Tonight’s SmackDown is a taped edition of the show from MVP Arena in Albany, New York.
Drew McIntyre takes on Sami Zayn in a steel cage match tonight. The match was made after three straight weeks of Zayn running away from McIntyre, including losing a lumberjack match by countout last Friday.
SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey will compete in an “I Quit” Beat the Clock Challenge. Rousey and Charlotte will see which one can force their opponent to quit the fastest.
The Beat the Clock Challenge comes in advance of Charlotte defending her title against Rousey in an “I Quit” match at WrestleMania Backlash on Sunday, May 8.
Raw Tag Team Champions RK-Bro and SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos will face off in a title unification match at WrestleMania Backlash. Tonight, there will be a contract signing for the match.
Intercontinental Champion Ricochet defends against Shanky tonight. Plus, Raquel Rodriguez makes her SmackDown in-ring debut.
Our live coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
Michael Cole and Pat McAfee ran down tonight’s card.
Steel Cage match: Drew McIntyre defeated Sami Zayn (10:25)
McIntyre and Zayn had a good cage match for TV. It was a basic match with the typical spots, but they worked hard and told a good story.
The match can be won by pinfall, submission, or escaping the cage. They recapped Zayn running away from McIntyre the last three weeks.
Drew Gulak’s the special timekeeper tonight. They showed Gulak several times at ringside throughout SmackDown.
Zayn hesitated and took his time entering the cage. He wasted no time and tried to climb out of the cage immediately. McIntyre pulled him back in and rocked Zayn with a chop. He then threw Zayn into the side of the cage. The fans broke into a “one more time” chant. McIntyre threw Zayn into the cage again.
McIntyre threw him into the cage a third time, but Zayn held on and tried to escape. McIntyre and Zayn fought on the top of the corner. Zayn took over and drove McIntyre’s head into the cage. He then hit a sunset powerbomb.
Back from the break, Zayn was firmly in control as he slammed McIntyre’s head into the cage. McIntyre briefly fought back, but Zayn regained control with a helluva kick. He took advantage and tried to escape, but McIntyre recovered. He pulled Zayn back in and slammed him down.
McIntyre ran wild and threw Zayn into the cage several times. He followed up with a belly-to-belly suplex and a neck breaker. McIntyre set up for the claymore, but Zayn tried to climb out. They fought on the top until Zayn knocked down McIntyre.
Zayn almost escaped, but McIntyre stopped him and hit a superplex. He then hit the claymore for the win.
They recapped the Charlotte Flair-Ronda Rousey contract signing.
In the back, Kayla Braxton interviewed Flair. Flair noted she doesn’t get embarrassed because everyone adores her. She promised to humiliate Rousey tonight and win the Beat the Clock challenge.
This was a fine segment.
Corbin welcomed everyone to the new and improved Happy Talk. He claimed the show is better without Madcap Moss. Corbin mocked Moss and noted he hated his bad jokes.
Corbin feels Moss only cares about the Andre the Giant trophy. He promised to defeat Moss at WrestleMania Backlash. However, he wants to destroy Moss tonight by destroying the trophy. Corbin then introduced the Andre the Giant trophy.
They recapped Moss winning the Andre the Giant battle royal and Corbin stealing the trophy.
Corbin pointed out that Moss isn’t at the building tonight. He demanded a sledgehammer so he could smash it into pieces. A guy in a jumpsuit got into the ring and took off his hat to reveal Moss. Corbin and Moss brawled. Moss celebrated with the trophy to end the segment.
Intercontinental Champion Ricochet defeated Shanky (w/Jinder Mahal) to retain (3:24)
Ricochet and Shanky had a fine match. Ricochet was good as usual. They also kept it short, which helped.
They recapped Shanky challenging Ricochet last week.
Shanky beat down Ricochet and slowed the pace down. He followed up with a slam and big elbow for a two-count. Ricochet tried fighting back and jumped on the second turnbuckle. Shanky grabbed Ricochet by the neck and threw him across the ring.
