the mic, Belair slaps her, and the ring erupts into a brawl.
The Street Profits and Bianca Belair VS Dolph Ziggler, Robert Roode, and Bayley
The bout starts during commercials, so the first we get to see of it is Bayley stomping the toe of the champ to escape a Glam Slam before hitting a clothesline. Belair hits a shoulder tackle, but Bayley dodges a dropkick attempt and pins Belair for 2. Belair dodges a corner attack from Bayley before hitting a dropkick, but Bayley tags in Ziggler before the EST can capitalize. Belair looks ready to fight Ziggler, but she was simply distracting him, allowing Dawkins to run over Ziggler with a shoulder tackle before tagging in Ford to deliver a double dropkick.
Ford, Dawkins and Belair dump their opponents outside, and Ford dives onto the tag champs with a swanton. Baylay grabs Belair and slams her into the steel steps, which distracts Ford, allowing Ziggler to hit a brutal superkick. Ziggler tags in Roode, and the Glorious One delivers a uranage for 2. Roode distracts the official, and Bayley hits a cheap shot on Ford. Roode stomps down on Ford and tags in Ziggler to deliver a double suplex for 2.
Ziggler locks in a sleeper on Ford, but the Grand Slam tag champ escapes it. Ziggler delivers an avalanche and looks for a superkick, but Ford counters with one of his own. Both competitors tag in their opponents, and Dawkins comes in and suplexes both of his opponents before delivering the Silencer to Roode. Ziggler breaks up the pin, and Belair comes in and picks up Ziggler, but she drops him to deliver a punch and a K.O.D. to Bayley.
Roode rolls up Dawkins and uses the tights as leverage, but Belair breaks up the pin by whipping Roode with her braid. Dawkins grabs Roode and slams him with the Annointment, and he tags in Ford, who delivers a springboard Frog Splash to pick up the win.
Winners via pinfall: The Street Profits and Bianca Belair
Match Rating: 3/5
Kayla Braxton interviews Daniel Bryan, asking him about how he’s mentally preparing for his match tonight against Roman Reigns for the Universal Title, with the extra detail that Bryan must permanently leave SmackDown if he loses. Bryan says he’s at peace with the situation, because after all, Roman’s the champ who has to worry about losing his title. Bryan promises to win the Universal Title tonight, and he says when he does win, he’ll face Cesaro in his first title defense.
Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler are interviewed about their match tonight against Natalya and Tamina. They say that the fact that they have singles losses against the two, since this is a tag match. Incredible observation. They don’t get a chance to say much else, as Natalya and Tamina attack them from behind.
Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler (w/ Reginald) VS Natalya and Tamina
I’m sure I’ve said this before, but can we all agree that it’s so incredibly idiotic what they’re doing here? Michael Cole said that if Natalya and Tamina win, they could get a future tag team title opportunity. They. Are. Fighting. The. Champs. If you beat the tag champions in a regular 2 on 2 match, you are the champions. It’s just that simple. Why would you have to beat the champs to get the chance to beat the champs? This is the stupidest wrestling concept in recent memory.
Tamina goes right after Nia, delivering a superkick and climbing right to the top rope and flying with the Superfly Splash. Nia gets her knees up and tags in Shayna, who hits a brutal bicycle knee. Shayna beats the challenger down and tags in Nia, who delivers an avalanche for 2. Nia stomps and taunts Tamina, and Tamina looks to fight back, but Nia stops her cold with a crossbody for 2. Nia tags in Shayna, and Tamina looks to rally once more, getting in a punch on Nia, but Shayna locks in a submission.
Tamina escapes with a scoop slam and tags in Natalya, but Nia is still recuperating on the floor from the punch, so Shayna has nobody to tag. Natalya comes in and delivers a discus clothesline for 2 and a German suplex for another 2. Natalya goes for the Sharpshooter, but Shayna fights away and tags in Nia, who delivers an elbow drop for 2.