Shanky slowed the pace down again but missed an elbow drop. Ricochet fought back with punches and kicks. He followed up with a springboard crossbody off the middle rope for a near fall.
Ricochet climbed to the top rope, but Mahal tripped him up. Shanky put Ricochet on his shoulders, but Ricochet slipped out and rolled him up for the three-count.
After the match, Mahal yelled at Shanky for losing. Shanky heard enough and told him “no.” He turned around and walked away.
In the back, Kayla Braxton interviewed Raquel Rodriguez. Braxton asked her if she was nervous. Rodriguez joked that she wasn’t nervous because she looks good. She admitted to being nervous but promised to make an impact tonight.
Raquel Rodriguez defeated Cat Cardoza (2:01)
Rodriguez dominated Cardoza and beat her in a one-side squash match.
Cardoza jumped Rodriguez before the bell with cheap shots. The bell rang and Rodriguez rocked Cardoza with a clothesline. She followed up with two fall-away slams and a twisting splash. Cardoza briefly fought back with a knee in the corner. She choked Rodriguez on the top rope. Rodriguez recovered and hit the powerbomb for the win.
In the back, Ludwig Kaiser praised Gunther. Gunther promised that respect would be taken.
RK-Bro and Usos Tag Team Title Unification Match Contract Singing
This was an interesting segment. They turned the tag team unification match at WrestleMania Backlash into a six-man tag with Drew McIntyre and Roman Reigns. They spent weeks building up to the tag team unification match only to change it.
During the segment, the fans popped for McIntyre making the save and brawling with Reigns. RK-Bro and The Usos were good in their roles as well.
Adam Pearce oversaw the signing. Raw Tag Team Champions RK-Bro made their entrance before the commercial break. Back from the break, SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos made their way to the ring.
The Usos promised to defeat RK-Bro at WrestleMania Backlash. They added that RK-Bro would acknowledge them after they unify the titles.
Riddle complained to Pearce that he couldn’t tell The Usos apart and demanded Pearce get them name tags. Orton claimed he could tell them apart because Jey’s the right-hand man. The Usos celebrated, but Orton then insulted Jimmy.
A brawl broke out with RK-Bro getting the better of The Usos. Suddenly, WWE Undisputed Universal Champion Roman Reigns made his way to the ring. RK-Bro was distracted, which allowed The Usos to jump them.
Reigns jumped in the ring and ripped up the contract. He then stuffed the contract in Riddle’s mouth. Suddenly, Drew McIntyre’s music hit to a big pop. McIntyre slowly made his way to the ring. He knocked down The Usos at ringside and entered the ring.
McIntyre and Reigns faced off. They started trading shots until McIntyre knocked Reigns out of the ring. Cole and McAfee were surprised that McIntyre made the save.
In the back, Paul Heyman approached Adam Pearce in his office. He informed Pearce that Reigns is unhappy. Heyman noted Reigns wants to adjust the RK-Bro vs. Usos unification match at WrestleMania Backlash. Instead, Heyman demanded Pearce change it to McIntyre & RK-Bro vs. Reigns & The Usos.
Pearce noted he couldn’t change the match. Heyman promised to complain to management.
Later, they announced Reigns & The Usos vs. McIntyre & RK-Bro in a six-man tag team match for WrestleMania Backlash.
Naomi (w/Sasha Banks) defeated Shayna Baszler (w/Natalya)
Naomi and Baszler had a fine match. The heels probably needed the win but got to beat down the faces in a post-match angle.
Naomi had the early advantage with a splash for a near fall. Baszler took over with a back suplex. She slowed the pace down and worked over Naomi’s arm. Naomi broke free and sent Baszler into the middle turnbuckle. Naomi then rolled up Baszler for the win.
After the match, Natalya attacked Naomi, but Banks made the save. Banks briefly ran wild, but Natalya took over. She caught Banks in the sharpshooter, and Baszler stomped on Naomi’s elbow.
They recapped Xavier Woods beating Butch last week. After the match, Butch disappeared.
In the back, Sheamus and Ridge Holland discussed Butch. Sheamus and Holland put up posters looking for him. Sheamus realized they put the posters up in the same places. Holland pointed out that he took out Big E, who won’t be back for a long time.
Xavier Woods (w/Kofi Kingston) defeated Ridge Holland (w/Sheamus) (8:28)
Woods and Holland had a fine match.
Before the match, New Day mocked Sheamus and Holland. Kingston noted they became a team in 2014, but the heels can’t keep it together after a few weeks. They noted Butch is still missing.
Woods started a “Shake it Sheamus” chant. Woods promised to defeat Holland as Sheamus watches at ringside.
Holland whipped Woods into the corner but missed a tackle. He went shoulder-first into the post. Woods followed up with a tornado DDT off the apron.
Back from the break, Holland rocked Woods with a shoulder tackle. Woods briefly fought back, but Holland regained control. He slowed the pace down with a chin lock. The fans broke into another “Shake it, Sheamus” chant. Woods broke free, but Holland hit a spine buster for a near fall.
The finish came when Holland went for a powerbomb. Woods escaped and caught Holland with the backwoods for the win.
After the match, Sheamus was furious that Holland lost. He then challenged Kingston to a match right now.
Sheamus (w/Ridge Holland) defeated Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods) (3:12)
Sheamus and Kingston had a fine match.
The match started during the commercial break. Sheamus was in control, but Kingston fought back. He hit the trust fall dive to ringside. Sheamus missed a splash and went shoulder-first into the ring post. Kingston went for the SOS, but Sheamus countered into the Irish Curse backbreaker.
Sheamus slowed the pace down, but Kingston fought back. Sheamus regained control and set up for the Brogue Kick. Kingston avoided Sheamus and hit the SOS for a near fall.
The finish came when Kingston jumped off the top rope, but Sheamus rocked him with a knee. He then hit the Brogue Kick for the win.
After the match, Sheamus and Holland jumped New Day. Sheamus set up a table at ringside, and Holland gave Woods a powerbomb onto the table.
The Lacey Evans Story Part Four
This was a really good segment. Evans was emotional discussing her difficult family life and lack of support during her military career.
Lacey Evans continued telling her life story. She discussed joining the military and her accomplishments during that time. She noted the other graduates had their families supporting them.
Evans’ father wasn’t there to support her. Evans broke down, discussing her complicated family life growing up and the lack of support. She overcame her tough childhood to join the military and then become a WWE superstar.
Beat the Clock “I Quit” Challenge: Ronda Rousey defeated Shotzi (1:41)
Rousey and Shotzi had a pretty bad match. It went just under two minutes but was more about the Rousey-Flair feud and “I Quit” stipulation.
Before the match, Charlotte Flair came to ringside to get a closer look. They showed timekeeper Drew Gulak at ringside as well.
Shotzi tried to avoid Rousey and ran away. Rousey caught Shotzi with a kick to the head and a suplex. She hit a second suplex and locked on the ankle lock. Referee Charles Robinson put the mic in Shotzi’s face, and she screamed, “I quit.”
After the match, Flair mocked Rousey and demanded Aliyah come to the ring.
Beat the Clock “I Quit” Challenge: Charlotte Flair vs. Aliyah ended in a draw (1:41)
Flair and Aliyah didn’t have a good match either.
Rousey watched from ringside.
Aliyah had the brief advantage, but Flair quickly took over. She rocked Aliyah with a boot to the face. She taunted Rousey and slowly went for the figure eight. Aliyah kicked off and sent Flair to ringside. Flair had 10 seconds left and jumped back in the ring. She locked on the figure eight, but the time ran out.
Rousey officially won the Beat the Clock challenge.
After the match, Flair was furious that she had lost. Flair walked over to Drew Gulak and blamed him because he’s the timekeeper. She kicked him in the face and pushed him around ringside. Flair then grabbed the ring bell and hit Gulak in the back.
Flair walked off holding up the title to end SmackDown.
Next week: New Day takes on Ridge Holland & Sheamus in a tables match. Plus, Sasha Banks goes one-on-one with Shayna Baszler.