Natalya tags in Tamina, who punches Nia and looks for the Superfly Splash, but Reggie and Shayna distract her, allowing Nia to headbutt Tamina and tag in Shayna. The Submission Magician meets Tamina on the top rope, but Tamina headbutts her away and delivers the Superfly Splash.
Winner via pinfall: Tamina and Natalya
Match Rating: 2/5
I cannot believe this, this is ridiculous. They are now the tag champs. They beat the tag champs. Seriously, someone explain to me how this makes sense. Explain to me like I’m a child. And man, how many times have these two teams faced each other in different combinations recently? This whole title scene is a mess, but it would be so simple to make it good. Just give the titles to Natalya and Tamina, and then have them defend them against the various other teams that we know for a fact are just sitting around waiting for their shot.
Kayla Braxton interviews the Mysterios, and Dominik talks about how fighting alongside his father Rey is like being in a superhero comic book. Rey says that all his accomplishments in the WWE would be second to making history by becoming the very first father/son tag team champions.
Aleister Black returns with another story from Tales of the Dark Father. He talks about how people build their lives on a foundation of lies. He says he was never taught these lies by Father. According to Aleister, he could give us the keys to escape the world of lies we apparently live in, but he chooses not to. Meanie.
Big E VS Intercontinental Champion Apollo Crews (w/ Commander Azeez) for the Intercontinental Championship
Big E starts off strong, flipping the champion over his hip. The two trade holds and Big E once again tosses Crews. Big E locks in an abdominal stretch, and he holds it for a bit before letting go and hitting a back elbow for 2. He drags Crews onto the apron and delivers his Big Splash for another 2. Crews delivers a Stun Gun and a clothesline to gain momentum before bringing Big E to the outside and suplexing him on the floor as we go to commercial.
When we come back, Crews is viciously beating down Big E. The challenger regains some momentum with some belly-to-belly suplexes, but Crews tosses him to the outside and moonsaults off the apron onto him. Crews goes for a Frog Splash, but Big E counters with another suplex and a Big Splash for 2. He looks for the Big Ending, but Crews gets away and hits Big E with a bicycle kick. Crews hits a splash in the corner, but when he goes for another, Big E catches him with a uranage for 2.
Big E goes for a spear off the apron, but Crews hits him with a knee and delivers a Death Valley Driver on the apron, before delivering a Frog Splash for a close 2. Crews looks for his Olympic Slam, but Big E reverses it into the Big Ending. Before he can get the pin, Commander Azeez pulls him outside and slams him into the ringpost, ending the match via disqualification.
Winner via disqualification: Big E
STILL Intercontinental Champion: Apollo Crews
Match Rating: 3/5
Kevin Owens comes out and attacks Azeez, and the whole situation devolves into a fight. Sami Zayn even comes in to deliver a Helluva Kick to K.O. Sami grabs the Intercontinental Title while Crews and Azeez toss Owens and Big E out of the ring, and he stares at it longingly before handing it back to Crews saying “There’s no problem for now.” Azeez gives him a Nigerian Nail in response.
Kayla Braxton interviews Paul Heyman, who’s tired of hearing the name Daniel Bryan. He acknowledges Bryan’s many accomplishments, but he says that Daniel Bryan is still going to lose tonight. No insults or jabs, just a simple “no” to the idea of Bryan winning tonight.
Daniel Bryan VS Universal Champion Roman Reigns (w/ Paul Heyman and Jey Uso) for the Universal Championship (If Daniel Bryan loses, he leaves SmackDown)
Roman Reigns FINALLY has some new music! It perfectly fits him, and it’s got some cool instruments in it as well. It’s so much more interesting and enjoyable than the old Shield theme, and I’m glad, because if I’m going to be listening to the same song for a good while during Roman’s mind-numbingly long entrances, I at least want to enjoy the song.
Bryan starts off fast with a dropkick and some kicks in the corner, but Roman stops him cold with a wicked uppercut. Bryan goes for the Yes! Lock, but Roman rolls to the outside. Bryan delivers a wrecking ball dropkick and a flying knee off the apron as we go to commercial.
When we come back, Bryan is in control, focusing his offense on the left arm of the champ. Bryan backs Roman into the corner and delivers his running dropkicks, but Roman catches him with a clothesline that turns the Leader of the Yes! Movement inside out. Roman only gets a 2 count from the following pin, so he goes to work with a suplex for another 2. Roman locks in a headlock, but Bryan fights out. Roman strikes with a knee to stem the momentum of Bryan, and when Bryan looks to rally once more by flipping over the champ, Roman stops him cold once more with a back elbow for 2.
Roman trash talks and beats down Bryan, and Bryan fights back with a series of uppercuts. Bryan trips Roman onto the second turnbuckle before stacking the Head of the Table up on the top rope. Bryan goes for an avalanche hurricanrana, but Roman reverses it into an avalanche powerbomb for 2 as we go to commercial.
When we come back, Roman is raining fists down on Bryan on the outside of the ring. Roman slams him into the barricade and rolls him into the ring to pin him, but Bryan kicks out at 2. This frustrates the champ, who brutally attacks with a series of knee strikes. He lifts Bryan to the top rope, but the Leader of the Yes! Movement fights away and delivers an avalanche back suplex. He’s slow to the pin due to the brutality of the match so far, allowing Roman to kick out at 2 and three-quarters.
Bryan uses the Yes! Kicks to weaken the champ, but Roman catches him with a Samoan Drop for 2. Roman tries for a Superman Punch, but Bryan counters with a kick to the head. He focuses on the left arm of Roman with a running kick, and Roman rolls to the outside to escape the assault. Bryan looks for a suicide dive, but Roman catches him and tosses him with a brutal overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Roman looks to Spear Bryan on the outside, but Bryan moves out of the way, and Roman goes crashing through the barricade as we go to commercial.
When we come back, Bryan is delivering a diving headbutt to the left arm of Roman for 2. Bryan looks for the running knee, but Roman counters with a Superman Punch for 2. Roman looks for a Spear, but Bryan reverses it into a rollup for 2 before hitting the running knee. Roman is barely able to put his foot on the bottom rope to negate the pin. Bryan grabs the arms and stomps the face of Roman, before locking in the Yes! Lock. Roman reverses it into a pin for 2 and hits a Spear, but Bryan kicks out at 2 and nine-tenths.
Roman locks in the Guillotine Choke, but Bryan’s assault on Roman’s arm pays off, as Bryan is able to slip out of the choke and lock in the Yes! Lock. Roman tries to get to the bottom rope, but Bryan rolls him right to the center of the ring before locking it in again. Roman barely slips out of the Yes! Lock and lifts Bryan with one arm to powerbomb him. Roman drops forearm after forearm onto the head of Bryan before delivering yet another powerbomb.
Roman locks for the Guillotine again, but with the other arm this time. Bryan fights valiantly to stay awake, but Roman puts him to sleep to win the match, retain his title, and ban Daniel Bryan from SmackDown.
Winner via submission and STILL Universal Champion: Roman Reigns
Match Rating: 4/5
After the match, Roman grabs two chairs and places Bryan’s head on one of them. Cesaro comes out to the ring and attacks the champ with uppercuts. Jey Uso attacks Cesaro from behind, hitting him with a superkick. Jey ties Cesaro’s arms up in the ropes, and forces him to watch as Roman Reigns delivers a Con-Chair-To to Daniel Bryan.
SmackDown April 30
Very, very good main event. I’m not really a Roman fan (shocking, I know), so when I say a match of his is good, I mean it. Great action all around tonight, and the Aleister Black story is getting interesting, but man, the whole “beat the champs to get a chance to beat the champs” situation with Tamina and Natalya just really frustrates me.